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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

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, Long Islanders taking mass transit may find themselves caught up in the mad dash of the holiday rush. But on the Oyster Bay line, riders are lucky in that they don’t experience the same level of stress over parking as some of the busier lines do.

“The Oyster Bay station never seems to get that crowded, but we’ll see what happens during Thanksgiving holiday when a lot of people come to visit families. I don’t think I’ll have a problem commuting, though,” says Michael Miniero, an Oyster Bay resident who regularly commutes to work on the LIRR.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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