Saturday, February 6, 2010

It's all Greek to me.

I went to the library a few days ago and checked out a Greek cookbook called "The Olive and The Caper". It's not a vegetarian book but there are so many appealing vegetarian recipes in it that I wanted to try out this weekend. I should say that my interest in Greece and greek cooking has been sparked up again because of a suspense novel that I'm reading that takes place in this magical place. (The book is My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart by the way.)

First up, Eggplant and Yogurt Dip. I swapped greek yogurt for plain unsweetened soy yogurt. It's a beautiful mixture of eggplant pulp, yogurt, garlic, red onions and salty black olives. This was amazing. I'm definitely going to make this for parties.

Next, "Russian" Salad. Green beans, carrots, potatoes, in a lemon-caper mayonnaise (vegan mayo of course!). It's supposed to also have lima beans and peas but I left them out. Very good and creamy.

For the main dish I made Gigantes which are big beans in a tomato based sauce. We're supposed to use authentic greek big beans here but large lima beans are a popular replacement. I didn't really use the recipe from the book but instead adapted this recipe I found online. The beans are baked with diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, celery, dill, oregano and olive oil. I replaced the honey with a bit of sugar and left out the carrots. They baked up beautifully (though a little mushy) but were so tasty both warm and at room temp.

Closeup of the tender buttery beans. The dill flavor shined through just the way I had hoped.

My plate with a side of pita for dipping!

To go with the Mediterranean theme, dessert was orange blossom cake with fig yogurt sauce. I used kittee's basic vanilla cake recipe and subbed a little orange juice and orange blossom for some of the water. For the sauce, I just whisked a few spoonfuls of fig jam into plain soy yogurt.

The cake was moist and sweet with orange blossom notes. The yogurt sauce took it to another level. So many beautiful flavors!


Desdemona said...

Everything looks great - my father was Greek, and I'm always up for making/veganizing old favorites. What's your source for vegan Greek-style yogurt? Or do you - gasp! - make you own?

kmouse said...

I just used wildwood plain unsweetened soy yogurt. If I had time I would have drained the yogurt in a filter for a few days to make it more greek style.

Jeni Treehugger said...

Mmmm yummy yummy. I LOVE Greek food, the giant Greek beans are a wonderful memory of my holidays in Greece.

Mary Ann Dames said...

BTW: Mary Stewart wrote several novels set in Greece. Moonspinners as it was made into a Disney movie when I was a kid. I love all her mysteries.

Anonymous said...

That looks like a great meal! I love Greek food, it can be so simple but always tastes good.