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We have been to Kokkari Restaurant countless times and finally bought the cookbook a year ago. Every recipe has been delicious and most are pretty simple. Last night, for a special anniversary dinner, I used 4 recipes: Tzatziki, Greek Salad, Grilled Lamb Chops and Kokkari Potatoes and they were all perfect...delicious, beautiful and fragrant. The book is so good that one might not have to go to the restaurant...except at the restaurant I don't have to do the dishes.
Another outstanding recipe is the Orzo Pilaf with Spiced Vegetables and Yogurt. Even my finicky, non eggplant eating friends loved this one. The Zucchini Cakes with Mint- Yogurt Sauce just disappear when I bring them out and I have had people come in to the kitchen early to make sure to get them. I prepare them as passed hors d'oeuvres in a smaller size with a dollop of the yogurt sauce on top. These take a little effort to make, but they freeze beautifully and reheat quickly in a hot oven. The Spiced Ground Lamb Skewers are delicious but I could not make them adhere to the (wide, flat) skewers and have served them as burgers or as mini meatballs for an hors d'oeuvres.
As an enthusiastic home chef I can whole-heartedly endorse this cookbook as it is well written, easy to follow, the photographs are and stories are wonderful, but most importantly, the results are outstanding.
This is an awesome cookbook! It's beautiful to look at,and the background stories are a delight to read. Excellent information about ingredients and preparation techniques. And the recipes! From Greek classics to grilled dishes to wonderful vegetables and sides, each recipe is a mouth-watering delight. I'm thinking of planning a trip to San Francisco just to eat at the restaurant. In the meantime, I'm starting to work my way through one fantastic recipe to another.
You just never know what sort of ethnic influences you'll find in places. Did you know that Montgomery, Ala., has an Icelandic community thanks to a local university's soccer team? You may have already heard about the Vietnamese presence in the Mobile, Ala., area that is associated with Gulf Coast fishing. I was surprised to find a significant Greek community in Monroe, La., that was centered around a nice Greek Orthodox church there. That was where I first discovered the great grilled foods in Greek cuisine and I'll bet there were members of that church that didn't turn out for as many of the benefit lunches and suppers that I did. That's why I was very interested to see "Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavor" by Erik Cosselmon and Janet Fletcher ($40, Chronicle Books, 224 pp.). Kokkari is a San Francisco Greek restaurant and Cosselmon is its chef. He's joined with Napa Valley author Fletcher to bring forth a very well done book. There was a strong commitment made to graphic layout and full-color photos that really tell the story of Greek food. As a matter of fact, the photography is so good that I wanted to lick the page where a delicious-looking baklava headed the desserts section. The recipes are Greek cooking at its best. It may not be as homey as the church cookbook that I once purchased at that aforementioned Greek Orthodox church, but these are dishes that are sure to inspire you to explore this cuisine: mosharisia brizola (grilled rib eyes), mosharaki youvetsi (beef short ribs), souvlaki arnisiou kima (spiced ground lamb skewers) and kouneli souvlaki (grilled rabbit skewers), plus a load of different seafood selections. Cosselmon and Fletcher have provided us with an opportunity to sample Kokkari's flavors even if we can't make it to San Francisco, let alone get reservations!Read more ›
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Over the past three years this book has continued to be a source of joy and good food; whenever I'm in the mood for Greek food, it is a tough choice between the west side in mid-Manhattan, or my own kitchen. :)
I've been lucky enough to eat at the author's restaurant during a recent trip to San Francisco, and eager to try out some of the recipes in the book. They moved my skill level up a level, at least in cooking foods with a Greek flavor. The accompanying text is also very warming, explaining some of the background to most of the dishes.
A sample recipe; they promised making octopus was as easy as baking a chicken. The secret: boil the octopus first to make it tender, then grill to add a bit of color and flavor. Pretty much the same technique one sees all along the Greek coasts, mainland and islands.
1/4 cup red wine vinegar 3 strips lemon zest, each about 1-inch wide 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 3 bay leaves 5 sprigs of fresh thyme 1 cleaned fresh or thawed frozen octopus, 6-8 pounds Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Extra-virgin olive oil 3/4 cup Kokkari Dressing (see below for recipe) 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Put the vinegar, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme in a large nonreactive pot. Add the octopus, cover, and place over high heat with no additional liquid. The octopus will sizzle at first but quickly release a lot of water. Cook until the skin turns purple and the octopus shrinks by 1/3, about 10 minutes.
Add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, uncovered, then add 1 tablespoon salt.Read more ›
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