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Greek Food
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great Erin, can't wait to hear how it turns out. Did I get the spelling and ingredients anywhere near right?

Rebecca, yeah, for sure retsina isn't to everyone's taste and I'm not at all up on their wine, but if you at all care for brandy Greek ones are very tasty and inexpensive.
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melinda



Joined: 01 Oct 2004
Posts: 256
Location: Richmond, VA, usa

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

don't forget baklava........mmmmmm
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kiki



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:07 am    Post subject: Greek food Reply with quote

As a Greek (100%) I just have to put in my 2 cents......

The ultimate hands down best Greek sweet in my opinion, and my entire family's for that matter is: yalaktoboureko, or bouyatsa. They are the same thing, one is made in a pan, the other in single filo wrapped servings. In essence it is a semolina milk custard wrapped in filo and drenched in lemony syrup. Very few home cooks can achieve the right fluffy consistency of the custard, and my mother happens to be one of them.

During lenten season, a Halva is nice as well. Not the awful stuff you get at delis. But, the homemade version with fine semolina, ground nuts, pine nuts, and oj or grapemust.

No Greek I know would ever put flour in avyolemeno sauce!! It's used for all sorts of dishes: meatballs (youvarlakia), pork and celery stew, dolmathes, soup base (chicken rice & fish with angle hair pasta are very popular), etc.....

A really nice recent cookbook is 'Modern Greek' by Andy Harris. It's got easy takes on classic dishes and some nice modern recipes that are Greek in essence.

Briami is the Greek name of the dish that has eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, etc. Part of a whole type of cooking known in Greek as 'lathera', or in translation as 'oiled dishes'. Cooked with lots of olive oil and eaten at room temp. Most folks didn't have refrigerators until the last 35-40 years (unless they were in Athens).

There are a number of fine Greek spirits. The '7 star' or special reserve Metaxa brandy is decent. There are tons of sweet liquors. Wine is another matter. Most folks in Greece, my relatives being prime examples, drink their own brew or the brew of the nearby taverna most notably tapped right off the barrel directly. My cousins tell me there are a good number of very good serious greek wines of late. I have no idea what they are.

For a refreshing white I would recommend the 'agioritiko' from Mt. Athos that comes in the squat green bottle with the byzantine looking label. I don't recommend any reds, french and italian reds are superior so why bother!!!

My all time favorite homemade greek dish is: papoutsakia or 'little shoes'. It's a half of an eggplant, stuffed with a spiced up ground meat mixture and topped by a bechamel sauce baked to a golden crisp. Yummy.

The best greek restaurant dish I have ever had was at a taverna outside of Kalamata in the town of Pithima. A restaurant attached to a mill is famous there for it's stewed chicken (or rooster) in a tomatoe sauce. They serve it with a platter of thick macaroni, the kind with the hole in the middle to better suck up the sauce. I can't remember the name of the restaurant but every time we go to Kalamata, we make a special trip there; the last time was 2 years ago.

THat's it. Sorry this is so long!
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kiki



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:12 am    Post subject: Re: Greek food Reply with quote

Oh yeah,
Retsina?!

Yucko, only alcoholics and tourists drink that stuff in Greece.
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 899
Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a Greek boyfriend once and he made an amazing sweet by melting a pack of butter in a frypan,tossing in some flour and as it came together he scooped out spoonfuls and rolled them in sugar and cinnamom. He called it halva but it is nothing like the halva I have since bought in the shop which appears to be made frome sesame paste.
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Barbara


Last edited by Barbara on Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kiki- How wonderful to have all your expertise! I confess I only love to eat Greek food. And I've only made my first attempts to cook it so I'm delighted to have the corrections.

The cookbook I was using (that suggested flour in avgolemono) is from the families of St. Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Hempstead, NY. Perhaps it's not too far from Brooklyn? Out on the island, no?

Anyway, welcome and I hope you'll be back! Maybe you could help Erin and I with those to die for roasted lemon potatoes. I can't find a recipe in my library of cookbooks and neither the FoodNetwork or Cooks.com had a recipe I could find either.

PS Can you describe an authentic Greek salad? Are anchovies important? What are the veggies and greens? The dressing: similar to a vinaigrette with lemon juice instead of vinegar? I know what I like but I've never been to Greece and I'd love to know what's authentic.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rainey,
I am glad I have a partner on my mission for those potatoes! I have several Greek cookbooks and they are nowhere!

Kiki,
Great information! I love learning about food, and I adore Greek food! If you have any recipes you think we would like please feel free to post them! We will be waiting!
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kiki



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject: Greek food Reply with quote

classic Greek salads:

1. 'Athenian'- not sure why it's called that but basically you take a romaine lettuce (which my parents always called 'greek' lettuce when we were growing up; must have something to do with the fact that Greeks up until the 70's many times referred to themselves as 'Romans'- must be some leftover Byzantine thing), shred it finely into strips crosswise on each leaf, add lots of fresh chopped dill, finely chopped scallions, salt, a bit of fresh ground pepper, lemon or vinegar and lots of olive oil, some crumbled feta, olives if you like, and sometimes even some finely chopped cucumber.

2. 'horiatiki' or village salad- no lettuce but whatever is in season including, cuc's, tomatoes, red onions, feta, olives, anchovies (the ones packed in salt that have been cleaned) on top as a decoration. [in every greek house I've been to, anchovies are always cleaned and then dressed in olive oil with minced garlic and fresh minced parsley- people take what they want, they aren't added to the salad] Anyway, you dress it the same way, lots of olive oil, salt, oregano or basil if you like. You don't typically add an acid if the tomatoes are in season. You salt them first and let them express their juice, that serves as the acid. We used to always get into fights with the cousins in Greece because the little kids would dip their bread into the 'juice' but not actually eat any of the salad.....

3. every other kind of imagineable thing you can think of that is in season. all sorts of boiled greens, or potatoe salads made without mayo, etc. Greeks are versatile with whatever they find. Folks on the islands have some excellent combos. Remember, regional cooking in Greece is extremely varied.

OK, lemon potatoes.

You need to be roasting something, no one I know would just make them. They do at reastaurants though and it leads to faulty perceptions of greek potatoes. They are used as a base to soak up all the roasting juices. You would roast a chicken or some lamb- lamb being the one that makes the best juice in my opinion. You quarter or even cut them in eights. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle them with a bit of fresh ground pepper, lots of olive oil, a bit of croase sea salt, either oregano, basil or rosemary (whatever is on the meat), and a dash of paprika for color. Don't put lemon on them or they will stick to the pan (according to my mother and mother-in-law) although I add a bit. The lemon flavor mostly comes from the meat juice. The meat you are roasting with have tons of lemon on it and we always slather some more oil/lemon mixture (called 'latholemono' in Greek, literally oil-lemon) onto the meat in intervals to keep it from drying out. Check them as they are roasting and flip them over so both sides get a chance to suck up juice while cooking. If the meat is finished, pull it out and keep the potatoes roasting until they get some color and a bit crisp on the edges. Many times, I just jack up the heat a bit. We like to eat them with a bit of mustard on the plate, especially with lamb. None of that mint jelly stuff for Greeks!!

Church cookbooks tend to have lots of American twists to them. One would only put flour in an egglemon sauce if they made it too thin to begin with. And then, the old greek ladies I know would use corn starch instead to avoid the obvious uncooked flour taste that would give them away!

Sesame paste is used in commercially made halva, mostly the turkish and other middle eastern brands. Greek homemade halva overwhelmingly tends to be made with fine semolina as the base, other ground nuts, pine nuts and some sugar or sweetened grape must. It's an epiphany over the commercial stuff which is dry and crumbly. Let me know if you want a recipe, it's really easy to make.

For those that asked, you need to tell me what you like, and I can post a recipe for you. I wouldn't presume to know your taste.
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jenanoelle



Joined: 11 Jan 2005
Posts: 6
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey kiki, do you have a recipe for corumbiethes? MY family's always made it, but I've never actually *seen* it made, so I have no idea what goes in it, or the work involved.. (although I'm always up for a little work Wink)
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kiki



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jenanoelle wrote:
hey kiki, do you have a recipe for corumbiethes?


Mom always makes the dough. We were just the slave labor rolling and pinching and pulling cookie sheets in/out of the oven, etc.

She is in Vancouver visiting her brother right now. I'll call her and ask. It may take a few days though.

I know there is lots of butter, some flour, ground almonds and flower water involved. The flour water drissled on after they come out of the oven, then allowed to cool slightly before covering them in powdered sugar. These were my duties as well.

I'll get back to you,
Kiki
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hee hee, great insights kiki! As for the retsina being only for alcoholics and tourists----well, my retsina days were in my 20's and often had a backpack attached so I suppose I counted as both! But my Greek boss, George, always ordered us retsina and (forgive me for this one) kokinelli (I really have no idea) to drink with the lavish lunches, but then maybe there wasn't much else available in Melbourne in the early 70's.
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rebecca



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 77
Location: near a pan of spanakopita

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like I've been making the horiatiki/village salad all these years! Glad to finally know it is an authentic recipe, because I make a giant bowl of it in the summertime and chow down. Very Happy
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kiki- What a fabulous resource you will be! Is there a cookbook you recommend? Or perhaps you just draw directly on all the great Greek cooks you know and get to work with.

Thanks for all that great info on salads and potatoes.

My cookbook has a lemon and olive oil sauce it calls "ladolemono" which calls for equal parts of oil and lemon juice. Maybe it has a different name because it also includes oregano? Would that be about right for potatoes if I didn't have a roast I was also cooking?
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kiki you rock! Thank you for giving your time to teach us about your food culture. I am roasting a chicken tomorrow and I will follow your instruction for the potatoes. I can hardly wait to try it out. Do you have anything in the line of breakfast food? Not eggs though, unless they are very well hidden.

David,
Tonight I am making the tarmasalata, I am excited! Your spelling was close to what my cookbook said. One thing I am noticing is that there are sometimes several different spellings.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

David,
It was excellent!
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