Moussaka, spanakopita, tzatziki, oh my! If you had asked me before Saturday what any of these were, I could have come up with a shaky explanation for the last one. Luckily, my well-cultured friend Govinda had a plan and we decided to take this cooking adventure together. While she knew these dishes, she had never made moussaka either.
We started the day by hitting up the farmer’s market – I look forward to strolling through and picking up fresh produce from the local farmers every weekend! We picked up some herbs and veggies, but couldn’t get too much there… didn’t plan seasonally! And I accidentally grabbed some young cilantro thinking it was dill… DUH they’re different. Had to hit up the natural food store down the road – very expensive, but we paid for the convenience.
Govinda worked on prepping for the spanakopita while I got started on the eggplant and potatoes that would end up layered in our moussaka. It was QUITE a process. First we had to brine the eggplant to get rid of some of the moisture. Then roast them off – which took way too many batches. Then slice up the potatoes with my underutilized, but oh-so-effective mandolin (thanks Mom!). So proud, I didn’t cut myself!
We had a bit of a panicked moment when we realized she didn’t have a pastry brush and we were BOTH going to be working with phyllo (hers was the appetizer and mine was for dessert). We just used our hands and slathered that butter on, no prob! Spanakopita in the oven, time to move onto finishing the moussaka. I wasn’t taking enough good pictures. It goes potatoes, meat sauce mixture, eggplant and then the greatest of the French mother sauces – béchamel. Who doesn’t love to cream, butter, and cheese!?
Just as we were finishing up layering the moussaka, we realized we only got enough cream for dessert – and not enough for the béchamel!! Another trip to the natural food store… hahah. But it did get us the cutest little bottle of cream ever!!
Yum. Slathered the sauce over the top of the moussakas (we did a meat and a veggie version). Then I headed to the bathroom to touch up makeup and change my outfit up before people came over to gobble up this goodness. Presentation first!
Put the Greek taquitos out on the table with a yummy tzatziki sauce – all done by GoGo 🙂
As people started trickling in, I was still working on the dessert. I made these cute little phyllo cups between all the other roasting and boiling and simmering and baking we were doing.
Finished product was a dollop of whipped cream in the center with some diced up mango mixed with honey and mint. Went very will with the Greek dishes and wasn’t overly sweet or overwhelming flavor-wise.
I promise next time to take better pictures. I forgot to bring over my camera so these are all courtesy of my camera phone.
We pretty much winged this whole meal, and had a great time doing it. I was pleasantly surprised by how well we worked together in her teeny tiny kitchen. Anybody that’s seen me in action knows that I take up a lot of room and prefer that nobody be in my way in the kitchen. Something just clicked with us as we chopped, baked, broiled, and assembled our day away.
I love to share my food, and it always bring people together! Govinda’s whole family and a bunch of friends came over and ate it all up!