Olive Oil Weekend

My bottle of olive oil became dangerously depleted this weekend. I had run out of burger patties and had spied a box of what I took to be bison burger patties in Thrifties. It was a solid frozen block of ground, and has been in the freezer for 8 months since that regrettable purchase. I thought about using it in a chili, but inspiration took hold on Saturday. I have a venison cookbook by A.D. Livingstone, the food writer for Gray’s Sporting Journal, a magazine for upscale rednecks (think Cy Tolliver in Deadwood). Livingstone had a recipe for venison Moussaka. I used at least a cup of olive oil to sauté two eggplants. Livingstone’s recipe calls for making a sauce with 1 and half cups of milk, and a couple tablespoons each of flour and butter, seasoned with a pinch of nutmeg. If he had said it was a bechamel sauce, I might have passed on the dish as too pretentious, but Livingstone just plugged it into the recipe. Livingstone believes in good food more than redneck values, obviously. My only mistake was using a liberal sprinkle of nutmeg in the bechamel instead of a pinch. It was fair bit of work – slice, dry and sauté eggplant, a cooked meat sauce, a bechamel, and baking it, but not more than baking lasagna.

That started a Greek theme. I haven’t had a Greek salad in ages, and the idea of a salad without lettuce was appealing. I found a recipe called Dad’s Greek Salad at Elise Bauer’s Simply Recipes site. Elise is also a resource for Movable Type fixes. The recipe is larger than I need. I made full recipe of sauce (two tablespoons of lemon juice is the juice of small lemon) and put about 2 thirds in a jar in the fridge, and then used only about one third of the vegetables.

On Sunday I made a simple pasta dish, with chickpeas. A few cloves of garlic, minced, sautéd in olive oil, a can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, a pile of chopped parsley, fresh ground pepper, all simmered on low heat for half an hour, served on ditali – short macaroni style pasta. I got the recipe from Joseph Orsini’s Italian Kitchen – a nice find in Russell’s (Used) Bookstore.

Everything had left overs – two thirds of the moussaka went in the freezer. Cooking with wine is fun too, if I put the sharp knives away before I open the wine.