When we were young, we usually went swimming at a place called Skala Oropou, opposite Euboeia to the north west of Athens.
We waited until my Dad came home from work around 4pm and we all bundled into the car (A green VW Beetle, which we had because my father was a Panathinaikos supporter) and the five of us would end up at the little beach about an hour later.
Apart from my parents and my brother, we took my grandfather Abraham, an unbelievable person about whom I will talk more about some other time.
As we spent many hours at a beach that was quite far from taverns and places to get food, my good mother would prepare and take whatever was necessary to have a meal after our swim.
Of course one of her classic dishes was her meatballs. So now I always connect meatballs with summer, the sun, saltiness and almost always eat them cold or at room temperature.
So if I go in another season to a taverna, I would never order meatballs ever.
Naturally as I was growing up whenever we went for a swim with friends or later with “partners” I would prepare and take meatballs… sometimes it was a little embarrassing in more upmarket organised beaches opening the Tupperware..
Years later when I read the book “To Live, To Love and To Learn” by Leo Bouskalia, I read a story about how when they travelled as a family on an aeroplane to go somewhere, they always took their food in Tupperware for the journey. I was delighted to hear this :) but not as much as it would seem…
I don’t do it so much now as too much fried food isn’t good for you anyway.
They asked me at Neo Epsilon TV to make them so I thought let’s see how they turn out.
I didn’t have my mother’s recipe …I found one in the Tselemende Cookbook and some others online from trusted sites so combined them to make my own.
They turned out really well so here they are.
I don’t know if I will make them again however..but if I ask you for old times sake to go swimming together taking some Tupperware with cold meatballs and stuffed peppers would you be interested???
When I was talking to our friends Savvas and Dimitri recently to arrange for them to come for dinner, I asked Savvas what he would like me to cook for them…He said to me, “You know Yanni, what I would really love is a slice of Pastichio!
I thought, what a wonderful idea..
And a nice Horiatiki (village) salad to accompany it!
OK! Pastichio is a really easy dish to make..it’s just you have to use a lot of pots and pans in the process..
Besides that it won’t give you too much trouble and you will get loads of kudos for making such a laborious dish!
It turned out really well in the end…we all tucked in with relish! I made a really good village salad to go with it having removed all the skins from the tomatoes and the seeds from them and the cucumbers too with loads of olive oil and good quality feta.. it was great!
I made a fantastic cheesecake for dessert, and we started the meal with a cocktail in the back garden surrounded by candles and soft lighting and had a wonderful evening.
Those are the wonderful summer evenings with good friends..
When we were little and we had something to celebrate our parents would take us to Kefalari a part of Kifissia in northern Athens to eat at Pappa's or Capricioza..
Some of you may remember these restaurants as some of the “good” restaurants of the northern suburbs..if not then ask your parents. They may smile.
The fight we always had at the table was which salad we would order…the chef’s salad or the Caesar salad. We usually had the Chef’s salad but occasionally they would indulge me and we would have the Caesar with the wonderful dressing and the shaved parmesan on top.
I have tried to remember if it had anchovies or not but I can’t remember.. if anyone knows let me know.
Years later I heard that the salad had not taken its name from Julius Caesar as I had thought as a child; fantasising about him eating the salad wearing his uniform and helmet (I was a child..what do you expect..). It got its name from an Italian-American chef who had created it first in a restaurant in Tijuana Mexico which carried his name, around the time of the prohibition period in America in the 1920s and 30s…
The myth surrounding the salad occurred during a 4th of July American Independence Day celebration when there were so many customers in the restaurant (the Americans went to Mexico then to drink alcohol because of the prohibition) that they had basically run out of food except for some salads leaves and that the chef had invented the dish there and then and it was an instant hit.
The most impressive thing was the chef created the salad at the table and the customer saw him mix all the ingredients together to create the unique sauce, the oil and the lemon and the Worcestershire sauce in a ceremony that became legendary.
The dressing didn’t have anchovies then.. the taste of them came from the Worcestershire sauce which contains them.
Anyway I won’t go on and on.. the brother of Caesar (the Italo-Americas) improved the recipe by adding anchovies and he named it “The Aviator” but that didn’t go down well so it reverted back to the original name but with the new recipe. In my salad I use ready made mayonnaise because it’s easier and safer but one day I will make my own and share that with you.
For now check out my easier version in which I coat the chicken with breadcrumbs and pan fry it in order to increase the calorific content even more!
But at least if someone asks you what you had for dinner yesterday you can say “I had a little salad”..:)
Oh! This year is the 95th anniversary of the first time it was made for a customer at the table so Bon Appetite !!