The second nationality to be featured in this coming Fourth of July’s Living History, staged by Klein Museum, is Greek. Marlys Jundt has written the story of Mike Spilos who will be portrayed by Tom Dafnis, who has Greek ancestors. Mike ran the Windsor Café when he first came to Mobridge and then moved down Main to run Spilos Quick Lunch.
There were several Greek families in Mobridge in addition to the Spilos family. There were the Maniotis family, the Pappas family, the Albertos and Mike’s cousin, Sam Cartsos. Sam’s widow Maria introduced Mike’s son, Walter, to his future wife, Maria Psychou. If you want the whole story be sure to be at the Living History on July 3 and 4 at 10 a.m. out at Greenwood Cemetery.
Mike cooked American at the café. Good coffee, hamburgers, fries and steaks, but we will feature Greek recipes and start with two we found in the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Cookbook by looking through the whole book page by page. These first two recipes were submitted by Maria Spilos, Walter’s wife. Yogurt, honey and lamb are common ingredients in Greek recipes.
Garlic Yogurt Dip
1 cup yogurt (plain)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cucumber, peeled and grated
Combine all ingredients, mix well and refrigerate. Serve as a dip of over fried zucchini.
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
1 tsp ground cinnamon
12 oz. ricotta or farmer cheese
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 Tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter and cinnamon; press evenly into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes, then cool.
Beat ricotta or farmer cheese well, then add the yogurt, a little at a time, mixing well. Stir in the honey and vanilla.
Pour into the pie shell and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.
Note: this pie is delicious topped with fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, or bananas rinsed in lemon juice.)
This recipe for Moussaka was in the 1979 edition of the Fanny Farmer Cookbook originally published in 1906
(serves six to eight)
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound fresh or cooked ground lamb
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups light cream
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 Tbsp butter melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2 ½ quart baking dish.
Put 2 tbsp oil in a skillet add onion and uncooked ground lamb until pink disappears. Add allspice, salt, pepper and tomato sauce, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Heat remaining oil, 4 tbsp in a skillet, cut eggplant into ¼ inch slices and brown each side of each slice.
Mix eggs, cream, parsley and ½ cup bread crumbs.
Layer eggplant on the bottom of baking dish, then a layer of lamb mixture, alternate until all has been used, then pour the egg mixture over all, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and drizzle melted butter over all. Bake 40 minutes or until egg custard is set.
Garlic Fried Eggplant
1 medium eggplant (about l ½ pounds)
6 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
Cut eggplant into slices 1/4-inch thick, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and let drain on paper towels for 30 minutes. Pat dry. Heat olive in skillet. Add garlic to skillet, then eggplant slices and cook over moderate heat, turning once or twice until they are golden. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley.
(Good on steaks, lamb or pork chops, broiled fish as well as vegetables)
1/4 lb butter, softened
1/8 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Put butter into a bowl with the pepper and parsley and blend with the back of a spoon or food processor. Slowly add lemon juice, a few drops at time, then salt to taste. Form into a cylinder, wrap in foil and chill. Once chilled you can cut a slice to melt on each serving of meat, fish or vegetables.
Baklava is a dessert common to several middle eastern countries with variations, but here is greek baklava.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup water
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened and reduced, about 12 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp granulated sugar
2 sticks butter melted
Mix together all ingredients except butter
1/2 pound phyllo dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees use 9×13 baking dish, brush with some of the butter. Put 2 layers of phyllo dough on bottom and brush with butter. Add 2 more, brush with butter. Add two more. Spread 1/3 of the filling in the dish. Layer another 6 sheets the same way and add a layer of 1/3 filling. Continue one more time and then cover with the six remaining phyllo sheets, buttering as you go.
With a sharp knife cut into diamond or triangle shapes. Bake for 20 minutes. Pour remaining butter over the top and cook for another 25 minutes. Remove from oven let set 5 minutes, pour off excess butter and pour syrup mixture along all the edges of the cut sections. Do not cover when stored or baklava will get soggy.
Ouzo is a delightful anise-flavored spirit with a licorice taste that goes down easily, but be careful because it’s a potent drink. In the bottle, ouzo is a clear liquid, but once ice cubes or water are added it turns a milky white. Ouzo experts say this is because oils in the ouzo are soluble in alcohol, but not in water. Water tones down the licorice taste, but you can use other mixers with ouzo.
1 part ouzo
4 parts orange juice
Put 4 crushed ice cubes in a shaker with ouzo and orange juice, shake and pour into an old-fashioned glass. Add a squeeze of lime, garnish with a twist of lime peel.
Enjoy your Greek food and don’t drink and drive.