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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kotopoulo Kapama

Chicken Stew with a greek twist.

This is a very tasty stew that I've made for friends and family many times and it's one I remember my mom making regularly for guests. It has ingredients that you don't always think go together but when the sweet peppery cinnamon and tart lemon juice mix with the tomato sauce, it's magical. Ladle this stew over good hardy pasta. My preferred pasta is perciatelli, a long straw like noodle. You can find them in some supermarkets, if not then try it over parpadelle, the long broad noodles. And the best garnish for this dish is Kasseri cheese, a hard tangy greek cheese. You'll find this rustic dish quite popular once you make it.

The Ingredients:
3 to 4 chicken legs (legs and thighs)
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 sweet onion
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 14 oz can chicken broth
3 lemons juiced
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tbsp butter
1 lb package perciatelli or parpadelle
kasseri cheese (you can use parmesan or another hard tangy cheese.)

Putting it all together:

First wash and cut the chicken legs, remove skin from thighs.

I've also used the whole chicken cut up and also boneless, skinless chicken if you want less fat. Chicken breast tends to get a little dry tasting if you aren't careful to add a little more olive oil. Salt and pepper them.

Clean your cutting surface and hands after handling the poultry!

Chop up the onion.

Heat a deep pot over high heat and add olive oil and a little bit of butter. The butter helps brown the chicken parts.
Saute the onion until it glistens
and then add the seasoned
chicken parts. Brown them
on both sides. This takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

The next step is adding the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, coating the chicken well. Salt and pepper to taste. Start with a teaspoon of salt and add more if necessary.

De-glaze the pot with some
chicken broth and then add
the canned tomatoes, paste and
chicken broth. Mix well and then
add the juice of three lemons. Fresh lemon is the best, don't skimp on that!

Let it simmer with the top slightly askew for around an hour and a half.
You want the sauce to thicken and the chicken
to be falling off the bone. It'll be very flavorful the more it thickens. Before serving the the stew you need to cook your pasta.

Here is the perciatelli, you need
a large pot of water to cook this.
Bring the water to a roiling boil.
Throw pasta into the pot and cook
until it's al dente, about 11 minutes for perciatelli. Drain well and put back into the pot.

My mom used to brown butter in the pot and then put the pasta back in and coat it with this browned butter. It was yummy. But in these health conscious days, I use a little olive oil to coat the pasta.

Grate your cheese and then you are ready to plate up your stew.

Put pasta in a plate or bowl, ladle some stew over it and garnish with the cheese. Now you too can make Chicken Kapama.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Creamy Yogurt-Cucumber dip is one of my favorites for summertime. It's fresh tasting and cool. A great dip for pita, flatbread, rolls or even chips! I love it as a garnish or dressing for grilled salmon or lamb. My sandwiches or wraps sometimes are spread with this tasty delight instead of plain old mayo as a very healthy alternative. You will find this simple to make and wonderful to have in your refrigerator for a snack or meal.


1 pint (17.6 oz) of Greek Yogurt (any fat content, I usually use 0%)
2 small cucumbers
1 lemon
1 or 2 small shallots
1 0r 2 cloves garlic
fresh or dried dill (1/4 cup fresh or 1 tbsp dried)
1 or 2 teaspoons salt (add less or more to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper

Put salt, pepper and minced garlic into a
bowl. Then finely chopped fresh dill and mix.

Zest some lemon into the bowl and juice about half of it over the dry

Mix together and scoop the yogurt
into the bowl. Using a spatula turn
the ingredients around in the bowl
until they are combined, set aside.

Either a food processor or grater will work for the next few steps.

Chop and remove seeds from
cucumbers,no need peel the english
ones. Slice the shallots lengthwise.

Put all the chopped cucumber and shallots into a food processor or grate them with an old fashion hand grater. It all comes out the same!

Take handfuls of the shredded cucumber and
shallots and squeeze as much of the liquid
out as you can.

Too much water lessens the flavor of the tzatziki. I like mine
thick, creamy and flavorful.

Fold the shredded cucumber into the yogurt mixture until
thoroughly blended. Store in an airtight container in the

Allow it to marinate for at least 2 hours before
serving. You want the flavors to bloom. It will stay fresh if stored in the frig for 1 to 2 weeks.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Elliniki saláta (Greek Salad)

This is my version of Traditional Greek Salad. When traveling in Greece with my Manamu I noticed that greeks seldom used any lettuce in their salads. Commonly they would like to have one or two vegetables sprinkled with a good extra virgin olive oil and lemon or vinegar. Of course you must throw a few kalamata olives on top and finish it off with a slab of feta cheese. The best accompaniment for this salad is a good crusty bread in which to soak up the leftover dressing. No meal seem to ever start without some form of this salad.


Cucumbers ( 1 large or 4 small, the kind you don't have to peel)
Tomatoes (2 large tomatoes)
Red Onion (about 1/4)
Kalamata Olives (1/2 to 1 cup)
Capers (2 or 3 tablespoons)
Feta Cheese (8 oz. crumbled or cut into cubes)
Optional: Green or Red Bell Peppers, Crispy Romaine Lettuce (Untraditional)

Cut the cucumber into half moons by first slicing down the center lengthwise and then cutting into bite-sized pieces. They should look like this.

Your tomatoes should be halved then quartered. I would say large bite-sized pieces are good. Make sure your tomatoes are red and ripe.

Slice the Red Onion into slivers, they add a nice color to the salad.

sprinkle some olives and capers over the vegetables and then the feta cheese to finish it off. Next is the dressing which gives it it's exquisite flavor.

The magical Dressing:

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (It should have a fruity flavor)
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
{my secret touch is adding either a good red wine or balsamic vinegar to the mix - about 2 tbsp.}
1 clove Garlic (alway fresh is best!)
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp. Dried Oregano (I'm lucky enough to have it in my yard which grows wild. We will cut a bunch and dry it. )

To Prepare: I have a very high tech device to mix these wonderful ingredients, it's called a jar.

Put the salt, pepper and oregano into the jar. Crush the garlic in a press or whatever method you have. My friend Guy Few showed me how he minced garlic using two forks, it was marvelous!

Put the garlic into the jar and then add the vinegar, wine or balsamic, and olive oil. Shake vigorously.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve. People will rave.