Greece, Revisited

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View from Oia, Santorini

I visited Greece this Spring for the first time, and like many far-flung places I’ve been to, the memories of the food are some of the most vivid, sticking with me months – sometimes years – after I get home.

So it’s only fitting that I had my fellow travel buddies over for a soiree back in the city, and we recreated our favorite dishes from Crete, Santorini, and Athens, where we found a nice mix of local tavernas and seasonal eats.

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Happy campers. Just add rosé.

I’ll admit I was giddy as a school girl getting ready for dinner:  sprucing up the deck, hanging twinkle lights, and decorating the table with white cheesecloth napkins (maybe a nod to the process of making Tzatziki?), a potted oregano plant, and lanterns.

IMG_2165But back to our travels.  Some of the best dishes from our trip were just awesome ingredients simply prepared, so we did our best to recreate them:  a simple Greek salad, grilled squid with fresh lemon, zucchini fritters, and a team favorite, feta.  While always great plain, I dialed it up a notch and recreated an appetizer we had at Floga, a restaurant in Oia, after a 3-hour hike from Fira:

We were sweaty and nasty and ravenous after the hike, so of course everything we ate at that lunch seemed incredible.  But this one feta dish stood out:  it was rolled in slivered almonds and sesame seeds, lightly pan-fried to a golden brown, and served with a pomegranate reduction.  Talk dirty!

Feta final

Golden Fried Feta

So that’s what I set out to make at home (above).  Here’s my attempt to recreate the recipe.  I’ll caveat that it was a mess to make, and certainly not for the impatient.  But after one bite into the toasted nuttiness and warm cheese, I knew it was time well spent.

Golden Fried Feta

Ingredients:
– 1 c. pomegranate juice (ie Pom)
– olive oil
– 1 square block of feta (8 oz)
– 1 egg
– 1 T. milk
– 1/3 c. flour
– 1/2 c. slivered almonds
– 1 t. sesame seeds
– Pita wedges, for serving

Heat the pomegranate in a small saucepan over high heat until it simmers; reduce to half and set aside to cool.  In the meantime, heat olive oil in a heavy pan on medium, enough to coat the bottom by about 1/3″. Beat egg and milk in a large, shallow bowl. Set aside. Combine flour and pepper on a separate plate, set aside. Pour almonds on a third plate, set aside.

Quarter your feta block into 4 equal wedges and prep each as follows: dredge triangle in egg mixture, then flour, then egg mixture. This will give you a gooey base. Sprinkle a few pinches of sesame onto the wedge, then gently press the almonds onto each side, coating as much “cheese space’ as possible. Repeat on remaining wedges.

Fry two wedges at a time, alternating sides until they are golden brown. Drizzle with pomegranate reduction and serve with greens and pita.

Holiday House NYC

Academy Mansion

Academy Mansion

I had a chance to check out Holiday House NYC this weekend, an annual benefit to raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  The event was held in an old mansion on the Upper West Side.  I volunteered through my school and had pretty sweet access to the rooms on display.

While the rooms were  fabulously done (more below) the old soul in me was fascinated by building itself, The Academy Mansion (aka Ziegler House) and it’s been vacant for 8+ years.  No one lives there!  Once a year, it’s brought back to its shiny self by a team of 12 designers who each take a room and put their own stamp on it.  I came away with some good nuggets of inspiration.  Here are some of my favorites.

This Living Room, by J. Cohler Mason Design.  I love the clean lines and the way the draperies draw the eye up to the ceiling that’s wallpapered in a glossy black snakeskin print.  Sexy!

Living Room

Living Room

Not sure who designed the power room, but sometimes it’s the small rooms that pack the most punch.  I’m loving the wallpaper motif.  It’s reminiscent of a half moon pattern I’ve been thinking of painting behind my headboard in my bedroom.

Powder Room

Powder Room

Speaking of my bedroom accent wall project, I’ve been cataloging a few inspiration sources and recently spotted a similar pattern on a tube of lipstick at Sephora in Tarte’s Glamazon Lipstick, below.  Just shows that inspiration can come from anywhere.

Glamazon Lipstick by Tarte