Monday, February 25, 2013

Greek Night in the Garden/ Moussaka

I don't know about you...But I very much enjoy cooking meals, on occasion, that are inspired by other nations. For me, it is a joy to experiment and switch out Dinner to different flavors and customs. Lately,  I decided to go Greek. I'm particularly a fan of Spanakopita, with it's buttery Phyllo dough, Spinach and Feta. And, of course, I love Moussaka. When I lived in Virginia, I used to go to a restaurant owned by a local Greek family...and there... I had THE BEST Moussaka I have ever, and probably will ever eat. Since I no longer live in Virginia, I have done my best to try to emulate the lovely and light recipe of that Restaurant... and here is what I have come up with...
                                                                               GVibe's Moussaka

1 lb Ground Beef

1 Large or 2 Medium Eggplants
Unseasoned Bread Crumbs
Dried Oregano, to taste
1 Large Egg, Beaten and a splash of tap water added to make an egg wash

1 15 oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 6 oz. can of Tomato Paste
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Dried Oregano

I begin by browning the Ground Beef. And... *Nurse cap on*... Render (drain) away the fat as it cooks ... *Nurse cap off*.  Once browned, set aside to cool slightly... more on why later....

Next, I slice the Egg plant into thin, about 1/4 in. thick slices.

I create an egg wash, by beating an egg, and 'aerating' it with a splash of cold tap water right from the tap.  I mix unseasoned bread crumbs with dried Oregano, to taste,  on a plate .

I take each slice of Eggplant and dip into the egg wash, and then dip into the bread Crumb mixture.

As I prepare the Eggplant slices, I place them on foil lined cookie sheets, slight spray of cooking oil on the Foil. (Olive oil is best.) I also spray each bread crumb coated Eggplant slice with the cooking spray. This helps the coating get that lovely golden color once baked.

I then Bake the Eggplant slices at 350' for about 30 mins, or until golden brown.

While my Eggplant slices are baking, I prepare the sauce by combining 1 can of Tomato Sauce, 1 can of Tomato Paste, 1 tsp. dried Oregano and 1 tsp. Nutmeg. I only cook through until the Tomato Paste has melted and the sauce is smooth.

Next, I take the slightly cooled Ground beef and place in my Food Processor, pulsing the meat, slightly,  just until finer crumbs of meat are achieved.

I'm then ready to layer in my baking dish: first Tomato sauce to coat the pan, then Eggplant slices, then Meat, then Eggplant slices, then Sauce... and so on.... Ending with sauce on top.

Bake at 350' until heated through and the sauce bubbles. 

Notice that I keep my Moussaka 'light' and do not top it with Béchamel Sauce, as traditionally done....  since , in my opinion, no cheesy sauce is needed in view of the lovely aromatic properties of the Nutmeg and Oregano.  Enjoy!


                        Self: Will bring us the Intelligence that we seek
                                  By hearing and not speaking
                                         By seeing and not hiding
                                                    By sensing and touching on what is not
                                                             overtly evident, but lives within the
                                                                         realm of possibility ..................................

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mercury's Lover

                                                                 Mercury's Lover

Luna sent the mercurial winds to shore,
Luring unfathomable tides upon the sand.
Clues to ponder evermore..... or nevermore,
Driven by the phase of time that grips the land.

Nature's orbital hand casts treasures deep,
Soon awash with light and crested upon the day.
Still what is revealed ebbs in ways that time cannot keep.
The sandy foothold takes leave and with it care gives way.

An indigo current steals the truth like night,
Scattering what was known to an unknown place.
But Mercury's lover ever flows forward with deep insight,
The look of time seasoned awareness on her face.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hole / On Gaining Fulfillment

This poem is for the purveyors of darkness, those who fight to spread negativity. Those who just plain like to fight, within themselves and with others. May they find a place within themselves to fill the emptiness that erodes their chance at happiness.
Hole, your brain is lost to thought
when vapid words spring from your empty soul.
You think life is won with brutality, and it’s not.
Ironic cruelty keeps you lost to your goal.
Hole, the heart that eludes your deeds
 is bound by desire to hurt.
You curse, you attack, but you’ve boarded in error
A ride deeper, where disaster will flirt.
Hole,  you think you alone are fulfilled.
That matters beyond you, lie blindly in wait.
But a wanton eye only sees what it’s killed.
And a Soul that is not whole is Hole’s fate.
Hole, you sorrowfully need to gain ground  
with all that positivity can bring.  
Begin with the bedrock of goodness to be found 
From within you, real substance can spring.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Jane Dough's Brit Pasties

This weekend I got out a recipe that my Grandmother passed to me. Likely not a recipe that Gram came up with...but I'm guessing a favorite from one of her Welsh/ English friends from the old neighborhood. Pasties are thought of as British Pastries. Fun to make... and a fun way to incorporate your meat/ veggie and starch in one compact entrée. This go around, I did mine sans starch....leaving out the potato. ... I also added in Savory for a little herbal seasoning.  This is what I do:
1 lb of Ground Beef
1/4 cup finely chopped Onion
1/4 cup finely chopped Carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped Celery
1 tblsp Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon ground Savory seasoning
Salt to taste
 Brown the Ground Beef and drain away the fat!! (Nurse cap on - Keep those arteries clear ;) - & Nurse cap off)  Saute the finely chopped Onion, Carrot & Celery in olive oil until cooked & translucent. Fold the Sauteed vegetables into the Ground Beef. Season w/ Savory & salt to taste. Allow to cool off a bit while you prepare the Pastry dough.  
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Shortening
5 tblsp. cold water
Prepare the Pastry dough by 'cutting' the shortening into the flour with a fork. Do this until the flour takes on a small peas appearance- take care to not overdo!! Sprinkle in cold water until soft dough ball forms. Roll out the dough on waxed paper to pie crust thickness.

With a cereal bowl, cut large circles of dough. Fill each Pastry circle with the Meat/ Vegetable filling.
Fold the dough to form a crescent, pinching the dough ends together to seal the filling inside.
Seal further by pressing the tines of a fork around the perimeter of the Pasty, taking care to not puncture the filled pocket. Puncture the tops of the Pasties with a knife. Bake at 350' until lightly golden brown on the edges.   
I serve my Pasties with a little bit of Beef gravy drizzled on them. I hope you will give them a try... experiment with the veggies you add.. you can also cut potato into tiny cubes and pre-cook ( I usually microwave until tender) - fold into the meat / vegetable mix. If you add Potato.. consider using a more firm Potato like Red Potatoes as opposed to Russet, as they will hold the cubed form better... Have Fun :)


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