Posts Tagged ‘Traditional’

Lamb Youvetsi

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.

Greek Soutzoukakia

I am sure you are wondering what the heck soutzoukakia is if you aren’t Greek, and the first time I heard someone mention it I replied, “Gazoontight” (Gesundheit)!

Although this dish has a ridiculously funny name, it has a seriously delicious taste. This particular version of the recipe comes from a part of Turkey called, Smyrni. This used to be a heavily inhabited by Greeks before the population exchange in 1922. It is basically a Greek meatball but instead of round it is egg shaped or like a sausage link.

Greek Meatball Soup

aka “Giouvarlakia” in Greek, pronounced yiou-var-LAkia

I remember tasting this soup last Easter for the first time. It is not the typical Easter soup, that would be called “mageiritsa”. But once this American girl found out what the ingredients of THAT soup were, she politely maybe snobbishly refused to eat it. There is just something about using the inner parts of an animal to make a soup. But the tradition of this soup does make sense, it is supposed to help gently break the fast of no meats or dairy for the previous 40 days. Parts like the liver and intestines are apparently more easily digested.

Greek Oven Potatoes

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!

Keftedakia (Greek Meatballs)

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.

Moussaka

So, I must admit that cooking Greek food in the US (especially where there isn’t a Greek community or available authentic Greek products) is much more complicated and interesting than I expected. I am not sure how many of you have been facing similar issues when trying to recreate any of my (or other) Greek recipes. I have found that there are some quite huge differences in a few Greek products here compared to there, especially the yogurt and feta quality and consistency. But there are also big differences in the vegetables, specifically cucumbers – American cucumbers are freaking huge; I recommend using the British or mini cucumbers for your tzatziki or Greek salads. The tomatoes, eggplants, and even zucchinis are extraordinarily large too (Texas sized, maybe?)and not as flavorful as the garden grown variety.

On the other hand though, I have thoroughly enjoyed the oversized kitchen with granite countertops, a kitchen island, convection oven, dishwasher, and outdoor grill! I guess the grass is always greener on the other side!!!

Related posts:

Chicken Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade

One of the most popular street foods in Greece (maybe after gyros) is called souvlaki. Souvlaki is simply meat on a stick, the most common meat being pork or chicken. It is marinaded usually all night or at least all morning and then grilled to perfection and served either in a pita sandwich or just with homemade french fries and of course, tzatziki.  Souvlaki is also a simple Greek food that can be made at home with only a few ingredients! I love my souvlaki grilled out in the summer time and served with an ice cold glass of beer and homemade fries.
souvlaki 02 Chicken Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade

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

Baklava

correction+%25281%2529 Baklava

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!

Stuffed Zucchini

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

I must admit first that although I took the pictures, the dolmades below belong to my mother-in-law, “the expert dolmades maker”, hence the name! Her name is not Presvitera, rather this is a respectful and endearing name to call a priest’s wife. My father in law is a Greek Orthodox priest and I had the honor of him baptizing me (My Christian name is Styliani) and marrying us – actually we had a very blessed wedding with 6 priests, our marriage is bound to last until the end of time icon smile Presviteras Dolmades  

The (one) time that I tried to make dolmades, the taste was good but the aesthetics were terrible, so you did not get to see my first attempt. Over Easter break, I got to learn first hand the secrets to making perfect dolmades, do not overstuff them! Apparently, I was a little too eager and generous with my rice stuffing. Lesson learned! So, now I share with you the simple, yet delicious, vegetarian stuffed grape vine leaves recipe that many Greek families consider as a staple on their tables.
Presvitera’s Dolmades Recipe: 

Printable 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.

Walnut Syrup Cake with Vanilla Creme Filling

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, and although Greeks don’t really celebrate birthdays, THIS American girl surely does!!! V requested strawberry cake but there were no strawberries to be found yet on the island, maybe in a couple of weeks. Instead, I made a double layer walnut cake and filled it with his favorite vanilla creme (instant and hassle free)!

Homemade Οrange Spoon Sweets

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.

Homemade Tsoureki and Easter

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. 

Homemade Lamb Gyros

angle gyros Homemade Lamb Gyros

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. 

Beefteki, the Greek burger!

Beefteki yemista me feta tyri, Stuffed Beef Burgers with Feta Cheese

In two weeks from Monday (yesterday) it will be Clean or “Pure” Monday (the start of Greek Lent) and this officially begins the season of fasting. The fasting ranges from extreme devotion, traditionally meaning abstaining from all meats and seafoods, dairy, and oils; moderate fasting and abstaining from either meats or dairy; and occasional fasting and refraining from your choice of something, maybe chocolate and sweets. This is technically the last week of food indulgences. Two weeks before Lent, you are urged to give up meat, and one week before, you give up dairy, this is to allow your body time to adjust. I personally am going to definitely abstain from meat and I will try my hardest to not eat dairy or oil, but the last one will be the most difficult I think. I am going to at least try to only use only olive oil and no butters, margarines, or other oils. We will see how it goes, unfortunately I have never been great at discipline and abiding by the rules. BUT, don’t worry about my recipes getting too boring, I have a few un-Lent recipes already made and waiting to be posted for you, and I plan on getting a bit more creative in the kitchen!

If you have eaten many Greek meals, this should be high on your list of favorites. Unlike the traditional American hamburger, these juicy and tender beef burgers are typically served without bread (although it is common to eat in a pita on the go). They are, however, commonly served with Greek oven potatoes The combination of meat + potatoes + tzatziki is an unbeatable combination.
greek burger beefteki Beefteki, the Greek burger!

Stuffed Beefteki Recipe:

Hi! My name is Jacquline. Welcome to my blog. I hope you will find some delicious Greek food recipes and enjoy the read along the way! Kali Orexi :)

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