Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's All Greek to Me!

My daughter's class is studying Greece and her teacher wanted to have a Greek Day.  She had centers where students could make paper crowns that looked like olive leaves and branches, potato sack races (as their "Olympic competition") and a food station where the students could have a taste of Greece.  Below are the dishes I made and the recipes.  This was a lot of fun and the children really enjoyed it.  Enjoy!

A Taste of Greece Recipes

Greek Salad on a Stick
2 English cucumbers (cut into 1/4inch slices)
1 pint grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
1lb block of feta cheese (sliced into 50 square cubes)
1 can sliced black olives drained and rinsed
Stack a black olive slice, a cube of feta cheese and ½ grape tomato (in that order) on top of a cucumber slice and secure with a toothpick.  Repeat until you make enough for your class.

Fresh Figs with Drizzled Honey (Served with Vanilla Greek Yogurt)
2 pints fresh figs (Publix now has Brown Turkey & Black Mission)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Honey (enough to drizzle over top)
Rinse figs and pat dry.  Tear stems off the top of the figs.  Slice in half, sprinkle granulated sugar and drizzle with honey.

KOFTA - Lamb Meatballs 
(we served this with Tzatziki sauce we bought from Costco)
1 lb ground lamb
1lb ground beef
½ a red onion
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
2 eggs

2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper. In a food processor or food chopper chop red onion, parsley, eggs and all the spices together.  Dump the meat and the food processor mixture in a large mixing bowl. Work all the ingredients together with yours hands until the meat, onion, spices and parsley are all well combined.  Use a small 2in – 2 ¾ inch cookie scoop to scoop the meat into uniform size balls and place on sheet evenly. Bake 25 minutes or until set and no longer pink in the middle.

Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Baklava
1 16 oz package phyllo dough thawed (there are 2 rolls in each box and you will only need 1)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter melted
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees .  Butter a 9x13 baking dish.  Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  Unroll 1 packgage of phyllo dough.  Cover phyllo with a damp paper towel to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, and brush melted butter over the top sheet thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered.  Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, melted butter, brown sugar & cinnamon, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep.

Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.

Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove baklava from oven and immediately pour sauce over it. Let cool. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Spanakopita Cups
3 boxes/packages Athens phyllo cups
10oz frozen chopped spinach (thawed and all watered squeezed out)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove phyllo cups from packaging and place cups on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place spinach, ricotta cheese, feta cheese, garlic powder and salt in a mixer at low speed.  Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Spoon a tablespoon into each phyllo cup.  Bake for 8-10 minutes until cheese has melted.  Serve immediately.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake (from Eat, Live Run website)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon
juice of 2 lemons
powdered sugar for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in mini muffin tin.

Beat together the eggs and sugar until very pale and fluffy. For best results, use an electric mixer on high setting for five minutes. If you don’t have a mixer, beat by hand until very thick.

Slowly stream in the olive oil and lemon juice into the eggs and sugar mixture and fold in with a rubber spatula.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and zest. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure you get down to the bottom of the bowl so everything is incorporated well.
Pour batter into prepared mini muffin tin and bake for 15 minutes. 

Let cupcakes cool in pan slightly before removing and dusting with powdered sugar.  Recipe makes about 60 mini cupcakes.

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