Every country has it own rules and considerations when it comes to food and Greece is no different. Generally, when you visit another country it is good to eat as the locals do, to know what to expect and to gain as close as you can an authentic eating experience.
1. Don’t expect your waiter to be your friend. By this I do not mean that Greek waiters are not friendly, many of them are, but you will not get the typical American greeting “Hi my name is so and so and I’ll be your server for tonight, can I get you some margaritas to start out?” No you will not have any of that. If they are really busy, they’ll probably bring out the basics (bread, forks, knives, menu etc.), and expect you to quickly give them your order when they come back to your table. Read more »
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 »
What do Greeks eat everyday in one form or another? Tomatoes. In the summer tomato and in the winter other tomato products such as tomato paste or tomato sauce. We add tomatoes to food almost as often as we add olive oil.
Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, they have very few calories and most importantly they are source of the antioxidant lycopene. This antioxidant has been shown to protect from some types of cancer but also protect the heart. According to researchers from the University of Cambridge lycopene stabilized the function of the endothelium. The endothelium is a group of cells that line the inside of our blood vessels. When these cells are not functioning properly, it may lead to atherosclerosis-hardening of the arteries. The researchers found that lycopene improved the widening of the blood vessels by 53 percent, wide blood vessels is a good thing whereas narrowing of blood vessels can lead to a heart attack or stroke. 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 »