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Ethnic Diversity (Culture and Cuisine) An Olympic Plus

Wayne gets a taste of Greece from Chicago's Greed Islands Restaurant.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ethnic Diversity (Culture and Cuisine) An Olympic Plus
    Chicago's Greek Islands Restaurant is just one of the many culturally diverse restaurants that will enhance Chicago's Olympic bid.

    If Chicago is successful with its Olympic bid, the city will have the unique opportunity to showcase the ethnic diversity in both culture and cuisine that sets us apart from any other city in the world. 

    One area of our city with roots that go back generations is Greek Town.

    Situated in the West Loop, the restaurants of Greek Town have delighted Chicago with authentic flavors from Greece for many years. 

    I had the pleasure of having The Greek Island’s President / Founder Gus Couchell, Executive-Chef / Partner Peter Kappos, and General Manager / PartnerJimmy Petsas join me with stories of Greek Town’s history and a very tasty vegetarian mousaka recipe. 

    The stories were great.  The mousaka was even better.   I hope you enjoy it. 

    Vegetarian Mousaka Recipe
    courtesy of Greek Islands Restaurants

    Ingredients:

    2 Large Eggplants
    6 Fancy Zucchinis
    4 Potatoes
    1 Onion
    1 Bunch Mushrooms
    1 Green Pepper
    1 Celery Stalk
    2 Carrots
    2 Cloves Peeled Garlic
    2-1/2 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
    2 Eggs
    2 Cups Milk
    1-1/2 Cups Flour
    1-1/2 Teaspoons Salt
    1-1/2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
    1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

    Stuffing Preparation:

    Chop: 1 onion, 1 bunch mushrooms, 1 potato, 1 green pepper, 2 zucchinis, 1 celery, 2 carrots, 2 cloves peeled garlic.  On a low flame, place pot and pour 1 cup extra virgin olive oil and your chopped vegetables.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.  Cook for 1 hour, low flame, stirring and mixing occasionally.  Take your cooked vegetables and place into blender.  Blend on low to be able to spread.

    Layer Preparation:

    Slice: 2 eggplants, 4 zucchinis, and 3 potatoes into long thin slices.  Grill eggplants and zucchinis until half cooked.  Pour 1 cup extra virgin olive oil into frying pan.  Lightly fry your sliced potatoes till golden brown.  After frying, place potatoes on strainer to remove excess oil.

    Béchamel Sauce Preparation:

    On a low flame, place pot and pour 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and 1-1/2 cups flour and stir.  On a low flame, place a small pot and pour 1 Cup milk stirring occasionally.  Add 1 cup cold milk to flour & oil and stir.  Add 1 cup hot milk to flour & oil and stir.  Add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2teaspoon black pepper, And 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.  Stir and mix well for 15 minutes.

    Baking Instructions:

    In a medium baking pan, layer your sliced grilled eggplant to cover the bottom of pan.  Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of eggplant layer.  Take half of your stuffing and spread it evenly over eggplant.  Next, layer your sliced fried potatoes evenly over stuffing.  Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of potato layer.  Take the remaining portion of your stuffing and spread evenly over potatoes.  Next, layer your sliced grilled zucchini evenly over stuffing.  Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of your zucchini layer.  Finally, spread your Béchamel sauce evenly on top of the zucchini layer.  Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top of the Béchamel sauce. 

    Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden brown in a pre-heated 300 degree oven.  take out of open and let cool before slicing. 

    Enjoy!

    Thanks again to Gus Couchell, Chef Peter Kappos, and Jimmy Petsas of The Greek Islands Restaurant for joining me this morning and to Doug Birkenheuer and Four Sided Framing Gallery for letting me share “hi Chicago” during my segment.

    If you have any questions or comments, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com.

    Resources

    The Greek Islands Restaurants
    200 S. Halsted St.
    CHicago, IL 60661
    312.782.9855

    Greek Islands Restaurant West
    200 E 22nd St
    Lombard, IL 60148
    (630) 932-4545

    Four Sided Custom Framing Gallery

    Doug Birkenheuer Photography