Wednesday, May 26, 2010



Jason's Stuffed Grape Leaves

Our “Le Petit” Supper Club has really come a long way. We are getting much better at duplicating authentic recipes from world cuisine. This month we chose Greece as our themed dinner. What a dinner it was!

Here was our menu:

Giouvarlakia with Avgolemono (Lemon) Sauce.
Feta cheese drizzled with Blood Orange infused Extra Virgin
Olive oil...Orange Zest, Cracked Black Pepper,Oregano
and Greek Olives
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Makaronada me Garides..aka Greek Pasta with Shrimp
Fig Cakes
Greek Olive Bread,
Pistachio Honey Apricots
Greek Beer & Wine

Front of studio

Our hosts for the party were Dean Brandetsas and Val Padar. From the moment I arrived I felt as though I had been transported back to Europe, especially Greece or Italy. Dean and Val are artists and their home has that look and feel that reflects their European heritage. They share their garage studio and as a matter of fact, they have drawn a line smack down the center to divide their work space. Val sculpts gorgeous concrete leaves, and Dean’s talents can’t be covered in this simple posting. I guess if I had to name just one thing that Dean excels at, it would be his furniture crafting. The many wooden tables that he has created adorns their home and garden.

Back of studio

Another view of studio

World's smallest kiln-and it works!

Dean shows fish sculputure backing

Bottom view of one of Dean's tables

One of many hand crafted tables

Sculpted fish gate

Val's concrete leaves

After leaving the studio, we took a tour of the garden where fresh vegetables are grown and used on a daily basis. Fig trees, fresh peas and artichokes abound.

Jerusalem artichokes

Fig tree

Fresh peas

We dined at the table dean hand sculpted over 20 years ago. This table would be one that you would expect to find at any European country home. Look at the array of delicious food!

Val’s decorating is very artistic. She has collected items from the many shows where she exhibited her work and has them displayed in every nook and cranny of their home. I was surprised that she still has several of the vintage pieces she bought from me years ago.

One of many paintings

Artsy setting

Vintage Cheryl Dolby

The fireplace that dean carved out is especially beautiful..and so romantic. He carved a tree that surrounds the mantle and a bas-relief of a man (Dean) and a woman (Val) The inscription reads, "To my love who loves the trees.” They are seated on a little moon in the center. Val has great reverence for trees. She sculpts leaves to depict their beauty.

Detail from fireplace

As an end to a fabulous meal, we were fortunate enough to savor the taste of Dean’s home made Baklava. I traveled to Greece a few years ago and was served baklava for dessert quite often. To be honest, I just didn’t like it. I thought I would be polite and sample just one of Dean's. I was hooked after the first bite. This was not like any baklava I had ever tasted. The honey wasn’t all syrupy and gooey, it was rather ingrained throughout the dessert. I hate to admit it but I am sure I had 3 servings.

Dean's baklava

No Greek dinner is compete without the serving of Ouzo and of course, we all shouted, “Opa” as our toast. I looked up the term, Opa, to find that it is used for no apparent reason at all in Greece. “ Opa” can be shouted out for celebrations or approval. We all had just a small tasting and made plans for future dinner party themes..I think I heard mention of a “local food only” picnic and a Cajun jam fest plus next month it is my turn to have the party at Woodloft, my home. We are going Caribbean! Ya Mon! Hope to see you there!

As an afternote, if you would like to read about my real live trip to Greece, you can check out my posting here I think you’ll like the pictures.

Ouzo served at grand table-OPA!

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  1. Fabulous post, Cheryl! Mmmm . . . I adore Baklava - especially when it's homemade. One of my dear friends whom I haven seen in years, is Turkish and delights in making her own.

    Love the house, the studio, and the pics of your special evening! I had to chuckle when I read about the line drawn in the studio! LOL! Great tour! I'm raising my coffee cup this morning - "OPA!" Hugs, Terri xoxo

  2. I am so jealous!!! What a great studio, neat artwork and scrumptious Greek delicacies. I just OD'ed on homemade stuffed grape leaves over the last two weeks from one of the ladies who cooks for the Lebanese festival. She always makes me extra and around Christmas fills my tummy with homemade baked goods. Love me some Mediterranean food!

  3. It was one of those charming evenings that one never wants to see come to an end. The glorious spring weather, the friendly guests, the cornucopia of food and the seemingly Greek setting set the stage for the finest alfresco dining EVER! Great seeing you, Cheryl!!! Love, Tom and Dian

  4. WoW! What a fabulous post! Friends, food, art and trees...what more do you need in heaven...

    Cheryl, I received the package and I am overwhelmed with the entire presentation. Every thing is beautiful, thoughtful and lovingly wrapped...the book is WONDER-FULL! It will be a gift I am proud to give :) Thank you for thinking of me, too. DiNunzio is a powerful name to live up to...Give a kiss to my new adopted brother and tell him to give you one for me!

  5. I can't remember having a better time......this was magical!!!

  6. Oh Cheryl I am as green as those vine leaves... I love Greek food and your meal was a feast for the eyes.... wow! would have loved to have been there!
    The work that your friends do is amazing, love those leaves and the table, fantastic. My dining table is a vintage door from India pure rustic heaven with the door furnishings still on it so I do love wood.
    Now as my dad is Jamaican I would love to come and sample your Caribbean fare, looking forward to reading about that.
    I have a soft spot for Tapas, maybe that is something you could do on your culinary journey mmmmmm Thanks for sharing!

  7. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, did I love this post--delicious in every way. The art alone is great, and then add to it the Greek food (I have a major weakness for Baklava!)

  8. Great stuff and great times! All that Greek food got my mouth watering!

  9. Doesn't this all look like a fabulous time was had by everyone! The Baklava alone is enough to make me drool, LOL! Nothing better then great friends, food and fun together! Love those tables and the clay leaf on the wall Cheryl! Thanks for popping in to my site and saying hello, I will definitely be back!

  10. Cheryl I now want stuffed grape leaves and some of Dean's baklava. The food looks absolutely divine. I'm with you on the baklava, I usually find it too gooey, syrupy and greasy. Dean's looks flakey and fluffy (and yummy!).

    I also want to tour their studio/house. What very talented people your friends are.

    Thank you for sharing with us.


  11. what an inspiring setting for such an amazing feast!! This post epitomizes abundance to me - thank you for sharing it, YUMMM!
    and thank you for your caring thoughts.

  12. So many talented people in one place! But Cheryl, I am supposed to be loosing weight and now I am pining for all this delicious food. Wonderful!x

  13. Greek food is some of my favorite, especially since I'm a vegetarian and the food is always so healthy (well, maybe not the olives). Thanks for sharing your wonderful evening with us. Lots of great art, and an awesome artist's studio.

  14. Stuffed vine leaves are my favourite. I adore the way they are growing their own produce. And I am inlove with the painting shown of the lady's back. Who is the artist?

    It looks like you had a fabulous time. :D Have fun with your carribean night.

    <3 Michelle

  15. Lovely! I just love Greek food and I want to come to one of your parties! LOL The art is wonderful too, I just love the fireplace carving. Food, friends and art, nothing better! Thanks for sharing Cheryl.

  16. OPA,where to begin? What a truly fabulous posting to share. I loved every moment, what a treat. The art, the food, the photo's, the menu. Just amazing like you. I enjoy your blog so much, such a pleasure to visit Cheryl.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Have the very best weekend,your so artful in all you do...
    Hugs,Laura. xoxx

  17. Fabulous food and art- I feel like summer is here! What a wonderful and festive post!

  18. I am so hungry now! I just loved the tour of Dean's and Val home and studio. Amazing. I can't find anymore words!

  19. looks like a wonderful big fat greek party ..... thanks for sharing!

  20. Wow - what a magical wonderland they have created - it encourages me to create a home that is art art art-FULL!! Thanks for sharing - I was hoping I'd find a live link to Dean's baclava recipe as my goodness they look scrumpdelicious!

  21. Ya know ... all I can really say is ... wow!

  22. oMG....that baklava is scrumptious looking...only my teeth are telling me to stay away, but the rest of me almost bit into the screen! lol

    what a great felt as though I was visiting the artist's home with you!

    so gorgeous all those windows..the light must be incredible!

    ciao bella
    creative carmelina

  23. Ah, you just transported me back to Skiathos where I spent last week. I'm home again now in the rain and cold :(
    Perhaps I will go nibble on an olive to cheer myself up... What a tremendously sumptuous feast you shared. I'm off to read your Greek post now...

  24. Oh wow, it looks like you had such a fabulous dinner and in such a beautiful setting! Thanks for sharing!

  25. What a great story...thanks for taking us along...hug, hug...made me hungry..

  26. Your art is so fabulous! And I'm hungry now that I've seen all this great food!! Nice blog.

  27. What a great dinner in a gorgeous atmosphere. I am so jealous that i could not be with you there. I love greece food......


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