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Zox Kitchen: July 31, 2014

Chilled Greek, Taratori Summer Soup

Several years ago I attended the wedding of a friend who was married in a Greek Orthodox church in Dallas. It was very festive and beautiful but it was blisteringly hot and the church didn’t have air conditioning. I had never attended a Greek wedding, so I was surprised to discover that the ceremony could run 2-3 hours in length regardless of the heat in the sanctuary. But the post-wedding festivities put a smile on everyone’s face—especially with the assistance of the champagne and a thirst-quenching soup called Taratori in Bulgaria and Greece where it’s also known as tzatziki.

Recently I was reminded of this soup at another wedding event I attended when a cousin shared a similar recipe which is a favorite of her family. It was so familiar to me that I wanted to run right on home and make it myself. Food does that to people especially when the recipe is manageable and not too long and elaborate.

In fact i am convinced that some of the most delicious dishes to make are the ones that require the least amount of attention—like a simple chicken or bean soup, or a lovely green salad with a delicious lemon vinaigrette and fried egg on top, or a burger made with chopped onions and 85% lean ground beef, or spaghetti tossed with no more than warm garlic and green extra virgin olive oil.

Another easy to make dish is the famous spaghetti of the Red Light district of Rome called spaghetti puttanesca. The core ingredients of this dish include garlic, fresh plum tomatoes, olives, anchovies, capers, oregano, and crushed red pepper. All these ingredients are brought to a boil over medium-low heat until thickened, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon for about 8 minutes. Then seasoned with salt and pepper. This last dish is to be eaten at room temperature and that’s it. It was popular with the Roman prostitutes because it was so quick and simple. But quick is insufficient if it’s not fresh and delicious at the same time. And many times fresh can mean raw.

Cooking with raw ingredients as is the case with Taratori Soup, also brings an additional freshness and exuberance to a dish that we too often miss when we season and sauce a dish to death.

Chilled Greek, Taratori Summer Soup

Serves 3-4 half cups of soup

Ingredients

2 cups plain yogurt

1 quart buttermilk

1 large European cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 garlic clove, diced

1-2 teaspoons Red wine vinegar

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Steps

1. Puree cleaned cucumber and garlic clove and pour into a medium bowl

2. Add the yogurt, buttermilk, red wine.

3. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.

4. Optional Seasoning and garnish include dill and mint leaves on top of each cup

Please send comments, questions or observations of interest to Chef Alan at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For details about past columns, catering or Chef Zox’s blog, please visit www.zoxkitchen.com

News

Some people deserve a long obituary: in a way, it is a tribute to the number of people’s lives they have touched, so for Dottie Brandt, it is a given. A long line of mourners stretched down the street from the Francis P. DeVine Funeral Home, in Oyster Bay, where Dorothy R. Brandt, known to everyone as “Dottie,” was laid to rest, soon after her death on Friday, Sept. 12.

Dottie was a beautiful woman that age couldn’t change. When your warmth, spirit and love come from the inside, it keeps the outside looking bright and fresh. Dottie was always smiling, full of energy and always willing to help people.

The music was rocking and everybody was dancing on Friday, Oct. 3 in the St. Dominic High School gymnasium as the school hosted its Fall Ball dance. The event included gregarious kids from St. Dominic’s dancing and socializing with 20 disadvantaged children from St. Christopher-Ottilie Family of Services in Sea Cliff.

“St. Dom’s is very active with St. Christopher-Ottilie during the school year,” said Janice Seaman, who was the party coordinator and one of many volunteers at the dance, which ran from 7 to 10 p.m. “This was the first time, though, that St. Dom’s invited the kids from St. Christopher-Ottilie to their school for a dance and it is a great way to bring some normalcy into these children’s lives and show them what a school function is like.”


Sports

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts

The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.

In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.

The Diane Whipple Foundation with the cooperation of Manhasset PAL, Manhasset School District and St. Mary’s High School Athletic program has announced a premier College Division I Women’s Lacrosse Scrimmage day on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Competing in this great event will be Columbia, Fairfield, Michigan, Sacred Heart, Stonybrook, UCONN, UMASS, and USC.


Calendar

That’s a Smash!

Wednesday, Oct. 15

East Woods Open House

Friday, Oct. 17

 Oyster Festival

Weekend, Oct. 18, 19



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com