Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fresno Greek Fest 2011

Fresno's Greek Fest 2011
Greek Fest 2010 post here.
Website here.
St. George Greek Orthodox Church
Southwest corner of First & Clinton

I have to really highlight this cheese. My parents, Blake, Mr. & Mrs. I, and I all said that the cheese was really good. I must find it! It's listed in the Greek Fest 2011 program as "Haloumi - $4.00: Cypriot 'Grilled' Cheese - a true treat!" Seriously. This and the loukomades are my favorites here now, along with the spanakopita, the greek salad, ad the moussaka. Anyway, "Cypriot" refers to "Something of, from, or related to the country of Cyprus," an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean. Haloumi is made from a mixture of goat & sheep, although some can contain cow's milk. It's kinda similar to mozzarella in that it's white and mild. Sooo good.

Fried calamari. Good stuff.

Greek fries ("Potatoes with Feta, Special Herbs & Lemon"),
--> good but nothing too memorable
Souvlaki ("A stick of bbq Chicken or Pork with Lemon"),
--> a bit too burnt for me
Gyro (The program makes it clear that it's pronounced "YEE-ro,"
--> yummy - minus the raw onions, but that's just me
and Dolmades ("vegetarian stuffed grape leaves")
--> good, but their grape leaves are so tough (like last year's). I know it can be softened because I have these yalanchi at Marat's every single time, which are very similar to these dolmades. For pictures of the insides of these dolmades, see last year's post or
click here for a single picture of the inside.

This salad wasn't described in the program, so I'll just call it a fresh Greek salad. I was afraid to try this last year and again this year, and both times I remembered being surprised because it's not as sour as many Mediterranean salads can be. It's perfect...except I am still not a big fan of salty olives. I love the less salty olives, but these guys are just too much. haha That fresh feta (? I'm guessing) is AWESOME though.

FINALLY...the loukomades. I've posted about these beauties here, but I love them so much (especially with hot coffee!) that I have to share them with you again. This time I have behind-the-scenes pictures of how they make them.

I truly didn't take this picture because the guy looks like he's posing, although it is pretty awesome. Thanks to my friend, Cheri, for pointing that out.

Loukomades with two types of coffee drinks (described below):

The cold one on the left ("Coffee frappe") = "A refreshing foam-covered iced coffee drink, made from spray-dried [?] instant NESCAFE coffee"

The hot one on the right (next to Blake's hand) = "Finely ground 4oz Coffee brewed to order." It pretty thick and VERY grainy--especially at the bottom, which not everyone would like, but my dad and I love that grainy texture!!


As you can see, this is a pretty big event, and I didn't take pictures of the kiddo area, which might have looked a bit creepy anyway. They have a few booths at which you can buy artwork, tupperware, clothes, jewelry, etc. I bought my cousin a image-changing Cinderella sandwich container, which I almost kept for myself. Who'd have thought you could get that at Greek Fest?


Here's the "TAVERNA," where you can get your alcohol (Greek beers, mixed drinks, shots, Bud Light, Stella, Heineken, Newcastle, Greek cocktails like ouzo) and water:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Potato Chips - Some Experimentation

I've always had trouble making potato chips 'cause slicing them by hand is so dang difficult. I decided to try it again and experiment a little while I was at it.

Is it weird that I think sliced potatoes are pretty? Just like a chopped up leek.

You can't really tell, but the potatoes on the left half are covered in unsalted butter, those on the right half are covered in salted butter, the top half was topped with kosher salt and regular pepper, and the bottom half was topped with regular iodized salt and regular pepper. I found no significant differences between any of the different sections. I failed to reject the null. Sorry...had to throw a nerd joke in there somewhere. I do have to note that I didn't make sure I put exactly the same amounts of salt, pepper, butter, etc., I was the only judge, and I didn't do blind tastings, so I can't call this a true comparison, and I did this sorta informally for fun because I had nothing better to do. I do have to say that I later tried salting & peppering before and then after baking, and I found that I liked salting & peppering before baking. Both do taste good though, so do whatever you like. Feel free to leave potato or chip advice or information!

Did you know that kosher salt is less salty than regular salt? So you'd think that the kosher salt chips would be less salty. *shrugs* I guess I'll have to try this again but find more judges.

Hmm...definitely not perfect. Some were too soft...basically like those fried sliced/scalloped potatoes my mom used to make, which were awesome, but I was trying to make chips. Anyone have any chip tips? haha

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My First Tailgate! @ Fresno State

 Saturday, 9/17/11: Fresno State vs. North Dakota

I'm well aware that this being my first tailgate and first Fresno State football game is shocking, but I finally did it, and it was fun. Saw lots of Blake's friends and relatives, and then Michelle F and her friend, Derek, stopped by. Oh--and the food was awesome! Here's Blake's mom's yummy seven layer dip, which my mom has made before too!:

My orzo salad, which was a spin-off of this orzo salad. Ingredients = cherry tomatoes, basil, sundried tomatoes, bacon bits, fresh mozzarella, red onions, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, & olive oil. I used to make it with just tomatoes, mozarrella, & basil as the main ingredients like I did here, but then I got bored and branched out to this, which I think tasted pretty good. I don't have a recipe because I just kept adding, mixing, and tasting.

 My potato salad (used my mom's recipe that she keeps in her head). Boil potatoes, chop them into cubes and soak them overnight or at least for a few hours in Italian dressing, mix in diced pickles (just a little), black olives, four hard boiled eggs (and leave two for the top if you want), onions, mayonaise, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle paprika on top of the decorative eggs and put some parsley on top just for garnish (optional). Once again, I don't have a recipe, but it all just depends on how much you want to make. For this we used like eight medium-to-big potatoes.

 Aaand to make this a little Japanesey/Hawaiiany, my mom made some spam musubi for another event and gave two containers to us for the tailgate. All you do is form the rice using the proper equipment, fry some spam, cut it up, and dunk it in some teriyaki sauce. Then you wrap it all with nori (dried seaweed). One of my favorite things to eat.

I also brought homemade kettle corn (I posted about this HERE and got the recipe from Joy the Baker). I can't tell you how many times I've made kettle corn. SO easy and awesomely delicious. I can't find Joy's plain kettle corn post, but here is the maple bacon kettle corn one, which I want to try!

Fun!! The actual tailgate:

 Timeout, the Fresno State bulldog mascot:

Quick Announcements

(1) Just learned how to back-up my blog. I'm using Blog Backup.
(2) I'll be doing some JAPAN food posts about my trip back in 2005 (I've posted a few here, but there are lots more that I'd like to share).
(3) After much internal conflict, I made a Corrie Food Facebook page:

Baklava at Marat's Restaurant - Fresno, CA

Marat's Restaurant
8961 N Cedar Ave # 103
Fresno, CA 93720-4831

I love baklava when it's not overly sweet, and this stuff at Marat's in Fresno is awesome. I've been to this place many, many times with my family and a couple of friends (Steve and Candy) because we all just LOVE IT so much, and just last week I went there finally with Blake!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double Pizza Night: Chicken, Pesto, & Mozzarella and Potato, Leek & Bacon

Catherine, Josh, and I made these two pizzas last night (9/21/11). We used recipes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks as well as a pizza dough recipe that Catherine got from The Food Network. Both pizzas were SO DELICIOUS, but Catherine and I agreed that the potato, leek, & bacon one was better (I think Josh chose the chicken one). This was the first time all three of us had cooked leeks, which are pretty much like giant green onions. I've eaten potato leek soup topped with truffle oil in Chicago on a food tour, and that was amazing too. That bacon and cooking the leeks in bacon fat made this first pizza. All three of us agreed that the potato pizza tasted better topped with sweet potatoes rather than regular potatoes. Anyway, here are the pizzas we made!

I thought this leek chopped up was so pretty! Too bad I realized later that I hadn't included the rest of the dark green part. Next time.

 Delicious, garlic-y homemade pesto - made by Catherine & Josh:

 Chicken, pesto, & mozzarella pizza BEFORE:

  Chicken, pesto, & mozzarella pizza AFTER:

Potato, leek, & bacon pizza BEFORE:

 Potato, leek, & bacon pizza (AFTER):


Part of the work area:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie (AKA PiƱa Colada)

I used "Coconut Pineapple" ice cream but call this a "pineapple coconut" smoothie because I added frozen pineapple juice so that it ended up being more pineapple-y (my brother loves pineapples). This smoothie is sooo good. The ice cream is wonderful and creamy and delicious even just on its own. By the way, I've decided to use my family's sake cups for food blog pictures of certain drinks.

Recipe (use however much you think you'll like):

Non-fat milk
Coconut pineapple ice cream
Frozen pineapple juice

Combine in a blender (my family uses the BlendTec, which is fantastic and blends things really well and makes ice very fine so you get smoooooth smoothies).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Country Apple Dumplings (w/ Mountain Dew!?)

I found the recipe for these Country Apple Dumplings here on AllRecipes.com. Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman has her usual step-by-step pictures here. The recipes are the same except The Pioneer Woman's recipe is just called "Apple Dumplings," and the cinnamon is just "to taste."

I chose to make these because my mom had mentioned wanting some apple pie and then I saw this very highly-rated recipe and wanted to try it.

*Note: I made this recipe slightly healthier and it was still really good! Honestly, I'd rather not have the Mountain Dew in it, but these were definitely winners! So easy and gooood.
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled & cored
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough (I got the lower fat kind)
  • 1 cup butter = 2 sticks (I used about 1.5 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar (I used a little over a cup)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle Mountain Dew ™ (I poured from a two-liter bottle)

    (1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)
    (2) Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish
    (3) Cut each apple into 8 wedges & set aside
    (4) Separate crescent roll dough into the triangles as they come
    (5) Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end
    (6) Pinch to seal & place in the baking dish
    (7) Melt butter in a small saucepan & stir in the sugar & cinnamon & pour it over the apple dumplings
    (8) Pour Mountain Dew™ over the dumplings
    Bake for 35-45 minutes in the oven (or until golden brown)