Ana's Kitchen Episode 5... Mediterranean Bliss!
Geia se Ólus / Hi everybody
This summer I had the opportunity to visit Greece, and it was amazing!
Everything I imagined and more, Greece is so beautiful, people are so hospitable. Stunning beaches, fantastic weather, unique flavours, and good vibes.
It's not a surprise that everyone gets crazy about Greek food. Greek cuisine has a strong base in the Mediterranean diet, which many nutritionists promote as they consider it rich in nutrients, so perfect for your health. In addition, they believe that the Mediterranean diet is the key to longevity!!! What a fantastic thing, right?
The modern flourishing culinary scene of Greece is based on traditional recipes with a new twist. You can find restaurants and tavernas with a modern approach to classic cuisine and many traditional tavernas that cook the old way. It's worth giving both a try!
For my blog this month, I want to share with you a couple of delicious and easy recipes to help bring you the magic of Greece, accompanied, of course, by a few excellent Greek wines!
So, loipón edó páme ! (here we go!)
1. Greek Salad
This is a staple of Greek Gastronomy. Greek salad has several highly nutritious ingredients so that you can have it also as a main dish. The basic ingredients on a Greek Salad are Tomatoes, cucumber, onion, bell peppers, feta cheese, oregano, salt and extra virgin olive oil....yummy!!!!
YOU NEED: (for 4 serves as a side- quickly doubled for the main course)
- 4 large tomatoes, cut into irregular wedges
- 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded, then roughly chopped
- 1 or 2 bell peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
- 16 Kalamata olives
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 85g feta cheese, cut into chunks
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
Place all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Lightly season, and serve! (with crusty Pita Flatbread if you want to mop up all of the juices!) It's that easy...
2. Fried Feta Saganaki:
In Greece, when they say Saganaki, they refer to food cooked in a frying pan, along with cheese.
Honestly, I think this is one of the most delicious things on earth. Delicious cheese in a crispy fried crust, all soft and melting on the inside. Serve with drizzled honey and some lemon wedges for squeezing!
- 1 block of Feta cheese (about 100-150 grams)
- 1 Egg
- Frying Oil
- Fresh lemon
- 2-3 tbsp honey
Cover the bottom of a non-stick frying pan (about two fingers) with frying oil.
Heat over medium/high heat.
Beat the egg in a wide bowl.
Dip the Feta in the egg and then coat with flour.
Cook in frying oil for approximately 2 minutes on each side or until it gets a golden brown colour.
Transfer to a paper towel to remove the excess oil
Serve immediately, drizzled with honey and a few drops of fresh lemon on top.
3. Pita Gyros
This is one of the most popular fast foods in Greece! Pita Gyros is pork or chicken meat (roasted in a vertical rotisserie) in a slice of pita bread with tzatziki, red onions, green salad and tomatoes and, if you want, fried potatoes. Delicious!!!
YOU NEED: (for 4-6 servings) :
- 1/2 kilo chicken tenderloins
- 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 4-6 Pita flatbreads
- 2 cups shredded romaine
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
For the Tzatziki sauce:
- 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
- 1/2 cup grated cucumber, squeezed dry
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 glove garlic minced
- salt and pepper
To make the tzatziki sauce, combine the Greek yoghurt, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Combine chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, paprika, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 tbsp pepper in a Ziploc bag.
Marinate for at least 2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.
Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
Preheat grill (or a pan) to medium heat.
Put the chicken in grill or pan and cook, occasionally turning, until chicken is completely cooked through.
To serve, warm the Pitas about 1-2 per side.
Halve the Pitas, and fill with the chicken, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and tzatziki sauce.
With all this delicious Greek food, you cannot miss a delicious Greek wine as well, and at Love Wine we have varied options, but today I'm going to suggest two.
But first, let me tell you that Greece has transformed into a rising star of the wine world in the last twenty years. It has a vibrant history of winemaking, stretching back to the 7th century BCE.
Early Greek colonisation led to the vine being taken to all parts of the Mediterranean, thus laying the foundations for viticulture across Europe!
The wines I have for you today are:
Kamara Pure Nimbus Russus
This Wine is a co-vinification of Merlot and Syrah and separate vinification of Xinomavro. Intense ruby red colour with purple highlights. In the nose, the fruit expression is impressive with berries, dogwoods, plums and liquorice combined with notes of eucalyptus, black olives and intense black pepper. In the mouth the impressive spicy taste of black and green pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg are complemented by earthy notes of fresh soil, and hints of dark chocolate.
Karavitakis Klima Red
A blend of 60% Kotsifali and 40% Merlot. Kotsifali, a native Cretan variety. This smooth red berry flavoured wine has notes of cassis, blackberries and black pepper on the nose, smooth and silky, medium bodied on the palate. Merlot is added after being aged in new oak barriques to add structure. Sounds intriguing right? :)
Well guys, I hope you enjoyed reading my blog as much as I enjoy the writing.
I also hope that I have been able to inspire you to make some of the recipes!
See you soon!
Kalí órexi! Bon Appétit!
- Ana Altamirano