A bit about who I am:
I’m Fotini from Greece. I live in a small island in the Ionian sea, called Lefkas. A small dot in the map, but a heavenly beautiful place . As you can see in the picture bellow. It’s a place that gets packed with tourists in the summer. That’s when everyone gets busy (including me). For those few summer months, I run the kitchen at our family ‘Taverna’.
For those of you that have never heard the word before, it means a traditional Greek restaurant that serves mostly traditional dishes.I’m actually a chef, with a French school degree (don’t ask why).
I opened this Greek food blog, to share with you all the classic Greek recipes and how to cook Greek food . Even though I would prefer to cook for you as I usually do (we agree it’s not possible). So instead I’m going to cook with you ( I really do hope so). And also hope that you will have the same fun as I have, creating this blog.
A FEW GOOD REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TRY COOKING GREEK FOOD
Greek kitchen recipes, use olive oil instead of other animal fats like butter, or other vegetable oils. And they use it a lot. I mean like tons of it. Why? In Greece we like to do ‘’papara’’ (dip pieces of bread in the oil). A funny word, a very tasty thing.
You know like the French do with fondue, only in a bit messier way. And surely that’s not the reason why we add so much. (I just mentioned it to make you try it) .Plus it would be boring to mention olive oils health benefits once more.
We strongly believe and especially the older ladies here in Greece, that it’s the number one ingredient in every recipe that gives the food REAL flavor. Which is partly true I may say.
Oh and it also makes a nice thick stew, to vegetable dishes and to Greek soup recipes perfect for doing…… papara of course!
I know it may be a bit expensive, but if you are going to buy olive oil try and find some of good quality. Otherwise it won’t really worth the money you spend. The better the quality, the greener in color it will be. Also it should look slightly thicker than other vegetable oils.
In Greece we still cook with fresh products and pretty much unprocessed ones. This I think plays an important role on cooking a healthy meal. I’m very lucky to come from a family that produces it’s own milk, meat, poultry, eggs and vegetables (it’s still something pretty common in Greek villages).
I mentioned this because I have the chance to really see the difference between a bought egg for example, and one from the farm. Other than shape they have nothing else in common.
In addition, the tomato peppers and other fruit and vegetables that you find in a big super market to me they look like they’re made of some nice shiny plastic (really look at them). I wouldn’t even want to think, of how many chemical sprays they went through to leave them completely untouched by nature. Do you?
So if you really want to eat healthy, next time you go shopping try something more local. Check your neighbors small butcher shop or grocery. (Avoid mass production food companies) You may also want to start buying the tomato which has a small black spot on her. In the end it may taste better than the prettier one.
Do you like your steak rare? Medium rare? Or even medium cooked? (I do like it medium). The problem here though is that it’s not that healthy. Yeah it’s rich and full of protein and iron but it may also contain some parasites that need a higher temperature to be killed. In Greece if you give a Greek a steak that’s medium cooked he will go like: – Don’t you know how to cook a steak?
Everything is cooked very well and for quite some time as you will see in my recipes. (thus I hope you have some time on your hands before you start cooking Greek food with me. And also I hope I didn’t kill your appetite for that juicy steak. Once in a while it doesn’t hurt right? Like an ancient Greek philosopher once said: Pan metron ariston. Which means: Everything in moderation.
COMBINATION & BALANCE
Now that we can get our hands on all this knowledge about food nutrition, I am amazed to see that many Greek kitchen recipes have a combination of ingredients, that creates a really nice balance.
For instance in all fried or grilled meat and fish we use lots of fresh lemon juice combined with olive oil .( in Greek: ladolemono dressing )Lemon helps digest and burn fat it also has great antibacterial properties. Another Great example? The salty codfish with the garlic mash recipe. Your blood pressure rises with the large amount of salt from the fish but the amount of garlic used in the potato mash takes it down, creating a nice balance. The Greek lemon chicken soup recipe. Lemons vitamin C helps the body absorb the chickens protein. I have to state here that Mousaka is not an example Mousaka is just yummy..!
EASY AND SIMPLE
In Greek cuisine you won’t find cooking terms like: blanch, braise , deglaze, flambé and so on. You don’t have to be a super experienced cook to follow a Greek recipe. In any way, you will find step by step instructions with pictures to help you. So you will know, how the food should look in every step of the way.
The only thing with Greek kitchen recipes is that some of them take a bit of time to make. No worries about that either though. As most of the time you just let them simmer. Then again you may wanna grab the chance, and use this passive time to do some chores around the house. Not forgetting to give the food a glance from time to time (as I do sometimes).
ONLY A FEW INGREDIENTS
When Cooking Greek food, you don’t need to use like hundreds of ingredients. Just a few that are thought to be a good match. Usually the basic ingredient changes only. While the rest are repetitively used. Pretty much in the same fashion with only some ingredients changing each time.
Again plain and simple. And yes the results are different you won’t make the same dish again and again (If that’s what came into your mind just now). Wanna buy your ticket to cooking Greek food? Go get some tomato paste/juice and fresh tomatoes and you’re ready to go.
Attention: I’m not an expert food nutritionist. I’m an expert only as a person that works with food production. As a chef it is not my job to advise people on nutritional impact on health. My job is to provide correct food sanitation and preparation (Something I can’t provide through a blog anyway) What I display in this blog is my opinion based on some commonly known facts.