Saturday, August 23, 2008

Greek Night: The Rachael Ray Way

We had a Greek-themed dinner last night. We started out with Eggplant Roll-Ups, a Rachael Ray recipe from her 30 Minute Meals TV show. They were pretty good: grilled eggplant slices rolled around creamy garlicky cheeses and sun-dried tomatoes. I made it using a Slow Roasted Tomato recipe I found over at Smitten Kitchen. Mmmmm! Rachael Ray seems to add grill seasoning to almost everything but this was one recipe where I didn't care for it. Maybe I used to much but it seemed to overpower the other flavors of the dish. Next time I'll just use salt and pepper.

I also made the other recipe from the show: Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs with SpicyCucumber and Yogurt Sauce. I really thought I'd like it. I love pretty much every single ingredient. But somehow, I just didn't care for it. The meatballs were just sort of bland and the dip was lackluster as well. Very disappointing. I like the idea of this though and I think I'll play around with the recipe a bit and see what I can do.

Lulu over at Mama's Taverna definitely provided the star of the show: Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Myzithra Cheese. Unfortunately out here in the middle of nowhere, Parmesan was as close as I could come to Myzithra, but the dish was a hit anyway. The kids were originally a bit frightened of the whole peppercorns they saw in the sauce and convinced it had to be a bug but after being reassured it was only pepper, they dived right in. Dh requested that I make it again (but next time maybe I could add some meat? ...) Check out Lulu's recipe here.

Eggplant Roll-Ups
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

1 large, firm eggplant
Salt and pepper
Grill seasoning blend (recommended: McCormick Montreal Seasoning)
1 cup semi-soft garlic and herb cheese (recommended: Alouette or Boursin)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano, a couple of handfuls
A few grinds black pepper
6 to 8 soft sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (tender sun-dried tomatoes are available in small pouches in produce department)
2 cups arugula leaves, chopped
1 cup basil leaves, chopped

Heat a grill pan over high heat. Thinly slice the eggplant, a minimum of 18 slices. Season with salt, pepper and grill seasoning blend. Grill the thin slices to tenderize the eggplant, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Combine the cheeses, black pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. Top each slice of cooked eggplant with a dab of cheese and some arugula and basil then roll up. The eggplant roll ups should have a few greens sticking out of both ends.

Spanikopita Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Cucumber andYogurt Sauce
Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for liberal drizzling
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted.
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoons grill seasoning (recommended: McCormick Montreal Seasoning)
1 1/2 cups Greek style plain yogurt
1/3 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons fresh dill
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons, 1/2 a palm full, cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons, 1/2 a palm full, coriander

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl combine onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Squeeze the water out of the spinach until completely dry. Separate the spinach as you add it to garlic and onion. Add feta, chicken and grill seasoning to the bowl and a liberal drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Mix the meat with veggies and feta and form 18 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Place the meatballs on a nonstick cookie sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until they are golden and juices run clear.

Place yogurt, garlic, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, cumin, coriander and a little salt in food processor and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve meatballs alongside sauce with toothpicks.


Darius T. Williams said...

Um...yea, so Rachel Ray has her good moments - lol. And yea, she loves grill seasoning, doesn't she. She puts a 'palmfull' of the stuff in everything - lol.


Lulu Barbarian said...

I'm glad the kids liked it! I too often use parmesan, because I don't always have mizithra on hand.

I do have a spaghetti with meat sauce, but it might be meatier than you want (linked above in my name).

khushi said...

Seeing as tonight's Greek finale featured the music of American Bang, you would expect them to go out with a bang of their own and throw a cliffhanger ending at us. Instead they went for a quieter approach, wrapping up some lingering story threads while introducing a few interesting things for next season.