Greek Wine Choices

Alma-Tadema_Greek-Wine

There are over 300 indigenous grapes grown in Greece with the major ones rocking names like Agiorghitiko, Roditis, and Limnio. Fret not, you really don’t need to pronounce these grapes to enjoy them. Greek wine spans the spectrum from light and crisp to heavy and sweet white wines and light, delicate to heavy and bold reds. This is a part of the wine world really worth exploring.

Greek: Recipe for Bodino Stifado (Beef Stew with leeks)

I recently got exposed to the culinary stylings of Chef Michael Psilakis at the Buick Discovery Tour near the Los Angeles beef stewarea.  Chef Psilakis  has a number of restaurants in New York featuring Greek Cuisine.  Additionally, he competed against fellow Greek and Iron Chef Michael Symon.  Here is his recipe for Bodino Stifado. (Beef Stew with leeks)

Serves 4 to 6 family-style with potatoes, rice, or orzo
Braises like this are perfect for meat with tough muscle tissue and tendons (which come from the part of the animal that works hard), a great example of poverty cooking. This less expensive cut of meat develops its own natural and luscious sauce as it cooks. You want a little marbling in the meat, because it melts down as you cook and adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. You can use brisket, shanks, shoulder – all fairly tough meats – but save the filet mignon for the grill or a pan. It takes a little time to cook and become tender, but it’s a relatively easy setup, and once you get it onto the stove you don’t have to worry about it for about an hour. So you can do your laundry, or walk the dog, or make a salad.
A couple of days later, if you have any leftovers, you can shred the meat, then return the meat to the sauce and add your favorite pasta. The resulting dish is a Greek version of beef stroganoff.
The herbs are very important to the flavor development here, since I’m using water instead of stock, so use fresh herbs if possible.
Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons blended oil (90 percent canola, 10 percent extra-virgin olive)
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½ – inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • ½ large Spanish or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 large leek, cut into thick rounds, washed well in cold water, drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 to 5 cups water
  • 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried leaves
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped parsley

See Directions

Cooking With Olive Oil- Knowing the Right Temperature

Recently, I had a conversation with a group of friends about roasting asparagus with olive oil, not realizing all the twists and turns our conversation would have.  My dear friend Ann who knows everything about what Dr. Oz(See Q&A) has to say about things, warned about roasting food with olive oil.  Thus, I had to research this more after all I only the editor of a cooking website.  I stumbled upon a blog which seem to share the same info that was shared with me.  Read Below. 

George Mateljan  has written 5 books on healthy eating, including The World’s HealthiestFoods

While preparing for a Chicago Cooking Show, the author share with the producer, “You never want to let olive oil get hotter than 200-250 degrees,” he warned as he poured it into a pan for our taped cooking segment.
When you first put room temperature olive oil into a pan, it’s green and vibrant- filled with vitamins and anti-oxidants.  But as the temperature rises, all those nutrients are literally burned out of the oil, along with the color, and toxic fumes start to rise from the pan.
“People are inhaling this smoke every day when they think it’s being healthy, but in reality, the smoke from heated olive oil is full of toxins,” George tells me.
So what’s a home chef to do??!!
“Use an oil that can take the heat,” he explains.
“Like canola oil?”  I ask.
“Use safflower oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil.  You can find all of those in the supermarkets today,” he suggests.
George spent 10 years doing research before launching his World’s Healthiest Foods book, so I trust he knows what he’s talking about.
So does this mean no more olive oil?  Not a chance.  Research says that by ingesting more olives,
“I drizzle olive oil on just about everything,” says George.  “After I’ve cooked my meal, I put it on fish, vegetables, whatever you make- it’s like adding a handful of nutrients and vitamins to every dish.”

Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/spiritual-dammit/2009/07/cooking-with-olive-oil-can-be-toxic.html#ixzz1VF5ZZjXC

Greek Easter Tradition: Koulourakia

Koulourakia (Greek: κουλουράκια, IPA: [kuluˈracia]) is a traditional Greek dessert, typically made at Easter to be eaten after Holy Saturday.

They are a butter-based pastry, traditionally hand-shaped, with egg glaze on top. They have a sweet delicate flavor with a hint of vanilla. Koulourakia are well known for their sprinkle of sesame seeds and distinctive ring shape. In fact, the word is the diminutive form for a ring-shaped loaf or lifebelt. These pastries are also often shaped like small snakes by the Minoans, as they worshiped the snake for its healing powers.

Now the pastries can be shaped into braided circles, hairpin twists, figure eights, twisted wreaths, horseshoes or Greek letters, although they are still often shaped into a snake style. They are commonly eaten with morning coffee or afternoon tea. Like all pastries, they are normally kept in dry conditions in a jar with a lockable lid.- (Wikepedia)

About Baba Ghanoush

 Some parts of the Levant, baba ghanoush is a starter or appetizer; in Egypt it is mostly served as a side-dish or salad. It is made of aubergine with finely diced onions, tomatoes, and other vegetables blended in. It is normally served with a dressing of oil and pomegranate concentrate. It is made of roasted, peeled, and mashed aubergine, blended with tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice and topped with olive oil. Cumin and chili powder can be added. A similar dish is known as mutabbal in the Levant. In the traditional method, the eggplant is first roasted in an oven for approximately 30 minutes. The softened flesh is scooped out, squeezed to remove excess water, and is then pureed with the tahini. There are many variants of the recipe, especially the seasoning. Seasonings include garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, mint, and parsley. When served on a plate or bowl, it is traditional to drizzle the top with olive oil.[3]

(In Photo: Syrian Style baba Ghanoush)

It is eaten in Turkey, where it is called patlıcan salatası (meaning “eggplant salad”). And, in Greece, it is called μελιτζανοσαλάταmelitzanosalata (meaning “eggplant salad”). An Israeli variation of the salad is made with mayonnaise.[4] There is also Bulgarian eggplant salad/spread, called Kiopolu Кьополу.

Indian Baingan Bartha is a dish similar to baba ghanoush. It is similarly prepared by grilling eggplant over open charcoal flame to impart a smoky flavor to the flesh. It is then cooked with an assortment of spices, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. It is commonly served with breads like Paratha, Roti, and Naan.

In West India, yogurt and chopped onion are added to roasted eggplant along with various seasonings. The dish, typically served as a side, is called Bharta.(Wikepedia)

Melina Kanakaredes of CSI: NY Shares Her Favorite Greek Food

Greek Celebs Share Their Favorite Greek Foods:

The lovely Melina Kanakaredes is very definite: her favorite Greek dish is Dolmathes me Kima – stuffed grape leaves with meat, topped with avgolemono sauce.  A fave of Olympia Dukakis is Grilled Octopus. It’s a classic image that comes to mind when many think of Greece: sitting under an umbrella by the seaside, with ouzo or wine and a plate of freshly grilled octopus. It’s delicious, and you can create the same atmosphere at home.

MelinaKanakaredesBlog

Credit about.com

For more info please visit: http://greekfood.about.com/od/discovergreekfood/tp/stars_picks.htm

Spanakopita- Greek Spinach Pie

Spanakopita:

Ingredients:
2 pounds spinach (steamed, squeezed, drained and chopped)
1 cup feta (crumbled)
1/4 cup dill (chopped)
1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
1 bunch green onions (sliced)
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
phyllo dough

Directions:
1. Mix the spinach, feta, dill, parsley, green onions, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
2. Brush the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with olive oil.
3. Brush the top of a sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil and place it in the pan. (You may have to cut the phyllo dough to fit the pan.) Repeat until you have 6 layers.
4. Place the spinach mixture on top of the phyllo dough.
5. Brush the top of a sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil and place it on the spinach. Repeat until you have 6 layers.
6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown on top, about 30-50 minutes.

For more info visit : http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/2008/04/spanakopita-greek-spinach-pie.htmlSpanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)