17 July 2009

Dinner and a Movie!

Sorry I haven't posted in the past couple of days. It's been a bit busy around here, but I'm back now and will be until next Friday when I leave for the west coast for my family reunion (I'll try to at least post some photos of my family while I'm gone).

Tonight, I had a Greek night. It was my first foray into Greek food, if you don't count the Greek salads I've had (which I don't since I didn't make them, natch). Since I went Greek, I had to go with a Greek movie. I realize it's not actually Greek, but it's still a great movie. Can you guess what it is? Yeah, My Big Fat Greek Wedding starring Nia Vardalos. I don't know what it is about this movie, but I love it. Every time it comes on TV, I watch it. I just can't help myself. When it showed up the $5 bin at Wal-Mart, I jumped at the chance to own it. One of my favorite scenes is near the beginning when a 6-year old Toula brings her lunch to school. "What's that?" the little blond girl asks snidely. " Moussakas," little Toula answers. "Moose caca?!??" And so begins the movie.

When my husband was sent to Greece, he came across an awesome cookbook that he sent me. I hadn't had the opportunity to use it until last weekend when I saw it sitting on my cookbook shelf, beckoning me. When I opened it and came across the recipe for moussakas, I was transported back to my favorite scene from the movie and knew I had to at least attempt to make it. I had every intention of making baklava to go with it, but dinner took longer than I expected to make. I promise to make some later and post it. So for you, dear reader, please enjoy my "moose caca."

Recipe from Cretan Cuisine (I couldn't find it on Amazon, but trust me, this one has some fun recipes

2 lbs eggplants, sliced
2 lbs potatoes, sliced
2 cups olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 cup red wine ( I used Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 onion, finely diced
2-3 tomatoes, diced (it actually called for it being grated, but how do you grate a tomato?)
Becahmel sauce (recipe can be found here; I was having a hard time following the recipe in the book which was on a different page with a completely different recipe, the whole book was a bit confusing to be honest)
1/2 lb cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using the olive oil, fry the eggplant and potatoes and allow to drain for 2-3 hours (I did not let mine drain for that long because it would have been past midnight before I got to have dinner; I also fried them until they got browned a little).
  2. In a medium-sized pan, saute the onions in the leftover olive oil. Add the ground beef and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the red wine and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes.
  3. In a 9x13 pan, place a layer of potatoes. Place a layer of eggplant then add some of the meat mixture. Continue to layer until all of the ingredients are gone or until the pan is full. Top with the bechamel sauce and cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the sauce becomes slightly brown and the cheese has broiled.


Tulsa Gentleman said...

Yum, this sounds delicious. But, "after frying the eggplant saute the onions in the left over olive oil...." When I fry eggplant there is never any leftover olive oil. It s like frying a sponge. I must be doing it wrong.

Peanut Butter Swirl said...

greek night sounds delicious :)
have a lovely evening!!

koralee said...

Looks so lovely...I will have to give it a try....I am so with you on that movie...I love it and have seen it many many times! Have a great time away with your family!

Deelish said...

Fun! I'm never that adventurous, I really need to work at it and take it up a notch. I love dinner and a movie, what's better?

Sunshine said...

Tulsa Gent - You are most correct. I cheated and used a little extra (maybe a couple Tbl.). I had never worked with eggplant before, and it certainly soaks it up like a sponge. I'll get it corrected (as it was, I copied the direction almost verbatim, which were difficult enough to follow).

PB Swirl - We had a blast. I meant to try to find some Greek wine or even Ouzo, but I forgot.

Koralee - Thank you very much. It came out great, and I always enjoy the movie.

Deelish - I'm trying to force myself to be more adventurous with what I cook (that's why I started the blog, so I'd have a reason to try harder).

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

Oh, I love that movie too! and Moussaka too! but it's a loooot of work. It's been years since I last made it at home.
For a few months (a few years ago) I worked in a wonderful Greek restaurant and was in charge, among other things, to make Moussaka. I made it in a big hotel pan that serves 20-30 people. It took hours to make. But it's sooo good. Oh, I wish i had some Moussaka now.