My Milwaukee Food Parade
My cousin Johnny and I decided to prepare a Greek Feast for the Familia Saturday. We decided on Grilled Octopus and Saganaki (flaming Kaserri cheese) for appetizers. The main course will be a butterflied leg of lamb marinated in the magic 4 Greek ingredients of fresh garlic, Greek Oregano, Kalamata Olive Oil, and fresh squeezed lemon juice, then grilled over charcoal to perfection! Johnny will prepare a Grape Leaf and Mint sauce for the Lamb. And to accompany the Lamb, I will be preparing potato wedges tossed in the magic 4 ingredients then oven fried in a puddle of chicken broth til crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside (about 45 min), Dandelion ~ Beet ~ and Rainbow Swiss Chard Greens cooked with a vinaigrette and topped with Feta cheese and a Greek version of Cesar Salad.
We headed to Sendik’s, which is very similar to Earth Fare in Asheville, but on a steroid overdose! We decided to call our day the “Johnny & Karla ~ Go Greek” Show!! Next episode will be “Johnny & Karla ~ Go Italian”!! We enter this store and I was just in awe ~ from the elderly wine connoisseur offering samples of fine wine to the automatic doors that opened into what I called Cheese Heaven to the pack of friendly butchers behind the counter to the vast variety of high quality ingredient was blowing my mind! As we were shopping I just felt so in the moment, like I was on a cooking show in the segment where the cooks go shopping and it was like I had cart blanche, as I usually will only buy what is on sale, but not today! Johnny and I just loved finding the freshest and best ingredients for our feast. I wish I had brought my camera to Sendik’s. but I knew I would have been picture taking and video taping for a while and we had to get back to begin our meal. Thank you Johnny for that time, it was just such a wonderful time that I will never forget!! And we now know why we don’t live in the same state, lol!!
I love you my cousin Johnny!!!!!!
We got back to Johnny’s house and began our preparations, chopping, and marinating. The family soon began arriving. The aroma of the octopus boiling was permeating the air, kinda smelled like fresh shrimp. My Uncle Lee was curious as to what it was and I pointed to the pot on the stove. He walked over and thought it was the fancy greens cooking, but I told him, no the other pot. Ha ha, the look on his face when he saw it was octopus was priceless!! He thought we were crazy!! After it was boiled for about an hour, we put it in the marinade of the “magic 4” for a couple of hours.
I pulled the Kasseri cheese out of the freezer (you want it real cold before you fry it) and gave it an egg wash bath and powdered it with flour and then put them in the hot pan with olive oil. Fried it on one side til golden brown and then flipped them, waited a few moments and then Johnny poured the brandy on the cheese and ignited fumes and we all yelled “OPA!!!” as the flames were caramelizing the cheese and then Becky took a fresh half of lemon and squeezed it to douse the flames. I have to say that I was very pleased with the way the saganaki came out, it had a wonderful golden crust and gooey in the middle. The richness of the cheese was cut by the lemon juice …….
My mouth is watering, excuse me.
Next Johnny and I went outside to grill the octopus, didn’t take long, just wanted to get it charred on the outside. Taint nuthin like crunchy tentacles!!! I love the fact that it was about seven degrees outside and snow was on the ground, classic!! And I am hear to tell you that Uncle Jack and Uncle Lee went back for seconds on the Octopus!!
But not Amy, she wanted no part of it, even though I was able to get her to try gator against her will, but not this time.
Got the coals going for the lamb and the taters were in the oven, the greens were done at this point. That is when the evening took a downward turn. My cousin Johnny got real dizzy and had to sit down. The dizziness did not go away and was getting worse and he just didn’t feel good. I ended up calling 911. While at the hospital, the diagnosis ended up being vertigo of all things. Just so thankful that is what it was. He and my aunt and uncle were gone from about 8pm to 2am. Becky and I ended up hanging out together in the kitchen and I finished taters and I grilled the lamb, it was so tender and just absorbed all that marinade and was an incredibly moist flavor bomb. But during it all, some how - I can’t explain it, but I knew he was going to be ok. When they returned we made them each a plate. I wish we all could have enjoyed this feast together, but I was just as happy to know that my cousin Johnny was coming back home tonight and for that I am very thankful.
Here is the slideshow of the Milwaukee Food Parade. Somehow I did not get any photos of those delectably crispy taters. Also intermixed are the pictures of when Johnny, his friend Eric and I went out the night before for oysters and my unbelievable Ahi Tuna !!!