Sunday, April 13, 2014

What's In Your Lenten Cookbook?

It's Palm Sunday, and a good time to delve deeper into your Lenten cookbook - like "Orthodox Lenten Recipes" (42 pages) published by the St. Basil's Parent's Club in 1973, and edited by Gayle Maduros/ Presvytera Efstathiou. It includes a bunch of wonderful traditional recipes and spin-offs, so I probably won't be making the "Chinese Tossed Salad" or "Special K Cookies" any time soon.

Looking through the copy my Mom had, I can see which recipes she favored by the food stains and notations mostly in the "Vegetable Main Dishes" section. Indeed, I remember many a pan of baked vegetables through the years -- okra, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and, if we were lucky, those long green beans that Mr. Terezakis grew in his garden over on Virginia Lane across from the Country Club golf course.  The "dava" that she used was one of those large, deep oval baking pans with lids; I hope my brother George got it and kept it.  These days you can only find those pans in hardware stores or thrift shops, but that's another story...

I love soups, and one of my all-time favorites Lenten dishes is spanokorizo (spinach and rice). So today I went with "Lentil Soup w/ Chard and Lemon" on page one, substituting spinach as suggested in the recipe. Kale would be another good choice. Lots of older recipes with lentils call for cooking them a long time; but they do cook much more quickly, in about 30 minutes or so. Add the greens, sauteed onion/garlic, salt (if you must),and lemon juice with a little flour to thicken. It takes about an hour.

I made the soup in an aluminum Guardian Service pot that belonged to my Yiayia Sarris -- and it made my day!

NOTE: The recipe called for 3/4 c. lemon juice, way too much. Next time I will start with 1/4 c. and see where that takes me -- or no lemon juice, just wait to add vinegar to the dish as we do with plain lentil soup. And, of course, more garlic!

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