Dinner and a Movie: Shirley Valentine Roundup (Taramasalata with Homemade Pita Chips)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ack! I’m finally getting around to posting the roundup for this month’s Dinner and a Movie! I apologize for getting this up so late! I’ve been playing catch-up ever since I returned from my Great Seattle Adventure, and unfortunately, DaaM suffered for it. I hope you all subscribe to the adage “Better late than never”, because this is late, late, late! That doesn’t mean, however, that these Shirley Valentine entries are anything less than awesome – because they most certainly are!

Shirley Valentine is a fortysomething housewife from Liverpool wondering what has happened to herself, as she feels stagnant and in a rut. She has become a proverbial doormat. Her family pays her so little attention that she’s taken to talking to her kitchen walls in order to keep a conversation going. She’s always dreamed of going to Greece, and when her friend wins a trip for two to Mykonos, Shirley uncharacteristically puts herself first and accepts an invitation to go along. She packs her bags, leaves a note on the kitchen table, and takes off on her dream vacation!

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Immersed in her stunningly beautiful surroundings, Shirley takes stock of her life after years of marital neglect and mundane domesticity. What she discovers there is a new awareness of who she is and what her existence can be with just a little effort on her part. (A little tryst with a hunky Greek doesn’t hurt matters either!) When her nice, but complacent husband Joe arrives on the island to bring her back to Liverpool, Shirley is forced to make the most important decision of her life. I’m not going to tell you the ending. I don’t want to ruin it for you if you do decide to watch the movie.

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I was very excited to get such positive feedback from so many of you regarding my movie choice for this month. Shirley Valentine is one of my all time favorite films, and many of you feel the same way. The first time that I watched it, I really felt like I could identify with it. It has become my “go to” movie whenever I find myself sinking into a rut and questioning my purpose in the universe. I am fortunate to have a family that is much more supportive of me than Shirley’s is of her, but as I edge my way into middle age, I have definitely felt a lot of the same feelings that Shirley has. I think she is incredibly brave. She hightailed it all the way to Greece! All I did was run away to Seattle for a few days!

I was also very impressed with the entries I received this month. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one inspired by this movie!

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I’m bringing two dishes to the party. Both are Greek classics and both recipes were borrowed from my good friend Peter, whose blog, Kalofagas, is a living testament to the fabulousness of Greek cuisine! The first is Taramasalata with Homemade Pita Chips. Taramasalata is a creamy, luscious Greek dip made from the roe of the carp fish. It is a staple on the menu of most Greek restaurants, and we here at Chez SGCC love it! You can find Peter’s recipe for Taramasalata here.

Taramasalata Collage

I never cared much for pita chips until I began making my own. I always found them dry, thick and waaaay too hard. I’m talking tooth cracking hard! My Homemade Pita Chips are light, thin, delicate and super crispy. They are also ridiculously simple to make. All you do is cut regular pita bread into wedges and then split each wedge into two pieces. Lay them all out on a baking sheet and lightly brush them with olive oil (extra-virgin, of course). Then, sprinkle some salt, pepper, and whatever herbs and spices you like on them and bake at 350 deg. F. for about 15 minutes. That’s it. Done. They keep well for a couple of days in a zip lock bag. Trust me. You will never go back to the stuff in the bags after you’ve tried these!

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My second DaaM dish is Souvlaki. Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of small pieces of meat and sometimes vegetables grilled on a skewer. It may be served on the skewer for eating out of hand, in a pita sandwich with garnishes and sauces, or on a dinner plate, often with fried potatoes or rice pilaf. You can click on the link for the recipe for Peter’s Souvlaki

Lisa from My Own Sweet Thyme sent over another popular Greek dip. Who doesn’t love a delicious, garlicky, lemony Hummus? I certainly do!

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Lisa says that “Like Shirley, Hummus is a wonderful and exotic recipe that is often taken for granted. Becoming reacquainted with the excitement of making it adds a new appreciation for an old favorite.”

Your Hummus looks droolworthy, Lisa. Thanks so much for sending it over!

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Gabi from The Feast Within sent over these lovely Sweet Potato Chips and Egg with Oregano Feta Gremolata. Gabi says that “Chips and Egg” is a pivotal dish in the movie. If you read her post, you’ll understand why. It is a classic British dish. She tried to pull Greece a bit closer with the Oregano/Feta Gremolata. It looks wonderful Gabi! Thanks for sharing it!

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Meg from A Dash of Nutmeg made another tempting potato dish. Her Greek-Inspired Twice-Baked Potatoes with Capers and Feta look to die for! Meg says that, “Inspired by Greece in the movie, I decided to make these potatoes. They are nice and creamy and I was happy to taste how well the flavors in the capers and the feta cheese play off one another.” Thanks so much to Meg for sharing them!

Haloumi-BelliniValli

I like to call Bellini Valli from More Than Burnt Toast the United Nations of food bloggers. She frequently features the most mouthwatering international dishes on her blog, and has a special place in her heart for Greece. Val made some Pan Fried Halloumi to share with us. Halloumi is a Greek cheese, usually made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk. It has quite a high melting point, and so can easily be fried or grilled. Thanks, Val! It really looks divine!

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Zabeena from A Lot on My Plate says that “The film probably should have inspired something symbolic of transformation and renewal, but all I could think was: Greek Food! Stifado!! We had discovered it either in Crete or Corfu, brought back a cookery book from there, and cooked this dish frequently for a while. And then we forgot about it again. Strange, how that happens. Slipping into routines, getting stuck in a rut. Forgetting all the other things you used to love. A little bit like Shirley.”

Zabeena’s Moschári Stifado is a beef ragout with onions, vinegar and tomato sauce. I’m positively drooling over that lovely picture! It looks so delicious! Thanks, Zabeena!

Rebecca from Madindex joins us all the way from Denmark. She was so inspired by Shirley Valentine that she created a whole dinner around it!

Check this out!

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Rebecca says that “The film, Shirley Valentine, captures quite nicely the emotions the south of Europe can stir up in us North Europeans. If you have watched “Italian for Beginners” you may know what I’m talking about. The south is passion and sun, and always something we long for and dream about, especially during the long dark winter (no, actually most of the year). Although the film takes place in Greece, I decided to go for everything that reminded my cold, Scandinavian heart about sun, passion and long holidays in the south of Europe. The result is a bit of Greece and a bit of Spain – and despite the touristic touch of the dishes, they also symbolise the simple, and yet rich Mediterranean food – rich in good ingredients and rich in olive oil!”

Well done, Rebecca! Thank you!

Now, what’s a fabulous Greek feast without a little something sweet? We’ve got you covered!

Kris from The Back of the Cupboard sent over some delectable Loukoumathes for us to drool over.

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“Pronounced loo-koo-MAH-thes, these little yeasted balls of dough are deep fried until puffed and golden and then drizzled with lots of honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. A New Years Eve tradition in parts of Greece, I thought they went perfectly with a movie based on change and getting a fresh start.”

I completely agree, Kris. Actually, with a plateful of these, I probably wouldn’t even mind being in a rut! Thanks for sharing them!

My good friend Cakelaw from Laws of the Kitchen made a lovely and refreshing Lime and Yoghurt Sorbet.

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Cakelaw explains that “As Shirley’s adventures centre on her experiences in the Greek Islands, I am naturally inspired to make a Greek-style recipe for this event. During the film, Shirley Valentine rediscovers her zest for life. Together, these elements led me to make a Lime and Yoghurt Sorbet…..Why? It’s a Greek-style recipe and its zesty, uplifting flavour mirrors Shirley’s new-found zest for life.”

I love the way you think, Cakelaw, and I love this sorbet too. It’s the perfect finale for our Greco-inspired buffet! Thanks so much for sending it over!

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and check out all of these terrific recipes. I also hope you’ll play along with my co-host Marc and I next time when our featured movie will be Monsoon Wedding. You can read all about it here.

Ciao for now!

kiss the cook!

Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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