I was excited to hear that the restaurant at the state of the art, Acropolis museum located steps away from the Parthenon in Athens, has started serving a real Greek breakfast every Saturday and Sunday.
As I have mentioned in another post, a Greek breakfast is hard to find and even harder to identify. Although you will find several hotels offering Greek breakfast items, they are scattered among other western breakfast items, making it a bit difficult to find and choose them. In addition to that, there is no one Greek breakfast as each area of Greece has different breakfast foods.
The good news is that the restaurant at the Acropolis museum offers a good variety of Greek traditional breakfast items. It is worth a visit to try the galatopita (milk pie), tiganites (Greek pancakes) with tahini and petimezi (grape molasses), trahana (pellet shaped pasta made with milk) with feta cheese and the omelet with the famous graviera cheese from the island of Naxos, as well as the siglino (smoked pork) from Mani. Read more »
Chocolate is not a common ingredient in Greek traditional recipes because it did not really exist in those parts. You could get a chocolate bar as a treat and only zaharoplastia (bakery/patisserie) offered chocolate cakes or sweets. Nowadays everyone uses chocolate and it is even being added to traditional dessert recipes such as baklava and melomakarona. Personally I think that ruins the dessert. Does juicy syrupy baklava really need chocolate? What’s the point? Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, but please don’t dip melomakarona in it.
Having said that, I’m always looking for ways to incorporate some healthier ingredients in chocolate based desserts that usually contain butter. And here we have it: Brownies made with olive oil and Greek yogurt. I basically replaced the butter with olive oil and Greek yogurt. Not only does this cut down drastically on any saturated fat from the butter, but these brownies contain about half the fat of a regular brownie because I replaced half the fat with yogurt. I also used slightly less sugar instead of 1 cup, I used 3/4 of a cup. Read more »
This is something we have known for years: Don’t eat large meals late in the day. Traditionally in Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Spain the main meal is consumed between 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. You can read more about when we eat here: “When Greek Eat”. After that we had a little nap and an evening meal consisted of something light such as yogurt and fruit or bread, cheese and olives. According to a new Spanish study that followed 420 Spaniards who were on a weight loss diet, those who ate their main (largest) meal before 3 p.m. lost more weight (5 pounds more) compared to those that ate that meal after 3 p.m. Read more »
Everybody knows the famous spanakopita also known as spinach pie, a combination of spinach and feta cheese. But something I like even more is a greens pie. It is one of the secrets of the Greek diet. Various greens mixed with herbs and a bit of feta (or not) tucked in layers of phyllo dough.
Within the traditional Greek diet, the consumption of greens, particularly wild greens contribute largely to the benefits of the diet. They are good sources of various antioxidants as well as omega-3 fatty acids. These greens can be consumed boiled or cooked in olive oil and accompanied with lemon juice and feta, but also in pites (pies). Pites are a fine way to eat vegetables and even more so greens. And this applies to kids as well; my kids happily will eat 2-3 pieces in one sitting. Read more »
I first tasted this recipe when I was in Crete for a culinary event organized by the Cretan olive oil company Biolea. I was curious as to why they included avocado in an otherwise traditional Cretan menu. Discussing with the chef Giorgos Makris, he noted that although avocado is not part of the traditional Cretan diet, it has been cultivated in Crete for over 25 years now and they have developed ways and recipes to incorporate it with the rest of the traditional diet.
And they did it very well. Avocado, along with oranges, olive oil, lemon juice and cumin makes a very healthy, Mediterranean and flavorful salad. At first I thought it was too much to add olive oil to the already rich in (good) fat avocado. But surprisingly all the ingredients mingled well to make a fresh tasting salad. 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 »