Monday, April 20, 2009

Cold, damp and miserable day

Having said that I will pull out my glass half full attitude and point out that it is Monday and it was nice that the miserable weather held off until the weekend finished and that the miserable weather is scheduled to leave again before next weekend. Also, it could very well be snow – I do recall that we did have some white stuff last year in April.

Just a quick blog today, my son Jeff will be over any time now to help me with getting all my software loaded into my computer.

Yesterday I had a friend for dinner and attempted a wonderful Greek appetizer.  I had bought the cheese - a Greek cheese called kefalotyri  at the St. Lawrence market a few weeks ago.  One of the things I am very thankful for as a consequence of a few years I spent with my Greek (now "X significant other") is an appreciation for and recipes to make a few good Greek dishes.  Saganaki is one of these.

I winged the recipe and just made it as I recalled from when he and I would make this flambéed Greek cheese appetizer. The picture at right was taken while I flambéed it.  Quite impressive!   I served it with fairly thinly sliced baquette.  It was really tasty and just as good as I remembered it.  

Today I looked up a proper recipe and discovered that there are a couple of variations in the ways to make it. I cooked it without oil and without dredging the cheese in flour – which suited my calorie conscious guest. But in that event the cheese does not brown but instead just melts. It tasted good none the less.

Apparently, some folks prefer to use Greek brandy rather than Ouzo, but I like the anise taste and when the Greek and I used to cook it we used Ouzo. Some folks find Ouzo to sweet and prefer brandy.  Also, we always used kefalortyri cheese, but it seems that Kasseri cheese could also be used. I don't think I would experiment with the type of cheese too much – these cheeses have a distinctive flavour and not all cheeses have the right consistency when heated. Another point to know, this dish must be served right off the pan. It cannot be made ahead, but it is really no fuss to make and doesn't take long so that is really not a problem.  

Lastly, you are supposed to yell Opa!  when you douse the flames with the lemon juice.

Saganaki (serves one)
(Greek γαρίδες σαγανάκι) 
120 g (4 oz) kefalotyri cheese – cut in a ¾ inch slice
1 teaspoon of flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 oz Ouzo or Metaxa 5 Star Brandy
1 lemon

Preheat frying pan (make sure the pan is not too hot)
Add oil to pan
Coat flour over the cheese
Place cheese in the pan and cook both sides until golden brown (touch the centre of the cheese to ensure it has melted)
Remove from heat. 
Add brandy to pan and light to flambe. Be careful. Hold the pan away from you to avoid singing yourself.
Let the flame burn out and squeeze the lemon on top of the cheese.
Don't forget to yell OPA!

If you want to see a video of someone making this dish go here.


  1. The appetizer looks good!

    Sorry to hear about the cruddy weather... but I don't know that you'd want to trade for ours! It was 35 degrees here today, with 9% humidity - it's starting to feel like desert summer. No more hiking for me until October. :(

    I'm looking forward to escaping the heat when we come up in August!

  2. Yes, we are in for 3 days of yukky weather, I would gladly trade you some of this for what you have! Be nice to see you - lets hope we have some nice weather then!


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