Samanya: A Tribute to Bartendering

In 1948 when David A. Embury was publishing the book “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks” little he knew it will become a classic cocktail book, praised 70 years later. The book attempted to put an order to the mess of the cocktails and all the different mixed drinks that right after the end of the second World War became a growing trend. He laid down a few simple rules and concepts that can be a guide, a compass for every bartender. The peak era of the cocktails was in the 60s. The Rat Pack and James Bond made cocktails cool. And then came the 70’s. The Dance floor was steamy hot. The dancers need to cool down and get energy. Slowly the Martini and the Manhatan gave their place to neon colored sissified drinks.The 90s came along and Jazz, Blues and the Funk all became popular again. And just like a whole new generation was rediscovering the music, the cocktails became popular again. The bartenders gave up the colorful drinks for tasteful drinks. The globalization brought in the scene new high proof alcohols and more exquisite flavors. Suddenly David A. Embury’s book was rediscovered. The old copies skyrocketed to hundreds of dollars. It went back in press. David did not dictate, he suggested. He suggested 5 simple rules.
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Bruschetta (?) My Way

Since it is summer, I am more keen in making and creating dishes, that are summery and fresh that combine a large number of various elements: texture, flavors and engage all the senses. This is what I making today. A take on a bruschetta, the italian delicacy that is been around since the 15th century. It was a fun recipe since it is largely similar to the the previous post in regards to the ingredients. It showcases that sam ingredients put together in a different way results in such a different result.As you probably noticed on the title next to the bruschetta is a question mark. Why? Because I think that in the melting culinary pot in america many cuisines were merged, fused, combined and unavoidably either lost their origin meaning or got a load of new ingredients, that changed drastically their appearance and flavor profile.

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My Take on a Classic: Greek Salad

Greek salad is the poster boy of greek cuisine. And for a good reason. It combines in a plate all the vegetables that mean summer in Greece; sweet juicy tomatoes, succulent snappy cucumbers, peppery sweet onions, crisp peppers and of course who can leave out the greek briny cheese. All of the held together with the power of olive oil, topped with oregano. A herb that is 100% greek. You find it in abundance in the hills and mountains of the greek country side. The greek salad is not only a delicious combination, but it is also visually appealing. You eat with your eyes first. All the crisp vegetables also engage the hearing in the experience. It is therefore a full sense experience. The quintessential greek summer (and not only dish).It is also a classic dish. So why remake a dish that As my professor of thermodynamic if you are going to repeat something that has been done many times before, you either need to right a wrong, or offer something brand new. In this post I am approaching both aspects. Greek salad in the US has involved to something strange. Started with tomatoes and cucumber and soon peperoncini chilies, lettuce, huge olives joined the party. The final salad is a abomination that the only common thing with greek salad is the feta cheese. And this is a complain of mine: slapping feta cheese on top of anything and calling it greek? WRONG!!!This is the first part I will try to address. Also I will show a slightly different recipe from what it is typical in Greece. So are you ready? Of course you are…

Rakitini: A Tsikoudia Cocktail

This is the third recipe that has a special meaning. It is from my island in Greece the glorious island of Crete, and even more specifically from my Home town, the town of Ierapetra ( Ιεράπετρα ) that literally translates as Hollystone. Crete is most known for the agriculture and farming, ranging from olive oil, vegetables and wine to animal farming (sheep and goats) and fishing. It is in a way self sustained island. The wine industry although not well developed is responsible for a great by product. All the leftover grape mush after the juice is extracted. This waste is converted to one of the most celebrated distilled spirit of Crete tsikoudia (τσικουδιά) or raki after the turkish version of another distilled spirit. One difference with all the other spirits? It is never mixed, not even with ice. Always straight, never in a cocktail. Well things are about to change. I just made a perfect cocktail based on the same techniques of all the classic cocktails.
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The Making of a Legend: Tzatziki

Tzatziki is one of the most widely known greek dishes, served in every greek restaurant and dinner. It is a dish that is served, with, grilled meat, stew meet, fried vegetables, stuffed vegetables, seafood, on its own as an appetizer with ouzo, or even with bread just like a spread. Although a very popular dish, there is no particular story associated with the tzatziki. Its origin is lost somewhere in the area of the middle east & balkans. In turkey there is a similar concoction that is called “cacik” (pronounced “tzatzik”) and is a soup with cucumber, garlic and yogurt. All around the Balkans there is a similar dish that calls for yogurt and cucumber.

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