Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mediterranean & Greek culinary delights

Last Tuesday night Chris, my co-worker Dina, and I did another cooking class at Leon Bistro. This time it was Mediterranean and Greek fare - some of my favorite. There were 18 people in this class with Chris being the only guy. Pretty good odds. First off Chef Ann made a yogurt and cucumber smoothie as a digestive drink between courses. It was very refreshing.
The first course served was Bagna Cauda which is a garlic dip much like hummus. It was served alongside pita bread with caramelized onion.
Next up, fried cheese! This was a thick haloumi Greek cheese known as a grilling cheese. This was served with a small piece of pita bread topped with Feta cheese.
The third course was a slightly spicy marmitako (fish and potato) soup, but the version served to us had beef tenderloin in it instead. This was the boy's favorite dish.
My favorite was our next course, halibut brandade (fish cakes) with sides of harissa (red pepper paste) and tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce) to dip it in. Soooo good.
The fifth course was stuffed grapeleaves (dolmas) with falafels and tzatziki. I love dolmas, but these were slightly sweet made with raisins and nutmeg and I was not a fan. One bite was enough for me. And the falafels, deep fried balls of ground garbanzo beans, were nothing I need to have again. Meh.
Our first entree was fricase de pollo which was chicken served in a tomato sauce with capers, olives, raisins, potatoes, and root vegetables. On the side was a serving of tabouli salad (parsley and cracked wheat). The chicken was delicious while I only ate a bite of the tabouli since the cracked wheat would not sit well with me.
Our second entree was moussaka, a Greek shepherd's pie. It's made up of layers of sliced eggplant, minced lamb and a bechamel cheese sauce. I was really looking forward to this dish because it sounded like everything I would like in a casserole, but it was a little too rich for me. Though I did make sure to eat the crispy cheese top before giving up.
Our eighth, and last, course was our dessert - baklava cigars. Seriously, I don't care how you serve the baklava, it's going straight in my mouth. Love, love, love.
 Yeah, I ate that and the pound of honey it was served with right up. Already looking forward to our next class. Maybe Dim Sum and Asian Noodles....??