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Annoula

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  1. I never got notified of the lovely posts made in answer to my original question. I'm sorry I never responded but thank you very much. I have only recently managed to finally find out about that diagonal rolling technique -- also in a video, of a Turkish baklava shop if I remember. And in a couple of other videos, the actually frying is shown clearly enough that I should be able to figure out how to manage it at home. I haven't yet tried making bourma again, but I have renewed hope. I do love this stuff and cannot buy it here (in Greece) but I hear you, Sazji, and it's a good idea to make planning for a crowd to gobble it all up!
  2. Za'atar is super-easy to make at home, and very worthwhile because it's far better fresh (although it does keep for awhile, just slowly loses its 'oomph'). Hit Google or Wikipedia for a recipe. My favorite way to consume za'atar is to put a drizzle of olive oil in a small pan and then brown both sides of a pita in it (adding a weight on the top results in the nicest browning). Then I just sprinkle za'atar over it and cut it in wedges. Nice, simple, tasty and fairly healthy snack.
  3. Diane Kochilas is a very reliable source for very good, completely authentic Greek food and she has videos on YouTube. Another source for reliably authentic recipes is Clauia Roden ("The New Book Of Middle Eastern Cooking") and of course her book has recipes from other parts of the Mediterranean.
  4. Annoula

    Gyro

    Although many of you might actually prefer what you've become used to in the States, I'd like to correct a few pieces of misinformation above ... and I'm writing to you from right here in the middle of Athens, Greece. tzatziki is never only a mixture of yogurt, cucumber, and garlic. It absolutely must have both oil (olive in the nicest) and vinegar, and of course salt. And probably a surprising amount of all of those -- well over a matter of teaspoons. I have never had it with mint, nor know of anyone who makes it that way; some people do put in dill. You do not need Total yogurt (although it's a great, reliable, popular yogurt here and even their 2% is creamy and rich), but you do need plain yogurt, and preferably full-fat. No gelatin, no vanilla God knows, and no zero percentage which is an abomination. If you can buy yogurt already strained as we can here, great. If not, as in the Alton Brown recipe, you need to put it in some cheesecloth (or similar) and suspend it above a bowl for a couple of hours to drain much of the liquid. Likewise, it's a pretty key step to drain/squeeze the liquid from the grated cucumbers as this will offset the liberal amounts of the oil and vinegar you should be adding in for it to have a bit of bite and the right texture. Gyro isn't really THAT hard to pronounce! Greeks are telling you things like "ear-row" and "yee-row" because they're guessing you'll have trouble slipping that subtle "g" (like goat) sound just before the "yee". Get your mouth starting to say "goat" but a nano-second before that "g" sound slips out, change to "yee". That's how it's really pronounced ... by Greeks, in Greece. Gyro does NOT mean "wrapped"! Gyro -- like gyroscope? gyrating? -- means turning or revolving around an axis, so of course it refers to the traditional cooking method of the upright spit. "Wrapped" is actually tylixta -- tee-leech-TA (with the "ch" sound being like the ch in Chanukkah, that is, a sort of phlegm-y "ha"). Don't worry -- if you're visiting here you can just say "meh PEEta" -- with pita. Or for that matter, just say "pita!" and point ... or say it in English. A huge proportion of the Greek population is at least conversant in English. Oh, and finally, before "Greeks don't cook with oregano" is misunderstood, we definitely DO use it in food we eat but it's usually added after the cooking itself -- if it's a cooked dish, that is -- has been done. A "village" or xoriatiki salad wouldn't be right without a sprinkling of oregano and a drizzle of yogurt on top of the slab of feta which the salad ought to have.
  5. Annoula

    Chocolate Fondant

    Personally I'll vouch for Michelle Foster's recipe. I've also battled making my own rolled fondant for quite some time, and until I made hers (yesterday!) I was always dissatisfied. The taste is lovely as well, and of course the price doesn't even compare to what I'd have to pay to purchase ready-made. And by the way, I'm pleased to hear that you've found RLB's recipes a bit unreliable as I have too. I commented on this on Amazon, however, and I was almost beaten to a pulp by all her groupies!
  6. Andie, thank you SO much for sharing your method! I have just finished making my very first successful batch of crystallized ginger more or less following your recipe, and I'm thrilled to bits! Until now -- that is, over 20 years in Greece -- I've made sure to bring back crystallized ginger from wherever I travel (the States, U.K., and some gorgeous organic stuff from Israel), and accordingly I hoard it like gold to make it last. What a treat to just be able to pop a piece in my mouth whenever I wish to now, knowing I can make another batch when this one goes :-) And now I'll share one of my very favorite things to do with crystallized ginger (the second favorite being dipped in dark chocolate, of course): Make a lovely chicken salad with grilled chicken, crisp seedless green grapes, toasted sliced almonds, mayonnaise, cumin, coarsely-ground black pepper ... and pieces of crystallized ginger. It's a wonderful, wonderful combination! Thanks again, Andie.
  7. just tell me where you come from or your post about limes means nothing

  8. Any of you lovely folk out there in the Middle East know how one can make a decent bourma at home? I can get the kataifi, I can get the pistachios, I can get orange blossom water, etc., etc., but the technique confounds me. Bake first? Fry first? How does one get it to hold in a tight roll?
  9. Since the original poster mentioned something about 'inexplicably' I'll stick to that -- there are a zillion other things I can't get here, but the reason for most is explicable (if that's a word ) However, here I am in citrus heaven and there are odd gaps: we have oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons, and even kumquats growing in our back yards. Why do we have to beg for limes? Why can't we get pomelos? We have green avocados, but I haven't seen [the vastly superior] Haas variety in eons. Nuts everywhere including knock-your-socks-off pistachios from the island of Aegina ... but no pecans. I'm sure there's more, but these are the 'inexplicables' which occur to me now. And, boy, I'd KILL for some berries -- anybody want to trade a souvlaki for some berries?!
  10. Okay, interesting. Thanks. Perhaps a little more liquid, then, than I'm used to working with, but that's so easily adjusted. The sheen on yours is lovely. Grageas, eh? An Ecuadorian treat I'd guess? I've only had black sesame on top of bread (Greek bread) which I absolutely love, but I'll just betcha I could be converted to loving them covered in bittersweet chocolate. After all, what's not good covered in bittersweet chocolate?! Thanks again Panderia!
  11. VERY nice Panaderia! But it raises one question: how thick is the ganache you're applying? Is it more of a glaze (as it appears in your photo) or more of a "frosting" -- that is, a centimeter or so thick, perhaps whipped (how I'm usually using it). Is the end consistency of your recipe toward liquidy? The amount of brandy struck me as high just for flavoring and now I'm wondering what consistency you're aiming for. (And just an aside: what are those little beans/balls around the top edge?)
  12. Annoula

    Best technique for making a frittata

    We don't call it a frittata in our house -- we call it a 'chip omelette' -- but it's the same thing. A nice, quick, no-meat meal. Heavy on the potatoes, and with other ingredients if they're kicking around and appeal to us. I like some nice caramelized onions, personally, and we'd throw in some bacon if it were available. Method's dead easy in our version: fry the potatoes and drain, then dump into the omelette/fritatta pan. Sprinkle over any other ingredients being used, and then pour over the whole thing the beaten eggs. Cook on medium/medium-low until firm at least on the bottom. Cut & serve, as Harrysnapperorgans says, with salad and fresh bread. These days after seeing what I considered a completely eye-opening video on stainless steel pans on Rouxbe, I'd do it in my largest S.S. pan rather than a [supposed] 'non-stick' or cast iron -- it just feels so much cleaner and if you get it right, it just slips right out!
  13. Panaderia, again, thank you. I'll see if I can make some invert sugar today and then I'll try your ganache (or as close as i can get to it). I'll do my best to report back.
  14. Panaderia, thanks for chiming in! I was just about to consider this 'done and dusted' or at least in regard to the invert sugar. Especially since you're working with cakes, I appreciate your help. And, yes, I'm usually working with a dark chocolate. Has it just been a matter of luck that I've never had to deal with grainy ganache? Lord knows I don't want that luck to run out suddenly on a wedding cake or some such. Anyhow ... thanks for the formula for the invert sugar. For the same 250 ml cream, how much butter would you use -- the 1/2 oz. you mention? And do you make your own invert sugar? With ...?
  15. Mjx and gap, thanks for your comments. The buttery cake warrants a buttery ganache idea is interesting and I'll give that one a try. I'm less certain if I'll bother with the invert sugar or not -- after all, shelf-life for me is a non-issue!
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