So as you may have noticed cheese is really important in our home, but also in the Greek diet. Since traditionally Greeks did not eat much meat, cheese played the role of protein to go along with all those vegetable dishes. In fact, according to the USDA and other sources, Greece has the highest consumption of cheese per person in the world (yes more than the French), at 71 pounds a year which corresponds to 3 ounces a day (which isn’t that much really). That’s because it is actually an important component to the meal, especially feta which makes up most of the cheese consumed in Greece. Read more »
Pites are what Greeks call their pies that are made with vegetables or cheese surrounded by layers of phyllo. Phyllo can mean the thin sheets of phyllo you find in the frozen section of the super market, or homemade phyllo (dough) which most women in Greece would roll out when they made a pita. It is just one layer of dough, kind of like a pie crust but thinner and more tender. It is sturdier than the thin is phyllo sheets and is better for pites that may be a bit more liquidy. It usually requires flour, olive oil, salt and kneading. Being short of time, I generally do not roll out my own dough and instead use the phyllo from the super market. The good thing about the phyllo that I find in Greece is that it contains no fat and just flour and salt. That is what you should be looking for as well. Read more »
Since I am in a summer tomato mode, I thought I would share a second tomato recipe this week: and that is tomato jam. At an expo a few years ago there was a presentation of the Greek breakfast and a version of it from several parts of Greece. Everything was delicious and one of the dishes was Greek yogurt with tomato preserves. It tasted wonderful.
Tomato preserves require more time and uses the smaller cherry tomatoes, but I had some larger tomatoes and opted for an easy tomato jam recipe. Read more »
These are probably my favorite vegetable based patties (tomatokeftethes). I don’t exactly know why, but I think it has to do with the fact that they have tomatoes and are an island summer dish. I especially like them because they are so simple: tomatoes mixed with a few herbs and that’s it!
These are a so tasty, they are a meze on their own. Although I’ll gladly eat these for lunch, accompanied by a dollop of nice creamy strained yogurt (also known as “Greek” yogurt outside of Greece). They are also perfect for vegans since they are nistisima, meaning that they contain no animal products (the yogurt is optional). And this is the beauty of Greek food: out of almost nothing (tomatoes and a few herbs) they make these wonderful delectable dishes that satisfy your taste buds, hunger and nutritional needs. Read more »
I love mini things when it comes to food. Honestly I would rather just eat appetizers rather than a whole meal. When I have time, some evenings we just eat a bunch of little bites along with some wine for our dinner. It’s like having cocktail hour. It doesn’t have to be fancy or fattening, it can be as simple as some cheese and tomato on a toothpick, some olives, cucumber, carrots etc. etc. In other words a pikilia as we say here in Greece. Pikilia is a bunch of little bites on one plate, it means “variety”. It can also be called a meze, which means a small amount of food to accompany a drink, check here if you want to make your own.
A few posts ago, I discussed how canned fish can be equally healthy and there were a lot of requests for more recipes using canned fish. So here is another one that looks pretty fancy and impressive. This is a quite a transformation for the humble and snubbed canned sardine. Read more »
One year I remember we stayed for a whole month at my father’s village in Ahladokambos with my grandma (yiayia) and grandpa (pappou), we were in the process of moving and my parents were looking for a place so they thought our time would be better spent at the horio (village) rather than crowded Athens.
I remember that time fondly now, but back then those were long days. At that time the village was not very accessible, and my grandparents did not drive so we had to be creative with how we spent our time. We walked all over the village every day acting like explorers. The villagers who would meet us would ask us: “tinous eise esy?” which translates whose are you? Meaning who are your parents. So we would explain, and then they would get all excited: “Oh from America?” and they would tell us all their memories of my dad when he was young. We went shopping at the little grocery store, which was fun to get there, but than you had climb up the steep hill to get to our house which was at the upper village. Other activities included reenactments of Jesus Christ Superstar with my then teen sister, visiting the yard next door which included lamb, goats, chickens and a donkey, helping my grandma make hilopites (Greek pasta) and of course eating. Read more »
Following a Mediterranean diet does not necessarily mean that you should only eat specific recipes coming from Greece, Italy or Spain. It involves eating a variety of foods and ingredients that characterize the Mediterranean diet.
So occasionally I like to mix traditional recipes with other recipes That are not necessarily Greek, but yet are made with ingredients that are part of the Greek diet.
This particular recipe I started making about 8 years ago, I had bought some boneless, skinless chicken thighs and didn’t know what to do with them so I tried this recipe. Chicken cooked in olive oil with lemon and honey, along with garlic, onion and carrots- easy ingredients found in any Greek kitchen. The combination of honey and lemon is used often in Jewish cooking and provides a sweet and sour combination and I’ve often seen versions of this dish recommended for Rosh Hashanah. Read more »
The combination of cheese and fruit is a classic one and common in Greece as well. The most popular combinations being feta cheese with watermelon or cantaloupe but also another lesser known combo: Graviera Cheese and figs.
Graviera is a Greek yellow semi-hard cheese. Cretan graviera is very popular and made from sheep’s milk, the Naxos (island) graviera also well-known is made mostly from cow’s milk and is a little sweeter.
This is a very popular cheese and is the next favorite of Greeks after feta. My mom always cuts some generous pieces and puts them on a small plate for every meal. We end up eating all the pieces even before we sit down, it is so addictive… Read more »
I’ve been involved in a few projects lately and one of them was discussing the Greek Diet and Greek island cooking on a cruise.
Yes this was a fun job because we also were able to take a 4 day cruise on the Greek islands. While I had travelled to most of these islands, visiting them in March provided a different perspective compared to the summer months. Islands such as Mykonos and Santorini were serene and well . .. quiet. It was a nice change and you really see the beauty of the island and the people. Whether that is a simple cafe in Mykonos or the UNESCO Heritage site on the island of Rhodes; one of the best preserved Medieval towns, or a tiny church on the edge the town on Patmos or the extreme scenery of Santorini. Read more »
I would like to continue where I left off from my previous post about beans; it is significant that a simple eating habit such as eating a cup of beans can help us lower our cholesterol levels, but also maintain our blood sugar levels as well as help us lose weight since beans are filling due to the fiber and protein. And let’s not forget the antioxidants.
Here in Greece we are in the holy week, the last week before Easter. While traditionally the religious fast starts about 40 days before Easter, most Greeks nowadays will not be fasting for all those days, however the majority of Greeks still fast (avoid animal products with the exception of some seafood) the week before Easter, so it seemed fitting to share this easy bean recipe. Read more »