Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heart Day

Jerome and I don't technically "celebrate" Valentines Day but we do use it as an excuse to try out new foods. I've just never been into a holiday that celebrates love with pinks and reds.  Why not celebrate all kinds of love, everyday, in technicolor? 

So what do we do on national heart day?  We both love to cook, albeit in very different ways, so of course we cook a Hearts Day meal for ourselves and enjoy it together.  It's not a night all that different than a Sunday night or a random weeknight when we're both of early, but it is a lot of fun.  Last year we tried our hand at Indian food, the year before it was Filipino food, then there was pizza making and the one that started it all off....sushi.  This year we decided to try out some of our favorite Greek recipes.

Spanakopita in the front and Moussaka
in the rear....our perfect Greek meal
The menu included an appetizer of spanakopita, or feta and spinach pie, which utilized all of the spices in my pantry and most of the goodies in my cheese drawer but somehow came out tasting light and airy with just a touch of spice.  It must have been all that phyllo dough and butter.....alas, the recipe was phenomenal and made me look like a star (recipe from Cook's Illustrated here).  I can't say enough good things about Cook's Illustrated.  Their magazine content is straighforward, their product tests are honest and their recipies are all based on brining out the best flavors, without any of the commen flaws, in each dish.  I don't know any other recipie webstie or magazine that accomplishes these feats time and time again.  So, let's add this to my list of obsessions.

Our main course, also from a Cook's Illustrated recipe, was moussaka which is a thick Greek style lasagna layed with roasted eggplant, lamb sauce and topped with a bechamel sauce.  As it cooks the lamb sauce, which has a tomato base with sauteed onions and red wine combines with the smokiness of the roasted eggplant and the richness of the bechamel sauce.  It's Divine.

For desert, Jerome made baklava which also uses countless layers of phyllo dough and butter, but incorporates an almond nut mixture and is covered in a heavy syrup just before serving.  It gave me the biggest sugar rush I've had in weeks but it was absolutely phenomenal.  Big surprise....we used a Cook's Illustrated recipie for this one too.

All the recipes were very easy and could be made in stages, so we made most of the sauces on Sunday night.  The phyllo dough layering process took about an half an hour and uses more butter than I'm usually comfortable consuming in a night but it was worth the taste and flavor.  And, we have enough leftovers to feed an army of miniature baseball players (a.k.a. little league).  So, I'll be enjoying our meal all week long.


Patricia V. Davis said...

Hi, I'm a friend of Phil's. Your moussaka and spanakopita looked pretty darn good. We talked about your wonderful blog in my blogging class last week. Lovely work!

Lost in Harlem said...

Thank you so much Patricia! I have a blast writting it and really appreciate you enjoying some time here....hopefully sharing a few smiles and laughs.