Thursday, November 11, 2010

What I'm Reading Today

This week's installment is a bit late but none the less delicious. Enjoy!

I've always had a soft spot for Greek food.  My grandmother (Noni), with Greek and Turkish heritage, constantly kept a gigantic block of feta in the fridge and I even remember her stretching homemade dough across the kitchen table when she was making her phyllo sheets from scratch.  One dish that seems to be the true litmus test for a Greek cook, or restaurant for that matter, is Avogolemono Soup.  The lemon chicken soup with rice is true comfort food, usually enriched with eggs to give it a silky, wonderful texture.  It can be flat and bland or balanced perfectly and warm you all the way through with one bite.  Naturally I was thrilled to see a recipe in the LA Times for a version from Taverna Tony in Malibu, CA.  This is true cooking from the pantry-no fancy ingredients or techniques involved-the rich soup makes a perfect dinner on any cool night.

One of my close friends is wheat-free in all she eats.  She loves a good treat so I'm always sending her recipes for flourless baked good when they cross my desk.  I'm picky though-I don't get excited about flour substitutes or the use of baking mixes.  I look for recipes like flourless chocolate cake or chewy coconut meringues that taste great with their natural ingredients (that said, I have not ventured deep here and I'm sure I could be convinced there are other wheat free sweets I would like).  This version of Flourless Carrot Cake in the NY Times is totally intriguing to me.  It looks much less dense that a traditional carrot cake, almost a tea cake (or a breakfast cake, if you ask me).  Easily embellished with a layer of cream cheese frosting, I'm giving this one a try and will report back.  If it passes the test it's heading up to hill to Jen's right away.

Remember that Greek and Turkish influence in my Noni's cooking?  This recipe, hailing from Morocco, looks exactly like something else she would bake.  Clearly she's looking over my shoulder today.  Anise Flavored Challah Bread with Sesame Seeds was a staple on her table at every celebratory meal.  I don't know if her recipe mirrors this one exactly.   Actually, I know it doesn't because she never used a recipe!  But, I can smell it in my head right now-warm from the oven with that sweet scent of anise, we'd pull it off the loaf and eat it as fast as we could.  I've never made it myself but with this recipe staring right at me I think it's Noni's way of telling me to get on it pronto.

Happy Cooking!

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