My husband is one-half Greek. His father came from a Greek family in Massachusetts but his mother was a southern girl from Gaffney, South Carolina. They grew up eating mostly southern dishes in their home since that is what his mother knew how to cook. However, since his dad was an accountant for Greek restaurants in the Charlotte area, they got to taste a wide array of Greek cuisine throughout the years.
Since we have been married, Ken and I have also enjoyed dining at Greek restaurants in our area. It is commonly known that their food is reasonably priced and they have healthy dinner selections on their menus. They usually offer a meat and two vegetables.
I have always been intimidated to try to cook Greek dishes. Mostly, I am unfamiliar with how to prepare foods that include unusual ingredients like grape leaves or squid. However, my husband has always raved about how much he loves dishes which include eggplant.
Recently, I watched a cooking show on making Moussaka, a common Greek dish featuring the beautiful deep purple-skinned vegetable. The chef made the preparation look fairly easy. I decided to give it a try, especially since it is low in carbohydrates and it is on my husband’s diet.
It did take some effort to peel and roast the eggplant. I made a meat sauce with ground meat and added uncommon spices for a non-desert like cinnamon and nutmeg. I added red cooking wine to the meat sauce. I made another cream sauce. Next I layered mozzarella, parmesan cheese, the sauces and the eggplant. This preparation took about 1 1/2 hours. The dish was baked in the oven another hour at 350 degrees.
The test came when I served it for dinner. My husband took a bite. He smiled! He told me it was my best dinner yet! How wonderful to finally achieve something that I never thought was possible. Not only did I attempt my first Greek dish, but according to my husband, it was the best one I ever made. To have a happy husband makes the effort all worthwhile!