Sunday, March 29, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: Greek Ouzo Tasting ... in New York

Spring just sneaked in while winter is making a reluctant exit and yet I am already thinking about summer and our trip to Greece. And what says summer in Greece better than a refreshing glass of ouzo? Actually, I wouldn’t know … as Greek as I have been raised to be, as often as I have visited Greece, I'd never just sat and sipped on a glass of ouzo with a spread of mouthwatering mezedes surrounding me. Go figure ...

So when the call for entries for the March Foodbuzz 24,24,24 event was made, I jumped at the chance to submit an idea for an ouzo tasting. I was ready for a taste of ouzo, for a taste of summer, for a taste of friends enjoying a refreshing drink all the while discussing anything, everything or nothing in particular; just enjoying each others’ company. I know, I know; it’s March in New York … clearly not July or August on a sun-drenched island in Greece. But trust me: good friends, great food and ouzo make for an ideal party no matter where you are.

So, pull up a chair, close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting in a seaside taverna bathed in the light of summer’s sun, surrounded by crystal-blue waters, enjoying a glass of crisp ouzo. Can you smell the salty sea? Can you hear the waves breaking onto the beach? Now pick up a fork and enjoy a taste of Greece (be it from New York) … some traditional Greek mezedes (and a few contemporary ones at that) to help ease down that fiery ouzo.

The Menu:

Ouzo On the Rocks

Eight Iron (Ouzo Cocktail with Banana Liqueur and Blue Curacao)
Olive Oil Biscotti/Crostini Topped with Goat Cheese and Tomato/ Taramosalata/Kalamata Olives in Balsamic Vinegar
Ouzo Marinated Shrimp Wrapped in Kataifi with a Spicy Remoulade

Potatoes Sauteed with Onions, Garlic, Paprika and Kalamata Olives

Mussels Saganaki
Manitaropita (Mushroom Pie)

Sardines with Tomato and Capers

Htapodokeftedes (Octopus Croquettes)
Chicken Kabobs

Ouzo-Soaked Berries

P.S. There was a beautiful fennel, walnut and pear salad made by my sister, roasted beets with crumbled goat cheese and a cider vinegar dressing and for dessert a yummy rice pudding made by my cousin who actually stenciled the Ouzo 12 logo in cinnamon on top! Unfortunately, we failed to take photos of any of those dishes--although some may surface as friends and family start uploading whatever shots they snapped that night. Oh, and stay tuned for some Ouzo trivia, what we found to be our favorites brands of ouzo, recipes for all the mezedes above, photos and more ...


Peter G said...

This looks like fun and I can't wait to see more of those recipes Maria!

Peter M said...

Maria, a wonderful idea to have Ouzo as the centerpiece of your "24" dinner.

The mezedes you chose are fabulous and I too can't wait to see the recipes in the coming days.

Your friends will surely be talking about this dinner for awhile!

Mediterranean kiwi said...

fantastic - makes me wish i was there
and you are not the only one who never had ouzo with hors d'oeuvres: i still dont touch the stuff, but if i had all these appetisers, maybe i would !!!

Núria said...

A fantastic post Maria! Congratulations for being one of the 24 :D
That Ouzo Menu is sooooo inspiring that yes, I saw myself by the beach with white and blue little houses behind and the sea soaking my feet ;D

Nate-n-Annie said...

Hello, fellow "24'er"

Congratulations on being chosen as a 24, 24, 24 participant! Boy, I sure wish I was there to eat with you. All the food looks so amazing. We just don't get good Greek food like that over here in San Jose.

Ivy said...

Maria, first of all congratulations for being featured on the 24, 24, 24 event. Shall be looking forward to reading more about the recipes. Everything sounds fantastic.

Hopie said...

What a great idea for an event! I don't know much about ouzo and it's great to see what you did with it!

Anonymous said...

This looks like a real treat Maria. And ouzo makes people come closer too. What a great idea for a dinner!

Anonymous said...

Love the ouzo tasting idea! I spent some time in Greece when I studied abroad and brought a little bottle of ouzo home with me. I think I remember seeing an ouzo flavored cake recipe in Bon Appetit magazine a few years ago...yum!