I am excited to share my Greek Feast for Two Dinner Menu with you, but first want to extend my gratitude for voting The Cheap Gourmet blog through to Round Two of the FoodBuzz Project Food Blog Challenge. It means a lot that you are taking time to read my cooking blog and submit your votes and to that I say, Thank You!
This week's challenge is to "tackle a classic dish from another culture" and as you can see, I chose Greek food. I've been enchanted by the Greek Islands for as long as I can remember. A few weeks ago I watched the Grek Islands episode of Anthony Bourdain's show, No Reservations. I found myself fixated on the food and realized I knew very little about the classic Greek dishes.
Greek foods consist of local ingredients and include tons of fresh produce, fragrant herbs, olives, and olive oil. Research revealed lamb, pork, and seafood are the most common proteins. I based my menu selections on foods often served during Greek festivals.
The Greek Feast for Two dinner menu includes: Greek Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing, Greek Paidakia, Baby Lamb Chops with Garlic and Rosemary, Roasted Vegetables, and Cheese and Honey Filo Rounds.
This was, by far, one of the best meals I have ever prepared. My husband and I were intoxicated by the cooking aromas and the savory, salty, earthy flavors of the foods. Everything about this meal was fun and I am proud to share the recipes with you today.
The Greek Feast is relatively easy to prepare, but does require about 2-1/2 hours of time. Step-by-step directions are provided for ease in preparation. I think you will find the end result well worth the effort.
Preparing the Greek Feast for Two Dinner Menu
Start by preparing the Greek Paidakia. Marinate for 2 hours to achieve ultimate tenderness and intense flavor. Prep time is 15 minutes. Chops are broiled for 15 minutes. Total prep and cooking time is 2-1/2 hours.
Adapted from Grilled Lamb Chops at GreekHomeRecipes.com
I was attracted to this dish because the original recipe stated, "Paidakia is to the Greeks as baby back ribs are to Southerners." Since I live in the South and LOVE baby back ribs, I figured I couldn't go wrong with Greek Paidakia.
The original recipe uses lamb, but I substituted with pork. This recipe is super easy to make and uses minimal ingredients. The flavor is incredibly savory and the meat melts in your mouth.
1-1/2 pounds Pork Rib Roast, frenched and cut into 4 to 6 individual chops. Frenched means the meat and fat is removed from the upper bone; providing a handle for ease in eating.
2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lemon, cut into wedges
1. In a small bowl, combine basil, parsley, salt and pepper.
2. Rinse pork chops and coat each side with herb mixture.
3. Lightly brush each side with olive oil.
4. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
5. Broil pork chops 8 minutes per side.
6. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with lemon wedges.
7. Squeeze lemon juice over pork chops and devour!
Next, prepare the Greek Salad. The Vinaigrette dressing should chill for at least 1 hour prior to serving.
Tip: I bought the Kalamata Olives from the Olive Bar at my local grocer. It was less expensive than jarred olives and I could pick the best olives.
Greek Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing
Adapted from www.GreekSaladRecipe.net.
Greek Salad Ingredients:
1 head Romaine Lettuce, washed, dried, and loosely chopped
10-ounce bag Baby Greens
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1/2 English Cucumber, diced
4 ounces pitted Kalamata Olives
4 ounces Feta Cheese, crumbled
Greek Salad Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice from 1 whole Lemon (use the zest of this lemon for the Baby Lamb Chops)
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1. Gently toss vegetables and olives together in a salad bowl. Top with Feta cheese. Cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
2. In a small bowl, combine Vinaigrette dressing ingredients and briskly whip together using a wire whisk. Transfer to serving container and refrigerate for one hour.
3. Transfer to salad plates and add desired amount of dressing.
Now, it's time to work on the Cheese and Honey Filo Rounds. This recipe was the most challenging dish to prepare due to the delicacy of the filo (phyllo) dough. The original recipe cut the dough into rounds. I didn't have much luck with that method and ended up cutting the sheets into quarters. This dish is intended to be served at room temperature. Makes 16 rounds. Prep time is 15 to 20 minutes and bake time is 12 to14 minutes.
Obtain the original Cheese and Honey Filo Rounds recipe and watch a preparation video at www.Greek-Recipe.com.
8 sheets refrigerated Filo dough, cut into quarters
4 ounces Pecorino-Romano cheese, finely grated
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil for basting
1-1/2 Tablespoons Honey
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place filo dough on large cutting board. Carefully cut sheets into quarters and stack into a pile.
3. Use 2 sheets of filo dough for each cheese-stuffed round. It is important to work quickly so the dough doesn't dry out.
4. Place 2 sheets of dough on cutting board and lightly brush with olive oil. Place 1/2-teaspoon of cheese near the end of the square. Gently roll and lightly baste with olive oil. Carefully roll one end toward the center to create a snail shell. As you can see, I need more practice.
5. Place on baking sheet and lightly baste each round before placing in oven.
6. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until light golden brown.
7. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with honey. Serve at room temperature.
Next, prepare the roasted vegetables. These require 10 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to marinate, and 16 minutes to cook.
Adapted from Rachel Ray's Lamb Chops with Roasted Vegetables and Spring Pea Risotto
The original recipe roasts the vegetables in the oven for 15 minutes. I marinated the vegetables for 30 minutes and broiled them with the Greek Paidakia. Either method will provide great results.
1/2 pound fresh Green Beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 dozen Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced diagonally
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup Pecorino-Romano cheese, finely grated
1. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss green beans, tomatoes, and onions with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Broil at 500 degrees Fahrenheit on lower oven rack for 16 minutes. The Greek Paidakia should be placed on the top oven rack while veggies are roasting.
4. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with cheese.
Finally, it's time to prepare the Baby Lamb Chops with Garlic and Rosemary. It is recommended to serve lamb chops medium-rare. This recipe requires 15 minutes prep time and 8 minutes to cook. Start preparing the marinade 5 minutes before placing the veggies and Greek Paidakia in the broiler.
Adapted from Michael Chiarello's Lamb Chop recipe
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (use 1/8 cup for marinade and 1/8 cup for cooking lamb chops)
2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tablespoons fresh Rosemary leaves
1 Lemon, zested
4 Baby Lamb Chops
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1. Heat 1/8 cup olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until light golden brown. Add rosemary leaves and cook until crispy.
2. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
3. Transfer to small bowl, add lemon zest, and mix well.
4. Heat remaining olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
5. Season both sides of lamb chops with salt and pepper.
6. Cook lamb chops in skillet 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
This is my Greek Feast for Two dinner menu. I hope your family and friends enjoy the meal as much as we did. I welcome and appreciate your votes. Each one helps launch me to the next level of the Project Food Blog Challenge. Voting is open from 6 a.m. PT Monday, September 27th through 6 p.m. PT Friday, September 30th. Thank you for your support!
P.S. If you missed the first challenge, click here to read, Defining The Cheap Gourmet Blog