I know I cook, a lot, but I do enjoy going out to eat as well. We’re lucky to have a great Greek community not so far away. Our favorite place in Tarpon Springs is a restaurant called Mykonos. (See reviews here.) It’s a simple place that gets loud and frenetic during lunch and dinner (constant yells of “Opa!” fill the dining area when the flaming Haloumi is being brought from the open kitchen).
We basically get the same items every time we go to Mykonos. Here are our go-to’s: a trio of dips which are: 1) Skordalia (mashed potatoes flavored with garlic, crushed almonds, lemon juice, EVOO and a shit ton of garlic – NOT A FIRST DATE DISH!!), 2) Melitzanosalata (eggplant dip, much like babaganoush) and 3) my (personal favorite) Taramasalata (roe/caviar, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, onion garlic and olive oil).
We also get grilled calamari – which is amazing. No need to bread and fry truly fresh fish, throw it on the grill, splash with fresh lemon and enjoy, like they do in Greece. For a main course my hubby got grilled shrimp in a fresh tomato sauce, it was very simple and delicious. I always get a peasant salad (tomato, red onion, cucumber, feta cheese and pepperoncini-no lettuce) with a side of gyro meat. It’s ALWAYS too much, but so simple, fresh and delicious.
If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend this place. Oh, and don’t let the turkey vultures in the back parking lot scare you (they terrify me).
We may be late to the game but we just started doing Taco Tuesdays. It’s so much fun. I remember making tacos for the kids when they were little so I’m glad to be back at it again.
My husband makes a great fresh guacamole. All you need to do is mix fresh mushed up avocados (we do this using the back of a fork), chopped tomatoes, minced onion and jalapeños, fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon), salt & pepper in a bowl. I like the guac to be a little chunky, but it’s totally your preference. If you don’t know how to cut open an avocado, I found this good video here that you might want to check out. Also, a note of caution – we now use gloves when chopping the jalapeños, it’s a story I won’t share here…
Then we make the fillers…we eat shrimp, a lot of shrimp…so we sautéed some shrimp in a little EVOO with a bit of garlic and seasoning – and that’s it!
For toppings, I chopped up some lettuce, tomatoes, and some more jalapeño. Then of course there’s the obligatory shredded cheese, sour cream and hot sauce. We like the soft shell flour tacos, which I warm up for 30 seconds in the microwave before plating.
One of the dishes I used to like to order when I was on the road was shrimp & grits. This was not a dish that I grew up with or one that I made, until recently (of course with my own spin on it).
To make my version of this dish I prepared some polenta (follow the instructions on the bag). I use chicken broth (or you can use vegetable broth) instead of water – this gives the polenta a richer flavor. When the polenta is nearly done cooking (remember to stir, stir, stir) I add about a tablespoon of mascarpone, which makes the polenta creamy and yummy. Remove from heat and prepare the shrimp.
In my wok (or sauté pan) I steam some fresh broccoli rabe for about 7 minutes (again I steam this in chicken broth, which removes some of the bitterness). Strain and refresh with cold water. Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, drizzle with a little EVOO and set aside.
Now, back to your wok or sauté pan. Add a little EVOO, when warm add some fresh minced garlic and either fresh chopped onion or scallion and cook for about 3 minutes. Add fresh, cleaned shrimp and sauté until just pink. I usually have mint & basil growing on the patio, so I would mince some up and toss in towards the end of cooking.
Now to plate this baby. Spoon polenta on the plate, top with shrimp and a helping of the broccoli rabe. I garnished with fresh avocado. You can drizzle with EVOO and viola!
Pro-tip: you can use any type of protein and/or veggie for this dish. Chicken would be great or LOBSTER…broccoli or zucchini noodles would work too.
We often have a dinner of meze, tapas, small dishes, apps…whatever you call it – we love a dinner of many small plates to share. For Thanksgiving, there is no such thing as “small” anything. These are some of the appetizers we made this year: stuffed artichokes (full disclosure: my husband makes the crowd favorite artichoke…I still don’t know how that happened, but here we are), stromboli, sauteed rock shrimp (not always easy to find, but if you can DO IT!) and, the piece di resistance, sauteed zucchini flowers. These beauts are super hard to find, very seasonal and exceptionally fragile. I can always find them at Eataly in NYC (Flatiron) anytime of the year (they are imported from Israel) and during the late Spring at the Union Square farmer’s market. They only stay fresh for a day or two so you pretty much have to cook them immediately. If you want the 411 on how to purchase and prepare these yummies, send me a message and I’ll fill you in.