Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello/Goodbye Telly Savalas!

The irrepressible Telly Savalas (TV’s Kojak for those of you born in the 80s or God forbid, later) was born on January 21, 1922 and died on January 22, 1994. Born Arostotelis to Greek-American parents, Savalas’s character was famous for his love of lollipops and trademark quip, “Who loves ya baby?” His best friend was John Aniston (Jennifer's father) and Savalas was Jennifer Aniston's godfather.

Honor his memory with these chicken “lollypops” accompanied by tzatziki (a traditional Greek sauce of garlic, yogurt, and cucumbers that I like to augment with salty feta cheese).

Greek Chicken Lollipops with Tzatziki

4 pounds of chicken wings
1/2 c. olive oil
juice of two lemons
3 minced garlic cloves
1 T. fresh oregano, thyme, and/or rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

To make lollipops, use a paring knife to cut around the thin tip of each chicken wing to loosen the meat around the joint. While holding the base, push the meat down gently to expose the bone and form a "chicken lollipop." Remove any flesh left on the thin end with a clean towel.

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and seasonings in a bowl. Add chicken lollipops and marinate at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place lollipops on baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until done. Serve with Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)

Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)

3 c. Greek yogurt
1 T. lemon juice
2 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
1 T salt for salting cucumbers
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. Feta cheese (optional)

Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel. (This step is key; seeds and unsalted cucumbers will make for watery, inedible tzatziki mush.)

Blend cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, black pepper (and feta cheese if you’re using it) in a food processor using the steel blade until smooth. Stir the blended mixture into the yogurt.

Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving so flavors can meld.

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