Now available for Recipe Development

January 28th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

Since I am into all things food, one of the things I do is recipe development.  Recently I had the pleasure to develop 12 recipes using several different brands and varietals for a wine broker.  The recipes belong to my client, so I can’t provide them here, but we can show you the finished dishes.  The big fun was having family over on MLK for a tasting of the wine and dishes.  Here are some pictures of the project.












Do you have a product or ingredient that you would like to explore various applications for?  I can expertly customize recipes that bring out the best qualities of your product. I develop original recipes for a special events, restaurants, bars, as well as recipes designed to boost retail food and beverage sales. If you are looking for a Recipe developer place see my Recipe development page.  For more photos click here.

Filed under: Photos, Recipe Development, Virtual Caterer

Greece part 3 – Corfu

January 17th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

My fathers family is from Corfu and the last time I was there was for about four days in 1977, and I must say, it has’t changed much.

Corfu is stunning, it’s almost tropical weather creates the best of both worlds, a tropical Mediterranean island.  Thick vegetation everywhere, great vistas from high mountains, and unbelievable beautiful crystal clear beaches.

We made a lucky internet find by booking at Brentanos Apartments.  Since we were going to be there for 6 days I wanted a room with a kitchen, and Brentanos is designed to give you all that you want, nice large pool, rooms with balconies and kitchens, and a spectacular view of the ocean.  Because of the island hopping flight schedule we ended up arriving at Brentanos way before check in time.  They had just completed serving breakfast to guests when we descended on them, a party of 5 and they were as gracious as could be.  We asked if it would be possible to get breakfast and without hesitation they began to set up a table for us and fed us.  After we lounged by the pool, swam, and checked email while our rooms were readied.  My room was charming and comfortable and I made sure to spend plenty of time enjoying my balcony, imprinting the smells, sites, and gentle breezes of Corfu in my memory.  The hotel is operated by Costas and Helena Brentanos, it’s a family business which also includes one of their two daughters Yiota. They are lovely people, they added a richness to our visit to Corfu.  They offered wonderful tips about where to eat and what to see, and suggested a really delicious restaurant in Corfu town for Claire’s 19th birthday.  I know that if I return they are very much a part of the reason why,
Corfu town is very much a busy Venetian city.  The Italian influence in Corfu is different than the influence in Crete.  Crete feels more Greek, Mediterranean, whereas Corfu feels more European/Greek.  My father had very clear blue eyes, light brown hair, and a pale complexion which fit right in with the citizens of Corfu.  Pretty much everyone living in Corfu is thrilled to be there and it shows.  People are relaxed and happy.  The rest of Greece is very economically depressed but so far Corfu has’t been hit as hard.

Corfu is an island where you really need a car.  There is a municipal bus, but it’s rout is limited to several major cities around Corfu town.  For the rest, you need a car, or some other motorized vehicle, however Crete’s roads look like LA highways compared to the roads of Corfu!  At least most of the roads in Crete have names!  Driving is a real crap shoot in Corfu, just be open minded and not too committed to where you’re going and you should be alright.  Good news is the island isn’t that big.
The food is good in Corfu and there are plenty of interesting places to eat.  In Corfu town I walked past a Cretan Slow Food restaurant, and found a bakery that offered a comprehensive selection of Greek pastries that were dairy and or gluten free!  I had two favorite meals in Corfu, the first was at a fish restaurant right on the water, and when I say right on the water I mean it. A simple platform was built over the water on the beach.  Surrounded by water, eating delicious simple food, sipping wine, there’s nothing better.  I believe we had a three hour lunch that day.  The second was The Rex where we celebrated Claire’s birthday.  This was a continental style restaurant with table cloths.  Excellent service and thoughtfully prepared food.  My family has many hilarious stories about celebrating birthdays in Greece.  The Greeks don’t do birthdays like Americans do, so it is often baffling to them.  For Claire’s birthday the restaurant took some Karithopita (a nut cake) and formed it into a mound and lavishly decorated it with cream and cherries, a site to behold!  Claire’s godmother had the good sense to come prepared with birthday candles, otherwise I’m sure we would have ended up blowing out a classic 6-inch tapered candle!

Claire and I had an adventure when we decided to visit the Achilleion Palace.  This was built by Empress Elisabeth of Austria.  It reminds me a bit of the Hearst Castle in that someone chose an impossible location to build a palace.  The Palace is a short drive behind the Brentanos Hotel, and Yiota was kind enough to give Claire and I a ride to the palace.  The palace has spectacular views, peaceful gardens and lovely breezes and is often used for weddings and events.  It’s a great place to go at the end of the day to enjoy the transition into evening.

It may have taken only 10 minutes to get there but it took us hours to get back!  We missed the entrance to the unmarked dirt road back to our hotel and ended up wandering down the road to find ourselves 10 kilometers away from our hotel!  Thankfully the hotel we wondered into called us a cab so we were spared trudging 10K back!

I’ve been to Greece many times, and every time I leave, I can’t wait to go back.  Even though I’m second generation, and I am California born and bred, and LOVE it here, Greece feels like home

Filed under: Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Food on the road, travel

Happy New Year!

January 3rd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

For many, many, many years I gave a NY Day party.  It started as a NY Eve party when I was in my late teens or early 20′s, and then as time progressed it moved to a NY brunch, and then since no one (including the party giver) wanted to get up in time for a brunch on NY Day it moved to the afternoons.  Depending on weather, and the ebbs and flows of life the party could have as few as 15 guests or as many as 40 coming and going throughout the day.  It was a tradition, only missed a couple of years here or there, but then, for no specific reason I decided to stop having them.  I wanted the luxury of having another whole week off from work after the cooking frenzy the holidays and Christmas.  And it has been a nice change.  However I do miss seeing everyone once a year.  Often the only time I actually saw some of those folks during the year, and this year since all the kids who had been hither and yon for school and study abroad were home I thought it would be nice to get everyone together, except I did it on December 28, the Sunday after Christmas, it seemed like the perfect day during the holiday season for a nice big open house.

Menu’s for my parties usually start with one recipe I want to try, and build around that.  I also look for things that can be made ahead, I want everything prepped and organized so that I can be a guest at my party.

This year I became obsessed with a white bean beet dip on toasted bread.  It’s very simple, you roast a beet and peel it and throw it in the food processor with a can of drained white beans, a clove or two of garlic, a splash of olive oil, some lemon juice, salt and pepper and puree until smooth.  Recently I was at a friends house and she served a dip made with gigantes, the giant white beans common in Greece.  So instead of canned white beans I used a pint of gigantes.  These are the big beans you often will find in a olive bar at the grocery store.  They are already seasoned and marinated and they really add a delicious depth of flavor to this dip.  It was the hit of the party.

In addition to the bean dip I made green olive tapenade, ricotta with herbs and lemon, roasted tomatoes, roasted shrimp salad with fennel, sauteed mushrooms, and sausage and peppers.  This was all made the day before.  The day of I sliced and toasted the breads.

For dessert I made yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and two recipes from this month’s Bon Appetit magazine, oatmeal pistachio sandies and chocolate rye crumb cake.  Both were excellent.  Cocoa and rye go together really well, they were the ingredients that went into a holiday bread that I used to make way, way, back in the old days when I worked at Curds and Whey.

Guests brought dishes to contribute, so if you see something in the pictures that you have a question about just add a comment and I’ll find out for you.

It was lovely to have a house filled with guests.  It was wonderful to catch up to folks I haven’t seen in a while.  And it’s extra nice when friends and family wash the dishes while I sit and chat! Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2015!

Filed under: Appetizers, Desserts and Baked Goods, Holidays, Reviews

Greece Part 2 Crete

December 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Greece has my heart and Crete has my soul.  I LOVE Crete.  My mother’s family is from Crete and I’ve spent more time there than anywhere.  Crete is a big island with a lot to do and see and for some odd reason a place that is not visited by Americans that much.  When I was in Greece in 1992 I was told that Chania, the town closest to my grandparents village was known for their good cooks, so I’m genetically programmed to cook.

We stayed at the El Greco hotel which is situated on a picture perfect car-less block behind the harbor.  Unfortunately it was over 100 degrees on Crete, but fortunately our room was in the back with a window that opened onto a shaded alley, plus it had air conditioning, so we were able to sleep at night.  Our hotel offered a full breakfast and my obsession was enjoying my breakfast at one of the four tables set up on the street.  I would patrol the tables like a bird dog ready to leap on the first available table and then slowly overtake the tables on either side of me to make sure my entire group could sit outside.  I loved looking at the cobble stones and the planter boxes outside the businesses, watching the theater of the street.  Some things haven’t changed since I first started going to Greece in 1977.  The harbor is beautiful and loaded with mediocre restaurants, and that is still true.  My cousin Teri lived in Chania and I’m sure she could suggest some of the harbor places that are better, but I haven’t really found one that I think is outstanding.














However the two restaurants right near our hotel, Tamam and Enetikon are outstanding.  Tamam I remember from previous trips to Chania.   It has a cave-like hipster Arabic or Turkish feeling to it.  Something that draws you in Rasputin-like.  The food is interesting because there are lots of Middle Eastern dishes that aren’t the mainstay of many Greek restaurants and many vegetarian options.  Claire had a really interesting and delicious meat pot pie.  It was huge, could have fed a family, and wasn’t like anything we call pot pie in the states.  Toxani is a good neighborhood café with efficient service and excellent food.  The roast chicken is heavenly.  The cheese pastry drizzled with honey dreamy. And the fish is fresh and sweet with lemon and olive oil.

 We had a dining adventure somewhere in the hills of Crete in a sleepy little village outside of Knossos on our way to look for the cave that Zeus was born in.  The guide book said there was a mountain village with restaurants on the way…but the guide book lied, so famished we ended up in some remote village where we were the only ones there to eat.  A group of men drank and chatted while a mother and daughter scurried around to prepare our meal.  It was very, very old school.  The kind of menu where it’s a long list of food and they place prices by whatever they actually have to offer.  Considering we took them by surprise the food was decent, and the meatballs were down right good.  We continued our long and winding drive straight up to where the sky meets the earth, above the goat line as I like to say.  At a certain point we were so high up that the only other living thing we saw were herds of leaping frisky goats. So very cute!  The scenery was stunning and the air crystal clear.  The mountains were cool, and of course the cave even cooler.

This is the second cave that I’ve visited where Zeus was born, there are two on Crete and they are both in different directions.  That explains why when you ask two people directions to the cave they will point in two entirely different directions!

I had a thoroughly enjoyable time in the Agora in Chania and met a lovely young couple with a spice shop, and enjoyed purchasing some wine musk cookies from the bakery there.  We had a hilarious interaction with an old Greek guy in a remote village, again on the road to the cave where Zeus was born who was trying to tell us to do what we were already doing!  He didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak enough Greek, but fortunately John and Ann speak German and so did he.  He was a hoot and if we didn’t want to get out of the mountains before nightfall I would have pulled over and had a drink with him.  However his “help” made things worse.  As he was trying to guide me while I made a U-turn on a narrow road he kept holding onto the van!  And whenever I’d look over my shoulder he’d yell, “I’m your eyes!”.  I kept thinking I’d run over his toes or something.  Gotta love the characters!

We took a late afternoon harbor cruise on a glass bottom boat to watch a diver feed fish.  We didn’t realize that we could swim during this cruise; the water was lapis blue, crystal clear and so inviting!  All too soon our four short days were over on Crete and we jetted off to Corfu.

Filed under: Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Food on the road, Reviews, travel


December 22nd, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I love Camino.  If you look at the links on this site you will see I reviewed them for Diablo Magazine when they first opened.  Happily they are still in business and thriving.  Although their dinners are lovely I’m particularly fond of their brunches.  It’s one of Claire and my favorite things to do on a weekend.  We went this past Saturday.  With its brick walls and large community tables it really has the perfect feel for a winter meal.  A cold rainy night is even better.

 We ordered a touch off routine this past Saturday.  For years Claire was a devotee of the baked eggs, sweet condiment plate, and bread basket.  And I typically got one of their poached egg dishes.  I love, love, love their French toast and was all set to order it until I saw the poached eggs over grits with trumpet mushrooms and rutabaga’s.  It was outstanding.  Claire got the steel cut oats, a baked egg, and we split the sweet condiment plate and bread basket.   The oats are barely sweet and al dente like risotto and you can’t beat the condiment platter, whether it’s sweet or savory.  Who doesn’t love smearing things on warm toasted bread!  Claire always gets a freedom, which is always a beautiful shade of green and tart, fruity, and sweet in equal measure.  We typically get a cappuccino but since I purchased a Nespresso we’ve been enjoying them at home so instead I had a thyme tisane.  For those who aren’t familiar a tisane is simply fresh herbs steeping in boiled water, so simple and delicious.  I decided thyme has digestive properties.  Don’t know if that’s true or not, but it works for me.

The table next to us was occupied by a young man, around 30 and two women.  Apparently he was very hungry because he pretty much ordered one of each of everything on the menu.  It was really cute because his companions were starting to giggle as his wish list grew and grew.  He then asked the waitress if he ordered enough and she tilted her head to side and reviewed the list and said, “Why yes, this is a good amount of food”.  Unfortunately we didn’t stay long enough to see if he consumed it all.

We spoke a bit with Alison (one of the owners) regarding the minimum wage increase in Oakland that becomes active in March.  It’s a very difficult situation for small business owners.  Alison and Russ are committed to providing a good and stable working environment.  They know in order to accommodate the wage increase they will need to raise their prices.  But of course have concerns as to how that will impact their customers.  They won’t be unique; I’m sure every small business will be increasing their prices as well.  However we all know how impossible it is to live in the Bay Area making less than $10.00 an hour, and frankly even $12.00 an hour isn’t a living wage.

So if you get the chance before 2015 go out to eat before everyone increases their prices.

Filed under: Breakfast Diaries, In Print, Reviews

Greece – Athens

December 11th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink


For my daughters high school graduation she asked for one present, for the two of us to go to Greece.  Claire’s first trip to Greece and my fifth.  I thought that was a fabulous idea because I wanted her to know where her family came from.  On her father’s side Claire has Italian, Scottish and Irish to name a few, but on my side of the family it’s all Greek.











We went for two weeks; I started us in Athens, then a few days in Crete, and the end of the trip on Corfu.  It was an intentional route.  Athens is a large bustling city with lots to see and do, Crete is a large island with major cities, beautiful beaches, stunning views, and plenty of antiquities to visit.  Corfu is breathtaking with crystal clear water and small sleepy towns and beaches, a nice place to relax and end our trip.











I hadn’t been to Greece since 1992 and I was looking forward to seeing how things had changed since I was there last.  I knew the Olympics had dramatically altered Athens and the surrounding area.  The airport was new and the roads going to and from Athens to the airport reminded me of how the roads in California used to be when I was a kid.

You gotta love Athens!  It’s big, sprawling, active, and loaded with things to see and do.  I chose a hotel in the center of Athens, I wanted to be able to get around easily and accomplish a lot on foot.  Our hotel was lovely and we had a view of the Acropolis from our room, and of course a better view from the roof bar at the hotel.  Unfortunately the weather was unseasonably hot so we trudged around Athens and hiked up to the Acropolis during blinding hot days.  Luckily there were breezes.  In all my trips to Greece I have never been to Delphi, so we rented a van (there were seven of us on this trip) and a driver and had a lovely trip to Delphi.  Fortunately there were lots of trees and a good breeze in the archeological site so I made my way slowly to the top stopping at every tree along the path.  Our driver who was a lovely young man who assured me that no one could make moussaka like his mother suggested a café for lunch in a town outside of Delphi called Aracova.  Don’t know the name of the restaurant but it was definitely one of my all time favorite meals while in Greece.  Aracova is a ski resort in the winter and the tour busses to Delphi often only stop at the tourist shops so we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves.  It looked family run and our driver headed downstairs to eat with the family.  We had chicken souvlaki, moussaka, cheese pita drizzled with honey, Greek salad, and it was all outstanding.  The chicken was moist and tender and nicely seasoned, the moussaka was unctuous and the cheese pita buttery, crispy, perfectly accented by the drizzle of honey.  Once fed we packed back into the van and nodded off while our trusty driver took us back to Athens.  I ended that day with a trip to the bar on the roof and sat captivated by the rugged, spectacular views of the Athens skyline.

Next stop…Crete!

Filed under: Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Food on the road, Reviews, travel


November 27th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For many years I and many of my friends were given a free turkey from our employers.  Most of us worked in the food business and typically folks in this industry gift their staff a holiday bird.  We started a tradition of having a second Thanksgiving.  One Thanksgiving with our family and a second one with our friends.  This year since Claire wouldn’t be home after Thanksgiving we moved our second Thanksgiving before the real Thanksgiving.  So, we’ve had our second Thanksgiving and tomorrow we’ll have our first.  Confusing, but no matter it means you get to eat turkey, stuffing, and all the rest twice in one week, and that’s ALL that matters!

I’ve settled on one preparation for the turkey which is how I’ve done it for years.  I cut the leg thigh and wings off the turkey and place them in the bottom of the roasting pan with aromatic vegetables.  Then I place a rack over and place the breast in the rack.  I butter it all and season with salt and pepper, if you want a beautiful brown bird, brush with a mixture of coconut oil and butter.  I season with salt and pepper, splash some wine in the pan, and that’s it.  I typically roast a bird less than 15 pounds it it typically takes a touch less than two hours.  This way when I’m ready to serve the turkey I don’t have to wrestle the wings and legs off a piping hot bird.

Next there’s the stuffing which gets it’s traditional flavor with a ton of butter and the classic herb trilogy of rosemary, sage, and thyme.  I always make biscuits for the second Thanksgiving, and my sister in law always makes crescent rolls for the real Thanksgiving.  For the traditional Thanksgiving I make pumpkin and apple pie, and then argue with myself about making pecan.  It was my father’s favorite, my husband loves apple and no Thanksgiving is complete without pumpkin pie.  In the end, I always make all three.  For the second Thanksgiving I may make a traditional pie, or some other dessert.  This year I made a pumpkin marble cheesecake.  It was great, a real hit.

 Other than that, it’s whatever else any of the guests want to bring or can’t live without.  Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, cranberry relishes, gravy, you name it.  This fall I’ve been obsessing on a new (to me) cocktail.  One of my coworkers went to Sweden in October and told me about a charming young man serving iced cold cider on a street cart.  He’d scoop chopped apples into the cider and then splash it with whiskey.  It’s absolutely delicious!  So that’s my cocktail for this holiday season.
Of course the holiday is about food, but it’s also about sitting at a table with family and friends, sharing a meal.  Gathering together in gratitude, grace, and laughter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: Holidays

The cooking class

November 23rd, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink

I teach a cooking class at Mills College,  I taught a sample Greek cooking class for family and friends here are photo’s from the class!











Here’s a video on Learning how to make Pilafi see more recipes from my cooking class on Eating real.

In the class we learned how to make pilafi, moussaka, and galactobouriko!

For the moussaka we used JBug’s Kitchen Antics recipe, find it here.

For more photo’s and video’s from the class check out our Facebook page.

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged but we are back! More post coming soon!
















Filed under: Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Favorite Ingredients, Photos, The cooking class

Dorothy Eat’s Greek

October 29th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I have just launched a new site, Dorothy Eats Greek.   Since just eating isn’t enough, I needed another site devoted to all the Greek things I eat!  On this site you’ll find recipes, reviews of restaurants and Greek festivals, and be able to follow along as I work on my cookbook.  I also will be selling Greek cookies and other Greek food products.  Double the food, double the fun!

Also, check out my new Virtual Catering service.  Having people over, at a loss of what to cook?  I can help.  Through Virtual Catering you can email your party details to me and I will provide you with menu’s, recipes, and timelines all designed to give you stress free entertaining.  Click on the link at either Dorothy Eats, or Dorothy Eats Greek for details.

Filed under: cook book, Dimotakis/Calimeris Family Classic, Virtual Caterer

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Menu…Yes it’s true!

October 29th, 2013 § 2 comments § permalink

LOVE Thanksgiving.  It’s the one holiday of the year where the one and only reason we gather is to eat.  I know there’s stuff about the Pilgrims in there but it’s really about the food.  Recently my friends at Diablo Magazine contacted me about designing a super simple casual Thanksgiving menu. Click here to see my article.

Zuni turkey Thanksgiving MealThe turkey was inspired by the incredible Zuni Roast Chicken, which is crispy skinned roast chicken served over bread salad.  I think roasting a turkey is the biggest stumbling block for most people and using turkey breast only is a quick, moist, approachable solution.  I kept the traditional flavors in the rest of the menu, simplifying the recipes, and of course including a pumpkin tart for dessert.  In order to make this as stress free as possible I provided an outline of how to put this menu together.  With good organization this menu can be completed in a couple of hours.  If this article and format is helpful to you as you entertain you will want to explore my new Virtual Caterer Services!

What is The Virtual Caterer??

I am often approached by friends and clients looking for help planning dinners, parties, and events in their home.  There are times to hire a caterer and there are times when you are doing it yourself and I am offering my guidance to help you do it yourself.  With Virtual Caterer you are able to fill out a questionnaire giving me the details of your event.  I then create a customized menu with recipes, shopping list, and timelines.   I offer a second package in which I am available via email during the week of your party for last minute questions…or panics!

If you’d like to know more about The Virtual Caterer Packages, click here.

Filed under: Holidays, In Print, Virtual Caterer