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Archive for August 2nd, 2009

I received my cookbook the other day and was so excited to try my first recipe.  If all goes well, I will offer at least one recipe from this book per week.  If anyone else has this book and would like to participate in making the recipes, please let me know.

DSC_0355TZATZIKI:

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Page 9, Appetizers. First recipe in the book by Jeanann Murphy is Tzatziki.  This is a Lebanese recipe.  The recipe listed in “A Taste Of Utica”  turned out fabulous.  Perfect for a summer afternoon and also can be called “cucumber dip”.

I reduced the quantities of the ingredients because there were only two of us tonight. 

  • 1 cup Greek style non-fat yogurt (I use Greek style because it is pre-strained so you don’t have to leave it overnight to let the liquid run out of it)
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed and minced
  • juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • ground pepper

Note:  if you use Greek style yogurt, only drain for a couple of hours but even that’s not necessary if you are in a rush.

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Line a colander with paper towel. Pour in yogurt and place colander over a bowl and place in fridge overnight.

The next day ( or a couple of hrs later if using Greek yogurt), peel cucumber, cut in half length wise, remove seeds and slice thin.  Put in colander in sink and toss generously with salt.  Let it sit about an hour, rinse and pat dry.  Mince the cucumber. 

Put the drained/thickened yogurt into a bowl and stir in the garlic, cucumber, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve with pita bread, flat bread, or fresh vegetables.  You can also put it on a burger or in chicken pitas as suggested in the book.

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Enjoy… I know you will.

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We had intended to dine at The Celtic Harp however plans change and we ended up at the restuarant on Genesee Street called The Balkan. 

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Ted pointed out that the other side of the restaurant is called The Hadley.  In an earlier post, on a Thursday evening, I said we had eaten at The Balkan. In fact, we had eaten at The Hadley.  Confused yet?  This is how it works.  You can eat on either side of the restaurant:

The Balkan

The Balkan

 

However, you must order off the menu dedicated to that side. So you cannot sit in the Balkan and order off the Hadley

The Hadley
The Hadley

menu.  What Ted and I did was to sit outside and order off the Balkan menu and that way we were able to enjoy the piano player.  It was a nice evening and perfect for outdoor dining.

First up was something I have never had before and would never think of:   A cottage cheese spread for the bread. It was wonderful!  Not sweet but savory. Not sour but creamy. Flavorful and perfect with the dry grain bread.
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I had a glass of Talus Pinot Grigio and Ted tried a new beer for him, Ommegang.  It is a beer from Cooperstown, NY.  Described as “rich, fruity, and aromatic, burgundian ale.”   He enjoyed it.  It was a bit too strong for me, but then I’m not a beer drinker (only a frequent taster).
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One of the specials of the evening was a dozen steamers.  We went for it:
DSCN1732The clams were hot and delicious. Butter on the side for those who indulge.  I was able to snag 3 of them before the infamous disappearing act that so often occurs around Ted and food.
A crisp, fresh salad with oil and vinegar:
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Now dinner was limited for me.  It seems that this restaurant, whether it be The Hadley (after looking over the menu) or The Balkan, cater to the meat eater.  While there was one fish dish offered on the menu and the entree special was soft shell crab (breaded), there wasn’t much else. I suspect that the feature vegetable of the night, mashed rutabaga, parsnips,etc. was cooked with some bacon or other animal fat. Not sure… I don’t mean to accuse…just suspicious.   The dinners were good but not five star.  Ted did however enjoy his Osso Bucco and look at the prices!…..
DSCN1723Osso Bucco: Tender pork shank, served with rich gravy, $10.95…where can you get that dish for THAT price?!
Osso Bucco
Osso Bucco

My dinner was the Fresh Haddock pan seared and finished with butter, $11.95. I asked that they skip the butter.

I ended up taking all the breading off the fish. I prefer it “virgin” rather than hidden in breading.
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For a decent dinner with better than reasonable pricing, try The Balkan and take a peak at The Hadley menu.  For nice atmosphere on either side, visit this cute little duet on Genesee St. in Utica.
On another note, I tried something new today:  Brown Cow Greek Style Yogurt, vanilla.  Wow! Great! Try it! What can I say?!  A really good yogurt and it’s about the same in nutritional values as Fage, or Oikos.  Super find!
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