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Greek Style Stuffed Mushrooms

feta stuffed mushrooms

These are the easiest appetizers you will ever make. We make these at least once a week, on a weekday! That’s how easy they are.

The filling is made with easy to find ingredients, and you can play with the amounts. You can also make the filling earlier and keep it in the fridge. I use barley bread crumbs, or you can use whole grain breadcrumbs as well. I used a Greek soft goat cheese (katiki), but you can also use cream cheese, and I’ll be trying yogurt in the future. I find that goat cheese adds more flavor though. These are pretty healthy, I use olive oil and plenty of herbs and feta for flavor. Read more »

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Greece, Home of the Mediterranean Diet

Greece home of the mediterranean dietAs you may have noticed I haven’t posted for a while and that’s because I had pneumonia. While all the Greek home remedies I tried (chamomile, mountain tea, oregano, honey and lemon) made me feel better, the fever was just not going away.

Now, I’m feeling better and luckily I was able to speak at the annual Greek HORECA expo. That stands for HOtel REstaurant CAfe Expo. During this expo there are several presentations and I had the honor to be invited by Marketing Greece to speak about Authentic Greek Gastronomy as a Destination.

I discussed the Mediterranean Diet and its role as a tourist destination. As I explained, and as many of you may have noticed if you have been reading Olive Tomato, the Greek diet has not been widely associated with the now popular and famous Mediterranean diet. And I think that’s a shame. This may be due to misinformation, but I think more so by the simple fact that Greece has not really promoted this information. They haven’t really publicized it or have a strategy for it. Read more »

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Top 9 Greek-Mediterranean Inspired Appetizers

greekthanksgivingappetizers

I have to admit, I like Thanksgiving even though here in Greece there is not much celebrating as it is not a holiday. Surprisingly though for me the holiday did not a have a special significance until I moved to Greece thirteen years ago. In the states we celebrated Thanksgiving but more likely with lamb or chicken and Greek style potatoes, rather than turkey and cranberry sauce. But in Greece things changed… Read more »

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Authentic Greek Island Pizza-Olive Oil Pizza-Lathenia

Greek island pizza

Summer means Greek islands for a lot of us here in Greece. We all have memories of our first “adult” vacation when we took a boat to one of the islands with our friends and arrived in one of the many Greek islands and had the time of our lives. The islands are often associated with a carefree lifestyle, no need for formalities just fun. While living on an island is not all fun and games, particularly years ago when transportation was not good, islanders and those living near coastal areas are generally more outgoing  than those from mountainous areas of Greece. Even their songs were more positive sounding. This was very refreshing for me as both my parents are from Arcadia which is in the center of Peloponnesus surrounded by mountains and people tend to be a bit more closed.

I remember a friend of my mom’s  back in the U.S. Her name was Petroula and she was from the island of Kimolos. We would always go to their house on Christmas and it was a big Greek gathering. The moment she opened the door and saw us, she welcomed us with such excitement that it made you think that you were her favorite person in the world. During these parties the table was full of food: mountains of meatballs (keftethakia), salads, cheese, lamb and also lathenia. Lathenia is a recipe that resembles a pizza from the island of Kimolos. Read more »

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Get More Fish in Your Diet. It’s Easy

sardines

When we talk about the Mediterranean diet, one of the foods that comes to mind are fish. It is recommended that we eat fish at least twice a week. The reality is that many of us do not eat fish even once a week.

Why? Well I can think of a few reasons: many of us think that it is a lot of work, we never prepare fish at home and because really it is not part of our weekly routine. In reality, fresh fish are easily cooked at home as long as someone cleans them for you. But I’ll talk about that another time. I have a much easier idea to propose. Yes, canned fish. Read more »

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5 Ways to Eat More Vegetables The Greek Way

horta

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal showed that individuals who consumed 7 or more servings of vegetables a day had a reduced risk of dying from cancer and heart disease.

While we know that the traditional Greek diet was mostly vegetarian due to the religious fasts, but also to economic reasons, today Greeks have moved away from their traditional diet eating a more westernized diet, but surprisingly still consume plenty of vegetables. In fact, according to a 2010 OECD report, Greece has the highest consumption of vegetables per capita in Europe based on supply and production, however it is mostly older Greeks that still eat more vegetables. Here is how we do it: Read more »

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Traditional Greek Stewed Octopus in Tomato Sauce

Greek octopus

This is a traditional dish that is served during Greek lent and often consumed on the first day of lent known as Kathara Deftera (Clean Monday). We eat that along with the lagana (Greek flatbread), taramosalata and olives.

The Greek Easter fast goes on for about 40 days and Greeks fasted for over 180 days. This fast does not allow animal products and is pretty much vegan with the exception of some seafood. Now you may wonder why certain creatures of the sea are allowed. Well, many believe because these creatures do not have blood. In fact, it has to do more that their blood is blue rather than red, due to the due to the hemocyanin.

This meal though is great even if you are not fasting or not Greek, it combines lean protein with starch along with the tomato resulting in a complete and nutritious meal. Read more »

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Greek Flatbread-Lagana

Lagana Kathara Deftera

Lagana is a type of flatbread that is eaten in Greece only on Clean Monday (Kathara Deftera). This particular Monday is basically the first day of lent for the Greek Orthodox religion. Nutritionally it is important because it marks the beginning of the 40-day fast, which ends on Easter. It is called “clean” because it was considered a day of cleansing oneself (spiritually) and preparing for the fasting and the mourning. People ate plain fish roe (taramas), bread, beans (without olive oil) and other vegetables. Read more »

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Top Doctors Recommend Mediterranean Diet Against Dementia to the British Health Secretary

caprese salad

A letter signed by top physicians was addressed to Jeremy Hunt, the British Health Secretary right before the G8 meetings planned on the topic of Dementia, explaining why the Mediterranean diet may be the best solution for protection against this chronic disease.

The letter explains that they believe that “there has been insufficient emphasis on the role of diet and lifestyle – factors which have been shown to be associated with a dramatically reduced risk of developing dementia. In particular, a Mediterranean-style diet is pre-eminent in preventing and slowing the progression of Dementia.” Read more »

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The Secret (of the Mediterranean Diet) is in the Sauce

Cretan zucchini and garlic

Yes, really, it is. Tomato is one of the most important components of the Mediterranean diet, mainly because it is part of the sauce that accompanies most vegetables (and meats) in the Greek cuisine. The famous lathera which is basically vegetables cooked with a tomato forming a sauce or the kokkinista which is the same thing although it usually refers to meats cooked with tomato sauce. The sauce is made with tomato, olive oil, onion and sometimes garlic, oregano or spices.

A similar sauce is the the sofrito and the Spanish version in particular, resembles the Greek one. It also contains tomato, olive oil, garlic and onions but also peppers and is prepared the same way: lightly sautéing the ingredients in a pan and then slowly simmering with tomato. Read more »

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