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Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (Avgolemono)

As my wife and I had Greek neighbours, we often had Greek food with them or at the ethnic festivals each summer. Across the border from us in Detroit there was Greektown with wonderful restaurants (before the casinos moved in)…nothing like flaming cheese and OPA followed by this great soup!

From Wikipedia…Avgolemono or egg-lemon (from Greek: αυγολέμονο or αβγολέμονο), is a family of Mediterranean sauces and soups made with egg and lemon juice mixed with broth, heated until they thicken. In Arabic, it is called tarbiya or beida bi-lemoune ‘egg with lemon’; and in Turkish terbiye. In Sephardic Jewish cuisine, it is called agristada or salsa blanco, and in Italian cuisine, bagna brusca, brodettato, or brodo brusco. It is also widely used in Balkan cuisine.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Ingredients

2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons shredded carrots
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped celery
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons chicken soup base
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cooked white rice
1/4 cup diced, cooked chicken meat
4 slices lemon
2 egg yolks

Preparation
1. In a large pot, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, carrots, onions, celery, soup base, and white pepper. Bring to a boil on high, then simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Blend the butter and the flour together. Then gradually add it to the soup mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes more, stirring frequently.
3. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until light in color. Gradually add some of the hot soup to the egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return the egg mixture to the soup pot and heat through. Add the rice and chicken. Ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with lemon slices.

Summer Quinoa Salad

When I first met Larry, he introduced me to “quinoa”  (pronounced keen wah) which is a grain widely used by the Incas of Peru. It is a much better alternative than rice or couscous. It is easily found in most bulk food stores in Canada, in either red white or black colours or mixed. Most of our friends to whom we have introduced this tend to really enjoy the nutty flavour. It has great nutritional value. For more info on quinoa, here is a link that might interest you – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa

Our usual preparation  is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups (or less) of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 10–15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dente pasta). As an alternative, one can use a rice cooker to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice (for both cooking cycle and water amounts). Often times in place of the water, we use broth or sour orange juice and mix in some nuts and cranberries. We serve this hot as a side dish in place of potatoes.

Apparently, 2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations. Anyways, having cooked too much quinoa one day I searched for other recipes and came across these variations by Annabelle Waugh  for quinoa salad – the one in red is the only one I have tested so far and it was great! Let me know if you try any of the others, please?

Summer quinoa salad recipe with three dressing options

by Annabelle Waugh

For a Middle Eastern salad:

  • Whisk together equal parts lemon juice and olive oil, then add a clove of garlic, minced, a handful each of chopped fresh mint and parsley and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Sometimes I’ll add some crumbled feta in, too.

For an Asian salad:

  • Whisk together 4 parts unseasoned rice vinegar and 1 part each of soy sauce, sesame oil and honey. Mix in handful of chopped cilantro and a minced green onion. And hot sauce, naturally.

For an Italian salad:

  • Whisk together equal parts olive oil, wine vinegar and strained tomato puree (passata). Season with salt, pepper, a little minced garlic and a handful of chopped fresh basil.