My friend and fellow blogger Peter Minaki didn’t write the 1st edition of Everything Mediterranean, but, based on his highly successful Greek food blog, was recruited to write the 2nd. The first, he said, contained recipes that weren’t authentically Mediterranean. For this edition, he Greeked it up, drawing from his childhood, his many trips “back home” to Greece (he was born in Canada, his dad moved here at the age of 19), and from his family’s recipes.
Peter held a small gathering at the Burrow’s Building on Queen Street West last week to celebrate the launch of his first cookbook, Everything Mediterranean, 2nd edition. I was on the guest list, and Jason was later recruited to help cook. Peter’s friends and family were there.
At the launch we sampled some of the food from the cookbook. Interactive demonstrations livened it up too.
We started with Ladenia, a Greek flatbread with tomatoes, onions, Greek oregano (Phyllos & Breads, page 213). Think Greek pizza.
Pumpkin Soup with Feta-Yogurt sauce (Soups, Page 84) served was actually butternut squash soup. The squash looked better at the grocery store. On a freezing cold night it was perfect, and it’s such a short, simple recipe. It was gingery. This redhead is a big fan of ginger.
We tried Ouzo Smoked Salmon (Appetizers, Page 48). Smoked salmon still seems like “Jew food” to me, even if it’s Greek, Swedish, Norwegian or inspired by any other place in the world. Add Ouzo and to me, that’s just multicultural. (There must be some Jews in Greece.)
Bombidia – little meatball bombs with housemade mustard and chilli flakes, came off the platters quickly.
Greek Salad on a stick were skewers of tomatoes, feta and olives.
Dolmades – stuffed grape leaves (Appetizers, page 41) were fancied up with roasted red peppers to look like Greek sushi. A demonstration was done for dolmades. Guests had a chance to practice their own grape leave stuffing.
People got into the demonstration for Leek & Feta spiral phyllo pie (Phyllos & Breads, page 224), stretching their own phyllo.
For dessert: “Greek Mess“, which was whipped cream with raspberries and almonds and “Touloumbes” (page 267), fried choux pastry that’s soaked in syrup. Think churros, without filling. In the kitchen it was discovered that touloumbes dipped in Greek Mess made the ultimate dessert. The touloumbes were my favourite. Jay ate his share of them in the kitchen. I’d like to get Peter and Jay cooking together, either for a dinner party for friends, or a popup. Southern BBQ meets Greek?
And speaking of books written by friends and fellow bloggers, I’m looking forward to attending the launch of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook by fellow blogger David Ort (Food With Legs) this evening. I flipped through the book at a bookstore last week and was impressed. Book review, in some form, to follow.