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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

“Visitation is up 300 percent,” said Harriet Gerard Clark, Raynham Hall Museum director.

“Two-thirds of them come because of reading the book by Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution, and seeing the series ‘Turn’ on A&E,” added Tom Valentine, docent, who keeps the list of visitors. Soon the series will include the story of Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay who was known as Culper, Jr. when he was a spy for George Washington.

Alex Sutherland, director of education, nailed his definition. “He was the most important spy for George Washington because he had the perfect cover. He was pretending to be a Loyalist and writing for a Loyalist newspaper and befriending British officers at his coffee shop in downtown New York while secretly collecting information.

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Sports

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.

Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters, is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.

Isabella Skvarla, 13, Julia Tauter, 12, and Chiara Vlacich, 12, all of Oyster Bay, Julia Forte, 12, of Locust Valley and Riley Stein, 11, of Bayville will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.


Calendar

Art In A Meadow

Saturday, Sept. 13

Bayville Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 13 - Sunday, Sept. 14

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, Sept. 16



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