Greek to me

December 10, 2013

OK, so it looks like the cat threw it up. It's good.

OK, so it looks like the cat threw it up. It’s good.

It’s always a good day when I can take a vaguely recalled taste, and recreate it. And if it doesn’t taste exactly like I remember it, well, I don’t know that I remember it all that well, anyway.

I was browsing back through some older blog entries recently. I do that periodically, both because it’s fun to recall particularly good meals, and because sometimes I’ll think, “ooooohhh, I haven’t had that in a good while, so that’s for dinner.” I came across an entry where I’d eaten lunch with a friend at Caritas Village in Memphis, and had the Greek beef, and contended I’d recreate it. And I decided I’d have Greek Beef.

So when I braved the day-before-the-ice-storm crowd at the grocery — the bread shelves were empty, but I didn’t want bread, fortunately, — I picked up some deli sliced roast beef, some olives, some artichoke hearts, and some feta cheese. Caritas’ Greek beef has a relish made of the olives, artichoke hearts and feta; they either serve it as a sandwich, on ciabatta, or atop a salad.

I didn’t want a sandwich. Gluten, and all that, y’know. I have gluten free bread I could have used, but that just didn’t feel like what I wanted. And I didn’t want a salad; it’s December, and 12 degrees. So what am I gonna do with this beef and relish?

I decided to put it over rice. I was making country fried steak for the children, and it was easier to cook rice than to mash potatoes.  So I diced up a couple of slices of roast beef and sauteed them, just enough to get them warm. Put that over the rice, and plopped a couple of spoonsful of the olive-artichoke relish over that.

Yum. It would have been perfect over a salad or on a sandwich; to go over rice, it needed to be a bit more saucy, to blend in with the rice more. I might perhaps stir in a tablespoon full of plain yogurt the next time. But this is good, and different, and I can see a gazillion uses for this relish, which is made thusly:

  • 1/2 cup diced marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1/3 cup diced green pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1/3 cup diced Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Stir all that up together. The end.

A healthy portion of this stuff on a roast beef sammich on a good baguette or ciabatta roll would be marvelous. It’d pair well with either beef or grilled chicken on a salad. (You could actually toss it with shredded or diced chicken to make an off-beat chicken salad. Oooh, I wonder if it’d work with tuna?)  It’d made a pretty awesome bruschetta topping, especially if you used pita wedges instead of baguette slices. I think you could even sprinkle it around on a pizza crust for a different sort of pizza.

I’m anxious to try this again in the summer, when I have some fresh oregano to add to it. I have MISSED my herbs, and am anxious for spring so I can plant a new crop. It’d go nicely with a good handful of halved cherry tomatoes, too.

Anyway, that’s Greek beef, wrought from memory and the grocery store. It’s an awfully good memory. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em try you some of it.

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