Dubbed "The Ed Pyle Event", this month's menu was composed by our very own Ed Pyle. Drawing on the cuisine of a three-thousand year old civilization, the menu featured items such as lamb, custard and a spanikopita that could only be described as "epic".
1st Course: Shefthalia
2nd Course: Chicken Avgolemono Soup 3d Course: Spanakopita with Cucumber Raita
4th Course: Roast Leg of Lamb 5th Course: Galatorboureko
Ed and Paul started the quaffer course early.
This is caul fat. Wonderful stuff!
Paul and Mel had a lot to cut!
Ed and Roger cut up the tomatoes and cucumbers.
This was the filling that the caul fat went around.
Finished product, waiting for Eric to fry them up.
And here he is! Eric fries up the shefthalia sausage wrapped in caul fat.
Ed is happy it is getting off to a great start!
The guys are having a nice time chatting....
....and now the work begins! Mike is obviously very pleased.
This is the quaffer course, minus the shefthalia sausage wrapped in caul fat.
The shefthalia sausage mix was wrapped in caul fat and sauteed. This was a simple dish to go with the quaffer wines and some chopped garnishes.
The tables are set.
The gents chat over some good starters.
Efrain begins the business meeting.
Members and quests assembled for our induction ceremony.
New member, Don Torres was first.
Then John Craggan was welcomed to the club.
Mel Ramos joined John and Don in the secret libation that seals the deal.
Stephen and Jon read through their recipes.
Paul reassures an apparently nervious Don that it will "all be ok, it's just Greek food...."
Doug reads through his recipe.
Eric welcomes everyone to his table.
Many things going on here, and Mike grabs his lamb to take to the kitchen to prepare.
Ed, mid-sentence. I love these kinds of pictures. Perfect for a "thought bubble".
John is pounding the chicken. Too bad this wasn't the lamb....could've gotten away with some awesome cheekiness.
Bill, Don and Doug all work the stove!
So this was actually very cool. I was photographing something else and I heard Eric start to explain to someone how he is with spices and when I turned around, I saw this. This is probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen. All of us are good cooks -- how many times have we been "invited" to cook for someone over their house?? I know I have. Eric has completely solved the issue of "hey do you have cumin? Do you have dried thyme?" And each one is basically air tight, so they are always good to go. Seriously, this is a must have for anyone. Also now that I am thinking about it, it's even good for home use, since when you've used up half of your spices in their own bottle, the rest is taken up by air in the bottle and so it will go bad faster. Transfer it to one of these and it all takes up so much less space, and you're done! VERY good idea, Eric.
A skeptical Efrain looks on.
Eric demonstrates the freshness and Efrain is sold.
Bill get the spinach wilted.
Larry and Bob start the dessert.
Two nice boneless lamb legs ready for some work.
Mike and Paul talk of silverskin and things. Mike had a good point that I've heard him make before about silverskin. If you have it on anything you plan on cooking -- no matter what you do to it -- trim off as much silverskin as you can. It will not cook down and is very tough to chew.
For one of the first times, Alvaro is not on dessert!!
John is cutting up chicken for the soup dish.
Mike made quick work of trimming the lamb.
Dry measure requiress a dry measuring cup.
Larry mixes it up.
Guest Guil Gaylord pitched in on the potato duty.
Guest Craig Ott brought back some memories for us old timers who served in the Army more than a few decades ago.
Mel, John and Roger ham it up for the camera.
Bill was really good at rolling the spanikopita.
Had to be done very very carefully so as not to rip the delicate phyllo sheets.
And that's it!
Mike checks on the time factor with the dessert with Guil.
Voila, trimmed expertly, the lamb is ready for the oven.
Bill begins yet another set of phyllo stacking, with Jon buttering each layer.
It's so much fun (and there are so many to do) that Stephen gets in on the action.
Now Jon stuffs the phyllo sheets with the spinach mixture.
Chicken and parsley also is ready for the soup.
The chicken soup team rechecks the recipe one last time before combining the ingredients.
After Paul passed the toast points (for the soup), there was one less....
Guil was on bacon duty. He sauteed the bacon for the curly endive.
Alvaro helps strain off the bacon from the fat.
Mel and John mix and add the lemon juice to the soup carefully, so the soup doesn't break.
The chicken soup dish comes together.
Mike enjoys a glass of vino diring a minute of downtime.
The soup is heading out, and off the side is Ed, clearly happy with the progression of the evening and of his menu.
That pan will be making another appearance in these photos very soon.......
This is the dessert; Ed explains to Don a few points to it.
mmmmm bacon.......how great would it be to be locked in a room somewhere and just have this bowl o' bacon to yourself.....it'd be like putting a bone in front of a dog and telling him to "wait.....wait.....wait....not yet.....OK GO!"
Mel explains the soup dish.
The finished chicken avgolemono soup was outstanding!
Efrain served us the wrong wine. It still went well with the course.
Bill plates out the raita that was made the day before and it was VERY good.
The spanikopita came out golden and awesome.
Spanikopita on the plate with the raita that Paul made ahead of time because it need an overnight in the fridge to meld the flavors.
Efrain speaks of the wine selection for this dish.
And then it happened.....remember that pan I spoke of earlier a few frames ago? Well....it was left on the burner....and MAYHEM ENSUES!
Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! (awesome movie....) About this time, Ed begins to drink heavily.
Efrain saves the day, calmly bringing the offending pan outside and depriving it of oxygen. A few moments later, Omar came out with baking soda (grease fire). And all was right with the world!
The lamb is out of the oven and looking fine.
John enjoyed making the spanikopita. My son just pointed out my half hearted photobomb. I actually remember this, watching Paul get ready for the shot and thinking "hmm....photobomb?"
Efrain served the other wine. it laso went well with this dish.
All the greek wines tonight were very good.
The main course is being plated.
Roasted leg of lamb with garlic lemon potatoes and curly endive. It was delicious.
Alvaro and Omar are busy plating the lamb dish.
Ed got his hand into it also.
Omar disucssed this one.
Mike got into the meat preparation.
Efrain got the right wine this time!
The galatoboureko tasted great even if nobody except Ed could pronounce it. Pick apart the syllables slowly, then reassemble them. It will come together.
A very nice sauternes was a good complement to the dessert.
Doug talked about the travails of making the dessert.
Efrain thanked and blessed us all as we ended the evening early and happy.