I have Greek food on the brain. The current infatuation has many diverse origins. For starters this summer is the ten year anniversary of an epic trip through southern Greece, and I have been reading old food notes from the journey. Also I’ll be doing a class on Greek mezze for Metro Continuing Education this fall. With all this in mind last week I made a Greek lamb sausage.
In 2008 I spent five weeks in Greece, eating in tavernas two or three times a day. I don’t think I ever had a sausage like this. In other words this sausage is not traditional, but it is very much inspired by Greek loukaniko, a pork sausage flavoured with orange … Continue reading.
Ouzo is a strong, clear, anise-flavoured spirit made in Greece. The taste may remind you of liquorice candy, or other anise spirits like sambuca, pastis, and Pernod. The term is a protected regional designation within the EU, meaning that if it’s not made in Greece, it can’t be called ouzo. It is usually about 40% ABV.
Ouzo is made by infusing a relatively neutral spirit with anise and other botanicals. The neutral spirit is a grape pommace distillate, just like Italian grappa or French marc. In most of Greece this grape pommace distillate is called tsipouro, though the Turkish word raki is also common, especially on the islands of Crete and Cyprus. Tsipouro has been made for centuries, and over … Continue reading.
The actual Greek name of the ubiquitous Greek salad is Horiatiki, which means, roughly, “village salad.” As I mentioned in my general post on Greek food, one Greek restaurateur told me that the primordial Greek salad was just feta, onions, and olive oil, and that traditionally the cucumbers and tomatoes are flourishes added only in the summer months.
There are really only two things you need to know to make superlative Greek salad. The first: for this dish more than maybe any other you need to use amazing ingredients. Greek salad with pale tomatoes and thick-skinned cucumbers and canned olives is really one of the saddest things you can eat.
I use the following:
… Continue reading.
Any country that pickles its national cheese in brine and adulterates its national wine with pine pitch should order dinner at the local Chinese place and save its energies for other things.
-Jeffrey Steingarten, on Greek food
As the above quote from Vogue’s food critic demonstrates, Greek food is not often taken seriously in North America. In fact, a trip to a Greek restaurant is not even about the food, as the food is more or less the same at all Greek restaurants. In our part of the world, dining at a Greek restaurant is about the experience, an experience that usually involves tables for twelve, bazuki music, belly dancing, liquor, repetition of the phrase “Opa!”, smashing plates, and … Continue reading.