My Big Fat, Not Bad for a Greek Thursday Night Dinner – Summer School Edition #3

In my continuing new endeavor of joining that elite group, the Wine Century Club, I have been buying up and begging for varietals that I’ve never had before.  After checking out Joe Herrig’s (Suburbanwino) post about fighting sea monsters with which he paired up an Assyrtiko, it got me thinking that I should do my own Greek themed dinner.  I don’t have the latitude to cook up any old thing since the wife just doesn’t do fish, so there was a snowball’s chance in hell that I could get away with a seafood dish.  Anyhow, after a little research I found a nice chicken dish and paired up with a  pasta with a little puffed cheese and egg appetizer.

Here’s this week’s Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner, Greek Style.  All this week’s recipes were sourced from Visit-Santorini’s website: http://www.visit-santorini.com/site/recipies.htm

Greek Chicken with Cheese

Ingredients:

1/2 lb Feta cheese — crumbled
6 Chicken drumsticks
2 tbsp Olive oil — divided (or more)
1 medium Onion — thinly sliced
2 lg Garlic cloves — minced
17 oz Plum tomatoes — undrained
1/2 tspn Oregano
Pepper

Place feta in water and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet and brown chicken pieces. Transfer chicken to a platter. Add the teaspoon of oil to the pan along with the sliced onions.

grilled onion
Grill up some onion

Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 5 minutes or until onions start to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes and liquid, oregano and pepper. Place chicken pieces on the sauce.

PlaceChickenInPan
Put the Chicken Back in the pan

Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 40 minutes. Remove feta from water and arrange on top of chicken.

Add Feta to the Chicken
Add Feta to the Chicken

Cover and cook for another 15 minutes.

So the pasta dish is pretty basic, just spaghetti with some butter and shredded Romano.  The recipe calls for a Greek cheese named Kefalotyri, however I couldn’t track any down but I checked in at the local Oliver’s Market which has an on staff Cheese Master, I’m not sure what her title is but she knows cheese like a Sommelier knows Wine, she did some research and found out that it is similar in taste and nature to Romano, but is less salty, nonetheless, I used some Romano.

Ingredients:

1 lb Spaghetti or other pasta
1/2 lb Butter
1/2 c Kefalotyri or Parmesan-(Grated)

Fill a large deep pot 3/4 full with water. Add salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add pasta slowly, without breaking the boil. Cook 10 minutes. Place a colander in sink and turn pasta into it. Rinse under hot running water, allowing the water to drain through the spaghetti.  Heat the butter in a small saucepan to a honey brown.  Watch it carefully for these minutes; it burns quickly and suddenly. Return spaghetti to large pot and dribble hot butter over it. Sprinkle with half the cheese and toss gently to mix.  Transfer to a large ovenproof platter, sprinkle top with more cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 350 F. Serve hot.

Here’s where I tried something that is way out of the norm.  This didn’t really turn out all that great, but it sounded good so it was worth a try.  I’m not sure what is missing or what but I think perhaps some more flour might actually help it a bit.  Regardless, here’s the recipe I used.

Ingredients:

5 Eggs
1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 cups Kefalotyri cheese — cubed
1 teaspoon Parsley — minced
Butter for frying

butter
Butter makes it better

Beat eggs well; add flour sifted with baking powder and salt. Add parsley and cubed cheese. Mix together well. Brown in butter in frying pan, and drop in the batter, a spoonful at a time, to fry. Keep the heat regulated so puffs do not burn. When they are lightly brown,  turn carefully, with slotted spoon, without peiercing, and drain on absorbent paper. Serve hot.

I received a sample of wines from Santorini, and paired this dinner with ΓABAΛA from Santorini  (I have no idea how to say what the name of the wine is, it’s Greek to me, I think it’s pronounced Gah-vah-las).  Regardless of how to pronounce the name all you need to know is that it is a great match and really tasty.  Look for a review soon!

The verdict on dinner was a mixed review, the wife wasn’t terribly keen, I thought it turned out really nice.  The tomato and feta cheese add tartness and the wine is really complimentary with these flavors.  So give it a try.  Opa!  (no plates were injured in the making of this Thursday Night’s Dinner)

Not Basd 15
Not Bad for a Greek Thursday Night Dinner

Cheers
Brian

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Not Bad for a Thursday Night #13 – Saturday Summer School Edition #1

Wow.  What a week.  One full week off from school and back into the action, 3 days a week.  So basically I had  a short chance to catch my breath after this spring semester then dove right back in…  Someone told me they think I’m motivated, I would beg to differ, I think I may just be insane.

Regardless of all of this, I need to cook some good food and relax at the same time so for tonight’s Thursday Night Dinner (Saturday) I have for you Rotisserie Chicken and Pasta Salad paired with Verdejo.

Today was the first really Hot day of the season, thankfully we’re finally in some “typical” weather and we hit the 90’s today, so the obvious choice for dinner was a grilled or BBQ’d dish…  Anything that could be prepared outside as to not cook the house by firing up the oven and burners in the house.

I was thinking that an herb seasoned rotisserie chicken would really hit the spot and wanted to pair it up with something “summery” and light, so I decided on a pasta salad to go along with the chicken.

I’ve done a few rotisserie chickens now and they really are an amazing dish.  Super simple to prep and cook (which is a plus when you’re looking to relax a bit).

kitchenprep
Ingredients for Rotisserie

I did this one slightly different than previous attempts.  I took a whole large “Fryer” chicken, removed the giblets and other goodies that chicken processors think you might actually want and washed out the inside and out, dried with a paper towel, inside and out.  I made a quick visit to my garden and clipped off about a large handful of fresh rosemary, wash this off and stuff into the cavity of the chicken.

stuffed bird
Stuff Bird with Rosemary

Prepare the chicken by cracking some sea salt, garlic powder, fresh cracked black pepper and some oregano.  Place the chicken on the rotisserie skewer and tie up the legs.

stuffed and tied
Stuffed, Tied, and ready to Spin

Sprinkle seasoning all over the chicken and place on the grill.  Start the rotisserie spinning.  I place a baking pan below the chicken to catch the drippings to avoid flare ups, something I did differently this time was to add water to the pan and refill the pan as the water evaporated.  This added humidity into the cooking environment and probably did some steaming of the chicken, I had to refill the 13×9 pan about 5 times during the cooking.  Monitor the grill temperature and maintain it between 250 and 275 Fahrenheit.

just started
Just Getting Started

The pasta salad was another easy dish.  I picked up some klamata and green olives and grape tomatoes at the store earlier.  I started a large pot of water boiling, added some salt and oil (to keep pasta from sticking) and once boiling added some fun radiatori pasta.  Cook pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes, drain and rinse with cool water.  Place in a bowl and put into the refrigerator  to cool for at least 1 hour.  After cooled, chop up about 1/2 cup each klamata and green olives and 1 cup tomatoes, mix with pasta and 1/3 cup champagne dressing (or Italian) add some crumbled feta cheese.

So I had grand plans of cooking this entire meal outside on the grill but I failed to take into consideration that when the rotisserie is rolling, the lid for the “side burner” on the grill is inaccessible.  You know, the side burner, that thing you never ever use.  I was actually hoping to use mine (still haven’t even lit the burner…).

One of the best things about cooking meals on the rotisserie is that they take some time and don’t require a whole lot of interaction, which leaves some time to take care of the “Important Things.”

benefits of slow cooking
Benefits of Slow Cooking

This was an enjoyable afternoon, sipped a few cold ones and played in the water with the boy and the wife, well mostly with the boy but, I digress.

the boy and I
Chilling out on a hot day

So the chicken should cook on the spit for about 2 1/2 hours at between 250-275 F, I kept the drip pan full of water and refilled it as it evaporated.

on the spit
on the spit

Once an instant read thermometer reads about 170 remove the bird from the BBQ and let rest about 10 minutes.  Quarter by cutting the bird in half lenghtwise, then in half again.  This works out really well for me since I am a dark meat fiend and the wife really prefers white meat.

Not Bad
Not Bad

I had decided to pair it with a light white wine and was thinking Sauvignon Blanc at first but really have  been interested in trying something different.  I found a nice Verdejo at the local market and the shelf-talker said similar to Sauv Blanc, I decided to take a chance on it and picked it up.  A very nice light white wine that I’ll post a review to soon.  It went exceptionally well with the rosemary infused chicken, klamata olives and tomatoes in the pasta salad.  Here’s to summer finally arriving in Sonoma County, and another “Not Bad for a Thursday Night Dinner” Summer School Edition.

Not Bad 13
Not Bad 13 - Summer School Edition

Cheers

Brian