It’s all Greek to Me

I have a very good friend who is originally from Greece.  A few years ago, we took a trip together and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the sites and tasting the foods.

Today is her birthday – Happy Birthday Venetia!!

In honor of her birthday, I decided to make some Greek cuisine for dinner.

Our menu included (serves 3):img_1922

Kolokithopitta (Zucchini Pie)
1 zucchini, unpeeled and shredded
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T Olive Oil
1 tsp parsley chopped
1/2 tsp dill weed, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup feta cheese, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
4 sheets filo pastry, cut in fourths
2 T butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Over low heat, saute the zucchini, onions and garlic in the oil until browned, stirring occasionally. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the filo and butter.  Butter a 5×7 pan. On the bottom, place 8 pieces of filo dough, each sheet brushed with butter.  Spoon the zucchini mixture over the filo.  Cover with 8 more pieces of filo, each brushed with butter.  Brush the top with butter.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Cool slightly and cut into six pieces.

Salata (Greek Salad)
20 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T Olive Oil
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup feta cheese, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Combine all vegetables.  Serve with feta sprinkled on top. Most Greek salads have olives on top.  But, since I don’t like olives, I don’t have any in my refrigerator.

Psimeno Arni Pilafi (Baked Lamb Pilaf)
8 ounces lamb stew meat
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 T Olive Oil
1 cup brown rice
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine tomato paste, oregano, garlic and oil.  Coat the chicken pieces with the mixture and place in a baking dish.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Add rice and broth.  Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Relish, Wild Rice Bread and Canning

I recently ate one of the best tasting sandwiches I have ever had. This sandwich was roast turkey on wild rice bread with a cranberry orange relish, lettuce, arugula, white cheddar cheese and thin sliced apple.

I liked it so much, that I decided to try to try to make my own bread and relish. The results were actually better than what I remembered from my purchased sandwich.

Cranberry Orange Relish
16 ounces frozen cranberries
2 navel oranges, peeled and chopped
2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Combine the cranberries, oranges and water in a large saucepan.  Boil until the skins of the cranberries burst.  Puree in a food processor. Pour mixture back into the saucepan and stir in sugar. Heat to boiling and continue to cook until the gel stage is achieved. Ladle into jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Note – it took about 90 minutes to reach the gel stage.

Wild Rice Bread
1 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ground uncooked wild rice
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup bread flour
2 T honey
2 T canola oil
2 T flax seeds, ground
1/2 T yeast
1 T salt

Layer the ingredients in the bread maker pan in the order given.  If doing overnight, make sure that the honey, yeast and salt are on top of the flour so that they do not come in contact with the water until the mixing process begins.

Mix and knead according to your bread maker setting for whole grain breads.
Do not bake in the bread maker.
After the dough has risen once, remove the dough, form into a ball and place in a greased traditional bread pan.  Allow to rise until at least one inch higher than the edge of the pan.

Bake 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Note – not having a wheat grinder, I tried several different ways to grind the rice. I found that the Nutra Ninja worked the best.  In the future, I think I will purchase wild rice flour.  While it is expensive, the recipe does not use very much.  And, I can try it in other recipes to see if I like the added texture and taste.

Canning 2016
While making the cranberry relish, I also made some Citrus Marmalade.

Thus my canning for the 2016 summer is complete.
Here is what my pantry
holds:
Strawberry Jelly – 13 jars
Triple Berry Jelly – 13 jars
Peach Jelly – 13 jars
Citrus Marmalade – 7 jars
Cranberry Orange Relish – 7 jars
Applesauce – 15 jars
Dill Pickles – 5 jars
Hamburger Dills – 2 jars
Sweet Relish – 2 jars
Dill Relish – 2 jars
Dehydrated Apples – 15 cups

 

Arashi Shibori Experiment

Arashi Shibori, pole wrapping, creates an interesting dye pattern in the fabric. Because I liked how my initial samples turned out (see April 13, 2016 and August 12, 2016 postings), I decided to do a small experiment.  To assess the effect of the amount of compaction of the fabric has on the dye pattern, the following experiments were completed.
Experiment #1:
1. PVC pipes with caps (to reduce the amount of dye needed)
2. Three pieces of fabric  cut 8″ x 45″, stitched together using a long stitch length to form a tube of fabric, and scrunched onto the pipe
3. Scrunch one piece of fabric:
– loosely, about 20″ in length
– moderatly, about 15″ in length
– tighly, about 10″ in length

8 inch wrap

Experiment #2:

1. PVC pipes with caps (to reduce the amount of dye needed)
2. Three pieces of fabric  cut 9″ x 45″, stitched together using a long stitch length to form a tube of fabric, and scrunched onto the pipe
3. Scrunch one piece of fabric:
– loosely, about 20″ in length
– moderatly, about 15″ in length
– tighly, about 10″ in length
9 inch wrap

 

Experiment #3:

1. PVC pipes with caps (to reduce the amount of dye needed)
2. Three pieces of fabric  cut 10″ x 45″, stitched together using a long stitch length to form a tube of fabric, and scrunched onto the pipe
3. Scrunch one piece of fabric:
– loosely, about 20″ in length
– moderatly, about 15″ in length
– tighly, about 10″ in length

10 inch wrap

I now have samples that I can refer to when planning to dye fabric using this technique. Can’t wait to try some more fabric dyeing.

Fall has arrived in Minnesota

After a couple rainy weeks, the weather has dried out and we are having a lovely weekend. Today, I spent a few hours outside adding bulbs to my flower gardens. I even put some in planter inserts that fit inside the copper planters at my front door.  It will be nice to see what sprouts in the spring.

In anticipation of the arrival of cooler weather, I have been working on a new bed runner. Since I really love flowers, sunflowers  runner would be nice.

Using my Bernina Cutwork Tool, I cut seventy-two oval from hand-dyed fabrics, 12 leaves and six center from green and brown scraps of fabric.

Since the sunflowers are mainly yellow, I decided to add color in a scrappy border for the runner.

And, a pillow with a scrap piping to add an accent!