|Easter pastries - Greece|
Some of our favorite food is Greek. We found so many culinary delights as we traveled around Greece this spring that I am serving up a two-part report; beginning this week on our food-fest there and starting with perhaps the most recognizable dishes:
Pita Gyro: This fast food is the cheapest ‘full meal deal’ in town. Thinly sliced lamb, beef or chicken, tomatoes, onions, French fries, yogurt with paprika (pictured above) or tzatziki, a yogurt sauce comes wrapped in hot pita. The cost usually under $5 US.
Greek Salad: Unlike the versions we are served back home in the U.S. here the bowl is filled with chunks of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, whole olives with pits and slabs of feta, seasoned with oregano and olive oil and vinegar mixtures. Usually in the $5 – $7 US range and enough to share between two.
Hummus: While we call it a dip in the U.S. it sometimes is listed under salads here – other times as a meze, or small plate.
This traditional mixture of garlic, olive oil, garbanzo beans and tahini, is one of our favorites. In the photo to the left, the restaurant served it with sautéed onions. Less than $5 US.
Two other sauce/salad/mezes: are the traditional – tzatziki, (left side of the plate) yogurt, cucumber, oft times a bit of grated carrot and varying amounts of garlic and garlic salad basically garlic and mashed potatoes mixed together and served cold or at room temperature.
Greek meatballs rival that of their Italian neighbors. Here, however, they aren’t served with pasta. Instead, potatoes – slow roasted in the oven with oregano, olive oil and lemon juice – share the plate. (And thank goodness, those baskets of bread are served as a routine part of every meal. This one came in handy for dredging through that olive oil and lemon sauce!)
Stuffed grape leaves – served as mezes here, are a tart lemon-flavored treat filled with rice and served at room temperature or barely warmed. We ate many of these but I am featuring the ones served at The Nest, a restaurant (known for its traditional Greek food) tucked in the maze of the Old Town, Chora, on Ios Island.
This family-owned restaurant and the food it served, captured our hearts (and stomachs) and drew us back two of the three nights we were in town. Among the many dishes we sampled were these grape leaves. The owner said that the leaves are grown in his cousin’s garden and each morning his mother comes in to make them ~ now who could resist that?
Note: The opening photo is of pastries (some of you saw it on Facebook) - a gift for Easter from Maria, the lady who runs Pension Loutro Bay, on the southern coast of Crete, where we spent the holiday this year.
Thanks for your time today – we hope you’ll be back later this week!