When you think of Greek food, you usually think of chunky Greek salads, messy but delicious souvlaki, and pungent garlic sauces such as tzatziki and skordalia ready to be smothered on fresh bread. Yes, Greek food is known for its simplicity and heartiness, but also for its health benefits. Greece (along with southern Italy) is, after all the birthplace of the now famous Mediterranean diet. But can Greek food be fancy, and still retain its essence? Can it remain simple, fresh and healthy? Well, some Greek chefs have proved that it can. Read more »
On the 24th through the 26th of May, the event Gastronomy Days will take place at the Benaki Museum in Athens. “Gastronomy Days- Designation of Origin: Greek” is a one of a kind, effort to highlight Greek gastronomy and to promote authentic and unique Greek food products.
During the 3 day event, visitors will be able to taste and sample products from Greek food producers at the exhibition. But apart from that, there will be numerous events such as live cooking, degustation, Greek cocktails & food styling from top food professionals in Greece. In addition, there will be several presentations covering a variety of themes such as Architecture & Gastronomy, Gastronomic Diplomacy – New Greek Cuisine, Food Origami, The Culture of Flavor, Mediterranean Diet, Food Blogging in Greece.
I am happy to say that I will be presenting at the food blogging session that will take place on Sunday, May 26th from 5 pm to 7 pm.
If you live Greece or are in Athens during this time, this is a great event that really showcases what is going on in the Greek food culture at this moment.
So I am excited to say that I have a few passes to give away! I am giving out 5, 3-day passes for two persons for this event (a 40 euro value). Each pass is valid for 2 people. Read more »
I love cheesecake especially the no-bake type. But sometimes all that butter from the crust and the fat from the condensed milk can be too much, so here is a lighter, “greeker” version that is also super easy to make. Since this is more of a mousse, it is also much easier to assemble, plus the single servings help you keep count of how much you eat.
This is a Greek style cheesecake because the main ingredients are Greek. I used the Greek cheese anthotyro which is a soft fresh cheese similar to ricotta (which you can also use) which is made from sheep milk. I also used lowfat Greek yogurt and the famous pistachio nuts from the island of Aegina. Since the cheese and yogurt are lowfat and not much sugar is used, it has fewer calories, with the fat being much lower than your average cheesecake. But don’t be fooled, this dessert may have less calories, but it tastes just like regular cheesecake. Read more »
This past weekend Athinorama a cultural and entertainment magazine, organized a food festival showcasing mainly small producers with some of Greece’s best food products. Attendees could also attend cooking and tasting workshops and seminars. The festival took place at Technopolis, the former location of Athens Gasworks, a gas factory established in the mid 1800′s and finally closed down in 1984. It was restored and renovated and now is large cultural center housing a variety of events including concerts, exhibitions, theater, educational programs for kids and now food.
I managed to get there on Sunday, it was a beautiful sunny day and as expected it was quite crowded (apologies for some the photos, it was so crowded at times, that I couldn’t take a decent photo). The stalls were set up in the separate buildings on the site. There were a variety of vendors, while I knew most of the products it was nice to meet people in person and try some of their new products. The exhibition was different in the sense that most of the companies were small and produced high-quality products from traditional Greek ingredients (with the exception of a company that made sugar-free chocolate, not a good fit at all). Read more »
This is a nice and easy vegetable dish that really is a complete meal. Beans are one of the most important components of the Greek-Mediterranean cuisine, particularly during fasting periods. They are usually consumed 2 times a week as a soup or cooked (or roasted) with tomato and other vegetables, they also are often combined with greens. This combination is truly one of the most nutritious you can eat.
There are so many benefits to all the ingredients: spinach provides your vegetable serving along with fiber while the lentils are your source of protein, some iron and of course fiber. And all the ingredients including the olive oil and honey provide the antioxidants. Research has shown that beans provide improved glycemic control making them a good choice for diabetics, but also protecting from heart disease as they can help lower cholesterol levels. Read more »
Beets along with their greens are traditionally served here in Greece with skordalia, the delicious Greek garlic sauce. So wherever skordalia goes, beets go too. The beets were cut off from the greens and both were boiled in a large pot. Once they were cooked, they were served with skordalia, feta cheese and bread. This consisted of a whole meal. Yes, the beauty of the Greek diet, vegetable main courses. Many people think that beets are “fattening” because they are what we call a starchy vegetable.
Yes they are mainly carbohydrates, however they are a good source of fiber and they have very few calories: 3 ounces (100 grams) are about 40 calories. More importantly, beets contain several substances that can benefit our health. One of the them known as betaine is a nutrient that may protect from heart disease and stroke, research shows that it can lower homocysteine levels in the blood. High homocysteine is related to a higher risk of heart disease. Beets also contain betalain, a substance with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Now since you are cooking beets, it is good to know that a Cornell study found that processed beets lose very little of their antioxidant activity, and phenolic activity (another beneficial substance) was actually increased. Read more »
I love lasagna, especially vegetarian lasagna with plenty of sauce and cheese. But I don’t make it that often because 1. That is way too much cheese in one dish and 2. It is time consuming. So I thought of a simpler, less fatty dish using lasagna noodles and ingredients that I usually have at home. So here’s what I did: I made pasta sauce with as many vegetables I could fit in and basically layered the pasta with the sauce, a bit of feta and a bit of parmesan that was that. I put it in the oven and I had “lasagna”.
The result was nice actually. It was a light dish that you can accompany with a salad for a complete meal and it wasn’t complicated to make. Read more »
This is an easy version of the classic dish Giouvetsi. It is a dish of meat (usually lamb or veal) accompanied by some sort of pasta and cooked in the oven. It was often made on Sundays, to be eaten after church. Well you might wonder, who stayed at home watching the oven? Nobody. Years ago not everybody had an oven in their home and so they prepared the meal/recipe in a large pan and took it over to their local bakery (fourno) to be cooked. I remember as a child when I was staying at my grandmother’s, my sister and I would pick up our meal from the fourno for lunch. Each customer had their last name written on their pan so that there were no mix ups and when 1 o’clock approached, our baker had our meal cooked to perfection and ready to be picked up.
Now this is a quick and easy version and not really a giouvetsi as I have basically cooked it in a pot and not in the oven, but the ingredients are same and because it is so easy, you can even make it on a weeknight. This is a comfort food, but when you really don’t have time to spend cooking a big meal in the oven, this one pot, lighter version will do the trick. Read more »
I wrote about this very issue last year as well and here we are again. For the past 3 years US News ranks several diets with the help of several nutrition and health experts. They rate diets in a variety of categories. Since this blog is about the Mediterranean diet I’ll talk about that: For best diet overall the Mediterranean diet came in 3rd place along with Weight Watchers and the Mayo Clinic diet. The Mediterranean diet came in 4th for best heart healthy diet and 8th for diabetes.
I was surprised once again to see these rankings. Obviously this is not a research paper that requires strong methodology, even so, the article is flawed and provides incorrect information. Read more »
I have been reading lately several articles showing that due to the recession all over Europe, the Mediterranean diet is under threat. More specifically it was noted that individuals (from Mediterranean countries) with the lowest incomes had the least adherence to the Mediterranean diet, arguing that the poorest, are more likely to get prepackaged or junk food, often cheaper than the fresh foods of the Mediterranean tradition. OK, first of all prepackaged and junk food is not cheaper then fresh food used in the Mediterranean diet, and secondly, is it a matter of price or education level? We know from past research that low socioeconomic classes have higher rates of obesity and less healthy diets. The researchers here did actually say that educational level plays a huge role but that low income is also a reason. Perhaps blaming the financial crisis for the decline of the Mediterranean diet makes for a more catchy story from a journalistic point of view, because even today, at least here in Greece, fresh food is cheaper than packaged processed food.
The real reasons why the poor are choosing junk food over Mediterranean fresh food Read more »