Chicken Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade

Traditionally Greek
One of the most popular street foods in Greece (maybe after gyros) is called souvlaki. Souvlaki is simply meat on a stick, the most common meat being pork or chicken. It is marinaded usually all night or at least all morning and then grilled to perfection and served either in a pita sandwich or just with homemade french fries and of course, tzatziki.  Souvlaki is also a simple Greek food that can be made at home with only a few ingredients! I love my souvlaki grilled out in the summer time and served with an ice cold glass of beer and homemade fries.

Greek Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade Recipe
4 T. Fresh lemon juice
3 – 4 T. EVOO Oil
1 T. red wine vinegar (or just wine)
1 tsp. Greek oregano
1 tsp. Greek thyme, optional
2 – 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 onion, sliced or cubed
salt and pepper

Simply whisk everything together and set aside while preparing souvlaki sticks. 

Souvlaki Meat Sticks:
1 lb. chicken or pork (shoulder), cubed
Handful of red and green bell peppers, cubed
1/2 onion, white or purple, cubed
Soak your wooden sticks in water for at least 30 minutes and then assemble your chicken/pork cubes alternating with peppers and/or onion cubes. Place in shallow pan or dish and pour marinade evenly over all of the souvlaki and let marinate overnight or at least a few hours, turning once. 
Souvlaki is best grilled over charcoals on a low to medium heat, but can just as easily be grilled on a gas or indoor grill. Depending on the thickness and size of your meat, cook evenly on both sides until middle is white but still juicy. I always like to baste it once or twice while grilling using some of the marinade. 
Authentic souvlaki is served with a half a lemon and some extra Greek oregano sprinkled over the meat and potatoes.  For a little healthier option, try using these oven fries.  



Summer is the perfect time for this Greek treat, try it and let me know what you think? I always love hearing from you in the comments section or a personal email.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a great week!

Kali Orexi,

Jacquline

Baklava

Greek Sweets
Thank you for your continued patience in my erratic posting, things have been very much overwhelming for me this past week or so and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The first wedding was really beautiful and a great success, tomorrow I am leaving for the second wedding (where I am matron of honor for my best friend from high school). I am so excited for my two great friends to enter into the wonderful roller coaster ride world of marriage; I am a HUGE fan of finding and marrying your best friend and spending the rest of your life loving and learning to love them! 
But enough about love and marriage, before I left the island I made baklava. I must first confess that Greek syrup sweets are not my go to when I am craving something sweet, but that was all before I MADE them at home! The patisseries are professional in making them, but they are almost always way too sweet for my taste! But by reducing the sugar and syrup content, the end result is a flavorful combination of nuts + cinnamon + sugar + perfectly crunchy phyllo = a wowing Greek dessert to say the least!
Homemade Baklava Recipe:
Printable Recipe
1 pkg, thin phyllo
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups walnuts* 
1 cup pistachios*
1 cup almonds*
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2-3 T. white sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1 small package of whole clove buds
*measured and then processed or chopped

Syrup Recipe: 
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2″ lemon peel slice*
2″ orange peel slice* 
3/4 cup light honey
* Preferably without the white, bitter part

Melt butter in microwave or small pan on the stove and set aside. Unroll your phyllo dough and cover lightly with a damp cloth or towel. Measure and then process or finely chop your walnuts, almonds, and pistachios; mix together with sugars and cinnamon, set aside. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F, and gently brush your pan and 5 sheets (each) with melted butter and layer into the bottom of the pan. Evenly spread 1/3 of the nut mixture all over the bottom layer. Butter 2 more phyllo sheets and repeat, finally topping your baklava with 5 final buttered phyllo sheets. Cut with a sharp knife into triangles or squares, gently holding the phyllo so that it doesn’t break apart. Push a clove bud into each triangle to hold the phyllo together and add a little decor. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. While the baklava is cooking, prepare the syrup – bring the sugar, water, peels, and cinnamon stick to a boil for about 15 minutes and then add the honey, letting boil just another few minutes. Let cool until the baklava is ready, then pour over the hot baklava. Serve warm or room temperature, sprinkle with some extra crushed pistachios, optional. 
This is a wonderful recipe to share and can easily be halved or the mixture can also be prepared ahead of time. Even if you have not liked baklava in the past, I encourage you to try this recipe…. it is a Greek classic!!! 

I hope you are enjoying your summer and if you are feeling stuck in a boring routine, remember that sometimes that grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I have really been contemplating returning to my little Greek bubble; plus, I am just totally lost without my other half – this has truly been a couple of the hardest weeks of my life! Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragements as well, it is so powerful to hear from each of you, thank you so very much!!!! 

Kali Orexi,
Jacquline

American Culture

Uncategorized
I have only been in the USA for approximately 3 days, 12 hours, and 42 minutes but from the moment I touched down in Miami, I knew I was in for lots of surprises. I expected to be welcomed with lots of friendly faces speaking English, but I think there are more people speaking Spanish than English – oddly enough, I felt a little bit more comfortable hearing another language!

I am in a lot more culture shock than I expected to be, there are just so many differences between a big city like Dallas and an unknown village called Kalloni. Let me paint you a picture of some of the major contrasts. Before I left the island, the sun was getting hotter and hotter and the beaches were becoming more and more crowded. Foreigners and locals were filling the coffee shops drinking gallons of instant coffees (like frappes) and rolling dozens of cigarettes to smoke hand in hand with their coffees. There (surprisingly) isn’t much chit-chat during the 2-3 hour coffee breaks and relatively little mobile phone use at all. As a matter of fact, people are just in another world and seem to have very little stress or worry, or maybe it is because they are too bored to really do anything more than sit and drink their coffees. As far as traveling within Greece/Europe, people also kept to themselves and even packed their own snacks, they take their time and never seem to be in a hurry for anything. I had a ridiculous argument with the baggage check-in lady because she came at me ready for a fight or at least in my perspective, she did NOT know the meaning of the word customer service. One of my biggest pet-peeves is that (especially in Greece) people don’t really know their jobs like they should, you should always be ready to be ping-ponged from office to office or person to person.

While I have been trying to transition here, I have gone through a little culture shock, or rather reverse culture shock. I never expected to see EVERYONE with iphones, the expression “everyone and their grandma has one” is totally true – my Nana actually has an iphone!!! There were also so many people with iphones, ipads, kindles, and other entertainment devices, and if they weren’t busy with something electronic, they were chatting casually with their neighbor, very uncommon for me over the last year and a half. Everywhere I went, random people would initiate conversation or there would be be a constant chatter sound around me. Even the “acceptable” walking pace is at least double or triple that of Greeks, this part I enjoy because I always am ahead of everyone. The little shopping I have had to do, I have been amazed at the friendliness and eagerness of everyone to help and welcome me – that is one huge thing I miss a lot. The last major thing is the variety and accessibility OF EVERYTHING!!!! I get overwhelmed walking into a gas station or grocery store and have quickly forgotten what it is like to not be able to find something I want or need. I had adjusted and grown accustomed to anextremely simple life without the need for many things.

Hopefully the transition will continue to be smooth, but someone very wise explained it to me very well: he said that coming back from a village (especially visiting my circus of a family) is like drinking from a fire hose instead of stepping into the kiddy pool – that is exactly how I have felt in a good/weird kind of way, I adore my family but we could totally be a traveling circus!

To keep this up as a food blog, I really want to share with you a delicious little Czech stop on South I-35 that sells the best kolaches and other sandwiches. If you ever find yourself between Austin and Waco, I highly suggest that you stop in West, Texas for a couple dozen.

I made pastitio for my family today and it seemed to be a big hit, I substituted the long, hallow noodles for just the small ziti ones and it still turned out wonderful. Thanks for your continued patience as I ease back into this culture and my very hectic schedule!
Kali Orexi,
Jacquline

Stuffed Zucchini

Traditionally Greek
Dear readers and faithful followers of Seemingly Greek, 
I need to ask for a little grace in the coming weeks. I have many new recipes to share and I had this perfect “plan” of having all of the images uploaded with the typed out recipes – but, that dream isn’t a reality. It is actually furtherest from the truth… I should be uploading a picture of my living room in an utter mess as I try to get ready to leave tomorrow for the States. 
I thought I would have all day today to not only finish packing but to also upload and post some new (fabulous) recipes. That was before I learned that I had to go to the main city (Mytilene) to turn in some paperwork, and if any part of you is Greek or has ever lived in Greece, I am sure you can fully understand that what should have taken 2 hours at most – TOOK ALL DAY!!!! Running from one office to the next, and back to the original office only to learn that I was missing an important stamp from the village I live in (40 minutes away)!!!!! You also understand that right now the public servants are not getting paid by the government and hence are not motivate to work at all (regardless whether some of them weren’t motivated even before the payments stopped). The offices also close at 1pm everywhere and if you don’t complete your paperwork the first day, you must return the next – lucky me, I get to go to Mytilene today, tomorrow morning, and tomorrow night! 
I thank you so much for your understanding while I am transitioning. I also don’t know if I have shared this or not yet, but my husband and I have applied to move abroad to teach (under the Greek government) at a Greek school in the US! So, with the addition of not only having to fight bureaucratic stuff and packing at the last minute, I am leaving my husband for at least 1 1/2 months and figure what is important to take if I don’t return in August!?!? We find out (hopefully in July) if God has blessed us to move abroad!!! Remember us in your prayers, we would love to be transferred to either Florida or Delaware… completely different adventures, but wherever He chooses I am sure it will be a right fit. And I finally have a peace that if we are still here on the island, that I can and will make it – I will have my husband, a great (new) friend, and a job! His will be done, not ours!!!! 
I plan to still keep blogging while in the US, but my schedule is pretty busy so maybe it will look a little different then it does now! Thanks again… I appreciate you all! 

PS. This stuffed zucchini with avgolemono sauce was fantastic!!!!! 

Stuffed Zucchini Recipe with Avgolemono Sauce:
Printable Recipe
4-6 medium-large zucchinis*, tops removed and carefully cored

4-5 T. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1/2 kilo (~1 lb.) minced meat or chopped mushrooms 
1-2 onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. dried Greek oregano
1 T. fresh mint or dill, optional
1 small bunch fresh parseley, chopped
1 T. tomato paste or 3/4 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup rice
3-4 small/medium potatoes, peeled and chopped evenly
1/2 bullion (beef or vegetable) cube  (or homemade stock)
1-2 cups additional hot water
*or substitute a couple of tomatoes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Wash, cut off bottoms, and hallow the middle of the zucchinis  or slice into simple zucchini boats and spoon out centers. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place meat (or mushrooms) and onions in the skillet, cook until brown and drain excess fat; then, add dry rice stirring to coat well and let cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, oregano and mint/dill, zucchini flesh and fresh tomato, mix together and cook approximately 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups hot water. Continue cooking 10-15 minutes, adding more water if needed until rice becomes just tender or al dente. The mixture should be wet, but not runny. Mix in the chopped fresh parsley and spoon or fill zucchinis and/or tomatoes with the mixture, arrange in a large baking dish. Add chopped potatoes around the vegetables, dissolve the bullion cube in hot water and fill the pan until half the height of zucchinis, drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover lightly with foil or cover and bake 30-40 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove foil or top, and continue baking 10-20 minutes, until stuffing is tender and lightly browned.

Avgolemono Sauce Recipe: Egg Lemon Sauce
2 eggs
1 large or 2 small lemons
1/2 cube bullion (or homemade stock)
1 – 1/2 cup hot water
1-2 tsp. cornstarch or flour

Beat eggs in a medium bowl or pot with a whisk on high for 30 seconds, add juice of 1 lemon and continue to mix well. Melt bullion cube in hot water and slowly drizzle while continuing to beat for another minute or so. Sift the cornstarch over the pot and stir well until fully incorporated. Let simmer on low for a few minutes until it begins to set up and then remove from heat. Keep in mind that as it continues to cool, it will continue to thicken. Serve the zucchinis and/or tomatoes with some potatoes on a plate and top with some avgolemono sauce, the combination of flavors are sure to knock you out of your seat!!! 

*Sorry this recipe took so long to post, but I hope you enjoy it with your family or friends and let me know how it turns out for you!

Kali Orexi,

Jacquline

The Greek Frappe, II

Drinks
Now that it is practically summer here in Greece, everywhere you look there are frappes. Whether you are passing by a coffee shop, there you will find many Greeks enjoying the sun and their frappes; whether shopping in a store or two, you are sure to find the workers sipping their frappes; or relaxing on the beach and savoring each sip. This is by FAR the most popular drink in Greece and I have yet to meet a Greek (besides my husband) that does not drink at least 3-5 PER DAY!!! To read about my experience and first review of the frappe, visit here, they are still too strong for me to this day despite how obsessed others everyone else seems to be with them!
I must admit though, that it is one of the easiest drinks to make: coffee, water, and a cup with a lid… plus sugar and milk if you are fancy! It is uniquely characterized by its thick, creamy foam that you get by either shaking or using an electric wand. They are so easy to make and so popular, that they can even be bought at corner kiosks and made simply on the go by adding a little water, shaking until you have a foam and adding the remaining water. 







In addition to a recipe (below), you must also know how to order a frappe when coming to Greece. Whether you take a lot or a little sugar with your coffee or even prefer it plain, it is all said in one simple word:

Sketo” …plain, without any sugar
Metrio” …medium, usually ~1-2 small spoons of sugar
Glyko” …sweet, usually ~2-3 spoons of sugar, sometimes 4 depending on where you go

And if you want milk, you just add “me gala“. So, the next time you are in Greece (or in a Greek shop) and want to order a frappe, now you can use your Greek: (I would like a frappe…)Tha eithela ena frappe….” + “metrio me gala(medium sweet plus milk)!

Greek Frappe Recipe
2/3 – 3/4 cup filtered water
1 spoon of nescafe (or other instant coffee)
1 spoon sugar (for metrio/medium sweet)
~1/4 cup evaporated milk (or ~1/3 cup regular milk)
handful of ice


Use a small electric frothing wand, if you have handy because this creates ideal foam instantly. Simply add coffee, sugar, and 1/3 of the water into your cup and beat until thick. Add some ice, remaining water, milk, and stir gently with a straw!  
If you do not have a wand, simply put 3 ice cubes, 1/3 cup of the water, sugar and nescafe in a shaker or any closed container with a tight fitting lid, and shake very well for about 30-45 seconds. The coffee should get very frothy and thick. Pour into a tall glass of your choice and fill with a few more ice cubes. Put another 1/3 cup of water in the shaker and swish around to pick up all the rest of the foam and coffee. Add to glass. Pour in evaporated milk and a few more ice cubes if desired. Stir with a straw. 


Always serve with a cold glass of water, because whether frappes were meant to be or not, they are commonly enjoyed for 2-3 hours at a time! Once you have sipped your way down to only foam, you just add some water to make your coffee last longer!  I mean there are only so many sips you can take while smoking a pack of cigarettes per hour, it kinda takes a while 🙂 

If you are going to drink such a strong coffee, might I tempt you with some Chocolate Chip bars made with a coconut and walnut topping?! Let’s just say that I made the frappe more for a photo opt than I made to actually enjoy it. I like the taste well enough, but for some reason within minutes the caffeine hits me like a narcotic and I get a little crazy, strange but totally true! 
Anyway, it is my motto to try everything twice… you just never know if that first time was a fluke or not 🙂 And THE Greek frappe is most definitely worth trying at some point in your life! As a testimonial, I have an American friend who moved here (to Greece) and did not even like coffee when he came, maybe a Starbuck’s latte every now and then but we all know those don’t count as coffee, it is 90%steamed milk – my kind of coffee! Now, he loves frappes and drinks at least one cup every day! I don’t know how you do it Tracy, but I totally think it makes you more Greek 🙂 You can check out his view on Greek life, here
Kali Orexi and let me know if YOU like or have ever tried a Greek frappe?

Giveaway Winner….

Uncategorized
I think I might just love having giveaways as much as you guys enjoyed participating!!! Seriously, I was eager and giddy with every comment, every facebook like or refer, and every tweet! 
A BIG thank you to everyone who participated: 
We had about 75 people participate, 60 comments, and 290 total entries including all of the possibilities! With the random number generator, we have our winner: #125 was Lisa Bennet, Congratulations Lisa and I hope to hear from you in the next day or two for a shipping address! 

Since my first giveaway was so fun and such a success, you can guarantee that I will have more to follow (as my budget allows, of course!) ,,, so keep your eyes open for more Greek Giveaways!!! Maybe next time I will ship out some Greek ouzo, Greek coffee, and some other popular treats!

Thanks again sincerely to everyone who participated, I wish I could send you all a package! 

Surprise Muffins and a Giveaway

Unique and Special
Today, I have something very special for you… maybe you have tried it before and maybe you haven’t; maybe you will like the combination and maybe you won’t, but without further delay I present to you (Drum roll, please) Mini Banana Muffins filled with Nutella andGreek Giveaway
These mini muffins were such a hit with everyone who tasted them, even if they weren’t a huge fan of nutella to begin with. I used my simple and healthier banana bread recipe from here, and simply injected some nutella straight into the middles once they were cool! This particular banana bread recipe is pretty light anyway, so with the addition of nutella and the banana flavor these went from being good to jumping off the charts! Seriously, if you are like me and you love to pair nutella with almost anything, including for many years now bananas, you might just not be able to stand every eating them plain again. If you do not have a kitchen tool that can be used to inject the nutella, swirl it straight into the batter. The results will be different, but the chocolate swirl of nutella and banana bread will hopefully still rock your world! 
Banana Bread Mini-Muffins filled with Nutella Recipe: 




Makes 1 loaf, 6 mini loaves, muffins or mini-muffins




1 cup bananas (~2 cups), mashed
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 oil (canola or olive oil is healthiest)
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugars (I use 1/4 brown, 1/4 cup white)
1 lg. egg or 2 lg. egg whites, beaten
1-2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 c. whole wheat, 1/2 cup AP)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
*Oats to sprinkle on top, optional. 
I like the oatmeal because I do not like banana bread the next day if the top is moist and soft, I think the oats help! 

Preheat oven to 350° (180° C), and line or butter your loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, and baking soda, then set aside. In a larger bowl, beat oil and sugars, slowly adding egg, then vanilla. I use a sifter, adding all of my dry ingredients and slowly adding 1/3 of the mix to the sugar mixture. Next, fold in 1/2 of the yogurt/banana mix, alternating with flour until everything is just moistened. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 35-45 minutes, watching carefully not to burn the top. If the top begins to burn, use a foil tent to cover and continue baking. Cool on wire rack in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan, continuing to cool completely.
Simple as that and you are ready to enjoy a wonderful new delight!

But enough already about bananas and nutella and mini muffins, I am also very incredibly excited to announce Seemingly Greek’s FIRST GIVEAWAY!!! 

Let me preface this with the fact that I am sponsoring this giveaway and all products were bought and will be shipped by me, I am not such a hot shot (yet) that anyone has contacted me to review or giveaway their any of their products, but my fingers are still crossed and I am waiting by my email 🙂 
I leave for the USA in exactly 8 days, and if the winner is American I will be taking it with me and mailing it to you from there; if the winner lives in Europe, I will proceed to mail from Greece! Here is a picture and description of what will be included this time: 
From left bottom to right: a soft sesame seed bar, a small bottle of olive oil, a bag of thick, seasoned salt, a lavender scented bar of olive soap, a vacuum sealed bag of black olives, a bag of souvlaki meat seasoning, and a bag of dried  Greek oregano. ALL products are produced and packaged here in Lesvos, Greece and are of highest quality! 
How does that sound? Are you excited and eager to win?
I was going to include more items but my budget quickly prevented me, so that just means we will have another giveaway in the future with various other Greek products! All you have to do to enter to win is follow the instructions in the widget below: the deadline is May 27th at midnight and the winner will be announced on the 28th. 
One entry for each step of the widget you complete (total of 4+) or if you cannot see the widget or you do not have facebook or are not comfortable accepting an application with your facebook, please leave a comment below this post for a chance to win!

A Twist on Galaktobureko

Greek Sweets
Well, summer weather here in Lesvos was in full force this weekend and instead of being home and writing the updated blog post that I needed to be, I was swimming in the sea and eating ice cream with my husband. The sea was cold, really cold, at first but after a few minutes my body adjusted and it was spectacular!!! Summer is really one of the best times to be in Greece, and I only have 10 more days of my Greek summer because I am heading to the USA in exactly 10 days! I will (unfortunately) be flying solo, my hubby will still have school and will not be able to join until (maybe) July – I am NOT too excited about that part though. Thank God for skype!!! 
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that in a couple of weeks I might only be able to post once a week until all of the wedding hoopla is over! But to make up for that (hopefully), on my next post I will finally announce the official first giveaway for Seemingly Greek! It will include: a bottle of nice extra virgin olive oil, some Greek oregano, some souvlaki meat seasoning, a sesame seed nougat bar, and some ouzo – ALL natural products from my island here in Lesvos, and if the winner is a fan of sardines, I will throw some of those in too!!! Exciting, right? (Coming in the next post officially)
Now, for another wonderful recipe. . . A twist on galakotbureko. This is a very popular sweet here in Greece and even throughout other middle eastern countries. It is typically made in individual portions wrapped with traditional phyllo, but what I thought was phyllo in my freezer was actually puff pastry! To my surprise, it turned out really great with the change, different than the typical but still excellent in texture and flavor. 

A Twist on Galaktobureko Recipe: Serves 8-10
Printable Recipe 
3 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup fine semolina*
2 T. thick semolina*
2 T. cornstarch
1 cup sugar, separated into 1/2 cup portions 
1/2 – 1 T. lemon peel, grated
3 eggs
dash salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup butter
10-12 phyllo sheets or 2 puff pastry sheets
(*Semolina can be replaced by cream of wheat)

Simple Syrup:
3/4 – 1 cup water
3/4 – 1 cup sugar



Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350°/175°. Heat milk in heavy bottom pot. Mix semolina, cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt – add to simmering milk. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it begins to thicken, then remove from heat. In a separate bowl, beat eggs at a high speed for 2 minutes and then slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Stir in vanilla while the milk/semolina mixture cools slightly. Prepare a 9×13″ pan or a round spring form pan with light butter. Gently fold the egg mix into semolina until smooth. Layer either 7 phyllo sheets or 1 puff pastry into the bottom of the pan, evenly pour the mixture and top with 5 remaining phyllo sheets or final pastry puff. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and pulling away from the edges. While cooking prepare the simple syrup by boiling for 5 minutes and then letting cool. Remove pan from oven and spoon cooled syrup onto the hot dessert. Cool and serve. You can also prepare individual desserts by spooning the filling into buttered phyllo sheets and wrapping and folding into a rectangular present shapes, topping with syrup too.

All in all, I think that the puff pastry is easier to use than phyllo sheets but it also soaks in most of the syrup. If you prefer a typical galaktobureko than you will want to use phyllo sheets, but if you are in the mood for something easier with a slightly chewy crust, puff pastry is definitely the way to go! I think the lemon peel gives the perfect compliment of citrus and sweet to this custard-like filled pie. Perfect not that it is summer time…!!!

Kali Orexi! 

Mushroom and Zucchini Bowtie Pasta

Pizza kai Pasta


Sometimes the easiest dinner to create is one that you throw together with the ingredients you have just laying around your kitchen; this was one of those delicious discoveries. 


If you learn a few basics, like sautéing, you can make a variety of soups and sauces. The French word actually means, “to jump” and is a very useful method to learn if you want to take your cooking from good to great! This technique is carried out by cooking food quickly in a hot pan and using a small amount of fat. It is important though not to use too much fat or you will go from sautéing to frying your foods. When properly executed, sautéing does not dry out the food but actually leaves some pieces called “fond” into the pan. These “leftovers” have a wonderful caramelized flavor that you can use to create a wonderful yet simple reduction sauce. 


First, lets discuss what foods are good to be sautéed. The best foods must be tender, thin, and portion or bite-sized. Many types of meat, poultry, fish and shellfish are appropriate for sautéing. To prepare thick or dense meats for sautéing, simply slice them thinly before cooking for bite-sized pieces or pound them thin (with a meat mallet or back side of a frying pan) for portion sized pieces. Vegetables, fruits, precooked grains, pasta, beans and other legumes are also candidates for sautéing. Thin, tender items like snow peas, apples and mushrooms may go right into the sauté pan. Thicker, denser items such as carrots and broccoli should be par-boiled before hand.

Now to begin the cooking. Have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to go, it is also important that everything be approximately the same size so it all cooks evenly. Always preheat your pan and then add the oil/butter, this way you avoid have hot spots. You’ll know it is ready when you can splash a few drops of water into the pan and watch them dance across and evaporate. Let the fat melt just until it has a shimmer but before it begins smoking, remove it from the heat for a few moments if it smokes. Add your ingredients to the pan and let them sit so they turn golden brown. For meats, this is usually about 3 minutes, for fish this about 2 minutes. After this time, flip them over in the pan and repeat the process, using a spatula or tongs. DO NOT use a fork, as it pierces the meat and releases all the juices. 

Next, you want to deglaze your pan for optimum flavor in making a sauce. Sounds extravagant, but it really isn’t. There’s an added benefit to doing this too, you’ll have a pan so clean that with one wipe of the sponge you’ll be done! Remove your meat or other protein (if using veggies, just leave in pan) and place somewhere to keep warm, like your oven. If there is a lot of fat in the pan remaining, remove all but a tablespoon or two.  Add 1 teaspoon of seasoning (of choice) and turn the heat to high adding about ¼ cup of white wine (red wine or stocks work too and sometimes I even use beer or fruit juices). Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the stuff up from the bottom of the pan and let it dissolve in the liquid. The liquids will reduce fairly quickly, so go ahead and lower the heat. From here you can simply pour the sauce over your meat and serve, add more veggies and/or aromatics (like garlic or shallots), add more stock for a soup, or add some butter, dairy, or cheese for a richer sauce. 

For my pasta recipe, I simply sautéed some mushroom heads and zucchini slices. I added some white wine, a few drops of cream, and some parmesan cheese with a little salt, black pepper, red pepper, and dried basil.  It was really fantastic! 

Kali Orexi! 

Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Strawberries

American Favorites
I have been trying to cut back on sugar and refined carbs these last coupe of weeks because in 32 days I will be standing in a short little dress on the beach while by best friend gets married to a wonderful man! 
I have a problem though. I don’t like being told what to do or what I can and cannot have, even from myself 🙂 Diets do not work for me, only exercise and nutrition do and we all know those take the longest to see results. I like desserts but don’t crave them unless I am trying to avoid them… can anyone else relate or am I just a little crazy?! 
Anyway, of course I made a cake but I wanted to make a healthier option, may I introduce you to this wonderful Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Strawberries (recipe taken from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook). 

All this tall, handsome cake needs is a dusting of powdered sugar and/or some fresh fruit served on the side. The texture is perfect for summer and it will make a cake large enough to share!

Vanilla Chiffon Cake Recipe:
Printable Recipe
2 1/4 cups cake or AP flour
1 + 1/2 cups sugar, separated
1 T. baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup oil of your choice (canola or sunflower)
5 large eggs, separated + 2 extra egg whites
1 T. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar*
confectioners’ sugar

Sliced strawberries mixed with a little sugar and Disaronno or other liqueur of choice adds a wonderful sweet and citrus flavor that compliments the cake very well.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center; add cold water, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla to well. With a wire whisk, stir until smooth.

In a separate bowl, with a mixer at high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar (* or substitute for a squeeze of fresh lemon juice) until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 T. at a time, while continuing to beat whites until the sugar has dissolved and whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then repeat until all whites are incorporated.

Scape batter into an ungreased 9-10″ tube/bunt pan; spread evenly. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Invert cake onto a a large metal funnel or bottle; cool completely. Run the knife around the cake to loosen from side and the center of the tube. Remove cake and place on serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with fruit of choice, but I highly recommend the strawberries!

This makes a perfect summer treat, and can be very light on the calories if you limit yourself to only one piece!

Kali Orexi!