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Portland, Oregon food blog with many years worth of recipes, restaurant features, and food photos.

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Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers

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Memorial Day Weekend. Portland. Sunny. 70+ degrees. No rain. Really, no rain. What to do? Make lamb burgers!

Wow, these were good. Juicy and flavorful. The recipe is very easy to halve and make just two burgers (what I did). I found some kalamata ciabatta rolls at New Seasons which worked perfectly with these burgers.

Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers
Adapted from a recipe in Everyday with Rachael Ray
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (you could sub flat-leaf parsley)
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup low fat, plain yogurt, mixed with 1 clove crushed garlic and 1/2 a grated English cucumber
4 crusty kalamata olive rolls, split
spinach leaves
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tomato, sliced

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In a large bowl, combine the lamb, cilantro, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Form into 4 patties.

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In a grill pan, set over medium-high heat, toast the rolls, set aside. In the same pan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil and brush it onto the pan’s surface.

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Add the burgers and cook, turning once, for 5 minutes each side for medium-rare.

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After . . . → Read More: Middle Eastern Lamb Burgers

The Great Baklava Experiment … Success!

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So. Baklava. Mmmm. I have always wanted to make some. Then, last weekend I realized I had all of the components needed. It was like fate shouted down, “Make the baklava!” Really, you have to listen to fate.

I found a pretty simple sounding recipe at the Whole Foods Market web site and off I went.

Notes: The original recipe called for twice as much uh, everything. With two people, that seemed kind of unwise. Below is the halved recipe. If you want more, double all the ingredients and do not cut the phyllo in half. Use 20 sheets full size. I used a combination of pecans, pistachios and hazelnuts for my nuts.

Also, the original recipe called for baking at 400 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. That seemed to burn some of the edges of my baklava (and I only had it in there for 20 minutes). Try taking the heat down to 350 for 20 – 25 minutes.

Personally, I’ve found working with phyllo dough to be pretty easy. Just remember to cover it and be gentle. And it if rips or tears a little, don’t worry, it will most likely be unnoticeable after baking.

Printable recipe pdf!

Mixed Nut . . . → Read More: The Great Baklava Experiment … Success!

Weekend Cookbook Challenge #11: Zucchini-Feta Fritters

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This month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge, (which I almost forgot about — oops!), is all about party food. So, to accomplish this, I turned to a book all about parties, entertaining and proper hostessing — I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, by Amy Sedaris. It’s very funny, kitschy, deadpan in tone and is sprinkled with hilarious photos of Amy and (quite honestly) some very unappetizing food photos. Ah, so what? I love this book. There’s also some handy and practical advice for entertaining:

A good trick is to fill your medicine cabinet with marbles. Nothing announces a nosy guest better than an avalanche of marbles hitting a porcelain sink.

or

Have toilet paper.

Genius!

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While looking through the book I was tempted to make a cheese ball (one of her “famous cheese balls”), but figured another stick of butter is one of the last things jwa and I need right now. Instead, a recipe in the book submitted by Paul Dinello caught my eye. Paul’s Zucchini Fritters. The suggestion for serving these is at a “grieving party” but I say they just make a tasty breakfast, dinner snack or happy party snack! No . . . → Read More: Weekend Cookbook Challenge #11: Zucchini-Feta Fritters

Snack Attack: Little Wild Greens Fritters

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Lazy! Lazy! Lazy! And to think I have a whole other week off starting next Monday! Hooray! Okay. Enough of the gloating and the flaunting my time off. Let’s talk about fritters — mixed greens fritters to be exact. This recipe came from the cookbook, Modern Greek by Andy Harris, which is full of all manner of Mediterranean snacks and dishes.

We tried these a week or so ago when I discovered that I had all of the ingredients to make them. They looked good and I wanted to try them of course, but sometimes you just need to make a recipe because you can. And I could.

The verdict is that they were interesting. Not interesting in a bad way or anything, just really interesting — sort of like green, spinachy falafel. They were very crunchy and had a good flavor. We ate all of ours with some garlicky yogurt and snacked the night away.

Wild Greens Fritters (Hortokeftedes)
1 2/3 cups AP flour
1/3 cup polenta (corn meal would probably work too)
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten (the original called for 2 yolks — I used 1 whole egg instead)
8 ounces mixed leaves such as dandelion, sorrel, watercress, mustard, arugula, . . . → Read More: Snack Attack: Little Wild Greens Fritters

Finally, It’s Greek Chicken Pie

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If I don’t say so myself, this was a good use of some chicken, feta, mint and phyllo dough. Now that I am over my apprehension of working with phyllo, it was even relatively easy. My one nitpick though, is that the chicken seemed to get a little dry. The flavor was still excellent, though, so it wasn’t the end of the world by any means. Next time, I believe I will mix a little of the egg/feta mixture into the chicken to keep it a bit more moist.

As the title picture shows, this recipe is from Meze: Small Plates to Savor and Share from the Mediterranean Table by Diane Kochilas. As I am prone to do, I added an extra clove of garlic, some mushrooms and a little fresh oregano. Oh and I also added a little lemon zest.

Chicken Pie with Mint, Feta and Eggs
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 white onions, finely chopped
6-8 button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp lemon zest (about 1/2 a lemon)
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound phyllo, at room temperature
2 large eggs
3 . . . → Read More: Finally, It’s Greek Chicken Pie