Koukou's Travels

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by koukouvagia, Aug 20, 2014.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I'm back and can gladly share some of what I ate and/or cooked along the way. Greece is beautiful in the summer, all the sun and fun make it hard to eat too much and we focused on what the Mediterranean is best known for: fresh seasonal ingredients, simply prepared, and lots of olive oil :)

    It all begins with my favorite meal, snails of course. Snails are a staple of the kretan diet, considered a great protein during the Lenten period. Here they are fried in olive oil with Rosemary and finished with a whole cup of very strong red vinegar.

    And a snail risotto made with a saffron tomato broth.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Typical breakfast, eggs from our chicken, "Horta" which are boiled weeds (another staple of the kretan diet), some Serrano and bread with olive oil.
     
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    "Artos" is a traditional sweet bread made with "masticha," a resin collected from the mastic tree native to the nearby island of Chios. The bread is brought by the parishioners to church every Sunday and it is blessed and given to the congregation. We're taking this batch to a local church for an important holiday in the village.
     
  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    There are both sweet and savory versions of Krete's famous cheese pie "kaltsouni". This is a sweet one made with a very fresh local mizithra which is similar to ricotta.
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Seasonal ingredients to die for. All have been given to us by friends or neighbors under the village's inherent barter system.

    I lost count if how many figs I ate. Perfect with mizithra.
    Cucumbers by the bushels
    "Stamnangathi", another weed, pleasantly bitter.

    Quail eggs!
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    If you haven't fried potatoes over an open fire you are missing out.
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Heading to a nearby village to celebrate the annual Sardine Festival.


     
  8. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    My favorite, fasolada. I've posted my recipe and pictures here lots before but this is the original, Mom's! Vegan vegetable bean soup with hearty bread.
     
  9. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    A late night out usually ends up like this. You may be surprised to know that the topping of choice is not tzatziki but plain Greek yogurt, or as we like to call it... Yogurt.
     
  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    A refreshing snack with fava (yellow split pea purée), olives, raw onion. Taken right before it was drizzled with olive oil.
     
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    The famous Agora in Chania
    Salt packed sardines.

    Smoked herring

    Bread is secondary to paximadi. Kretans are crazy about their dried bread.

    Some cooked food at the stalls

    Some cheese

    Fish and meats
     
  12. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    By chance I stumbled into this little place that makes traditional Bougatsa. In other parts of Greece this is a sweet dessert but in Chania Bougatsa is made with a savory cheese custard filling. Light flaky hand stretched phyllo!

    They weigh your portion on this old scale

    Then they slice it up and sprinkle it with caster sugar and cinammon

    Eating it was a religious experience. I may have shed a tear.
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Somehow we had the time to smoke a pork butt and a belly. Good thing the family had a huge smoker they has no idea what to do with.
     
  14. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    And when we weren't eating we were doing this:

    And this

    This

    Lots of this!

    Watching the swallows take over the cables at the end of the day

    Finding secret beaches

    Some beaches come equipped with free sea
    snacks. These little guys are called limpets.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  15. ordo

    ordo

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    Very nice. Thanks.
     
  16. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    Gorgeous! Thank you Koukou!
     
  17. french fries

    french fries

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    Next time take me with you! Now that's the life. You made me dream with this thread, Kouk'!
     
    koukouvagia likes this.
  18. jake t buds

    jake t buds

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    Very nice. Thanks. 

    Others who go on vacations and focus on food should create the same kind of thread. 
     
  19. ishbel

    ishbel

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    Wonderful photographs, KK :D
    We may be going back to Corfu in late October... Depends on whether building work at home gets completed in time.
     
  20. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Glad everyone is enjoying it. I'm hungry looking back at the photos.

    One thing I did not get to eat this summer was staka. It is a tricky dish shrouded in mystery. Old wives tales dictate that staka should be made secretly without alerting anyone. It should never be asked for or discussed. It should come out as a surprise. But that's hard to do considering the formidable smell it creates throughout the house and my mother's 2 attempts to make it proved disasterous. Both times she blamed me and my husband for snooping around the kitchen asking questions, supposedly our questions ruined the staka.

    Staka is a roux which explains why it very easily can break and curdle. Staka is eaten only in Krete I believe. It begins with fresh unpasteurized goat milk. The goat milk is placed on the stove top and heated gently without stirring. Eventually a film forms on the top, remove and place on a jar. Repeat this procedure everyday with fresh milk and keep placing that in the jar until you collect at least half a jar of this stuff. Then put it out in the sun for 3-5 days until it melts and curdles. This can then be made into staka by placing in a pan and melting slowly, adding flour and milk until it forms a roux with a porridge like consistency. The roux will begin to split. At this time collect the melted clarified fat and place in a jar. This is called stakovoutiro or staka butter. Excellent for tossing in noodles or eggs. The butter is also used in the traditional kretan wedding rice pilaf, made with the broth of an old boiled goat.

    The roux itself can be served as a dip, side dish or even scrambled with eggs. It is an acquired taste lol. Too bad I ruined 2 batches of it lol.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014