Thursday, 27 December 2007

How to cook: Cretan Meat Pie

You need:
  • Lamb
  • Phyllo pastry
  • 1 Onion (diced)
  • Garlic
  • Cheese
  • Nutmeg
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Boil some lamb (or any meat you want) in lightly salted water. Cut the meat up into little pieces. Season to your liking (salt, pepper, oregano, etc...) Add sautιed onions and garlic if desired. Mix the meat with various cheeses (swiss, mozzarella, kefalograviera) Spread the mixture onto oiled up phyllo (you can make your own or buy ready made but ALWAYS USE OLIVE OIL as this is a Cretan recipe) Roll up the phyllo taking care to tuck in the sides as you go. Bake it until it is golden brown - about 1/2 hour.

How to make: Lahano Salata (Cabbage Salad)

You need:
  • 1 head Cabbage
  • 2-3 cloves Carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Cut the cabbage in half and discard the outer tough leaves and the inner core. Cut each half into quarters and wash under cold water. Place each quarter on its side and slice very thin slices with a sharp knife. Alternately each quarter can be sliced by using a mandolin.
Grate the carrots using a box grater or mandolin.
Place cabbage and carrots in a bowl and dress it with salt, pepper, oil and vinegar or lemon to taste. Toss well and serve. Olives may be used as a garnish. Traditionally, this salad has a tart flavor (extra vinegar or lemon juice).

How to cook: Soupa Nisiotiki (Island Soup)

You need:
  • 2 lb haddock fillets cut in 2" pieces
  • 2 dozen clams w/ liquid
  • 1 lb fresh shrimp, cleaned and deveined
  • 1 lb scallops
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tspn pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced fine
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup celerey, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups whole canned tomatoes, drain and reserve liquid
  • 1 cup dry white wine
Directions: In a large saucepan, saute onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in olive oil. Add the drained tomatoes, parsley, bay leaves, salt & pepper to saucepan. Simmer 5 minutes. Combine tomato and clam liquids, and add enough boiling water to make 3 cups, and set aside.
In a deep casserole, arrange layers of haddock, clams, shrimp, crabmeat, scallops covering each layer with some of the vegetable mixture and the white wine. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add reserved tomato/clam liquid and simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Serve from the casserole. Makes about 10 servings...

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Dakos: Cretan Meze

A traditional meze or light meal on the island of Crete, dakos (also called "koukouvayia") is often called "Greek bruschetta," and is easy to make with few ingredients and no cooking. You can find rusks at online Greek food shops, make your own, or use a thick slice of grilled or toasted crusty country bread (without the water).

* 1/2 of a large round barley rusk (about 5 inches diameter)
* 1 large or 2 small ripe tomatoes, coarsely grated (discard skin)
* 2-3 heaping tablespoons of feta cheese or aged myzithra, crumbled or grated
* extra virgin olive oil
* freshly ground pepper
* Greek oregano (rigani)

Run the rusk under a spray of water (about 4-6 tablespoons) to moisten. Grate the tomato with a vegetable grater (or the large grate on a multi-grater) into a strainer over a bowl so most of the liquid drains off.

Spread the grated tomato on the rusk and top with cheese.

How To: Make Thick, Strained Yogurt

The thick, strained yogurt used in Greek cooking may not be available in your local market. Learn to make your own using commercial or homemade full-fat, low-fat, and even fat-free yogurt. It's not only great for preparing Greek foods, but you'll love it for other uses as well!

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 2-3 hours or overnight

Here's How:
  1. Line a medium-large bowl with a piece of cheesecloth or a clean white dish towel.
  2. Dump a container of plain (unflavored), yogurt into the center of the cloth.
  3. Bring the four corners of the cloth together and lift the yogurt.
  4. Over the bowl or sink, twist the corners to squeeze out the liquid (it will drain through the cloth)
  5. Continue squeezing, putting the yogurt under pressure, to force the liquid out.
  6. When the majority of the surface liquid has been drained, it will start to drip more slowly.
  7. Tie off the top of the cloth just above the mass of yogurt with string.
  8. Place the cloth containing the yogurt in a strainer or colander, and place the strainer or colander in a bowl where it doesn't touch the bottom (so that the liquid can continue to drain).
  9. Place the bowl containing the strainer/colander in the refrigerator and allow to drain for 2-3 hours.
  10. After draining, take the cloth containing the yogurt and put it in the sink (do not remove the string).
  11. Place the palms of your hands on the bag and press down to force out any remaining liquid.
  12. Remove the string, open the cloth, and using a spatula, put the yogurt in a bowl for use.

Note: How thick is thick? The yogurt should be the consistency of whipped butter or cream cheese.

What You Need:

* medium-large mixing bowl
* cheesecloth or clean white dishtowel
* commercial or homemade full-fat, low-fat, or fat-free yogurt, plain unflavored
* string
* strainer or colander

Small Dakos me Ouzo

Small Cretan Barley Rusks with Ouzo
Barley rusks (dakos) are a specialty on the island of Crete and are served in a variety of ways. This recipe is a favorite appetizer or meze that goes well with drinks and beverages, and is a favorite with beer. While dakos are more traditionally made with feta cheese, this recipe calls for myzithra to go with the ouzo in the tomato mixture.
* 8 small barley rusks
* 1/4 cup of Ouzo
* 1 large ripe tomato
* 1/4 cup of olive oil
* Greek oregano
* sea salt
* freshly ground pepper
* 8 ounces of hard myzithra cheese, grated (xynomyzithra)

Peel the tomato and chop in food processor bowl. Add salt, pepper, olive oil, oregano, and a couple of drops of ouzo and blend. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Run rusks briefly under running cold water to dampen, without letting them get soggy.
Sprinkle rusks with remaining ouzo, spoon over tomato mixture and top with grated cheese.

How To Make Greek Frappé Coffee

In Greek: φραπέ, pronounced frah-PEH
A favorite summer drink, frappé is a cool refresher on a hot day for coffee lovers.

Here's How:
1. In a shaker or jar (with a tight-fitting lid), add 2-3 tablespoons of cold water, 1 teaspoon of instant coffee, and sugar to taste (1 teaspoon of sugar for medium-sweet).
2. Close tightly and shake for 10 seconds, until the mixture appears to be all foam.
3. Pour the foam into a water glass, add 7-8 ounces of water, 3-4 ice cubes, milk to taste, and stir.
4. Serve with a straw.

1. The purpose of shaking or mixing is to create a large amount of thick foam.. the more the better.
2. If you have a soda fountain-type drink mixer or a small electric drink mixer, put the ingredients in step 1 into a glass to start, create the foamy base, and then add the water, ice cubes, milk, and straw to serve.
3. Alternatively, this can be made without adding the ice cubes if the water is cold and the weather is, too.

What You Need:
* Shaker or jar with a tight-fitting lid or drink mixer
* 1 cup cold water
* Instant coffee
* Sugar (optional)
* Milk (optional)
* Ice cubes
* Straw

The Greek rusks

The Greek rusks are unique in the world.
In Greece one can find either hardtacks or rusks made from qualitative and healthy raw materials known with the Greek name 'Paximadi'.
Undoubtedly, the best paximadi comes from the island of Crete.
Bakeries around the island offer an assortment of organic and traditional paximadi-twice-baked loaves made with chick-pea flour or ancient island grains such as barley-that are dampened under the tap and are sprinkled with local olive oil.
The Greek paximadi is a perfect supplement to the famous Mediterranean diet. It is used at breakfast time, at dinner and lunchtime next to the cheese plate, and as a treat to the afternoon tea or coffee. It is also perfect as a healthy snack throughout the whole day.
The Greek paximadi, and especially the Cretan one, it is exported throughout the world as it is a sought after Greek product.