Greece – Athens

December 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink


For my daughters high school graduation she asked for one present, for the two of us to go to Greece.  Claire’s first trip to Greece and my fifth.  I thought that was a fabulous idea because I wanted her to know where her family came from.  On her father’s side Claire has Italian, Scottish and Irish to name a few, but on my side of the family it’s all Greek.











We went for two weeks; I started us in Athens, then a few days in Crete, and the end of the trip on Corfu.  It was an intentional route.  Athens is a large bustling city with lots to see and do, Crete is a large island with major cities, beautiful beaches, stunning views, and plenty of antiquities to visit.  Corfu is breathtaking with crystal clear water and small sleepy towns and beaches, a nice place to relax and end our trip.











I hadn’t been to Greece since 1992 and I was looking forward to seeing how things had changed since I was there last.  I knew the Olympics had dramatically altered Athens and the surrounding area.  The airport was new and the roads going to and from Athens to the airport reminded me of how the roads in California used to be when I was a kid.

You gotta love Athens!  It’s big, sprawling, active, and loaded with things to see and do.  I chose a hotel in the center of Athens, I wanted to be able to get around easily and accomplish a lot on foot.  Our hotel was lovely and we had a view of the Acropolis from our room, and of course a better view from the roof bar at the hotel.  Unfortunately the weather was unseasonably hot so we trudged around Athens and hiked up to the Acropolis during blinding hot days.  Luckily there were breezes.  In all my trips to Greece I have never been to Delphi, so we rented a van (there were seven of us on this trip) and a driver and had a lovely trip to Delphi.  Fortunately there were lots of trees and a good breeze in the archeological site so I made my way slowly to the top stopping at every tree along the path.  Our driver who was a lovely young man who assured me that no one could make moussaka like his mother suggested a café for lunch in a town outside of Delphi called Aracova.  Don’t know the name of the restaurant but it was definitely one of my all time favorite meals while in Greece.  Aracova is a ski resort in the winter and the tour busses to Delphi often only stop at the tourist shops so we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves.  It looked family run and our driver headed downstairs to eat with the family.  We had chicken souvlaki, moussaka, cheese pita drizzled with honey, Greek salad, and it was all outstanding.  The chicken was moist and tender and nicely seasoned, the moussaka was unctuous and the cheese pita buttery, crispy, perfectly accented by the drizzle of honey.  Once fed we packed back into the van and nodded off while our trusty driver took us back to Athens.  I ended that day with a trip to the bar on the roof and sat captivated by the rugged, spectacular views of the Athens skyline.


Next stop…Crete!

Filed under: Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Food on the road, Reviews, travel


November 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For many years I and many of my friends were given a free turkey from our employers.  Most of us worked in the food business and typically folks in this industry gift their staff a holiday bird.  We started a tradition of having a second Thanksgiving.  One Thanksgiving with our family and a second one with our friends.  This year since Claire wouldn’t be home after Thanksgiving we moved our second Thanksgiving before the real Thanksgiving.  So, we’ve had our second Thanksgiving and tomorrow we’ll have our first.  Confusing, but no matter it means you get to eat turkey, stuffing, and all the rest twice in one week, and that’s ALL that matters!

I’ve settled on one preparation for the turkey which is how I’ve done it for years.  I cut the leg thigh and wings off the turkey and place them in the bottom of the roasting pan with aromatic vegetables.  Then I place a rack over and place the breast in the rack.  I butter it all and season with salt and pepper, if you want a beautiful brown bird, brush with a mixture of coconut oil and butter.  I season with salt and pepper, splash some wine in the pan, and that’s it.  I typically roast a bird less than 15 pounds it it typically takes a touch less than two hours.  This way when I’m ready to serve the turkey I don’t have to wrestle the wings and legs off a piping hot bird.

Next there’s the stuffing which gets it’s traditional flavor with a ton of butter and the classic herb trilogy of rosemary, sage, and thyme.  I always make biscuits for the second Thanksgiving, and my sister in law always makes crescent rolls for the real Thanksgiving.  For the traditional Thanksgiving I make pumpkin and apple pie, and then argue with myself about making pecan.  It was my father’s favorite, my husband loves apple and no Thanksgiving is complete without pumpkin pie.  In the end, I always make all three.  For the second Thanksgiving I may make a traditional pie, or some other dessert.  This year I made a pumpkin marble cheesecake.  It was great, a real hit.

 Other than that, it’s whatever else any of the guests want to bring or can’t live without.  Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, cranberry relishes, gravy, you name it.  This fall I’ve been obsessing on a new (to me) cocktail.  One of my coworkers went to Sweden in October and told me about a charming young man serving iced cold cider on a street cart.  He’d scoop chopped apples into the cider and then splash it with whiskey.  It’s absolutely delicious!  So that’s my cocktail for this holiday season.
Of course the holiday is about food, but it’s also about sitting at a table with family and friends, sharing a meal.  Gathering together in gratitude, grace, and laughter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: Holidays

The cooking class

November 23rd, 2014 § 3 comments § permalink

I teach a cooking class at Mills College,  I taught a sample Greek cooking class for family and friends here are photo’s from the class!











Here’s a video on Learning how to make Pilafi see more recipes from my cooking class on Eating real.

In the class we learned how to make pilafi, moussaka, and galactobouriko!

For the moussaka we used JBug’s Kitchen Antics recipe, find it here.

For more photo’s and video’s from the class check out our Facebook page.

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged but we are back! More post coming soon!
















Filed under: Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Favorite Ingredients, Photos, The cooking class

Dorothy Eat’s Greek

October 29th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I have just launched a new site, Dorothy Eats Greek.   Since just eating isn’t enough, I needed another site devoted to all the Greek things I eat!  On this site you’ll find recipes, reviews of restaurants and Greek festivals, and be able to follow along as I work on my cookbook.  I also will be selling Greek cookies and other Greek food products.  Double the food, double the fun!

Also, check out my new Virtual Catering service.  Having people over, at a loss of what to cook?  I can help.  Through Virtual Catering you can email your party details to me and I will provide you with menu’s, recipes, and timelines all designed to give you stress free entertaining.  Click on the link at either Dorothy Eats, or Dorothy Eats Greek for details.

Filed under: cook book, Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Virtual Caterer

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Menu…Yes it’s true!

October 29th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

LOVE Thanksgiving.  It’s the one holiday of the year where the one and only reason we gather is to eat.  I know there’s stuff about the Pilgrims in there but it’s really about the food.  Recently my friends at Diablo Magazine contacted me about designing a super simple casual Thanksgiving menu. Click here to see my article.

Zuni turkey Thanksgiving MealThe turkey was inspired by the incredible Zuni Roast Chicken, which is crispy skinned roast chicken served over bread salad.  I think roasting a turkey is the biggest stumbling block for most people and using turkey breast only is a quick, moist, approachable solution.  I kept the traditional flavors in the rest of the menu, simplifying the recipes, and of course including a pumpkin tart for dessert.  In order to make this as stress free as possible I provided an outline of how to put this menu together.  With good organization this menu can be completed in a couple of hours.  If this article and format is helpful to you as you entertain you will want to explore my new Virtual Caterer Services!

What is The Virtual Caterer??

I am often approached by friends and clients looking for help planning dinners, parties, and events in their home.  There are times to hire a caterer and there are times when you are doing it yourself and I am offering my guidance to help you do it yourself.  With Virtual Caterer you are able to fill out a questionnaire giving me the details of your event.  I then create a customized menu with recipes, shopping list, and timelines.   I offer a second package in which I am available via email during the week of your party for last minute questions…or panics!

If you’d like to know more about The Virtual Caterer Packages, click here.

Filed under: Holidays, In Print, Virtual Caterer

Ode to Donna Hay

September 9th, 2013 § 5 comments § permalink

Photo of Pumpkin Cheese Scones, Butternut Squash Chorizo Fritatta, Apple Celery Root Salad-inspried by Donna Hay

I have admired Donna Hay’s work for many years.  For those who don’t know her, she’s the Australian Martha Stewart.  I don’t know who started publishing first but they both have similar styles.  Clean uncluttered magazines with fabulous pictures.  What Donna Hay has over Martha is very simple recipes and her magazines are entirely food focused, she doesn’t spend a lot of  time on other crafts.  Every time I buy one of her magazines I end up keeping it because there are so many good ideas in it.  She’s a prodigious cook book author as well; one of my favorites is Donna Hay: Off the Shelf.  Unlike other cooks who suggest using prepared foods to augment recipes, her recipes are tasteful and appetizing.

With some time to spend in Barns and Noble while Claire was trying on clothes next door at Urban Outfitters I picked up the latest Donna Hay. This issue focused on pumpkin and flourless cakes.  I invited some people over for dinner on Saturday and tried three of the recipes from the current magazine and they were all delicious.

First, I chose the flourless cake that was the cover shot.  Two layers of hazelnut coffee meringue filled with a mocha mousse.  I made the meringues the night before since the cake has to sit for four  hours before being served.  It is outstanding.  Fudgy, chewy, with a touch of crunch from the meringue.  I served it with a dollop of whipped cream.  Layers of hazelnut meringue filled with a coffee mousse inspired by Donna Hay

The next thing that captivated me was the Pumpkin Scones with a ricotta mozzarella filling.  Since the scones are substantial I wanted something on the lighter side to go with them, so I made the Pumpkin Kale Frittata.  The weather has been hotter than hot lately and I wanted something cold and crunchy to finish off the menu so I threw together an Apple, Celery Root, and Parsley Salad.  This recipe is my own and I will include it in this post.

The pumpkin scones are made by making dough with pumpkin, flour, parmesan cheese, caraway, and a touch of buttermilk.  The dough is divided and each half is rolled into a disk.  Place one disk of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet and dot with ricotta and mozzarella, top with the remaining disk of dough, brush with an egg wash, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and caraway seeds, and bake until golden.  The recipe is good but next time I make it I would omit the caraway seeds and sprinkle some salt over the cheese layer before I top it with the final layer of dough.

The frittata was super simple and super delicious.   You place cubes of winter squash (I used butternut) on the bottom of a pie plate and crumble chorizo over the squash, drizzle oil over the squash and meat, mix to coat the pieces in oil, season with salt and pepper and place in a 375 oven until the squash is tender.  Then mound washed kale leaves that have been coarsely chopped (I cheated and bought cleaned baby kale leaves), top with caramelized onions, and pour an egg custard over and bake for about 35 minutes.  The recipe in the magazine calls for goat cheese but I felt that the cream in the custard and the chorizo made the dish rich enough. Since one of my guests is a vegetarian I made a ramekin of the frittata without the chorizo and added goat cheese to that.  This technique of roasting the ingredients in the same pan as I make the frittata in is so simple that this will be how I make them from now on.

If you find yourself with some time to kill at a Barnes and Noble, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Donna Hay.



Apple, Celery Root, and Parsley Salad

2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed ( I used one granny smith and one honeycrisp)

1 stalk celery, washed, sliced thin

1 small celery root, peeled and cut into cubes

2 T chopped Italian parsley

4 washed romaine leaves, chopped

2 T Dijon mustard

2 T mayonnaise

2 T olive oil

1 T chopped chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the first five ingredients in a medium bowl.  Whisk together the remaining four ingredients and combine with the apples and celery, season to taste with salt and pepper.  Keep covered and chilled until ready to serve.  Serves 4

Filed under: Desserts and Baked Goods, Entree's, Salads

Learn How to Enjoy Entertaining Part 2

May 29th, 2013 § 4 comments § permalink

On February 20th I introduced you to my latest cookbook project and I’d like to invite you to come along as I work my way through menu’s.,my working title for the book is Entertain With Confidence…what do you think?

Here are two more menu’s that will appear in the book.  I welcome any comments or suggestions you may have about these menu’s, or if you have questions about entertaining, please send them on.

 A Vegetarian Buffet
White Bean Cassoulet with Gremolata Aioli
Roasted Zuchhini and Fennel with Mezithra
Radichhio and Pear Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
Herb Popovers
Lovely Lemon Pudding Cake

A Spring Dinner
Halibut Baked with Tomatoes and Olives
Leek and Asparagus Rice Casserole
Roasted Beets with Garlic and Tarragon
Tender Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Toasted Almonds
Olive Oil Orange Cake with Sauteed Grapes and Cardamom Ice Cream

Filed under: cook book, While the pot simmers or this and that

Fava Bean, Leek, and Fennel Frittata with Kafalograviera Cheese

May 28th, 2013 § 5 comments § permalink

Yep, you read that right, kefalograviera is a Greek cheese, similar to aged ricotta or asiago.  It’s a sheep milk cheese.  For Greek Easter my cousin went to the Greek market in So. San Francisco and called me to ask if there was anything I needed and I asked for a hunk of this cheese.  It’s one you can’t find everywhere and I haven’t had any in years.  It reminds me of trips to Greece when our relatives would give us huge pieces of it to take home.  And we would, wrapped in towels hiding deep in our suit cases.

The fava beans were freshly picked.  We are growing them at Mills College on our campus farm and my boss very kindly picked a bag for me.  I did all the prep the night before so I could quickly make frittata for breakfast.  I had leeks and fennel in the house so I put a generous amount of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and sautéed the leeks, fennel, and garlic in the pan.  I added the fava’s, splashed it all with some cream and simmered until the cream evaporated.  I whisked 6 eggs and poured them into the pan, sprinkled the cheese over all and baked it in a 375 oven for 15 minutes.  I gave myself a generous wedge and paired it with some ripe fresh apricots, melomacarona cookies that Claire brought back from the Oakland Greek Festival, and a great hot cup of coffee.  A perfect Sunday breakfast.

Fava Bean, Leek, and Fennel Fritatta with Kefalograviera Cheese

6 eggs, whisked until well blended
3 T olive oil
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sided
1 clove garlic minced
1 C raw fava beans peeled
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C heavy cream
1 T pesto
1 C shredded kefalograviera (or other hard cheese like Asiago or Parmesan)

Heat the oven to 375.  Place a medium sized oven safe frying pan over a medium high heat, add the olive oil.  Once the pan is hot add the leeks, fennel, and garlic, and sautee several minutes or until the vegetables are tender and slightly browned.  Add the fava beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the cream and pesto and simmer until the cream evaporates.  Using a wooden spoon stir in the eggs, turn off the heat under the pan, sprinkle the top of the frittata with the shredded cheese and bake approximately 15 minutes, or until the center of the frittata still jiggles a bit, but is mostly firm.  Let rest about 5 minutes before eating.  Serves 4.

Filed under: Breakfast Diaries

Pressure Cooker Asian-Style Beef Ribs

April 10th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

Ok, the actual recipes says Asian-Style Boneless Beef Ribs, but they didn’t have any boneless ones in the market today, so I made them with bone in.  And really, where’s the harm? Having the bones in meat adds so much flavor.  This is the second recipe I’ve tried out of Pressure Cooker Perfection by America’s Test Kitchen, and they aren’t lying, it is perfection!  The only issue is my pressure cooker, as they warned in their evaluation of pressure cookers in the book, it scorches, and it sure does.  Since I was aware of the problem after my whole chicken experiment I was super careful this time, kept the heat very low, but after the allotted time all the ribs were scorched on the side that touched the bottom of the pot.  However, like with the chicken it only imparted a mildly smokey flavor, it didn’t ruin the dish.  The recipe is super simple and after 35 minutes under pressure (yes a reference to Queen, with David Bowie…the original version), the ribs came out a deep mahogany and are friggen delicious!  I almost never cook Asian food because I never think my results are good enough, but these ribs are the real deal.

Next risotto…and if the risotto scorches, I may revisit the idea of buying a different pot.  Unlike chicken and ribs I don’t think a smoky flavor will improve the risotto any.

Filed under: Favorite tools, Reviews

Hot Fresh Bread from Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin

April 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Recently my sister-in-law Liz mentioned that she had just finished Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin and said it was one of her favorite books.  I hate to admit that I was unfamiliar with Laurie Colwin who was a novelist and food writer.  Since this book was published in 1988 which was a hot time in the food world, and Ms. Colwin was NY resident it is filled with the culinary trends and nutritional wisdom of that decade.  I lived on the east coast in the early 80′s during the Silver Palate heyday, and worked briefly for Martha Stewart before anyone knew who she was and this book is a perfect reflection of the food and entertaining of that time.

There are several recipes I’m intrigued with and will try, but being one to never pass up hot fresh baked bread I decided to start with her bread recipe from the Bread Baking Without Agony chapter.  I love baking bread and do not think of it as an agony producing task.  I can understand how it can appear overwhelming and I fully appreciate efforts to make it fast and easy.  This recipe is very simple and according to Ms. Colwin it’s full proof.  It’s equal parts of white flour and wheat flour (I used spelt flour because I digest it better), with a touch of wheat germ and salt.   In a separate container combine yeast, milk, and water and mix that into the flours.  Kneed the dough until smooth and place in a bowl covered with a towel and set it aside and go about your business.  Whenever you get home, or have time, punch it down, cover and let rise again.  When ready to bake, heat oven to 450 and shape the dough into a baguette.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, slash in three or four places with a knife and brush with water and bake.  Her instructions say to bake 450 for 30 minutes and 425 an additional 20 minutes, which from all my years of baking is an excessive amount of time.  My loaf was done in 30 minutes and was beginning to burn on the bottom.

The recipe produces the right textured dough, a dough that is slightly sticky and soft, easy to kneed.  I started it in the morning and then ran errands, I didn’t get home until almost 5:00 and the dough had doubled in size, which is what it should do.  I punched it down and had a snack.  By that time I felt I had waited long enough, so I fired up the oven and shaped the loaf.  As mentioned, I let it bake at 450 for 30 minutes, but 20 minutes would have been perfect.  I was patient and let it sit before diving in.   It’s important to let bread sit until it’s warm before eating since cutting the bread hot will dry the bread.  After Herculean effort of waiting 20-30 minutes I decided it was time to taste it.  I couldn’t decide between olive oil and vinegar and butter, so I split a piece in half and had half of it buttered and the other half dipped in oil and…it was good, not the best bread ever, but a good solid pleasurable loaf of bread.  Pleasurable enough for me to eat about 1/4 of the loaf in a matter of minutes!  If you’re someone who’s not confident with your bread baking skills this recipe is for you.

What are your experiences with bread baking, or do you have questions on how to bake a better loaf?  Let me know in the comments section, I’d love to hear form you.

Filed under: Reviews