My friend, whom I met when I was on my amazing sojourn in Greece last Spring, visited me for the past few days on her way north from Arizona. I have been hiking, touring wineries and soaking up the Okanagan sunshine through new eyes. I have been catching up on all your wonderful posts but will post some of my own in the next few days. I have to get back into cooking and blogging mode. In the mean time I am reposting one of my favourite Greek dishes in honor of our trip to Greece. It doesn't take much to have me daydreaming of warm, sunfilled days.....
On the island of Kea in Greece we shared a delicious lunch of traditional Greek dishes prepared by a local family. With the endless azure of the Agean Sea as the backdrop we danced to the strains of bazouka music, sipped on raki and enjoyed good company and good friends.
According to Greek mythology, Aristaios, son of Apollo and Cyrene, was sent by the gods to give the gift of cheese-making to the Greeks. It was called a "gift of everlasting value", and the value of that gift keeps increasing with age.
We enjoy saganaki at our local Greek restaurant that rivals any we have found in Greece, which has to be due to the quality of the cheese. A variety of cheeses can be used. Kefalotiri is a traditional Greek cheese manufactured from ewe or goat's milk or a combination of the two. It has a salty and piquant taste and a unique rich aroma. Perfect for saganaki. A good substitute would be Kefalograviera which is a hard cheese of high quality with a slightly sweet taste; or Kasseri which is a semi-hard ewe or goats milk cheese. If none of these are available I am told you can substitute a good goats milk feta cheese.
Photo is taken of the grandmother during our delicious dinner at this families home overlooking the azure Agean Sea on the island of Kea.
**Saganaki** 8 oz cheese (see above)
- 1/8 cup butter
- 2 T fresh lemon juice
- 2 T brandy or perhaps ouzo
2. Optional: Just before serving, pour the brandy or ouzo over the cheese and light up. Serve.
4 - 6 pieces serves 2 - 3 people
(The Saganaki photo was an afterthought and taken at Theoz Restaurant in Penticton, British Colmbia. Some of the best Greek food outside of Greece).