My bones are a little achy today but I’m beaming (still) after last night’s Supper Club with a focus on the cuisine of Florina. Being that this region is where my parents are from, I went into this dinner very confident but also still worried because I knew some folks would be there who shared the same ancestry (from towns in/around Florina). Would the food be as good as Yiayia’s? I think so.
The sold out event was a mixture of friends who have attended prior dinners of mine, some new and curious attendees, Greeks and non-Greeks (lovers of our cuisine) and of course, wine lovers who know Greek wines are “where it’s at”. The menu was paired almost exclusively with Kir Yanni wines (Boutari) from Naoussa and Amynteon. Many thanks to Steve Kriaris of Kolonaki Group who chose the wines of the evening and even brought a surprise offering of Kir Yanni Ramnista for all guests to try out!
Three appetizers were rolled out: Taltsenes from Florina and made with fire roasted eggplant, red peppers and tomatoes, Kebapia and housemade Prassopita, a leek and Feta pie made with hand-opened phyllo.
One of the indispensible ingredients of Greek cuisine is olive oil and I delighted when chef, TV personality, Christine Cushing offered to supply her signature oils for cooking and for liberal bread-dunking at each table with my homemade Floriniotiko Lagana topped with sesame seeds.
Christine also has two roasted red pepper sauces, one mild and the other spicy for the heat freaks out there. The jars with opened up, dipped in, swooshed and smeared on bread. Thank you again, Christine!
Great olive oil turns simple dishes into manna from the Gods and my rice and herb stuffed peppers soared with a liberal use of Christine Cushing’s olive oil. The dish was heightened even more with the incorporation of Katsamaki – another Florina recipe using cornmeal, beef stock and grated Kefalograviera cheese.
The second dish that got a few good shakes of the olive oil was the roast potatoes with onions, carrots, sweet and hot peppers, smoked Greek paprika and some Boukovo. A little more olive oil and some dried Greek oregano and all this dish needs is some high heat roasting in the oven.
The main course was some braised beef short ribs, slow-cooked for 4 hours in homemade beef stock and Xinomavro red from Kir Yanni. The aromas of bay, thyme and allspice perfumed the studio kitchen space where I hosted the dinner. A big thanks to Vanessa of Aphrodite Cooks!
The dinner just kept on getting better and better. One should always leave room for dessert and the evening’s final course was Touloumbes on a bed of strained Greek yogurt with lots of lemon zest and Attiki honey from Greece.
After three appetizers, a soup, stuffed peppers, braised beef and roast potatoes, Touloumbes for dessert and lots of wine in between and during each course, the evening came to a close. One last offering of Greek coffee and new friends and old experienced some New Greek cusine. New in that this was regional Greek cooking…looking beyond the well-known taverna faves, the often praised Cretan and Aegean island dishes. There’s more to Greek food than the Athenian estiatorio or the taverna of Thessaloniki.
It was my pleasure to feature my family’s regional cooking (Florina) and soon I will feature your family’s regional cooking. Pencil-in November 18th for my next dinner.
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