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March 2012 COTM: The Olive and the Caper: Drinks; Small Dishes; Savory Pies

Please use this thread to discuss the recipes in the chapters on Drinks; Small Dishes; and Savory Pies (pages 4 - 113).

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  1. Mussels in White Wine with Shallots and Basil, p.69

    This is pretty much the same as umpteen other Mediterranean recipes (French, Italian) for mussels steamed in white wine, but that's not a ding. Why argue with a good thing?

    I made one-third of the given amount, with 1 lb. mussels just as a main dish for myself (the recipe is intended as an appetizer for 6). White wine, coarsely chopped shallots, minced garlic, chopped parsley, fresh or dried thyme (I used dried), and salt and pepper are brought to a boil, and cleaned mussels are added. Pot is covered and all is cooked until the mussels are opened; she says 8 min., but mine were done in 6. All is spooned out of the pot and shredded basil leaves are scattered over.

    The result was just what I expected: simple but delicious, with sweet mussels and savory liquid, aromatic and flavorful from the wine, seasonings, and mussels' juice, to be spooned and sopped up with bread. A satisfying quick dinner.

    1. Grape Leaves Stuffed with Nuts, Currents, and Raisins p.47

      In preparation for a meze-filled evening this weekend, I made these little packages ahead of time to lesson the load a bit. I'm glad that I did, because this was a disaster.

      Being months away from meditteranean-type climates, I used jarred grape leaves as my wrapper. I haven't made dolmades before, but I really thought that the leaves were supposed to be blanched or at least rinsed before using, but there was not a single mention of this in the recipe (or any others involving vine leaves). I chose to thoroughly rinse the leaves before commencing, after reading many, many other versions that had one do so.
      For the filling: arborio rice is sauteed in olive oil with onion, garlic, lemon zest, and pine nuts until onion is translucent. Retsina-plumped currants and raisins are added in, along with leftover wine. Total cooking time, about 8 minutes. Author states that rice will not be cooked through. Rice was still very raw. Stir in chopped mint and dill.
      The filling is then rolled in the grape leaves, about 1/2 T per leaf. Rolling was simple as the leaves were pretty resilient. I got about 30 little parcels, which wasn't enough to cover the bottom of my 10'' leaf-lined pan, though the author mentions 2 or even 3 layers of dolmades in a medium size skillet. Water is poured in just to cover the top layer, sprinkled with lemon juice, and a plate (I used the bottom of my springform pan, with a bowl o' water on top) is used to weight it all down.
      Simmer until rice is tender, about 1 hour, testing to make sure rice is tender. Hah! After one hour, I tested a packet, and the rice was still crunchy raw. I simmered it for an additional half hour, and foolishly assumed that it would be enough time, so I took it off the heat without testing. The next morning, I tried one of the leafy cigars, and the rice was still terribly underdone. Back into the pot. I simmered for an extra half hour, but by now the leaves were starting to fall apart in the water, and my filling was floating around everywhere. By the time I pulled everything out of the pot, the packages were so waterlogged and mushy that they were barely edible, let alone company-worthy.
      You know, if the instructions were more accurate, this would have been an excellent recipe. What I tasted was fantastic. It was so tasty, in fact, that I am going to try this again, and just follow my instincts and pre-cook the rice most of the way through with the other ingredients before filling. Here's hoping.

      17 Replies
      1. re: Allegra_K

        I am going to have to look at this recipe. I have made dolmades for years from a different cookbook, and never pre-cooked the rice. However, I have always blanched the grape leaves, a tedious step at best.

        1. re: smtucker

          Same here. I've used a Claudia Roden recipe for a couple of decades which calls for uncooked rice (the meat is also uncooked in the meat version). The leaves are soaked in hot water, then cold. But, they cook for about 2 hours. They always come out perfect and the leaves hold up well. So there is something strange going on here.
          I also have used a Joyce Goldstein recipe in which the rice goes in raw. It calls for 30 minutes of cooking, which wasn't long enough, as I recall.
          Sorry about your disaster Allegra! We'll have to get this figured out!

          1. re: L.Nightshade

            Well, geez, I wonder what the heck I did wrong here. Maybe my rice is too old? Or perhaps the chilling and then re-simmering of the leaves was a bad choice. Version 2.0 is in the works, so I guess I'll see!

            1. re: Allegra_K

              It doesn't sound like *you* did anything wrong. I would be more suspect of ingredients maybe? Or even the recipe. The recipes I have used call for a considerable amount olive oil to be added to the water when cooking. Perhaps that would change the boiling point? Or something?

              1. re: L.Nightshade

                Hmm, I don't know. I've just had a really off cooking day today. Made 3 things out of this book and somehow *nothing* turned out the way it was supposed to. I can't stand when something I make doesn't work out. I just want to throw everything out the window and shun making food for the rest of eternity. But eventually I get hungry. Heh. Luckily the total screw-ups are pretty few and far between. Tomorrow is another day!

                1. re: Allegra_K

                  I've had those kind of days myself. Stick to your inner Scarlett.

                  1. re: Allegra_K

                    Oh no. I'm sorry you're having "off" results with this book. I'm starting to think this isn't the month for me to jump back into COTM. The early reports are kind of mixed.

                    ~TDQ

              2. re: L.Nightshade

                Interesting. I am a Sephardic Jew and I grew up eating dolmas. They were pretty much a staple on every party platter I have ever seen. After reading above that you don't precook your rice, I started reviewing my recipes. All the dolma (aka Yalangi Yaprak) recipes I am aware of call for par cooking the rice before assembling and then cooked a second time. The two I looked at called for cooking the rice for 15-20 minutes until the water was absorbed. Then assemble and cook again for 30-40 minutes. I wonder if this is just a Sephardic thing. Do all of you out there stuff your rice into the leaves while it is raw?

                It sounds like the recipe at hand calls for approximately the same cooking time but I think cooking the rice ahead allows the flavors of the onions and whatever else is mixed in with the rice to marry before stuffing them inside the grape leaf.

            2. re: Allegra_K

              Try using Uncle Ben's Converted Rice -- cooks up much better in vine leaves than other rices. (I do not precook the rice.)
              I never rinse/blanch my grape leaves; I like the extra flavor the brine provides.

              1. re: Allegra_K

                So disappointing when disaster strikes. I am a little bit worried that the recipes in the book are not as thoroughly tested as they might be. Am I judging too soon?

                1. re: greeneggsnham

                  I'm a little bit worried too.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    I don't know if you're judging too soon greeneggsandham, because I have a similar sense of dread. Seems we just can't get a break with Greek COTM's! I wasn't happy with the Kochilas one we tried, either.

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I was so excited when I got this book, but got so busy that I never cooked from it on my own. Now I've tried 3 things, and have had mixed results. Like you, I wasn't that thrilled with Kochilas. We know Greece has some amazing food - lets hope things get better with this book.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Crossing fingers. I will forge ahead and hope for the best. I was actually pretty happy with the one recipe that I have made so far, but I think that is in part due to trusting my instincts in terms of salting and cooking time rather than following the recipe to a T. I only wish that I had followed my instinct of draining off the extra chicken fat after browning to have potentially jumped it up from good to very good.

                        My sense of the book now is that I will cook the things that sound good to me, but feel free to modify and adjust as I go.

                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                          I think that is the right way to go. I'm going to do the same.

                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                            I would hate to think that a book like this hasn't had all of it's recipes tested, but it's starting to look that way. I read through the reviews on Amazon, a lot of the positive reviews are from people who like the layout, stories, etc. It doesn't appear as if many of them have actually cooked from the book.
                            I guess we'll all be using our own best judgement in cooking from this book. Hope the reports get better!

                  2. re: Allegra_K

                    I grew up on stuffed grape leaves. And was the only one who would make them. My parents friends' would pay me to make it for them, no one wanted the bother.

                    A couple of issues I see is-not sure about arborio rice. We always used Carolina. I never parboil the leaves, I parcook the rice only and it needs about 1 1/2-2 hours of cooking time.
                    Also, I always place a dish on top of the stuffed grape leaves and this helps with the mushy factor. And finally they really need to cool overnight to tighten up. Once you get the hang of it, it really is simple.

                  3. Grape Leaves Stuffed with Nuts, Currents, and Raisins p.47
                    Version 2.0

                    Round two with the Dolmadakia went much better now that I knew what not to do. In her recipe, Ms. Hoffman lists a variation that mixes cooked rice with the filling ingredients. Instead of doing that, when I was sauteeing the rice with the onions, currants, etc, I added some additional water, covered, and cooked the rice to nearly al dente. After the rolling and filling, I probably simmered the packages for 30-40 minutes, and all was pleasantly cooked and delicious.
                    I really enjoyed the lemon zest in the filling, which gives a lovely concentrated lemon flavour without the tartness of too much juice. The re-hydrated dried fruits were welcome bits of sweetness in amongst the mix, and I appreciated the subtle crunch of the pine nuts much more now that it wasn't competing with the rice for texture (although at $7.00 per 100 grams, I think that next time I'll use slivered almonds or another, less precious seed) .

                     
                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Allegra_K

                      I'm glad you had better luck the second time around!

                      ~TDQ

                    2. Little Herbed Meatballs p.52

                      Prepared these little morsels for a meze platter, and they were one of the better items on the table.
                      This is mostly just a standard meatball recipe with a panade, onion, etc, but with some chopped herbs like mint, parsley and oregano tossed in to give more of a greek flair. I used beef, though lamb is also suggested, which I think would have paired better with the mint than the choice I used. The mint flavour was quite prominent in the meatballs, more so than I would have imagined, not necessarily a bad thing, but not my favourite either. I think I would next time up the oregano and decrease the mint. The meat mixture also called for some grated kefalotyri (pecorino romano in my case), but not enough, so the nutty cheese flavour didn't sing like it could have. I made the concoction a day ahead and then rolled just before cooking.
                      For the frying, the meatballs are to be rolled in a coating. The author suggests crushed hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or either fine or coarse bulgur. I used hazelnuts for a portion and medium ground bulgur for the remainder. For the bulgur wheat, there is no mention of soaking or parboiling the grain,and the meatballs are to be cooked in the oil for 4 minutes, which is not nearly enough time to soften the bulgur *at all*. So half of my meatballs were covered in an inedible tooth-cracking layer. It was bad. May I suggest finely ground bulgur for any others using this recipe.
                      The hazelnut meatballs were decent, nice and moist inside with a tasty crunch on the exterior.
                      I do have a lot of leftover balls of crunchy meat though, so I'm hoping to use a sauce from this book to simmer the texture down to a manageable degree.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Allegra_K

                        I was looking at this recipe, thanks for trying it out first. I will make note to use fine bulgur should I try this. I hope you can find a way to repurpose the crunchy meatballs (inedible tooth-cracking layer- sorry to hear, but the description made me chuckle.)

                      2. Field Greens, Fennel, and Ouzo Pie, p. 93

                        This is a variation on spanikopita, using different greens. Instead of scallions, parsley, and dill, it is seasoned with onion, parsley, dill, fennel fronds, and a bit of ouzo.

                        The filling is made by sautéing chopped onion with minced parsley, dill, and fennel fronds (I used about double the called-for amounts of these), along with a bit of uncooked white rice. This is combined with eggs, crumbled feta, ouzo, salt (I also added pepper), and blanched and drained leafy greens, "preferably a mix of sharp and buttery" (I used chard, beet greens, and spinach), along with optional chopped capers (which I used). The pie is put together in the usual way, layering sheets of filo brushed with olive oil or melted butter (I used olive oil), then the filling and more filo, and is baked until golden. I didn't score the top of the pie before baking.

                        This was delicious. It is obviously very similar to spanikopita (which I love), but I really liked the flavor of the heartier, nuttier greens in it. I can't say that the fennel flavor was very prominent, recipe title notwithstanding, and I think one would need to use more than the 1 tablespoon of ouzo called for to make it jump out.

                        Rather than having this as a mezze, it was a main dish, served with String Beans with Shallots, White Wine, and Fennel Seeds (report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8364... ) and Beet Tzatziki (report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8364... ), followed by Walnut Cake with Coffee Syrup (report:http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8364... ).

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          I have this on my to-try list, and was thinking of serving it as a main course too. With two adults and a child, how many sides do you think are necessary? I see you made quite a few. I was thinking maybe serving it with a soup.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            I think it's really just a matter of rounding out the meal, because no matter what, you will have leftovers (a good thing - it reheats and recrisps very well in the oven or toaster oven). With the one vegetable side and tzatziki I served, three adults ate about half of it, including each having a smaller piece for seconds.

                            I would definitely recommend increasing the herbs, as I did, and think at least doubling the ouzo would be a good idea.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Great, thanks Caitlin.

                        2. Fried Squid with parsley and lemon batter [Kalamarakia], page 62

                          Someone had to do it!

                          This is a simple enough recipe with some twists I had never tried before. To start, this isn't a batter, it is a breading. Equal parts minced parsley and flour are mixed together with coarsely chopped lemon zest, salt and white pepper. The squid is then fried in a half inch of hot oil for a total of 1 minute, 30 seconds per side. The squid is then drained and served with lemon wedges.

                          Since the recipe calls for 3 lbs of squid, and I was only making 6 oz, I reduced the quantities but kept the proportions the same [I think.] I did a fairly fine chop of the organic lemon zest and used some sea salt on the squid as they came out of the oil. The flour mixture didn't cake at all and became a really light covering. No oil temperature was stated, so I fried at 350º in peanut oil in a cast iron frying pan.

                          I served the squid over a base of raw, shredded cabbage which turned into an oil/lemon juice dressed slaw.

                          This was a really nice variation on this classic dish. I really liked the lemon zest and would make this again. In the future, I think I would chop a bit of extra parsley to garnish the finished dish.

                          Served with double lemon avgolemono soup, page 169.

                          1. Sweet Zucchini Pickle
                            page 72

                            This recipe was also easy to follow-
                            I used brown sugar and baby zucchini

                            I processed the pickle in jars.

                            I opened 1 jar after 3 days-it was delicious-not too sweet

                            1. Spanakopita Pg 92
                              I've always loved those little spinach and phylo appetizers with their flaky dough and savoury feelings so this dish really hit the spot. It comes together quite easily and results in a tasty little pie that is quite healthy. I had it as a main course with a nice glass of white and a little side salad, and it all made for a lovely vegetarian dinner. Plus it is quite nutritious with the veggies and there is a good deal of protein from the feta and eggs, and even the spinach provides some protein.
                              The filling was just right as laid out in the recipe, except for the fact hat I added a bit of pepper and some additional salt. The savoury filling has some tang from the feta that went very well with the the dill and green onion.
                              I did find the crust a little thin but that is my fault because I went with the 6 layers, but I think 8 would have worked out better. Also make sure you trim the phylo as suggested in the book. I used whole wheat phylo and I think it is a bit drier so a touch more oil and maybe about 25 degrees more heat would result in a crisper and more traditional tasting/looking pie.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: delys77

                                Here are the pictures.

                                 
                                 
                                1. re: delys77

                                  Oooh, I wish I had a piece of your spanakopita right now! It looks lovely! One of my favorite dishes.

                                  1. re: delys77

                                    That looks wonderful!

                                2. Pickled red onions, p. 75

                                  I made these to go on the radish salad (reported on in the other thread). I'm not generally a big fan of pickled things, but these worked nicely on the salad. To make, red onions are thinly sliced. Sugar is dissolved in red wine vinegar and water with a bay leaf. The onions marinate for at least 30 minutes. I wish she had a better way of identifying other recipes that use these as I have quite a bit leftover!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                                    I love them on sandwiches, TIM--tuna, egg salad, burgers, chicken, pulled pork or on tacos,--even grilled cheese. They're also good w/steamed asparagus.

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      I'm not a huge fan of the texture of onions in a lot of things, but I will take any excuse to make tacos! Thank you for jogging my brain on this.

                                  2. Eggplant and yogurt spread, page 35

                                    I made this as instructed tonight, and it was just meh. Start by roasting the eggplant, which is then chopped up and added to yogurt, garlic, and red onon. I used dill instead of basil and added a bit more salt instead of the Kalamata olives [which Mr. Smtucker hates!]

                                    The real issue with this recipe is the eggplant. The proportions are just off. When I make eggplant, I want to taste eggplant. If I ever made this again [which I won't], I would at least double the amount of eggplant.

                                    I have another Greek eggplant dip that I make regularly that is just too much better to fuss with this one again.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Hi smtucker, could you share your greek eggplant spread recipe? I made the Melanzanosalata (review below) and was also not totally pleased with it, but like the idea of a Greeek eggplant dip.

                                      Thanks!

                                    2. Eggplant Salad, country-style (Melanzanosalata) pg 33

                                      I made this with a few substitutions and I was not totally pleased with the results. It wasn't bad, but it was so strongly flavored that I really couldn't eat it as a salad or a spread or a dip. We ended up using it more as a condiment in a pita wrap. I am noticing now that the sidebar by the recipe describes that although Greeks call this type of dish a "salad," we might call it a spread. SO part of it might have been expectations, but I felt like the flavors were unbalanced, which may have been in part due to my subs.

                                      Here's how it went. 1 medium eggplant (she gives the weight as 1 lb, my eggplant was 1 lb 3 oz) is roasted at 450 until wrinkled and collapsed, about 50 minutes. Scrape out the pulp and chop roughly. I will note, that I was surprised by how much my eggplant cooked down. She gives the final yield as 2 cups, but I would say my final yield was just over a cup. To this, add onion (I subbed shallot because I had one to use up), garlic (I cut back the garlic a bit, because I think of shallot as a bit garlicky), flat leaf parsley, mint, oregano, mustard (I used prepared because my dried was about 5 years old and this was given as a sub), red wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil. You are also supposed to add a small (3 oz) tomato chopped, but I didn't have one so I omitted that. This is just mixed up and either served right away or covered and served later. She mentions in the notes that this improves if allowed to sit overnight.

                                      I tasted it right after I made it and fet like it was a bit overpowering with raw onion and garlic flavor and not much else coming through. I was planning to serve it later anyway, so just wrapped it up in the fridge and figured it might get better after rested. I served it tonight with a zataar roast chicken, chickpeas, greek salad and single vegetable salad with broccoli. Again, it was just too assertive with the raw garlic and shallot and all the herbs to really play well as a side dish. I also didn't love it as a dip for pita-- just didn't taste very well-balanced to me. Maybe it was in part the missing tomato? It actually was pretty good as a condiment smeared on the chicken and wrapped up in the pita, but I don't think I would make it again. I also felt like the eggplant flavor got sort of lost in everything else. Maybe American eggplants are wimpy compared to Greek?

                                      1. Cheese Pie, Tyropita pg 89

                                        Planning to make some of these. I expect I'll have "extra", so advice please, freeze then bake or bake then freeze, or forget it they won't keep? Anyone know?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: qianning

                                          The tiropita are little triangles, right? I would freeze, then bake. Freeze flat on a baking sheet, and when frozen through, put in a freezer bag to store. Bake from frozen, adding extra baking time, and brush the tops w/oil or melted butter just before baking.

                                          ETA: This is the approach I have used with little spanikopita triangles, and it worked out well.

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            thanks! and yes, these are small cheese filled triangles. have only made enough for tonight so far....the rest may have to wait until tomorrow, depending on how the friday night cocktail goes down.

                                        2. Homemade Filo Dough (carbonated water version) pg85

                                          A while back I made a homemade filo from a Saveur recipe, and it came out well, so I thought why not give this one a whirl. Hah, what a misadventure.

                                          So it seems simple enough, mix a water (I used the carbonated water alternative on page 86) and flour dough, then knead. I started with a 1/2 C of water which was definitely not enough, then added another 1/4 C, getting me to the limits of Hoffman's recommended flour water ratio, but the dough was still very dry with at least 1/2 C of flour totally dry, so I added another 1/8C water, at this point the dough was pretty dry but incorporated. After kneading for about five minutes, it still seemed to me that the dough was too stiff, but I was reluctant to add more water and just kept at it. After the dough had rested and I began to try to roll/stretch the dough I really regretted not having added more liquid.

                                          No way no how was this dough going to roll out. I tried rolling it with a dowel, I tried rolling it like noodle dough, I tried stretching it on the dowel and by hand. Uh-uh nothing was working. In desperation, I got out my pasta rollers and tried feeding some through that. At the time I was relieved and surprised to find that the dough went through the rollers very well, and so I rolled out a quarter of the dough using the pasta machine, figuring I'd use that for a small batch of the Cheese Pies, I'd already made the cheese filling, see how that went and then deal with the rest later.

                                          1. Cheese Pie w/ Lemon and Nutmeg, Tyropita, pg. 89

                                            The long and the short of it is, these looked fine and tasted dreadful.

                                            Now a large part of the problem was my homemade filo (see above for travails in that department) which when baked had the brittle texture and icky flavor of a really bad really thin pizza crust. All I could think of was a thin version of Shakey's pizza crust. yuck.

                                            That I would fail in the homemade filo is not so shocking, but that a filling which uses three different sheep's milk cheeses (manouri, kefalotyri, and vlahotiri, in my case) plus lemon zest, nutmeg and a little lemon juice, could be so, well, bland, and not at all unctuous, was a surprise. After one each we didn't even bother to eat the rest. Not worth the calories.

                                             
                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: qianning

                                              What a shame! I'm so sorry to hear that. You've got guts though, tackling the homemade filo.

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                Hats off to you for making your own filo. If the recipe were a winner, it's the kind of thing that would take a dish from good to great (I always think about that when I make gyoza- I have to make my own gyoza skins some time). Sorry that it was not a winner. Glad the saganaki worked out.

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  What a disappointment for the amount of work you went through!
                                                  They look quite nice, and I'm very impressed that you took a crack at homemade filo, I can't imagine even trying that!

                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    Now I am feeling guilty. I tried one of the filo dough recipes last weekend and hadn't gotten to reporting on it. Total and complete disaster. I didn't even try to roll it out and used my ingredients for another dish. Sorry that I didn't post my review before your efforts.

                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                      no need to feel guilty! in fact reading that yours didn't work either makes me feel sooooo much better! is it OK to admit that? :)

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        Yes. It is fine to admit, and in fact that is why I posted. It wasn't you! I knew I was in trouble when I searched the web and found this post. Scroll down to see her stand mixer with the dough inside. Mine looked NOTHING like this. Clearly the recipe in Olive and Caper just doesn't have any where near enough water.

                                                        http://korenainthekitchen.com/2011/06...

                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                          Definitely not enough water; and I notice that the recipe you linked to, like the filo I made from the Saveur recipe, has both oil and vinegar in it, totally different chemistry.

                                                  2. Fried Cheese Cubes, Saganaki pg. 40

                                                    Having failed in the Tyropita recipe, we were casting around for something to nosh on while the rest of dinner was cooking. I still had a nice piece of vlahotiri (a good sub for kasseri), and so we quickly cut it for saganaki. Mr. QN did the frying and tells me the real secret is not to crowd the pan. He's probably right, since his cubes fried up perfectly. While he was doing that I whisked together the oregano (dried, no fresh on hand), capers and lemon juice per Hoffman's "country style" suggestion, and we served it on the side as a dipping sauce.

                                                    A nice little treat.

                                                    1. Leek Potato and Olive Pie Pg. 97
                                                      This is a scrumptious little pie. I am a big fan of the combination of leeks and potatoes, and the addition of a bit of chopped kalamatas adds a great depth of salty nuance to this dish. She does have you layer a few sheets of filo in the middle, but I personally found that this didnt' do anything fo the pie, and added unecessary steps. I would go with the suggested variation of layering the bottom and top with 5-6 layers of filo, and leave it at that. I had a piece reheated in the oven and it kept very well overnight. Would definitely make again.

                                                      1. Little Skewers of Meat with Grilled Bread, Souvlakia
                                                        page 54

                                                        Lamb [in my case] is cut into cubes removing most of the fat. She suggests 3/4" cubes, but my resident grillmeister prefers 1 1/2" s so that is what I did. My meat was some on-the-bone leg of lamb steaks and shoulder steaks. The marinade is made with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh or dried oregano, crumbled bay leaf, salt, and pepper.

                                                        The bay leaf is an addition I have never tried before. I used Turkish dried oregano. And, then I just couldn't help myself, I added some crushed garlic.

                                                        The meat sat in the marinade for 4 1/2 hrs. The bay leaf adds an earthy element that we all enjoyed. I think that this will be a regular addition.

                                                        This is one of those recipes that is so simple that a review feels like overkill, but we liked it very much.