On Greek cuisine.. looking for resources

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by eastshores, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. eastshores

    eastshores

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    I could go google and poke around the internet and probably find some books, but what fun would that be not being able to chat with the rest of you about it?!

    I'm interested in spending more time on authentic Greek cuisine. For instance I have no idea if a "Greek salad" is actually greek. We have a Greek restaurant in my town, and their lemon roasted potatoes are something to behold. I love garlic, and the brightness brought by lemon. Love the coolness of something like tzatziki.. olives in every form.. etc.

    However, my exposure feels limited. From what I have seen, it is a simple cuisine, fire roasted lamb, broiled seafood, etc. But then there is spanakopita! There must be other recipes and foods that are in the kitchens of mothers and grandmothers in Greece.

    So I'd love if any of you have gone down this road to share with me your favorite books, web sites, or even just plain old recipes. I feel like Mediterranean food is generally healthy even if olive oil and wine is used abundantly.
     
  2. mike9

    mike9

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  3. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Diane Kochilas has written a couple i like a lot. The Glorious Foods of Greece and The Food and Wine of Greece. She's written others but I've not read those. Glorious Foods is organized regionally. I was a bit perturbed by this in this case as there are a number of "pies" and such that are very similar and I would have preferred to see them all next to each other as variations with regional notes rather than scattered through the book. If I were more deeply steeped in the regionality then it would probably not have registered with me as an issue.

    I've liked Phaidon Press various ethnic books of Biblical size. Greece the Cookbook is the entry here. by Vefa Alexiadou.

    The Olive and Caper: Adventures in Greek Cooking was fun for me. It's not as deep, but i liked it. Susanah Hoffman is the author. Not so greek sounding now is it.

    My favorite Avgolemono soup is from Cook's Illustrated though. I'm such a heathen.
     
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  4. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Thanks guys. @phatch I ordered "Greece the Cookbook" .. I like hardback large references myself. Reviews were really good on amazon too. I don't think many Americans, like myself get enough exposure to real Greek food. Looking forward to getting it!
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Diane Kochilas is to Greek food what Hazan is to Italian food. I don’t have any Greek cookbooks for obvious reasons.

    I think Greek food is often misunderstood, and reduced to a handful of ingredients (oliveoil, lemon, feta cheese etc). The truth is that in order to understand the regional flavors you have to delve into it’s culinary history which is influenced by mostly its southern and eastern neighbors - namely Turkey and Lebanon.

    Every region is different. The north is famous for pies - spanakopita, bougatsa, etc. The west has a heavy Italian influence and they put tomatoes in everything. The central region is heavy into lamb and beef and my region Krete is famous for wild greens, legumes and pork. Santorini is famous for the fava (yellow split peas) it produces and Syros makes the best loukoum I. Just like italy, the cuisine varies drastically from region to region. Just last year i was in the Emilia-Romagna region and I asked a man where (in the village) I could get the best pizza. He said... Naples... and wasn’t willing to entertain the thought that some of the pizza restaurants in the town had anything to offer. Same thing with Greece.

    Greek salad does exist but we don’t call it Greek salad hehe. We call it “horiatiki” which means “peasant.” It contains tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, olives, and oregano. It is dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar, not with a vinegrette. Sometimes there is feta cheese. It does not contain lettuce (lettuce doesn’t grow at the same time as the above ingredients), spicy peppers, nuts, chickpeas or cracked pepper, and nobody puts lemon on it.
     
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Diane Kochilas is to Greek good what Hazan is to Italian food. I don’t have any Greek cookbooks for obvious reasons.

    I think Greek food is often misunderstood, and reduced to a handful of ingredients (oliveoil, lemon, feta cheese etc). The truth is that in order to understand the regional flavors you have to delve into it’s culinary history which is influenced by mostly its southern and eastern neighbors - namely Turkey and Lebanon.

    Every region is different. The north is famous for pies - spanakopita, bougatsa, etc. The west has a heavy Italian influence and they put tomatoes in everything. The central region is heavy into lamb and beef and my region Krete is famous for wild greens, legumes and pork. Santorini is famous for the fava (yellow split peas) it produces and Syros makes the best loukoum I. Just like italy, the cuisine varies drastically from region to region. Just last year i was in the
     
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  7. lagom

    lagom

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    2778049E-A74E-4E1E-99C8-1D261EE0EB11.jpeg D56FE0A3-D1DF-4394-AE6E-7BD51E2C7134.jpeg B6B86C94-AE13-48AF-8886-9633D2E13EE0.jpeg Just so happens my wife and her mom are taking a week on Kos this week, she sent me these pictures of lunch yesterday. Said it was delicious
     
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  8. eastshores

    eastshores

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    Thanks for all the replies. I got my book yesterday.. that thing is a nice addition to my relatively small collection. I love that it's hardback and huge but yet the layout of the recipes and of course the awesome photos make it very approachable. Just thumbing through it I saw quite a few dishes that I wouldn't have previously known as "Greek" dishes.

    @koukouvagia thanks for your input especially. It makes sense that the cuisine would be varied by region. India is probably one of the most extreme examples of that. I never knew people in Greece used pork.. or that there was middle eastern influence.. those things are just not even on the menu in a lot of American Greek restaurants.

    It may be cliche but I still love those lemon roasted potatoes!
     
  9. french fries

    french fries

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    Isn't Greece IN the middle east?
     
  10. eastshores

    eastshores

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    I'm no geography scholar but according to wikipedia "Greece is a country located in Southern Europe"
    but it is "located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa."
     
  11. french fries

    french fries

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    I looked it up and I suppose depending on who you ask Greece may or may not be included in the countries defined as "Middle East."
     
  12. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    On behalf of Greeks, emphatically no. We’re Southern Europe. We’re in the EU.
     
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  13. drirene

    drirene

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    Also, that red wine vinegar... It's not the same as Progresso or Wish Bone or whatever red wine vinegar brand in the super market. Greek red vinegar is just different. I don't know the name but you can find it in well-stocked Greek / Mediterranean delis.
     
  14. pbarbalias

    pbarbalias

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    Hi there. Greetings from Athens, Greece.
    Region speaking we are in the EU, next to Italy. But close also to Turkey. So I would say our foods have flavors from both.
    Consider Greece as a country that has 97% sunshine. So, we have great olives, tomatoes, cucumber and so on. Amazing herbs like oregano, thyme and rosemary. All these grow up so different against other northern european countries so they have strong flavors. And not to forget feta cheese.

    Now, coming to books - and youtube, the last 10 years, driven from Master Chef on tv and more, cooking has gained popularity and thus more chefs come up. There are plenty of good books, but what would like to start with?

    Maybe a greek salad: Organic tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, oregano, onion, feta cheese. But you need the best as you can materials.
    Have a look on youtube for Akis Petretzikis, he has a lot of videos in english that should get you quickly. Maybe he adds his own twists, but he is good.
    Also, Lefteris Lazarou is a greek michelin chef, on fish. And Vangelis Driskas who writes a lot.
     
  15. Małgorzata

    Małgorzata

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    :)
    middle east is Asia Minor countries - not Europe countries
    You can say Greece is Balkans, Eastern Europe but not middle east