Magazine article Sunset

Aegean Appetizers Alfresco

Magazine article Sunset

Aegean Appetizers Alfresco

Article excerpt

Beneath a brilliant sky, you're nibbling Aegean appetizers while sipping iced ouzo or wine. Sound like a scene from an exotic vacation? In a way this Greek appetizer meal, or meze, is a cook's holiday. To create this garden party for 12, combine purchased foods with others that require little more than a splash of olive oil, some lemon juice, and a few herbs. A real plus: preparation takes only 2 hours, from grocery bags to the table.

Buy-and-serve meze for 12

Hummus Favas with Herbs Marinated Shrimp Crusty Bread Aegean Cheese Radishes and Sardines Raw Vegetable Tray Pickled Vegetable Tray Pickled Vegetables Halvah Melon and Grapes Dry Sauvignon Blanc or Retsina Olives Stuffed Grape Leaves Honey and Nut Pastries Sparkling Water Ouzo

Delicatessen and international markets sell canned fava beans, halvah (a sesame seed candy sold canned or in bulk), and honey-soaked nut pastries such as baklava and burma. Suggested alternatives are in supermarkets. Buy anise-flavor ouzo (to pour over ice or mix with water) and retsina wines from a wine merchant.

Foods to buy and serve: About 3/4 pound canned stuffed grape leaves (called dolmathes, dolmades, or dolmas); 3/4 pound total assorted olives (calamata, dry salt-cured, nicoise, California ripe); 1 pound giardiniera (pickled vegetables); and 3/4 pound marinated artichokes. Drain foods before serving.

Also buy about 2 1/2 pounds total of crusty bread and pocket bread, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds pastries or butter cookies, 1 large (about 3 1/2 lb.) cantaloupe, and 1 pound grapes.

Hummus

2 cloves garlic 2 cans (15 oz. each) low-salt or regular garbanzos, drained 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste) 1/3 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup water 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 teaspoon cayenne Salt

Drop garlic into a blender or food processor with motor running; whirl to mince. Add garbanzos, tahini, lemon juice, water, 2 tablespoons oil, and cayenne; whirl smooth. Scrape into a bowl; drizzle with remaining oil. Serve; or chill airtight up to 1 day, then bring to room temperature. Add salt to taste. Makes about 3 cups.

Per tablespoon: 33 cal.; 1.1 g protein; 1.9 g fat (0.2 g. sat.); 3.3 g carbo.; 35 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Favas with Herbs

2 cans (about 27 oz. each) fava beans, or 3 cans (15 oz. each) butter beans, drained 1/3 cup minced red onion 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh or 1 1/2 tablespoons dry oregano leaves 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar Salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix beans, onion, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. …

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