Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall for Greek with Debbie Matenopoulos: Cookbook Review & Giveaway

 I was asked to participate in a blog tour of Debbie Matenopoulos' new cookbook, It's All Greek to Me, and let me tell you, this cookbook is a winner! Plus you have a chance to win a copy for yourself at the end of this post!

Greek food is a little greek to me. Yes I know about gyros, though always pronounced it wrong and was taught to say it correctly by an owner of a Greek restaurant in Detroit while I was traveling a few years ago.

This cookbook is a great introduction for me to all the different types of food and the meanings behind them. Debbie shares more than 120 of her family's recipes, with a little twist to make them healthier and easier to prepare. I love how much family tradition went into this book; it's one of the reasons why I started my blog. Debbie says that her "favorite part about putting this cookbook together was gathering all of the recipes from my family and translating them into English. There is so much history in these recipes. It was very nostalgic.  My mother  gave me my grandmother’s hand written recipe books that were written in Greek along with her own. There were pages that were coming out that were obviously worn by the years of being referenced time and time again. I felt as if I was holding our most valuable family heirlooms in my hands. I feel very honored that my entire family was willing to share their treasured recipes with me and allow me to share them with the world."

After going through the cookbook, I chose the recipe for Kolokithopites (aka zucchini fritters). I have bags and bags of frozen, shredded zucchini waiting to be use and this was a great way to use it! I had to make a substitution when I made my fritters because I couldn't find brine-packed feta. The fritters turned out great and my husband I both loved them. One warning..be care when you're frying them. I had one stick and when I flipped it, some oil splashed up and hit my forehead...I'm ok!



3 pounds medium zucchini, washed and stemmed
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 ounces brine-packed Greek feta (about 1 1/2 cups), crumbled small
2 tablespoons finely grated kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Olive or vegetable oil for frying
1 recipe Tzatziki (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Cut the zucchini in half down the center into half cylinders. With a small teaspoon or a grapefruit spoon, hollow out the zucchini skins by scooping out all the pulp, leaving about 1/8 inch of zucchini intact next to the skin. Leave the bottoms intact so that you are left with a “zucchini cup” that can be stuffed later.

Take care not to crack or puncture the skins. Cover the zucchini skins and reserve in the refrigerator to make Kolokithakia Gemista me Kima. Transfer the pulp to the bowl of a food processor or high-performance blender and pulse a few times to chop finely. Place the finely chopped zucchini pulp into a colander and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.

Cover the zucchini with a plate and put a weight on top (such as a large can of tomatoes). Drain for 10 minutes, briefly rinse, then squeeze as much moisture as possible from the pulp with impeccably clean hands.

Whisk the flour, eggs, mint, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until
smooth. Gently fold the drained zucchini pulp into the flour mixture along with the feta and kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese (if using). Stir until the mixture resembles a thick batter.

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat, heat about 1/2 inch of the oil until it shimmers. Working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, scoop out heaping tablespoons of
the batter and carefully drop into the oil. The fritters will naturally flatten out. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown, flipping them over carefully, just as you would a pancake. Remove the fritters from the oil and drain on a large, oven-safe plate lined with paper towels. Keep fritters warm in the preheated oven as you continue to fry the remaining fritters in batches. Serve plain or with Tzatziki.

Now here's your chance to win your own copy of Debbie's cookbook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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