Posts Tagged ‘Authentic’
There are certain Greek meals that have a reputation for bringing back memories, youvetsi is one of them. And although I was not raised Greek, this is one of those meals that takes my husband back to his childhood just by smelling it. Especially when made in the crock pot, the aromas of lamb, tomato, and cinnamon fill the house with a comforting warmth that brings a permanent smile to his face.
The first picture is from a time I made youvetsi in Greece using a dutch oven, it turned out good, but this time using a slow cooker it was incredible.
Something I don’t like or understand in Greece are strikes. Today is a big striking day. Almost all public services (including schools, all means of transportation, military, church officials, government offices, ect) are closed because the people want a change and striking is a desperate attempt to get some change. Unfortunately, at least from where I am standing, this is just a lose – lose situation. You see, the government has AGAIN made salary decreases. For us this means about 300 euros less each month, basically a whole month’s rent to put it into perspective. But it doesn’t stop there. We are also awaiting an emergency property “tax” that will be around 200 euros each and the worst thing of all, it makes no sense, it is simply the government reaching into our pockets yet again. And on top of that, the government is suspending 30,000 public servants, some of which may be teachers. So, people are striking, not show up for work. And if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Unfortunately though, the actual chances of the government changing its mind because you missed work are slim to none. A total lose – lose situation!
Greek food is very memorable. Whether it is the first time you taste your first gyro sandwich or maybe you are just a sucker for homemade baklava, but regardless of which recipe exactly it is, you definitely remember its origins! The first time I tasted keftedes (Greek for meatballs) or keftedakia (Greek for small meatballs) was kind of an unusual experience. We had just been visiting the in-laws for a couple of weeks and were leaving that morning to drive to Athens, about a 5-6 hour drive from north Greece. Being the wonderful mother-in-law that she is, she made us a picnic for the road.
Greek Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade Recipe:
4 T. Fresh lemon juice
3 – 4 T. EVOO Oil
1 T. red wine vinegar (or just wine)
1 tsp. Greek oregano
1 tsp. Greek thyme, optional
2 – 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 onion, sliced or cubed
salt and pepper
Thank you for your continued patience in my erratic posting, things have been very much overwhelming for me this past week or so and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The first wedding was really beautiful and a great success, tomorrow I am leaving for the second wedding (where I am matron of honor for my best friend from high school). I am so excited for my two great friends to enter into the wonderful roller coaster ride world of marriage; I am a HUGE fan of finding and marrying your best friend and spending the rest of your life loving and learning to love them!
Dear readers and faithful followers of Seemingly Greek,
I need to ask for a little grace in the coming weeks. I have many new recipes to share and I had this perfect “plan” of having all of the images uploaded with the typed out recipes – but, that dream isn’t a reality. It is actually furtherest from the truth… I should be uploading a picture of my living room in an utter mess as I try to get ready to leave tomorrow for the States.
Presvitera’s Dolmades Recipe:
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2-3 T. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 medium white onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 large lemons, juiced
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, heated
30 grape leaves, rinsed and drained (from jar or use fresh but boil until tender)
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the onion in 2 T. EVOO for a few minutes, then add the rice and herbs and continue stirring until the onion has softened. Slowly, pour in half the heated stock and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until rice is almost cooked but still very al dente. You do not want to overcook your rice, but you do want it started! Stir in half the lemon juice and remove from heat, cool until easy enough to handle.
There is a (mostly) wonderful custom here in Greece that anytime you visit someone’s house, you should “arrive with your hands full and leave with your hands empty”! Basically, you should always bring something when visiting anyone, even if they are family. The exception to this is rule is only if you have already been to visit before in the previous days and took something with you then. Typical gifts are a box of delicious sweets, a bottle of wine, some flowers, or maybe even something you have prepared yourself.
Easter is right around the corner, and today in the Orthodox church we remember the crucifixion of Christ. The church always holds services the previous night for the actual day that the events will occur. Today, this morning actually, is the remembering of the last supper. We ascend to Mt. Zion with Christ and the chosen twelve to enter into the upper room for a special gathering. Once there, we witness the example of Christ abolishing the practice of the Old Covenant and establishing the ritual of the New Covenant, prophesied by Jeremiah, through the Mystery of Holy Communion. The faithful who have prepared also partake in communion during tonight’s evening service. This also will include the memorial of the underserved suffering of Jesus Christ, endured for our sake, so that we might be reconciled anew to God the Father. The Gospel readings go through each account of his arrest, his trial, his conviction, and finally his torture, crucifixion and death at the hands of sinful humanity. Tonight ends with a very heavy heart and understanding of the crucified Christ. Below are the icons of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion of Christ. I hope to make a blog dedicated to the explanation of Byzantine icons and what they represent; I have come a long way from being confused and irritated by the veneration of icons to finally understanding their meaning and place in the church. More on that later though.
Vegetarian Pastitsio “Greek Lasagna” Recipe: Serves 6-81/2 kilo (~1 lbs.) variety of brown and white mushrooms*1-2 medium zucchini, chopped*1-2 medium white onions, chopped1/8 cup EVOO2-3 cloves of garlic, minced1 large bay leaf1 tsp. Greek oreganosalt and pepper1/2 T. tomato paste1/2 – 1 can crushed tomatoesa little less than a 1/4 cup dry white wine1 all-spice berry1/2 tsp. cinnamon3/4 – 1 pkg. pastitsio or bucantini noodles (substitute just penne would work too)1/2 – 3/4 cup Kefalotyri (Ramano or another hard cheese)Saute onions and zucchini in the olive oil on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, add the garlic and bay leaves and cook another 3-5 minutes, until fragrant. Add the chopped mushrooms and clove(s) and raise the heat to medium high, add the wine and tomato paste. Cook until almost all the wine has cooked off, then add the can of tomatoes, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and oregano, lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest.*You can easily replace your veggies with anything of your choice: mixed spinach greens, eggplant, or anything you’d like, don’t hesitate to make it your own!Cook your noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente, with a slight bite or firmness remaining (about 10-12 minutes).Béchamel Sauce Recipe:1/2 stick butter (~50-75g.)1/2 cup AP flour5 cups warm whole milk4 eggs, room temperature1/2 – 1 cup grated hard cheese (vlahotyri, romano, parmesan, ect)salt and pepper1/2 – 3/4 tsp. nutmegMore hard cheese to grate on topAdd butter to a medium large saucepan and melt on medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until turns a warm golden brown, about 5-7 minutes depending on your heat. Continue whisking briskly while you steadily stream in your warm milk making a nice roux. Make sure you do not have any lumps, if you start to see them forming, simply whisk faster (you can use a mixer if you have a whisking beater). Now, bring to a slight boil while stirring with a wooden spoon. You want your roux to thicken but not turn into a batter. Remove from heat and cool slightly for 5 minutes. Whisk all of your eggs together and slowly stream them into your roux, mixing quickly to avoid scrambling. Now, add your cheese and seasonings.Once everything is ready, you can preheat your oven to 190°/375° and assemble your dish. Lightly oil your small – medium baking dish and mix 1 ladle of your béchamel sauce into your veggie mix and 2 ladles into your drained pasta. Lightly oil and add enough veggie/tomato sauce (not béchamel) to coat the bottom of your dish. Then, add 1/2 of your noodles. Follow with your veggie sauce and then repeat with remaining noodles. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce and grated cheese. Bake in a hot oven for 30-45 minutes. You want your edges to be bubbly and the cheese to be golden brown. Rest at least 30 minutes before serving to help set-up and make easier to dish out and hold form!
Although this dish takes a little effort and a lot of cleaning pots and pans, it is totally worth it. Make it once or twice and you will get the hang of it in no time!
2 cups coarse semolina
1/2 – 1 cup nuts: walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, ect, chopped finely or processed quickly
Cinnamon and a few nuts for topping
I would say that gyros (pronounced yee-ros) are Greece’s number one fast food item, with pizza, crepes, and club sandwiches following. These quick, satisfying, and very reasonably priced pita wraps are quite tasty too, especially when you find a busy store that makes them fresh. A typical gyro can be made with pork, chicken, or even lamb that is slowly cooked by rotating in circles (“γύρω“ in Greek means to go around, hence the name!). The meat is cooked until crispy and then is shaved off and loaded into a pita with your choice of toppings. A Thessaloniki gyro is filled with meat, fries, onion, tomatoes, ketchup and mustard, and a common addition is tzatziki, spicy cheese, or a paprika sauce for a more intense flavor. If you do not like the crispy meat, a very common alternative is to order a souvlaki gyro. Souvlaki is pork or chicken that is skewered and grilled on an open charcoal fire. Both options are really great for an occasional on-the-go meal, but I want to share a much healthier homemade lamb gyro recipe.
Stuffed Beefteki Recipe:
Greek Beef Stifado Recipe: Makes 2 servings
2-3 T. EVOO
2 good braising steaks of beef, whole or cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 small cinnamon stick
3 fl. oz. red wine
1 T. red wine vinegar
sprig of fresh rosemary, I didn’t have at the time
1 bay leaf, torn
1 T. tomato paste or puree
1 1/2 – 2 cups hot water
8-10 pearl onions
1-2 tsp. raw sugar
s/p (salt and pepper)