Last night, Kara and Mark came over for dinner. We’ve been in a trend of having themed dinners together, so I had to come up with something good. Luckily, Kara told me that she’d been craving Greek food, so knowing that Ross makes the best tzatziki sauce in the world, Greek Night was the obvious choice!
Usually when Ross and I make Greek food, we make pitas. The main ingredient in these is chicken, and since Kara doesn’t eat meat, that one was out. The idea of a pita with just lettuce, tomato, cheese and tzatziki just doesn’t do it for me, although Kara would probably have been fine with it. I decided to try a new dish that I’ve only had in restaurants before… moussaka. Moussaka is kind of like a lasagna, but really not like it at all. It involves layers of eggplant, potatoes and other veggies along with some red sauce and a bechamel sauce on top. Many variations of this recipe include meat, but it can be easily left out. I’d never made it before but figured I’d give it a try.
- I always read the reviews of the recipes on this site, and while these were all rave reviews, most of them said it took a long time and involved a lot of work. It really isn’t bad. It’s just the slicing of the vegetables, allowing time to salt the eggplant and then browning the veggies. Some people said that they roasted or grilled the eggplant and potatoes and that cut back on the time.
- After I salted the eggplant, I was very stupidly in a rush and forgot to rinse it before I browned it. LUCKILY I decided to take a taste of it before I assembled the meal and I gagged. It was SO salty. Not even close to edible. So, I had to go back to the store and start over with the eggplant. Luckily the dinner guests were family so it didn’t matter that I was in the middle of the most chaotic moment of meal preparation when they arrived. It put me way behind schedule!
- The recipe calls for canned lentils – in place of meat I am assuming. I have never seen canned lentils before. I looked just to be sure, but they were nowhere to be found in our grocery store. We bought a bag of dried lentils and put them in a pan, covered them with water and boiled them for 2-3 minutes. The recipe also calls for 1/2 of the juice from the canned lentils, but I just made sure I got a lot of the tomato juice from the can of whole tomatoes in there and it was fine.
- I love cheese, especially feta, so I think I would put more feta in next time. That’s just me.
Overall, it was really good! It was a nice change and not too heavy, but still filling.
I made a salad to go along with this. Everyone in my family hates olives, so I suppose it wasn’t a traditional Greek salad, but it tasted good to me. I used romaine lettuce, sliced some cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, green pepper and lots of feta. I found this recipefor Greek salad dressing and I think it is my new favorite dressing. Another wonderful thing about allrecipes.com is that you can change the calculations of the recipe to make it the number of servings you need it to be. The original recipe is for 120 servings! It was good, but not that good! I adjusted it for 8 servings and this is what it came to be:
- 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- 1/2 cup and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Mix all together, shake vigorously and store tightly covered at room temperature.
Kara made Baklava for dessert, which was by far the best part of the meal. I don’t know what recipe she used, but I will find out!