Archive - October 2015

Greek Gemista

Gemista, meaning “stuffed with” in Greek, is a traditional recipe in the style of Ladera, or “prepared with olive oil.” A dish like this requires the cook to break out the good stuff—quality extra virgin olive oil will intensify the flavor. Though the traditional preparation doesn’t call for butter, a helpful secret is to add just a bit inside the Gemista before stuffing. In-season tomatoes are the choicest ingredient, but Gemista can be delicious when it features eggplants and peppers or even courgettes. This melt-in-the mouth Greek delicacy is best served with a block of salty feta cheese and lots of bread. Opa!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 8 tomatoes
  • 4 green bell peppers
  • 1-2 eggplants
  • 5-6 potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 18 ounces rice (for risotto)
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • a small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • a small bunch of fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • 8 ounces beef mince (optional)

**Start by thoroughly washing your vegetables.

  1. Slice off the top of the tomatoes, using a spoon remove the flesh and keep it in a bowl. Slice off the top of the eggplants and remove the flesh, using a spoon. Cut the flesh of the eggplants in small cubes and set aside. Slice off the top of the peppers and remove the seeds and white parts from the inside. Place the empty vegetables on a large baking tray. Try to leave the vegetables as thin as possible, leaving just a little flesh, but be careful not to poke through their skin.
  2. Season the empty vegetables with a pinch of salt and sugar and add a little butter on the bottom of each one.
  3. Prepare the sauce for the Gemista. In a blender, add the flesh of the tomatoes, 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil, the tomato puree, sugar, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the filling for the Gemista. In a saucepan, add some olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Chop the zucchini in small cubes, add to the saucepan and sauté for one more minute. Add the flesh of the eggplants (chopped) and the chopped garlic and sauté until softened. Add the rice and continue sautéing unit it becomes translucent. Pour in 1 tin chopped tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. As soon as the liquid has been absorbed, the stuffing is ready.
  5. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the fresh herbs.
  6. Meat Variation: If you prefer your Gemista spiced up with some meat, try sizzling ground beef with the onions in the step above.
  7. Assemble the Gemista. Spoon the filling inside the empty vegetables and place the potatoes, cut into pieces, in between the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and pour the tomato sauce over the vegetables and in the baking tray. Cover the vegetables with their lids and add 2-3 glasses of water.
  8. Cover the Gemista with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees for 60-75 minutes. Halfway through cooking time remove the aluminum foil and bake until nicely colored.
  9. Serve either warm or straight out of the fridge, paired with salty feta cheese.

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TRUE BLUE MARYLAND CRAB CAKES

Recipe courtesy of Chef Craig Sewell, of A Cook’s Cafe in Annapolis, Maryland.

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The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, has provided a livelihood for watermen since colonial days, as well as a delicious platform on which to build the local cuisine. It’s been said that no one in colonial Annapolis could go hungry, blessed with the bounty of the Chesapeake and rich, fertile land.

Modern day visitors to the city can experience local fare at the very inns and taverns some of the founding fathers did. In addition to fresh blue crab, Chesapeake oysters and other seafood, must-eats include popovers and Smith Island cake, washed down with a refreshing craft beer.

Create your own Chesapeake Bay culinary experience at home with this quick and easy Crab Cake recipe.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds fresh jumbo lump crab (Maryland Blue)
  • 1 pound fresh claw meat (Maryland Blue)
  • 3/4 cup rice flour (white or brown)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon old bay
  • 1 cup mayo (fresh, if possible)
  1. Blend wet ingredients with whisk.
  2. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and whip until smooth.
  3. Fold crab into the other ingredients.
  4. Portion with a scoop, ensuring cakes are packed tightly.
  5. Sauté in butter until lightly golden on one side (about 4-5 minutes).
  6. Flip over and avoid patting down for a few moments, allowing egg and rice flour to set.
  7. Gently pat to even out, cooking another 4-5 minutes until golden.
  8. Serve warm with sauce of your choice.

b56b575795c545e1be7d1220176743a2Mastered this recipe and ready to learn more? Check out our Historic Annapolis Culinary Escape or one of our other quick and easy Edible Getaways.