One of the advantages of living close to a metro area is the availability of a diverse range of restaurants and grocery stores in which to satisfy one’s culinary curiosity. Of late of I have been using some Mediterranean and Middle Eastern ingredients like sumac, olives, dates, and feta cheese in my cooking ever since my discovery of the Middle Eastern deli and grocery store in downtown Minneapolis. My boys have always eaten a wide variety of foods and were enthusiastic about trying this “new” cuisine. I am glad they both enjoyed it. I have made some of the dishes at home like Sumac and Rosemary Crusted Lamb, Vegetable Moussaka, and Okra and Chickpea Stew.
For this past Mother’s Day, Ro-Ri San treated us to lunch at Santorini. They serve continental food with a Greek accent. The ambience was charming. There was a patio with a lake view and dining rooms with fireplaces. Since it wasn’t warm enough to sit outside comfortably, we opted to sit in the dining room. They have quite an extensive lunch menu ranging from mezedes, tapas, antipasti, pita spreads, wood oven pizza, soups & salads, sandwiches & burgers, pasta, lunch entrees, and Mediterranean favorites. As this was our first visit there, our server suggested the Mediterranean favorites and I am glad he did. Ro-Jiro (second son) had the Traditional Pastichio, Ro-Taro (eldest son) had Yiayia’s Meatloaf, Ro-Ri San had Dolmades, and I had Spanakopita. The entrees came with grilled seasonal vegetables and we had a choice of sides, tabouli, orzo, pilaf, taverna pasta, couscous, potato salad and lemon-oregano fries.
The food was well plated and the portions were generous. The pastichio had a rich creamy bechamel and tomato sauce which held the different types of pasta together nicely. Yiayia’s meatloaf was made of ground lamb and beef stuffed with hard cooked eggs. It was moist and combined very well with the garlic mashed potatoes. The dolmades was ground sirloin and rice wrapped in grape leaves and served with a Greek lemon sauce. It was very flavorful and the lemon sauce was excellent. I really enjoyed my spanakopita with spinach and Greek feta wrapped in phyllo pastry. The filling was rich and creamy with a light and crunchy pastry. It was also served with that wonderful Greek lemon sauce which was slightly tart with a hint of bitterness, characteristic of Greek food. Everything was delicious and we cleaned our plates!
And now, for today’s Avocado, Tempeh, and Feta Salad, I am using the remainder of the Bulgarian feta cheese purchased at the Middle Eastern grocery store downtown. This feta cheese is rich and creamy and not as salty as Greek feta. I have never combined avocado and feta before as both are pretty rich but these are the two ingredients specified in the challenge mentioned below. I added tempeh and used a key lime and sesame oil dressing to give it an Asian flair. The balsamic vinegar reduction provides a hint of sweetness to this luscious salad.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎