Greek Independance Day.

The celebration of Greek Independence Day on March 25th draws inspiration from one of the holiest days for Greek Orthodox Christians, the Annunciation of the Theotokos. This is the day that the Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would bear a child. Bishop Germanos of Patras seized the opportunity by raising the banner of revolution, in an act of defiance against the Turks and marked the beginning of the War of Independence. Cries of Zito H Ellas and Eleftheria H Thanatos can still be heard today. These freedom fighters, or klephts as they were called, of Greece sacrificed much for their country. Kolokotronis, Nikitara, Karaiskakis, Bouboulina, and Mpotsaris are some of the heroes of the revolution.

The struggle for independence was supported abroad by intellectuals of the day. In addition to the Secret Society of Friends (Filiki Etaeria) and the Sacred Band (Ieros Lohos) prominent world figures including Lord Byron of England, Daniel Webster and Dr. Samuel Gridly Howe of the United States raised the interest level among Europeans and Americans.

After centuries of unsuccessful uprisings and failure of the Ottoman Empire to assimilate and convert the Greeks, The War of Independence began in 1821 rising up against 400 years of occupation and oppression by the Ottoman Turks. The origin of the Turkish occupancy began in 1453 with the fall of Constantinople (currently referred to as Istanbul). All true and faithful Hellenes living in their occupied homeland reacted to the Turkish oppression and resisted the attempts to deprive the Greeks of their heritage, their freedom and their religion. During the dark years of the Ottoman occupation, thousands were killed and tortured for attending church or teaching their children culture, history and language. It was the Greek Orthodox Church that helped to retain their very identity by the institution of Crypha Scholia (Hidden Schools).

For eight years the fighting ensued, until 1829, when the Sultan Mahmud II, facing Soviet troops at the gates of Constantinople, accepted Greek independence with the Treaty of Andrianople. Copyright 2002 Middlesex Media Exchange.

So, seeing as Platon is Greek (as he reminds me everyday), he has put on a Greek independence day wine dinner with everything Greek.  apparently he has put on these dinners every year for the past 200 years (or something like that).  I felt honored to be a part of this dinner and learned a lot about Greek food and tradition.  We had a belly dancer, Ouzo, lots of Greek (wine?), Platon’s magical storytelling and tons of fun.  Here are some shots of the food.  This was yet another sellout event.  Platon worked with us in the kitchen and produced about 99% of these items and they were super.

New Application for Sous Vide Cooking (For Our Kitchen Anyway…)

So, I have been doing a lot of slow and low cooking using my thermal immersion circulator…  But for the last wine maker’s dinner we did, I cooked filets that were sealed with salt, pepper and olive oil at 130 deg F for 1 hour.  This made them a perfect medium rare and the texture was like silk.  I did not sear them after.  Simply served them as they were.  Funny, they almost looked completely uncooked…  Meat lover’s dream…  I used some closed cell foam tape attached to the bag to get an internal temperature reading of the meat without compromising the vacuum seal.

Abacela Wine Maker’s Dinner Coming!

Tickets can be purchased from me.  5 Courses with wines from Abacela Winery here in Roseburg Oregon.  $75 all inclusive.  Seats are limited.  Hosted by the Jacksonville Inn.  February 26th 6:30pm.

Menu:

Saffron Risotto Cakes with Clams, Mussels, Portuguese Sausage and Baby Winter Broccoli

  • 2008 Albarino

Roasted Beet and Herbed Goat Cheese “Ravioli” with Pesto Vinaigrette

  • 2008 Granache Rose

Seared Lamb Carpaccio with Black Oregon Truffle Aioli, Baby Frisee and Focaccia Chips

  • 2001 Syrah

Olive Oil Poached (Sous Vide) Filet of Beef topped with Cod Cakes, Basil and Brown Butter Green Beans with toasted Pine Nuts

  • 1999 Tempranillo Estate

Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese Three Ways:

  1. Sous Vide with Oven Cured Raspberries
  2. Creme Brulee
  3. Port Wine Poached Seckle Pears filled with Candied Walnuts and Brutal Blue
  • 2006 Port

Note that some items may change slightly due to seasonality or availability.  Trust though, it will be good.

Check out the Winery:

www.abacela.com

World Class Cheese, Wines and Food. What’s Next for Southern Oregon? How about Olive Oil?

Farmer looks to kick start olive oil industry in S. Oregon

By Ron Brown
 
July 13, 2009
 
MEDFORD, Ore. – With Southern Oregon establishing it’s reputation for growing grapes, another warm climate crop is starting to take root.
 
More than 130 acres between Jacksonville and Medford are the beginning of what some hope will be an olive oil industry in the Rogue Valley.
 
Olive tree Grower Jeff Hoyal has planted more than 86,000 Greek and Spanish olive varieties he believes are well-suited to this area’s weather and soil.
 
“We have Koriniki, which is a Greek variety, a very peppery oil. We have Arbisona, which is a Spanish variety and is a very sweet oil. And then we have Arbiqina, which is another Spanish variety, which is a very buttery oil. And all three of them are, historically, create the top quality extra virgin oil that, that you’re really looking for,” Olive Tree Grower Jeff Hoyal said.
 
The Oregon State University extension service in Southern Oregon is also experimenting with 60 trees in a test plot.

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