forum: Food & Drink

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#1 Mon 04 Feb 13 1:03pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Greek food, with love

I thought I'd start a thread on greek food.  I know everyone loves it for its distinct freshness and clean flavors.  It's a bridge between mediterranean and arabic cuisines with lots of simple yet exotic notes.  It often gets relegated to a few dishes such as spanakopita, moussaka, gyros and "greek salad" but there is so much more to it that that.  Greece is made up of hundreds of islands and they all have their own cuisine and mainland Greece is rich in regional cuisine as well. 

Here is a very simple but typical meal from my island of Krete, where the mainstay of our diet is vegetables and legumes. 

- Fava (yellow split pea puree)
- Horta (boiled greens such as dandelion, chard, or escarole)
- Paximadi (dried bread)

For the fava, rinse the yellow split peas.  In a small pot sautee 1 finely chopped onion with olive oil.  Add the peas, 1 bay leaf and cover with water.  Simmer gently until the peas soften, add more water if necessary.  Season once the peas soften.  Stir until the peas mush, about 30minutes.  The puree should be the consistency of a loose mash.  To serve top each portion with finely diced red onion and drizzle with olive oil.

For the Horta, clean your dandelions very well, and put into salted boiling water until the stems soften.  Drain and serve at room temperature drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Paximadi, can be found in all shapes, sizes and grains.  I am particularly fond of durham wheat paximadi.  It is very hard so you need to wet it briefly in order for it to soften, otherwise it's like biting into a stone.  We top it with freshly chopped tomatoes, a little oregano and salt/pepper.... and of course it's drizzled with olive oil.  This dish is known as Dakos and iin some parts of Krete it's called Koukouvagia.

And there you go, a typical daily meal.

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#2 Mon 04 Feb 13 1:47pm

JoyYamDaisy

Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: Greek food, with love

Yum yum Kou!

Is paximadi like bulgur wheat? (It is late here so I am off to bed - I can google it in the morning!)

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#3 Mon 04 Feb 13 2:09pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Greek food, with love

I'm not sure what the difference is between durum and bulgur, but I think bulgur is quick to cook and durum is very dense and high in gluten.  Here's some more info on paximadi. 

http://www.openjourney.com/blogs/josh/p … ad-86.html

Paximadi is dried bread, which was very useful during the war because it preserved it.  Some paximadi made from white flour is crunchy but edible without reconstituting in water.  It's like croutons.  But the durum wheat is very hard and has to be reconstituted in water or soaked in soup.  A very typical salad is made with paximadi on the bottom, by the time you eat the salad the paximadi has absorbed all the dressing and has become a delicious treat.

Last edited by koukouvagia (Mon 04 Feb 13 2:11pm)

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#4 Mon 04 Feb 13 2:10pm

Grandmadamada

Forum champ
Member since Fri 19 Nov 10

Re: Greek food, with love

I think paximadi has barley flour giving it more taste smile

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#5 Mon 04 Feb 13 8:32pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Greek food, with love

Grandmadamada wrote:

I think paximadi has barley flour giving it more taste smile

You can make paximadi out of any kind of bread made from any kind of grain.  It's a great way to preserve it.  Take any bread you have and lay the slices on a cookie sheet.  Put it in a 200F oven for an hour to dry it out completely.  You don't want to toast the bread, you just want to dry it.  Once it is completely cooled you can store it in a bag or cannister for months.

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#6 Mon 04 Feb 13 8:34pm

cannyfradock

Member
Occupation Builder (bricklayer/ stonemason)
From S.Wales.
Member since Sat 10 Oct 09

Re: Greek food, with love

Hello Koukouvagia

That's a very interesting post. The Fava dish is something I will definitely try. The relegated dishes you mentioned are some of my favorites. Perhaps because I have never been to Greece and only tasted Greek food in restaurants in Germany, France and here in blighty.

One of the things I have tried to replicate is the flatbread used in a Gyros. I am a bit of a Wood-fired oven "nut" and build them....and bake in them. Would you have a recipe for a traditional Greek flatbread?....

Terry

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#7 Tue 05 Feb 13 9:04am

mummza

Forum super champ
Occupation avoiding housework
From The land of song.
Member since Tue 04 Oct 05

Re: Greek food, with love

I have been to the Greek Islands many years ago but we didn't eat there as we were on a school cruise trip .
I bought myself halva which had pistachio nuts in it as well as a second type of Halva which I can't remember now.
I had never seem or tasted either Halva or pistachio nuts before ( although I had eaten Pistachio icecream in France so I knew of their existence )
I remember being as fascinated by texture of the Halva as I was of the taste .

It's now readily avalible in the Uk , but then my freinds thought me strange as I'd dared to try it , and even stranger as I'd bought some !

I've got a lovely cook book by Tessa Kiros ,' Food from many Greek Kitchens '

(cannyfradock , you are only 'down the road ' if you want to borrow it for a week or two .. But you'd have to bring it back !)

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#8 Tue 05 Feb 13 5:14pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Greek food, with love

canny, I'm afraid that making any kind of bread is not my repertoire.  You may want to visit a mediterranean specialty store, they'll have pita there.  Or go to your favorite greek restaurant and ask them where they get theirs.  I wish I could be more help.

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#9 Tue 05 Feb 13 5:17pm

koukouvagia

Forum champ
From New York
Member since Fri 12 Dec 08

Re: Greek food, with love

Mummza, halva is a perfect example of how greek food derives from the middle east.  We were occupied for 400yrs so a few things stuck.  Certain foods that are thought of as greek are actually turkish - such as moussaka, stuffed grape leaves, baklava, and halva. 

Did you have the tahini halva or the semolina?  I prefer the tahini, it's dry and crumbly and has a sandy texture on the palette.  My favorite it the chocolate marble.  The semolina halva I can do without.

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#10 Tue 05 Feb 13 10:39pm

cannyfradock

Member
Occupation Builder (bricklayer/ stonemason)
From S.Wales.
Member since Sat 10 Oct 09

Re: Greek food, with love

Mummza

Many thanks for your offer. I have forwarded my contact details to you.

Koukouvagia......I appreciate the response.....always nice to receive a reply.

Terry

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