Greek Salad

The week before last I shared my new favorite salad dressing recipe, so I thought it was only prudent to share my favorite salad that goes with it. Greek salads are so basic, but definitely more special than your run-of-the-mill tossed green salad. There’s something about the zesty flavors of the kalamata olives and feta cheese that have always made this salad a superstar in my book.

I’ve mentioned before that one thing we have around here in our rural area is plenty of good Greek food, as several Greek families, whom are all related – relocated to our area ages ago and opened up restaurants. They take pride in always having the best ingredients when it comes to olives, olive oils, and cheeses. So, my first taste of a Greek salad was at a small place called Ocean Deli – and it’s pretty tough to beat.

Andy puts roasted green peppers on his Greek salads, and I think it really sets it apart from all the others I’ve tried over the years. So, I always add that to the ones I make here at home. I always try to stock up on good feta cheese while I’m in the big city too. You know, the variety that’s packed in brine and usually made with sheep’s milk…or at least a combination of cow and sheep’s milk. I find it’s always creamier than the other stuff. But, in a pinch – a standard supermarket feta suffices just fine.

I have been packing this salad for Jon to take to lunch at least 2 days a week for 2 years now, and he’s never gotten tired of it. I often make it for side salads as well, or even topped with some grilled chicken – it makes a delicious light meal in the warmer months. I’m pretty sure if you make it once, you’ll find yourself making it often too! A kitchen standard for sure!

Sourdough Oatmeal Rolls

There’s few things in this world like freshly baked bread right out of the oven. I’ve been getting more and more into baking bread these days, especially having a sourdough starter hanging out in the fridge. Every Sunday morning when I “feed it”, I feel terrible throwing away half of it – I’ll try to pawn it off on friends, but I’ve pretty much run out of takers at this point, so I’ve resolved to baking something with it on Sunday.

These sourdough oatmeal rolls were one of those resolutions. They are a delicious savory dinner roll. Chewy and tender, with a hint of sweetness from honey, and plenty of texture from the addition of oatmeal in the bread – as well as sprinkled on the top of the rolls before baking.

It makes two pans of rolls, which was enough to us to enjoy with dinner on Sunday night – and a batch to stick in the freezer to enjoy on an evening soon. I love having fresh bread just waiting in the freezer. Plus, one less trip to the store with a toddler in tow is always a good thing! This is one we’ll be making again and again for sure, as I just loved the flavor and texture. Actually, I’m thinking a batch of our favorite ham & cheese sliders might be in order for lunch next weekend on these bad boys! 

Oyster Stuffing

Oyster stuffing. I don’t know that you’ll find a dish more unanimously found on Thanksgiving tables here on the Eastern Shore. After a quick web search, it turns out it’s common in many other parts of the country as well – but especially down south around the Gulf, and up north around New England.

It’s basically a homemade stuffing – composed of dry bread cubes, sauteed onions and herbs, chicken stock, and fresh oysters. Some people used canned or smoked oysters – but, I can’t justify using those. Ever. Ain’t nobody got time for that! The oysters plump up in the stuffing, and release their delicious briny juices – adding a ton of flavor to the stuffing, and the bread just soaks it all right up! I loved the addition of nutmeg and clove too, it really made it taste like Thanksgiving.

This was actually my first time making this dish (hey, I am a “come here” after all!) and as I mixed it up before putting it in the casserole dish, I thought it wasn’t going to be something I enjoyed…as it wasn’t much to look at. But when it came out of the oven, and the top was nice and brown – I couldn’t wait to dig in! If you’re looking for something special to add to your Thanksgiving Day table, which is a cut above the standard cornbread stuffing (or my favorite, even though I’m ashamed to admit it – Stove Top!) get yourself a pint of oysters from the seafood market and make this stuffing. Maybe it will become a tradition for your family, as it has for so many others here on the Eastern Shore and elsewhere, on Turkey Day!

Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potatoes

Have you guys started giving any thought to Thanksgiving yet? If not you need to get on it, it’s right around the corner! We usually keep things pretty traditional around here – roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce…you know the routine. But I like to make all those traditional things just a little bit more special on Turkey Day, if I can.

I found myself with some dwindling chives outside and an-almost-gone-container of buttermilk last week when I made my favorite all-beef meatloaf, so I thought I’d mix them into mashed potatoes to make them a little more fancy. The slight tang from the buttermilk and the mild onion flavor from the chives were just perfect in the creamy mashed potatoes – making them delicious enough to eat plain, but not too overpowering that a spot of gravy on them wouldn’t be a welcome addition as well.

I’m hoping to get another couple of Thanksgiving day favorites up before the big day, so keep checking back for more yummy ideas for your Holiday table.