Greek restaurants across the USA had to adapt and adjust their menu and recipes. This usually happens with in three ways: i) the adaptation of classic recipes to whatever ingredients are available ii) the adaptation to the taste palette of the locals and iii) the adoption of dishes from other countries just because the locals seem to like them. Actually one of the most classic dishes, the poster child of the Greek food, the gyro sandwich originated in its final form in New York by Greek food track vendors out of necessity to battle tacos and shawarma as a fast food alternative. In the restaurant scenery, one of the Greek adopted dishes was, and still is, the hummus.
This is the fourth significant recipe towards the countdown. In a way it is one more tribute to my island. It is the traditional way we are curring the green olives. And this recipe is from my grandma. The one person that knows how to make them perfect. She is making them every year for more than 50 years. This particular variations in Crete are called tsakistes ( τσακιστές ). This means crushed. You used to take the olives, and crush then with a rock or a small hammer, enough to crack open the meat of the olive. More on why later. They are served with lots of lemon and sea salt. My favorite treat since I was a kid.
Summer and spring is the time of my favorite fruits. Some of them although they are available year around are pretty much taste like cucumber, with fruit flavor. Take for example the case of the peaches, the blueberries and the apricots. All of them can be available year around it the major markets, but during the winter they never tasted good. That ‘s why it is essential to capture the essence of those fruits, the aromas and the flavors. And there is a major method to do so. Making jam, preserves and jellies.
I left for last the sauce that is the one closest to my heart. The sauce of the sauces. Well at least for me it is. I love this sauce as nothing in the world. It is a sauce that has only one way of making it and can accommodate everything, from veggies to cardboard.
The Sidecar is a classic cocktail traditionally made with Cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice. It is one of six basic drinks listed in David A. Embury’s classic (The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks). The exact origin of the Sidecar is unclear, but it was created around the end of World War I in either London or Paris. It is a variation on the older Brandy Daisy (brandy, yellow Chartreuse, and lemon juice). The first recipes for the Sidecar appear in 1922, in both Harry MacElhone’s Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails and Robert Vermeire’s Cocktails and How to Mix Them. In early editions of MacElhone’s book, he cites the inventor as Pat MacGarry, “the Popular bar-tender at Buck’s Club, London”, but in later editions he cites himself. Vermiere states, “This cocktail is very popular in France. It was first introduced in London by MacGarry, the celebrated bar-tender of Buck’s Club.” David A. Embury (The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, 1948) credits the invention of the drink to an American Army captain in Paris during World War I “and named after the motorcycle sidecar in which the good captain was driven to and from the little bistro where the drink was born and christened”.