Eva’s Classic Moussaka

Moussaka is a layered casserole made with layers of eggplant, meat, and a béchamel sauce. In this video, Eva shows us her slightly healthier take on this classic Greek dish. Rather than frying the eggplant, Eva broils the sliced eggplant in the oven for 10 minutes on each side. Her recipe also calls for sliced potatoes to serve as the base of the dish along with the eggplant.

For the Base:

  • 9 Indian eggplants
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs

For the Meat:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 quarter cup of onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 quarter cup of freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 fresh tomatoes chopped or the juice of ½ can of tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Béchamel sauce:

  • ½ cup of butter
  • 2/3 cup of flour
  • 3 cups of warmed milk
  • 3 eggs

Slice the potatoes and eggplants into ½- inch slices. Place the slices on an oil pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip the eggplant and potatoes and cook the other side for another 10 minutes. Once eggplant is ready, remove from the pan and let them dry on paper towel.

To prepare the meat:

In a large skillet over high heat, add the olive oil, ground beef, onion, and garlic. Next add salt, pepper, and parsley. Once the meat has browned add the tomato juice. Let the meat cook until all the juice is gone. Be sure to stir the meat continuously. Once the meat has cooked, set aside.

To prepare the béchamel sauce:

In a medium pot, heat the butter and mix in the flour. Add 3 cups of milk to the mixture. Stir continuously as the mixture begins to thicken. Once the mixture begins to boil, it will thicken. If you find that your mixture is lumpy, simply strain it. Once the sauce has begun to thicken, remove it from the heat.

Now that you have prepared the vegetables, the meat, and the sauce you can now begin assembling the moussaka.

Preheat the oven at 325 degrees.

Lightly brush a medium size pan with olive oil. Place your potato slices on the bottom of the pan. Next, layer the pan with about half of your sliced eggplants. Next, spread about half of the shredded mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Next, add the cooked ground beef. Spread the mixture evenly onto the cheese.

Place the remaining slices of eggplant over the meat. Spread the remainder of the mozzarella cheese on top of the eggplant.

Before you add your sauce to the moussaka, fold in 3 beaten eggs into your béchamel sauce. Once the eggs are mixed in, pour the sauce evenly over the moussaka. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese and about half a cup of breadcrumbs over the moussaka.

Cook at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Enjoy!

Eva’s Scrumptious Baklava

This video, along with the next two (which were done on the same day) were created without the use of a tripod. We learned our lesson and got a tripod. Sorry for any shaky hands :)

Baklava is a rich, decedent desert made with made with phyllo, almonds/walnuts, honey, and lots of love. This recipe has been in Eva’s family for years. We hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the phyllo

  • 1 box of phyllo (you can find this in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store)
  • Half a pound of unsalted butter (you can substitute the butter for margarine or corn oil if you like)
  • 4 cups of crushed almonds/walnuts
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup of cognac
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • The peel of one orange

For the syrup

  • 1 8-ounce glass of sugar
  • 2 cup of water
  • 1 cup of honey
  • Half an orange or lemon
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • A pinch of cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

More details outlined in the video:

Mix the nuts, cinnamon, and cognac together in a blender. Once blended, put the mixture aside.

Melt your butter in the microwave. Get out a large pan (I like to use a 16 x 14 inches pan) and a brush. Brush the bottom and sides of your pan with the melted butter.

Remove the phyllo from the package, lay it flat on your countertop and cover the phyllo with a slightly damp cloth to keep it from drying out as you work.

Place your first layer of phyllo on your pan and butter it. Repeat this 5 times.

Once you have about 5 layers of phyllo, pour about a cup of your nut mixture over the phyllo.

Place another layer of phyllo over the nuts and butter the sheet. Repeat this once more. If you like, you could crumple the phyllo rather than place it flat on the mixture, doing so will give your baklava a bit more body.

Add another cup of your mixture over the phyllo. Be sure to spread the nut mixture evenly.

Add another two sheets of phyllo (be sure to butter each layer). Now add the rest of your mixture.
Add another sheet of phyllo over the mixture and butter. Repeat until you have used up all your phyllo and, again, be sure to butter each layer.

Using your brush tuck in the edges of the phyllo into the pan. Butter the top layer of phyllo heavily.

Before you put the baklava in the oven you need to cut it, but be gentle! The knife should only pierce the top layers of phyllo, don’t cut all the way to the bottom. Cut the baklava into 3 strips and then cut horizontally across those strips. You should have squares. Now cut diagonal lines across the square to make diamond shaped pieces. Before you place the pan in the over sprinkle a little water over the phyllo.

Bake the phyllo in the oven at 325 degrees for an hour.

Once it is baked, remove it from the oven and let it cool.

Now you need to make the syrup which will be poured over the baklava. To make the syrup you need to mix the sugar, water, and honey together in a medium size saucepan. Add half a lemon (or orange), about 5-6 cloves, and 2 cinnamon sticks and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 15-20 minutes. To see if the syrup is ready you can test it by placing a small drop of the syrup on your stove-top and feel it with your finger. If it has a nice body to it, it’s ready. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to help it stay nice and smooth after it cools down.

Once the syrup has cooled down a little, pour it over the phyllo. Remember, either the phyllo or the syrup has to be cool. If both are still hot, the baklava will be destroyed.

Let it sit for a few hours, or preferably overnight, and serve!!