Monthly Archives: March 2012

Take A Walk Down Main Street America

Have a look at what some of this countries small towns are cooking up.

BUY IT! - Taste of Main Street America

Take a stroll down the sidewalk of just about any small town in this country and you’ll see lots of similarities. Not that all small communities are the same, not by a long shot. But, they do have some of the same common elements, especially when it comes to their downtowns.

You’re almost sure to find a drugstore, hardware store, small department store and of course a coffee shop or diner. These family owned eateries dot the landscape of the country. And, honestly, they sport some of the nation’s best eats.

All you have to do is flip on the Food Network and check out an episode or two of Diners, Drive In’s and Dives and you’ll get the idea in a hurry. In case you’ve been living under a real heavy rock or in a cave, I’m sure you’ve seen Guy Fieri ferreting out some of the best home-style food from coast to coast.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a collection of some of these great small town, regional recipes at your fingertips? Now you can. Publisher JE Cornwell has made it all possible. With the help of Editor Pam Eddings, they have assembled a great collection of these homespun dishes. Taste of Main Street America makes it possible for you to cook your way through the USA.

These aren’t the same places that Guy features on his show. But, they certainly are a representative sample of just how diverse the country can be, food wise that is. From appetizers through desserts, you’ll get a little bit of everything on your plate.

BUY IT! - Taste of Main Street America

In case you’re thinking this is all meatloaf and mashed potatoes, think again. Sure, there’s the obligatory meatloaf recipe, this one’s from Granny’s Frying Pan in Havana, Florida. But, you’ll also be treated to Alaska White King Salmon with Gai Lan and Asparagus Salad from The Mermaid Cafe in Homer, Alaska and Lamb Osso Bucco with Orzo from Sugah’s Cafe located in Gunnison, Colorado.

If you’ve ever wanted to explore over two hundred Main Streets, but couldn’t seem to find the time here’s your chance. There’s a little something for everyone in this nice collection. Just pick a page and take a relaxing stroll.

Interested in your very own copy of Taste of Main Street America? I can help. I have one copy to give to a more than deserving cookbookman.com reader. Just click here, send us an email and we’ll pick one from random.

BUY IT! - Taste of Main Street AmericaAuthor: Recipe Publishers
Ring-bound: 280 pages
Publisher: JEC Publishing Company; First edition
ISBN-10: 0982642490

BUY IT! - Taste of Main Street America

Your Seat At The Greek Table

There’s more to great food than just a recipe.

Three Sisters Around the Greek Table: A Cookbook

Where does a recipe come from? At first blush, it seems like a simple question to answer. You have a basic idea of what you would like to make. You add some things to it and take some things away. You experiment with cooking times and techniques and before you know it, Voila! A dish is born.

Do you think that’s how your mother did it? Or, how about your great grandmother? I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably not. I’m not suggesting that there wasn’t some creating back then. But, I think there was a lot of passing too. Passing family recipes from one hand to the next. Hoping to preserve a legacy of great food and important family food traditions.

There’s a lot of history in all ethnic foods. None more so than Greek cuisine. The Greek culture is proud of their dishes. They are woven into the very fabric of their lives. For those of us who don’t share that heritage, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to have an insider’s view. And, three sisters, originally from Toronto Canada are offering you a great look.

Their cookbook, Three Sisters Around The Greek Table is a tribute to the recipes of their past (and their future). These are classic Greek dishes that have more than stood the test of time. They hold a special meaning for Betty, Eleni and Samantha. For the rest of us the history might not be there, but, the amazing flavors sure are.

These dishes are presented in a simple and straightforward manner. There isn’t anything tricky about any of them. It’s more about a passion for sharing a piece of their culinary roots than anything else. That’s a good thing.

I wanted to make something that would really exemplify the rustic nature of traditional Mediterranean fare. The Grilled Whole Red Snapper would be a perfect choice.

Whole Roasted Ren Snapper

Understand, I fully intended to make this recipe using the above-mentioned red snapper. But, something unexpected happened when I was shopping for my ingredients.

One word, Branzini. I like red snapper, but, I love branzini. Whole branzini right there in my local fish counter. And, to make things even better, the sign below the fish read “Fresh From Greece”. There couldn’t be a better choice. I was living right.

Branzini

The recipe is super easy. Have your fishmonger scale and gut your fish. Stuff it with some fresh oregano and lemon slices.

Stuffed Branzini

Heat your grill. Rub your fish with olive oil. Salt and pepper generously. Grill 6 to 8 minutes per side. I cut a couple of small slits in the skin on each side of the fish to help distribute the heat while it’s cooking.

Grilled Branzini

It’s just that easy. That skin was really crispy and delicious too.

The recipe calls for a Lemon, Oregano & Olive Oil Dressing to drizzle over the top.

You didn’t think I forgot a side dish did you? No way. The Horiatiki Salata (Tomato & Cucumber Village Salad) made an excellent partner for the fish.

Ingredients
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
½ sweet onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. salt

Method
In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together. Mix well. Add a little fresh feta to the top of each salad when serving.

I have a friend of mine who is from Greece. He’s from an older generation than I am (is that OK to say?). When I told him that I was going to make a Horiatiki Salata, his eyes lit up! He was happy to inform me that each small village or town in this native Greece, has their own unique variation on this classic dish. You could just see him effortlessly drift back in time. Amazing what food can do!

Horiatiki Salata
Recipe adapted from Tomato & Cucumber Village Salad, Around The Greek Table, Betty, Eleni and Samantha Bakopoulos, Adelfes © 2009.

Here’s how it all came together. The fish was light and flaky.

Whole Roasted Red Snapper

The Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a cookbook that really captures the essence of traditional Greek cuisine then look no further. Around The Greek Table will make you feel like you have special access to the Bakopoulos sisters family recipe box.

BUY IT - Three Sisters Around the Greek Table: A CookbookAuthors: Betty Bakopoulos, Eleni Bakopoulos, Samantha Bakopoulos
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Delphi Distribution
ISBN-10: 098134050

 

BUY IT - Three Sisters Around the Greek Table: A Cookbook