Mediterranean Flavors: Special!
One big part of Flavors of the Mediterranean is that every student has to create and run a special for at least one night of our class. I went with my special today. My assigned region is Macedonia, which is in the northeastern part of Greece.
I researched the region, including main fruits, vegetables, and dishes. I decided to do a special trio: an appetizer, “entree”, and dessert. Of course, it is a tapas dish, so all the dishes are small plate. Basically, it would be a sampling of the region.
For the appetizer part, I choose dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves, because I’ve always wanted to make them. I love rolling and stuffing food.
Dolma are stuffed grape leaves. The leaves are preserved in brine, which needs to be removed by quickly blanching the leaves in hot water. The rice mixture (the filling) is made up of lemon juice, olive oil, scallions, parsley, and salt and pepper. Traditionally, you can also stuff the leaves with a meat mixture (lamb), but I decided to go vegetarian since my “entree” would have meat in it.
Once the leaves are stuffed, you basically cook the rice in the leaves in a pot, like you normally would.
For my “entree”, I made a lovely moussaka. A moussaka is a meat and eggplant casserole typical of Greece and Macedonia. Eggplant is a major crop of Macedonia. The meat mixture tasted really good, and it is layered between two layers of eggplant. On top, there is a yoghurt, egg, and cheese mixture. Chef said it came out “awesome”, so I was pretty proud of it.
For the dessert portion, I made fried donuts covered in honey and cinnamon.
Now you all know that I don’t do well with yeast doughs. I made the dough according to the recipe, but it was still kind of tough instead of light and fluffy. The little donuts came out okay, not quite how I wanted them, but still okay. I doused them in cinnamon and honey after frying, and fried them to order instead of in advance to ensure that they were super-fresh and still hot.
Here are some photos of the final plate-up:
Doesn’t it look lovely? I thought it was a success. We even sold about 3-5 of them. Since there is still some left, we will run the special again tomorrow!