Saganaki (Fried Cheese)
- 1 pound (about 1/2 kg) of kefalotyri or kasseri cheese (or pecorino romano)
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 2/3 cup of flour for dredging
- 2-3 lemons, quartered
- Cut the cheese into slices or wedges that are 1/2 inch thick by 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide.
- Moisten each slice with cold water and dredge in the flour.
- In a sagani (Greek pan used for this dish) or a small heavy-bottomed frying pan (cast-iron works best), heat the oil over medium-high heat, and sear each slice in 1 tablespoon of oil until golden-brown on both sides.
- Transfer the cheese to a small warmed casserole, douse it with two tablespoons of brandy, and light it with a match.
- Serve hot with a last-minute squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Don’t forget the to say “OPA!” as a celebration!
Loukoumades (Honey Puffs)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 pkg. (1/4 oz) dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. whiskey or brandy
- 1-1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 cups canola or corn oil
- Ground cinnamon and walnuts for serving
For the syrup:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1-cup water
- 1/2 cup honey
- Dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup lukewarm water and set aside.
- In a medium to large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Mix well to combine.
- Add the dissolved yeast, whiskey, and 1-1/2 cups water to the dry ingredients. Using an electric hand mixer, mix the batter for 3 minutes on medium high speed making sure that there are no lumps in the batter. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for about two hours to rise.
- Prepare the syrup while the batter is rising. Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, water and honey to a saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep warm.
- When the batter is about double in size, heat the 2 cups oil in a saucepan or deep frying pan until very hot but not smoking.
- Using two spoons, carefully drop about a teaspoon full of batter for each puff into the hot oil. Turn the puffs using a slotted spoon and fry until golden brown on each side. Remove the puffs to a plate lined with paper toweling to absorb excess oil.
- Dip the hot puffs in the syrup and then sprinkle with cinnamon, ground walnuts or even with confectioners sugar. Serve immediately.
Keftedakia (Small Meatballs)
- 1kg minced beef
- 1 large onion very finely chopped
- Bunch of chopped parsley
- A few leaves chopped mint
- 2 slices dry, white bread soaked in milk and well drained
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 whole egg
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 ½ cup vegetable oil for frying
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Apart from the flour and the vegetable oil, mix all the other ingredients together well.
- Roll the mixture into small balls approx. the size of large walnuts.
- Roll the balls in flour and then deep fry them for 15 minutes.