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Roasted Beets with Skordalia

Skordalia, coyly posing with some of its raw ingredients

Skordalia, draped like velvet over richly roasted beets

This is quite simply one of my very favourite foods. Starchy, oily, garlicky skordalia crowning sweetly concentrated roasted beets. Skordalia, to be absolutely traditional, should be a quite white paste made with potatoes or bread with the crusts removed. Mine is non-traditional. I like to leave the crusts on the bread I use. The stale bread for skordalia is also commonly soaked in water to soften it up beforehand, but I like to soak mine in dry white wine.

To roast the beets, wrap them in foil individually, or place them in a covered crock, and put them in a medium-hot oven for an hour or so. Once cool, their skins should schlup right off. Slice and serve.

 

Ingredients:

Stale bread

Dry white wine

Extra-virgin olive oil

Garlic

Salt

 

Method:

The proportions are pretty rough, but for a large batch you might use 10 oz. bread to 1 cup olive oil and 6-8 cloves of garlic. Soften up the bread beforehand by sprinkling it with wine. You don’t want puddles, just moistness. Chop the garlic and toss it in the blender, followed by the bread and the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Add more olive oil or wine if it appears too thick. Pour and/or scrape it into a bowl. That’s it!

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Zucchini, Rice, and Feta Cakes

ImageMy partner hates rice pudding, so in our household, leftover rice has a way of making it into patties of various types and soups. Consider this recipe as a base – you can always vary the quantities to suit the amount of leftover rice you have. This makes a healthy plateful of patties.

Ingredients:

2 Zucchini (about 350g), grated

2 C cooked rice

200g feta, grated

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 spring onions, finely sliced

1/2 C plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

4 eggs, beaten

1 T olive oil

Method:

Mix all ingredients together. Drop into a hot pan containing a light sheen of olive oil. Fry on each side until nicely browned.

Baba Ghanouj

We’re having this tonight with crusty bread, radishes, olives, and cucumbers. And a bit of wine, of course. This is one of the more heroic dips known to humankind – and it’s difficult to be both heroic and a dip.

 

Ingredients:

3 large aubergines/eggplants

3/4 C tahini

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tsp cumin

a dash of cayenne

salt to taste

 

Method:

Cut the aubergines in half lengthwise and roast skin side down in a roasting dish at 190 C for about 45 mins.

Allow them to cool enough that they can be handled and remove the skin.

Toss them in a blender with the other ingredients and lacerate them centrifugally at high speed until quite smooth.

Spread into a shallow dish and drizzle with good olive oil.