In Greece, when friends get together for lunch, it is an all day affair! Whether there are 4 or 14 dining, the amount of food is almost the same. The table is covered with small plates, called mezethes. For sure you will find tzatziki, slices of feta with oregano, mixed olives, salads, and a variety of dips and sauces like these. Food is always eaten “family style” and shared among everyone at a table. You order ala carte and pass the plates around until all the food is gone and the glasses of ouzo and wine are empty. A minimum of two hours but more commonly three to four hours of eating, talking, drinking, and then eating and drinking some more. If you have never experienced this, it is indescribable how the time passes when you are surrounded by good food and good friends! Here are a few feta dips that can easily be put together for exactly such an occasion.
These were so mouth watering delicious that I just want to keep eating more and more and more. This recipe crosses over more into the traditionally Italian recipes, but to make them a little healthier, I have substituted beef for ground turkey. And making them in the crock pot was so painless that this recipe will be going into my “I’m way too tired to cook anything complicated” box. All it does require is that you plan enough time ahead that you have 4-5 hours to set it and forget it as they say. There is like a 5-10 minute prep time and hardly anything to clean up, especially if you use a crock pot liner (I forgot this time though and the mess still isn’t that bad).
Now that is a fun word to say: spanakopitakia, spanakopitakia, SPANAOPITAKIA!!!These are wonderful little treats to have around the house or to make for a party, just grab and go! They are just a little more work than making a big spanakopita, but the extra step of folding each one individually makes for a nice change (and sometimes of a less mess when eating too).You will follow the same recipe as Spanakopita but instead of layering in a dish, you will roll into individual triangles. Easy Peasy.
I almost always have enough Greek ingredients in my fridge to toss together a Greek salad or put a “Greek spin” on something typically American. Some common staples in my fridge and pantry are - but not limited to- plain, nonfat Greek yogurt we buy it in bulk, bell peppers, seedless cucumbers, ripe tomatoes – in the winter I always get the cherry tomatoes; they are the only ones that still taste like a tomato, white, red, and sweet potatoes , red onions, fresh and/or frozen spinach, feta cheese, kefalotyri -a type of hard cheese you grate, kalamata olives, garlic, Greek oregano, fresh dill – or blended fresh dill in a tube, mint - dry or fresh, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, pita bread or chips, chickpeas or premade hummus, fresh lemons, mountain honey, frozen phyllo, ouzo, and of course tons of olive oil.
Sometimes it is just nice to throw together a delicious and easy meal. Well, this Greek inspired American classic is a wonderful take on the traditional meatloaf. Made with ground turkey you can serve something lighter yet still flavor packed with the addition of feta cheese and dill weed. It pairs perfect with potatoes and/or a Greek salad!
Feta and Dill Turkey Meatloaf Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Printable Recipe - 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 small red onion, diced small 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Greek food is definitely something that gets better with practice!!! This was my 3rd year making “Μελομακάρονα” Greek Christmas cookies and they are better than ever, my husband says “almost just like yiayia makes them”! That is quite the compliment if you’ve ever had a yiayia (Greek for grandmother) cook for you! In my opinion, my mother-in-law still makes them a lot better; although she does have 35 years more experience than me!
Now coffee cake doesn’t actually have coffee in it, but it is ideal to eat while drinking a cup of your favorite joe! It must be the pairing of roasted coffee beans and sweet brown sugar cinnamon that not only fill your house with home warming smells but all the way down to your heart.
I love enjoying coffee cake on the weekend, with or without guests. And I love when my husband wakes up to the sweet aroma of cinnamon and coffee, he follows his nose to the kitchen with the biggest smile on his face!
I am so excited and I hope you will be too. I really haven’t been blogging like I want or should be since moving here to Florida, and I could explain to you a dozen excuses why but it all boils down to one: my set up just wasn’t working.
I could never seem to catch the right lighting or sometimes any natural light with my new schedule. But in the land of plenty it is easy to find/make affordable solutions to fix almost any problems you face.
No natural light + DIY light-box = Problem solved!
I haven’t been cooking near as much as I want to, but my free time is about to double with summer working hours being cut in half, so I plan on posting some new delicious recipes soon.
Off the topic of food, I really want to share with you the turmoil that Greece is in right now. It is easy for us, including myself, to hear about what is happening in Greece without really understanding what it means on a daily basis. Even within the last 6 months before we left Greece, we witnessed many changes such as huge pay cuts, tax increases, businesses closing, and the overall spirit of the Greek people being threatened with a strong sense of fear and instability on the rise.
When I think of basil, I think of pesto. When I think of pesto, I think of Italy. When I think of Italy, I think of jumping on a plane and flying straight there! Sigh.
I did get to live in Italy for almost 2 months once, and it was my dream come true. To be really honest, if I hadn’t just met and started to fall in love with my now husband before living there, I might have just never left! But we got to travel around to a few different places together, and I think that is where we both really knew that forever was in sight!
I wanted to share with you some of the things I really missed in Greece and some of the wonderful new things I am so glad to have now!
I really missed:
Freezer bags, as crazy as it sounds the quality of bags available were in no way comparable to freezer bags here!
Vinegars. I like to use a variety of vinegar for cooking and cleaning, but the options were quite limited in Greece, at least on the island!
Χριστός Ανέστη! Christos Anesti… Christ is Risen!
Αληθώς Ανέστη! Alithos Anesti … Truly he is!
It is still amazing to me that I am now blogging from Florida. This Easter came and went so quickly for us that I feel like we barely got to enjoy it. Let’s just say that there is a big difference in working 20 hours as opposed to 40, like in good ‘ole America! And it is funny to think that there are several things I actually miss in Greece, and that says a lot compared to when I first moved there. The grass just always seems greener I guess.
I went “running” today, if you could call it that; it was actually more of me wheezing and breaking into a walk every 2 minutes. It didn’t use to be that way either. I remember the days when I could lace up and easily go run for an hour or on a good day and hour and a half. When I finished, I simply floated over the next few hours from my runner’s high!
Greek bean soup is almost like a national dish in Greece, although it doesn’t seem to be so popular on this side of the world. Rather, I have seen the infamous Avgolemono soup everywhere including restaurants and even canned on supermarket shelves! I think the reason behind this is because it is one of the humble foods found on every Greek table at least once a month, sometimes once a week. Especially now during times of crisis, there might be some people living off this stuff!