Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Taste of Greece

When people learn of my recent travels to Greece, one of the first questions that I am asked is "What was the food like?" Well I can answer that in one word.....DELICIOUS!!! Each meal was equally wonderful----I don't think that I could choose a favorite. Thia Anna and Aunt Angie (Alex's two aunts) are amazing cooks and worked so hard to prepare fabulous meals for us. Each day there are two meals---the larger meal is eaten around 1:00 o'clock and the other is eaten later in the evening around 9:00 or 10:00 o'clock. After morning coffee the preparation for the lunch meal begins. A trip to the market, butcher or fish market, and bakery is a must to purchase all of the ingredients. On Wednesdays an open air market (called the Lykee) is held just several blocks away where wonderful produce, fresh herbs, eggs, dried beans, or fish can be purchased.

The trip to the market was like a buffet for the senses. Watching the activity of busy shoppers, listening to the merchants encouraging shoppers to stop and see their wares, and oh the wonderful fragrant smells of sweet peaches, ripe olives, and fresh herbs. On the days that the Lykee is not open fish can be purchased at the fish market.
Yes that is octopus which I did taste and was surprised to find that it was not as bad as I anticipated. At this point you may be wondering if fish is all that we ate. Oh my no!!! The most delicious chicken with lemon potatoes, chicken with okra and eggplant, lamb with eggplant, stuffed peppers and tomatoes, pasta with meat sauce, tomato salad with feta cheese, and roasted beef with pastitso. One evening we had a special treat. Uncle Nestor and been to the butcher and purchased a smorgasbord of meat to be grilled. Lamb chops, pork, chicken, and a yummy Greek sausage which was grilled on a little grill right on the sidewalk.

Poor Uncle Nestor---it was about 100 degrees in the shade the day we grilled.
After each meal fresh fruit is served. Usually watermelon and honeydew. So full of flavor and sweet unlike anything we have here in the United States. In case you are wondering---the desserts are unlike anything that I have tasted before. Wonderful almond cookies covered with powdered sugar, cakes covered in coffee flavored whipped cream with cookie centers, and this delicious tort that reminded me a bit like Taramasou.

Now that I have made you all hungry, I will share an easy recipe so that you can experience your own taste of Greece.
Grilled Eggplant Dip
6 small eggplants
6 fresh cloves of garlic finely minced
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of salad vinegar
salt to taste
Wash and place the eggplants on a heated grill. Grill until soft---about 25-30 minutes turning often to grill evenly. When eggplants are soft, remove from grill and immediately run under cold water to remove the skin easily. Once skin is removed, place eggplants in a food processor and process until the consistency of oatmeal. Stir in remaining ingredients and refrigerate for about two hours to let the flavors intense. Serve with pita or bagel chips.
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