These have been challenging times for so many of our friends in the food scene. Restaurants have closed, people are out of work, but still, we see so many heartwarming examples of love through food, even under lockdown. A couple of weeks ago, I shared the story of Pamela Ann in Okinawa and her deliveries of yummy Greek food to soldiers far from home. I also found out about another “love through food” connection, this time in Paris. Greek Chef Dina Nikolaou, whom we profiled last year, and her restaurant Evi Evane, have been preparing hot meals for Paris’ Henri Mondor hospital, a wonderful show of solidarity. But the real surprise came when I found out about it from my goddaughter, who is doing her residency there! You can imagine how thrilled she was to have Greek comfort food for lunch and how excited I was when I realized she was being fed by one of our Global Greek Gastronomy chefs!
I just love these connections that we’ve experienced throughout our Zelos journey, especially with committed and creative women like Pamela Ann and Dina. As a women-owned and -run enterprise, we obviously have a soft spot for small businesses and entrepreneurs and are always trying to collaborate with them and support each other. One Greek-American chef and businesswoman whom we’ve met through social media is LA-based Christina Xenos. Christina is an at-home Chef, just like our friend Chef Ken - in other words, she is the person who puts in all the creative magic to make your dinners memorable! As we got to know each other, we discovered that Christina grew up in Dayton, Ohio, just a few miles north from where our Zelos dream was born and she now lives in Los Angeles, where my partner-in-crime, Pauline, was born and raised…so yet another zealous connection that brings us together!
Last summer, Christina made a delicious lobster pasta recipe with Agrozimi's spelt orzo, which you can find on her site. If you’re getting antsy for a Greek summer while staying at home, this dish is sure to do the trick. Another classic Greek summer dish, which is easy to make and perfect for this Memorial Day barbecue season, is eggplant dip, and Christina shared her recipe below. It’s really worth taking the time to make this from scratch, although if you’re really in a rush, you can always pop open a jar of Elli & Manos’ Aubergine & Peppers Greek Flavor Burst…but do give Christina’s recipe a try, you'll love the taste of something from your own hands! You can still take a little shortcut by chopping up one of Tragano Greek Organics Roasted Red Peppers for some extra color and texture or add some tahini to make Middle Eastern Baba Ghanoush, as Christina suggests on her site. Whatever creative touch you add, it's sure to be delicious - enjoy!
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 red pepper, roasted and chopped (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Prick with a fork the eggplant all over and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, until it becomes black on the outside and shrinks. You can also roast it over a gas stove, on a grill, or on the broiler also cooking it until it shrinks.
When the eggplant is ready, let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Scoop out the inside of the eggplant and chop. Drain any juices out of the eggplant either by squeezing it, or by scooping out the flesh into a tea towel or cheesecloth. Put it into a bowl and add in the olive oil, lemon, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, peeper and roasted red pepper (optional). Stir well and put into a bowl. Serve your melitzanosaláta with toasted bread, pita chips, or crudités. Enjoy!
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