Sunday, December 27, 2009


I had a swell visit in Asheville, North Carolina,where we did a family "meet-up" which included my Mom--Demetra, cuz Jayne and her brood, and an uncle.
The food was fabulous--especially the artichoke/spinach/feta'/parmesan hot-dip that cuz Jayne prepared. Yummy! Her shrimp cocktail was superb, and the homemade potato soup and the prime rib(courtesy her hubby) were excellent!
Mom made my sis's "Corn Casserole" that makes my mouth water!And salad.
Hansoo grilled lamb before we drove up, and we surprised the family with that, some homemade Tsatziki Sauce(fresh Greek yogurt, fresh dill, fresh chopped garlic, and I added a bit of dried dill and mint), croissants, and home-made mint jelly.(I had no idea how to make mint-jelly, but was feeling experimental awhile back, and through testing, discovered I can bring a simple sugar syrup to a boil, add fresh oranges(I used Clementine tangerines) and crushed fresh mint-leaves. It began to "jell" after an hour or so, whereupon I chilled it in ' came out great!)
So...We left the lamb, croissants, Tsatziki Sauce(to put on the lamb), and the Mint Jelly(to dip the halved crossiants into) for them, to assemble into what I call "Lisa's Lambwiches" later...
I had assembled a Greek-style salad I call my "Georgia Greek Salad", because I substitute toasted pecans, and fresh clementines for the tomatoes usually found in Greek salad.The rest of the salad consists of mixed greens(mostly field greens) and cukes, onions(sweet onion, and green onions), olives(Greek Kalamata and Spanish green w/pimento), chopped fresh white button mushrooms, and chopped fresh herbs(dill, oregano, rosemary, etc..)and of course, lots of fresh feta' cheese...Top the salad with balsamic AND red-wine-vinegar and extra virgin you-know-what-oil, and viola!I left the salad with them. Frankly, I didn't even try my salad, as I wanted my Mom's basic salad with luscious grape-tomatoes, crisp greens, cukes and celery, instead.
The mashed potatoes were comforting, and a great side for the meat.
A true feast!
We opened goodies afterwards, including wonderful homemade cookies from Jayne. Classic Greek cookies! Yeaaaaaa!!
And my mom--Demetra, sent home a box full of assorted homemade cookie-treats, too!
Great moments: watching children open books to read, and actually begin reading them immediately!(yeaaa, reading!)
and seeing their eyes widen when they received "Razor" scooters from their (stern, but beloved) uncle.
Something I noticed this year: that it is the tiny things, that we remember each other. I found when dicing up ingredients for the salad, that I "lattice-edged" the cukes just like my Yia-Yia used to do. I never peel cucumbers completely, preferring instead to do them "her" way.By scraping the cuke, length-wise first, using a fork,until several ridges appear, and then slicing thin slices, it replicates the look her salads always had.
When folding the dish towels, I fold them into "thirds", just as she had always done.
All the little details I found silly, or unimportant when I was a young child, feel more "necessary" as time passes, and I grow older. It seems the small details are the ones that create the memories, the ones we search for, that echo Christmases past.
Yia-Yia(Georgia Chiboucas-Comati-Walters)I/we miss you.
Peace, kids.


Collin Kelley said...

Sounds like a great holiday, Lisa.

Dave Dubya said...

LOVE Greek food. OPA! Now I'm craving a gyro with pastitsio.

Lisa Allender said...

Collin Kelley--Hi there. I miss you, kid. Wanna see you this week!
Dave Dubya--Hi, Thank you. We'll havta do Greek food sometime. Perhaps we can all do some Greek food, in a meet-up of bloggers...hmmm, that sounds like an idea for 2010!

Selma said...

Don't tease me about the classic Greek cookies. I used to have a Greek neighbour. Her cookies were a work of art. *sigh*

I really liked your observation about doing things the way other members of the family have done. I set the table this Christmas and laid it the way my grandmother used to. She would put the glasses and napkins at a certain angle and place flowers at every setting. I did it without thinking. It made me realise she is still with us.

Glad you had such a good time!

DeadMule said...

Hi Lisa, Sounds like you had a great weekend. I have found, too, that our own personal histories become important as we age. "The way she used to do it" matters more every year.

christine said...

Your family knows how to cook and eat, Lisa! Happy New Year, :-)

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Hey Lisa, It is so very nice to see traditions in the smallest of ways... and don't think I didn't notice those pretty scraped cukes!!! -Jayne

Lisa Allender said...

Selma:I'll havta get to Australia one day, and I'll carry some cookies with me(for you).Or, whenever you're in North Carolina(you've posted at your blog that you have relatives there), we can do a meet-up. I promise you, Greek cookies!
It sounds like your (grandmother's) "her way" was unconscious. Mine was pretty deliberate. But no matter, it's all about remembering those we loved, yes?
Helen Losse of Dead Mule:
Hi there. A great day, weekend.
I agree, it's more important every year...
Christine: Thank you, sweetie! We need to resolve to see each other more often in the New Year, Christine. Dinner at my house, yes? Let me know if any Monday through Thursday evening, would work for you.
Jayne Harnett-Hargrove:I love you, cuz Jayne. And Clint. And those sweet kids o' yours! :)