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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

Richie Cannata may be best known for his song credits but his name will become a part of history this week. Cannata, a 28-year resident and business owner of Glen Cove, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame on Thursday, Oct. 23 at The Paramount in Huntington.

As a member of the Billy Joel Band, the saxophone player was propelled to fame in 1975 when he joined the band and played on songs including “New York State of Mind” and “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.”

The Oyster Bay community paid tribute to award winning journalist Marie Colvin at Oyster Bay High School on Saturday, Oct. 11. The school library was officially dedicated in her name and a portrait of the journalist who died on the frontlines in Syria in 2012 was proudly displayed at the entrance of the library. The event was put together by members of the Oyster Bay class of 1974 who held their 40th class reunion over the weekend.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dennis O’Hara gave a short speech in honor of Colvin’s name. Nassau County legislators Judi Jacobs and Donald MacKenzie also gave speeches, along with Colvin’s sister, Catherine Colvin, and Donna Fiore-Houman, who helped coordinate the event. Both were members of the class of ‘74. Founding dean of the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University, Howard Schneider, also gave a small speech at the end of the ceremony.


Sports

The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.

Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.

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.


Calendar

Boys & Girls Club Gala

Thursday, October 23

Halloween Party

Saturday, October 25

Property Tax Exemptions Workshop

Tuesday, October 28



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