Friday, March 7, 2014

A blog without photos

Please excuse the absence of photos. When I got my new smart (not so smart now) phone, I noticed that a huge file of My Name is Iosifina photos were taking up a lot of space. I didn't understand why all those photos had to be on my phone so I deleted them. I then found out that this blog is somehow connected to gmail, google, etc. Now my blog, my efforts, my life, in fact, over the past few years, has no photos. So, bear with me as I attempt to return photos to the proper blogs....if I can re-locate those photos at all.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Let's start with vinegar....

We have 20 vines of grapes, 10 Merlot and 10 Sultanina (seedless green), and there's only so many grapes two people can eat. Our neighbor Katerina suggested we make wine vinegar, and this is her recipe.

1. Pick the grapes, do not wash them (we do not spray insecticides), and place them in 1-meter tall plastic barrels. Squeeze each clump slightly with your hands to break the grapes open. Cover the barrel with netting (I used netting from past *boubounieras).

2. After 10-15 days, the garage smelled divine! Remove the grapes, squeeze well, leaving the juice in the barrel. Discard the squeezed grapes.

3. Pour the juice through a strainer (again, netting from past boubounieras) into a large glass 15 liter bottle (here called a damitzana--demijohn?). 

4.  Add water in the ratio of 10:1 or one container of water for every 10 containers of grape juice. Also add 1 cup of vinegar for every 10 liters of juice (acts as a yeast/starter).


5.  Add a small handful of any kind of pasta. I am not kidding. Use spaghetti, elbow macaroni, rotini....add the cork/lid slightly off kilter to allow air to escape from the demijohn/bottle as it ferments, and to allow a small vinegar-loving fly to enter and leave. Again, I am not kidding you..

6. After 30 days, strain (hello, boubounieras) through netting into smaller, cuter bottles to store and/or give to friends.

*Boubounieras are given to guests at weddings and baptisms in Greece. They are usually made of netting holding candied almonds and tied with beautiful ribbon. To see traditional and modern boubounieras plus more items for weddings and baptisms, visit my friend Maria Zeaki's website.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recipe for Preparing Olives

Recipe for Preparing Olives

This year we picked enough Halkidiki olives to fill nine 2.5 liter and two 1 liter containers of olives. I call these olives "little taters" because they're so huge. Two people could share one olive and be full!

Two of the nine jars have sliced or slit olives, two have cracked (great stress reliever to crack them between two flat rocks), and the rest are whole olives. After changing water every day for one week, we prepared the brine (salamoura) this way:

1. In a 15 liter plastic barrel filled with water, we added two 500 grams bags of coarse salt and two large wooden soup spoons of limon du ju or citric acid powder. To fill these eleven jars, we made one and a half of this mixture.

2. To get this measurement, we tested with a fresh egg (Thank you, Magda and your chickens!). You've added enough salt when the fresh egg floats just to the top and only about a quarter-size area of the egg is exposed to the air. (Actually, we've been told a 1-euro coin size, but it's about the size of a U.S. quarter.)

3. Empty out the last dose of fresh water and fill with the brine to just cover the little
plastic floater.

4. Top off with about a 1/2 inch of olive oil to seal. Replace the lid and keep in a dark, cool location. The cracked olives will be ready to eat in just two months. The sliced and whole take a bit longer.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers....

Make your own pickled peppers...Easy!

You will need:
--a bunch of medium sized banana peppers and/or small thin skinned peppers
--red wine or apple cider vinegar
--one head of garlic
--one bouquet of broad leaf parsley
--olive oil

In a large pot, fill with water and about half cup of vinegar. Bring to boil. Blanch the peppers for about a minute (be sure to poke each pepper with a fork beforehand) and drain. Chop the parsley and sliver each clove of garlic. Set aside. In a large glass or clear plastic container, begin to layer the parsley, garlic, peppers, squirt of vinegar and a good salting. Repeat until the jar is full.  Fill to the top with olive oil. 

Leave on your kitchen counter for a day or two and then refrigerate. When you want to serve, pull out a few of the peppers along with the garlic and parsley. Save the juices/oil to make another batch when your garden says, "Enough, already!"


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Too many zucchini! Here is a quick and easy casserole to make if you're asking yourself, "What do I do with all these zucchini?"

In a fairly large casserole dish, slice 5-7 medium sized zucchinis, 1-2 sliced onions, a couple of mashed garlic cloves, one tomato cubed. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in oven for 40 minutes at 350 F.

While that is browning in the oven, melt 1/2 stick of butter or margarine, stir in2-3 TBL flour. Then add 1 cup white wine (I used Retsina, a white Greek wine) and 1 cup milk. Bring to a simmer until thickened, then add a handful or two of Monterrey Jack or Kasseri or any cheese you like. When the vegetables are browned, pour the sauce over, sprinkle with more cheese and continue baking 10-15 minutes until the top is browned.