Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Parthenon

One of my very first weekends in Chicago, right around Christmas, a business associate took me to The Parthenon (314 S Halstead) for a party that resulted in me missing my train stop on the way home and having to cab it back…a long way. When you do it once, you’ll likely not do it again. A lesson learned immediately and you blame it on the  Roditis and swear you’ll never drink it again…until the next time you go to Greektown. Let’s face it - anything brewed in the basement of a restaurant deserves a second taste.

My introduction to Greek food that night stuck as a lasting affection and I have since celebrated so many memorable events in Greektown. It is one of my favorite places in Chicago and the next time you want to have a grand celebration at a nominal price, head to The Parthenon.

I’ve done every restaurant in Greektown and it still does it the best.
Here are some of my favorite traditions at Christmas.
Bon Appetit!
4 ½ ounces, ¾ inch thick of Kasseri-style  cheese or Talagani
 Light Olive oil
 1 Egg (beaten)
 1/4 Lemon

Pour olive oil in pan – ½ “ depth.  Heat oil over medium high heat.
Put egg in one flat bowl and flour in another.
Dip cheese in egg hen in flour to coat.
Fry in oil.
Cheese should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
When done remove with tongs and drain on paper towel.
Splash with brandy and light.
Squeeze lemon juice over cheese and serve.

Fried Eggplant 
½ eggplant cut thin
Olive oil for frying
Coat with flour and fry in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Drain on paper towels.

Shake on Alatopiperigano (1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons dried oregano and a few grinds of black pepper).

Serve with Tzatziki

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 cup greek yogurt, strained
1 cup sour cream
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Finally, add the cucumber and chopped fresh dill. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
Greek Salad

8 small ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, sliced thick on the diagonal
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (they did not use)
18 Kalamata olives, drained
2 small handfuls purslane
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
5-ounce slab feta
1 teaspoon or so dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, optional

Put the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives and capers into a serving bowl. Add the purslane or arugula; season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the feta on top; crumble the oregano over with your fingers. Drizzle the olive oil over, as well as the vinegar if using. Serve with bread.

Lamb Ribs

As many lamb ribs as you feel like devouring.

Rub them with Alatopiperigano (1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons dried oregano and a few grinds of black pepper)

Put them in a foil covered baking pan and cook them for 2 to 3 hours at 225 degrees.

Brown under the broiler or sear them quickly on very hot grill.