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Growing Up Greek

I grew up with greek cooking. My mother was Greek (Thessaloniki). She would make pita or otherwise known as Spinokopia (whatever)......It was a staple at our house. When the other kids on our block were eating meatloaf or pot roast, we'd be eating meatballs and chicken soup with lemon in it.

My curent spouse is not a fan of my mothers cooking. The mere mention of baklava will send him into a tizzy and he will head for the nearest slice of apple pie or some other American food.

As my mother grows older I miss her dishes and wish I had enjoyed her Greek food more. There is nothing like having a lamb on a spit and a bunch of Greeks around to celebrate an occasion.

If you were also the child of a Greek parent I would like to hear your views and know if you can identify with "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."

Heidi

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  1. I can relate to you here. Both of my parents were first-generation Greek-Americans, and I grew up accordingly. My grand parents were from Crete and Chios. I have been learning to cook a lot of the family dishes my mom used to make when I was younger, and have been pretty happy with my iterations of them, for the most part. My wife doesn't really like Greek food, but she will eat it, and has a few favorites. My kids will try anything, but they are, after all, kids. They always want pizza-lol! Oh well, so did I when I was younger.

    For the first time (sadly) I am fasting for lent (strict fast), so my uncle's roasted lamb on Easter is going to taste great! It's good to hear from someone with a similar background!

    Here is a nice site which shows a good amount of simple greek recipes, in case you haven't come across it: http://greekfood.about.com. I find the recipes here are pretty traditional (at least for me), and are easy to make.

    4 Replies
    1. re: madgreek

      Good to hear from you MADGREEK, I enjoy Greek food and all that comes with it, generous hospitality, warm hugs, kisses on both cheeks and of course, breaking plates.

      I guess its okay to have had meatballs instead of hamburgers growing up....Pizza ia always good too!!! Enjoy the lamb!!

      1. re: Heidi Ho

        I don't know if any of you have been back home, but the food is modernizing. Athens has 2 restaurants in the top 100 in the world, beating out the Guy Savoy in Paris. Crete (madgreek) has 2 restaurants in the top 10 in Greece. Things are quite different and exciting.

        On another note, I am quite happy to see some representation on the American version of Iron Chef.

        But going back to the traditional fare, I don't believe anyone can dispute the whole lamb on the spit. Nothing quite like it. But you forgot to mention the kokoretsi. I make that every year. It is fantastic, and my wife and mother-in-law who are Italian love it too. I am wondering if it is the food or the loss of youth that we are lamenting.

        1. re: peter2

          Dear Peter,

          No, I have not been to Greece lately and am sure it is very sophisticated there now...I am also lamenting on lost youth and the memories of growing up Greek......Nice of you to write!!!!!!

          Here is a recipe for some Greek cookies that I love:

          Kourambiethes is a wonderful powder sugar-covered Greek cookie.

          INGREDIENTS:
          2 cups unsalted butter
          3/4 cup powdered sugar
          1 egg yolk
          1 jigger of Brandy
          4-1/2 cups (apprx.) flour
          whole cloves (optional)
          powdered sugar
          PREPARATION:
          Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and Brandy. Gradually only add enough flour to make a soft dough. Chill. Shape dough into crescents or 1-1/2 inch balls. (If using cloves, place one in each cookie before baking.) Place on ungreased sheets.
          Sugar Cookies

          A Cookie for your Heart
          Bake for 12-15 minutes. They won't be brown. Cool for 4 to 5 minutes and then sift powdered sugar over them.
          Thanks to Lila for contributing her recipe. She says that "for Easter I put them in pastel cupcake papers. You can substitute orange juice for brandy. If there is no brandy around rye whiskey will do."

          1. re: Heidi Ho

            If you wish to post recipes or discuss cooking, please start a new thread on the Home Cooking board, which you can find here: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/31. This board is for general food discussion only. Thank you.

    2. I'm sure your husband has many redeeming features, but he is a silly, silly man. I'm not Greek, not even a little bit (Eastern European Jewish), but even I know Greek food is delicious.

      2 Replies
      1. re: marcia2

        Oh Marcia, not even one ancestor from Salonica? There are strong reasons even Askenazi Jews are rediscovering Mediterranean, Sephardic cuisine. It is largely Biblical, after all.

        I'm sure the husband must be lovely, but if he has a sweet tooth, how can he not love Baklava etc?

        As for pizza, we copied it from the Greeks - Napoli is Neapolis - a Greek settlement. Pita and pizza are closely related. The big change in pizza came with the importation of foods from the America, in particular tomatoes, but also peppers. But the basic recipe is thoroughly Greek, and common to all Mediterranean flatbreads.

        1. re: lagatta

          And the Greeks got pizza from the Phoenicians,. Food travels.
          Marco Polo

      2. I am an aussie, from Melbourne, which is the 2nd largest Greek city (population-wise) outseide Athens.

        Greek is a staple in the aussie diet.

        Now, I am luck enough to have a holiday home in a fabulous Greek enclave (27 families all from the same village in Samos), so we live "my Big Fat Greek Wedding" every weekend.

        These were the guys that built my out door wood-fired oven (My Big Fat Greek Oven, as it is known)..

        We're known as "The mad Skips with the oven" by the local Samos community

        Last weekend we were lucky enought to sample home made loukoumi (sp?) and "sweet soup"... made with barley and tahini and cinnamon and honey. We go visiting every Sunday morning... walk past all the Nick's and the Elena's houses, and never return home without some kataifi (sp?) or some kourambiethes.

        I have some marvelous recipes for fish and lamb from my neighbours, and the biggest complement I ever got from Elena was "you good girl. You ALMOST Greek!"!

        I am hoping for an invite to a Greek Easter luncheon. ;)

        1 Reply
        1. re: purple goddess

          Sounds like a marvellous existence there!!!!!!

        2. I grew up Greek. Also a child of first generation Greek-Americans. My mom's side is from Rhodes and my dad's side from Corinth.

          My husband had a grandfather from Kefalonia....but he didn't grow up Greek(he spent very little time with grandparents and the greek heritage wasn't part of his upbringing). He does however love Greek food.

          In our home greek influences mostly come out by way of grilled lamb, lots of fish(that rhoditi background you know), generous use of lemon, olive oil, oregano and cumin. Yogurt and feta are staples. Lots of citrus and olives always on hand. Oh and greens, lots and lots of greens.

          I'm not a big fan of many of the sweets myself...baklava particularly doesn't do a lot for me and when I do make it I prefer pistachio to walnut. I also like koulouria but only make them at Easter(getting ready to put some batches in the freezer this week in anticipation of the coming holiday). Melamacarona as well. Beyond that I pass on most sweets.

          I love pitas - particularly spanokopita. I love fassoulakia. I prefer yemista to dolmades when i'm cooking, only cuz I'm lazy and it's easier I guess. I do like dolmades, I just don't make them often.

          Easter has always been my favorite holiday...I'm sure it's due to my heritage. I admit I dont' fast like I used to...and probably should as the holiday hasn't been the same since I got out of the habit a few years ago.

          It's a bit early but do wish all the other Greeks a Kali Anastasi.

          1. why is it impossible to get taramaslata in American Greek restaurants? In England it's a staple appetizer.

            9 Replies
            1. re: smartie

              it can be found, what city are you in Smartie? my guess would be the quality of the roe.

              also to Heidi Ho, couldn't sauteed apple be an agreeable ingredient to baklava? flaky apple honey nuts, how can you go wrong?

              (I'm not Greek, but a big fan)

              what characterizes my Greek friends is that they RARELY eat Greek out. Home cooked ONLY in their books.

              1. re: hill food

                hill I am in South Fl. Never seen it here. Interestingly in the UK taramasalata can be bought at every supermarket ready made, they even all do their own brands it is so popular (and pretty good too).

                1. re: smartie

                  Try heading north to the Tarpon Springs area and you'll most likely find what you're looking for in either a greek deli or a greek restaurant. Big greek community there.

                  As mentioned by hill food, as a Greek I very rarely go out for Greek food but I have seen tarama in Greek restaurants when living in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago. Can't say I've seen it here in Phoenix but the Greek restaurants here for the most part aren't very good so a rare trip out for Greek food has become more like a Never trip out for Greek food.

                  I"ve also seen the Kronos brand at many Greek markets/delis/festivals over the years. Might want to look for that.

                  Alternatively it's very easy to make.

                  1. re: ziggylu

                    yeah I've only seen it (fresh) in delis here (DC)

              2. re: smartie

                If you're ever in St. Louis Missouri, try Michael's on Manchester. Go in, ask for Gus and he'll fix you up.

                1. re: Phaedrus

                  what cross street? Manchester can mean so many things...

                  1. re: hill food

                    A block west of McCausland on Manchester. Look for the green awnings on the north side of the street. You can park in the Big Lots.

                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      thanks, tucking that away for the next trip home.

                      1. re: hill food

                        Glad to help. Try the lamb shanks too.

              3. I am not Greek, but I love Greek food. A product iof my local owned by a Greek fellow.

                I am Chinese and a good friend who is also Chinese married a Lebanese fellow and he absolutely refuses to eat Chinese food when they first got married. He insisted on having Lebanese dishes be a dominant part of their diet and would go off on his own whenever his in laws come visit and go to Chinese restaurants. What resulted was a pissing contest of gargantuan proportions. It got seriously bad, neither side would compromise for a long time, but it got resolved with time and maturity. Now the meals are mixed and the husband even has his favorite Chinese dishes. So have hope. People can change, unless they hate food in general.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Phaedrus

                  Can couples actually go to food counselling?

                2. I am not Greek but my husband is from Athens. I ws 20 when we got married.One summer, his parents stayed with us for several months and since they spoke no English, his mother and I cooked every day. I can make almost anything Greek and love Greek food. Even taught greek cooking for awhile. I have been to Greece probably 20 times. During our last visit I noticed that the Greek restaurants are becoming modern- a development which is not good but rather disturbing. Greece is losing its character as it is part of the European Union.
                  My husbands family and friends now say that I cook just like YAYA (grandmother). I mke Tsoureki- the traditional Greek Easter bread for Easter, dye red eggs, make spanikopita etc. AS noted, we seldom eat at Greek restaurants as the food at home is superior. My husband is not a big eater except when I make Greek food! My greek friends think that I have kept him all these years because I have learned so much about Greek food. I must confess that although I make Galactobureko and baklava, I have a Greek lady who makes all of the greek cookies and I buy them from her!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: emilief

                    Sounds like you have had lots of experience with Greek cooking. Bravo for you!!!!!

                  2. both of my parents are Greek, albeit 2nd-generation, and I grew up eating an amalgam of Greek and "American" food...one of my brothers' and my favorite things was youvarolakia (meatballs with rice cooked in avgolemono sauce), which we called u-balls. luckily both my parents are great cooks...my mom makes baklava, my dad makes moussaka, and the brothers make vassilopita. I'm trying to perfect my version of gigantes, and my tzatziki and spanakopita are cook-off quality. I feel like I've been really lucky to grow up in a culture so involved in cooking and eating!

                    18 Replies
                    1. re: Sophia.

                      Can we come over to your house to eat?

                      1. re: Sophia.

                        Please share how you make gigantes . . .

                        1. re: Judith

                          right now it's an imprecise science...my mom has always baked them, but I've seen recipes for boiling them that look promising. I want to try the recipe out of Jim Botsacos's cookbook (Molyvos) next because the gigantes there are amazing.

                        2. re: Sophia.

                          the acid test for cook-off quality spanakopita: fresh spinach and home made phyllo, not using either of the two is instant disqualification. kalo pascha.

                          1. re: byrd

                            I agree that fresh spinach is a must, but I disagree that the phyllo has to be home-made.

                            I haven't found spanakopita made with home-made phyllo to be any better than spanakopita made with store-bought phyllo. It's not better, it's just different. I try every spanakopita that crosses my path.

                            The proper amount of butter (not too much, not too little) brushed onto the sheets is another variable that has a big impact on the quality of the spanakopita. As well as the filling to phyllo ratio.

                            Most Peloponnesian versions I've tried have too much oil, too much cheese, and not enough filling. The Makedonian versions I've had have had too much pastry, and not enough filling. The versions I like the most have been Santorinian and Mytlilenian versions, although my friend's mom's version from Patras is a close 3rd.

                            My family's version of spanakopita with store-bought phylllo is so much better than some of the home-made phyllo/too much cheese/fresh spinach spanakopitas my friends' mothers will be serving next Sunday!

                            1. re: phoenikia

                              using store bought phyllo is the equivalent of saying wonder bread tastes better than a fresh baked loaf from the local bakery. The great pita makers (and of course as the years go by, there are less and less) are capable of using fresh phyllo , fresh spinach and still making a pita six inches tall with no phyllo layer in the middle.

                              1. re: byrd

                                It's quite possible to have a store-bought filo- fresh spinach spanakopita that is six inches tall. That's roughly how tall the storebought filo/fresh spinach version is when I make it. It's the type of filling and the number of layers of filo that determine how tall the pita is, not whether the filo is handrolled by a broomstick or rolled in a commercial machine.

                                The taste of filo in a pita mostly comes from the butter or olive oil with which it has been brushed before baking. IMHO, the texture is the main difference between home-made and commercial filo, not the taste. Some people prefer the thin crispness of commercial filo to the sometimes unpredictable results of home-made.

                                Maybe I've just never had a great tasting spanakopita that's been made with home-made filo. I do know I have tried several fantastic spanakopitas made with commercial filo. I know a fair number of Greeks from Makedonia and Epirus who insist on making their own filo, but all the home-made filo spanakopitas I've tried so far have had fillings that were lacking.

                                For me, it's the filling that makes or breaks the spanakopita.

                                To each their own;)

                                1. re: phoenikia

                                  I agree with phoenikia, it's the filling that makes the spanakopita, although on the filo, I take a middle ground. I definitely don't agree that using store bought filo is the equivalent of using wonder bread.

                                  The problem with filo in the US, at least in Alaska where I am, is that only one type of filo is sold - the super-thin kind that is used only for baklava and pastries in Greece. Although spanakopita made with this filo is wonderful, to my taste, it isn't as good as homemade.

                                  On the other hand, in Greece you can buy various thicknesses of filo, and if you get the thicker kind that is better suited to spanakopita, I think it is every bit as good as homemade.

                                  1. re: Laurie Constantino

                                    Interesting- I gave my husband a shopping list for the Greek store yesterday and he said that the shop owner always asks him whether I want thin phyllo or thick phyllo- he never knows so he tells her what I am making. I have never tried the thick phyllo but am making spanikopita for Easter. Should I get the thick one???

                                    1. re: emilief

                                      Yes, definitely. In Greece, I only use the thin stuff for pastries.

                            2. re: byrd

                              You make your own phyllo? Nobody does that, at least not the thin type. Even great chefs. If you use that thick type, that is different. Though it can be very nasty even when made by capable hands. I am quite insane about never using anything pre-made or processed but this is the most obvious case of its acceptability.
                              Perhaps, it would be 5-10% better but the effort is absurd and the great result is only if you really know your stuff. Sure, there are some people who can do it. But there are other errors besides the use of store bought phyllo dough.
                              6 inch high spanakopita? Ti les, paithi mou?
                              Get off of that program.
                              And the butter thing mentioned by some must be tempered.
                              I knew a yiayia that made many great(yes, better than the other "great" old ladies that everyone seems to know) dishes. But her spanakopita with homemade dough was poor. That dough was a killer.
                              Besides there is nothing wrong with improving old recipes and that comes from someone who is against new fangled food for its own sake. Improvements are good, new is not enough. So if thin dough is better than the thick, so be it. Of course there are many gradations.
                              Oh, and the phyllo dough(well, I can get a good store version) analogy with Wonder bread is way off. And I personally think that Kraft foods should be abolished and the employees put in prison for claiming that is food.
                              I don't even like most local bakeries, rubbish. A great loaf of fresh is the best but just because some bakery made it does not make it good.

                              Worry about making a great spinach pie with store bought before worrying about having everything being made from scratch and not very good.

                              Again, if you knew me, I would be THE LAST person to say that using store bought is acceptable. Here is to better spanakopita all around.

                              http://foodonlymatters.wordpress.com/

                              1. re: foodonlygood

                                Thank you! I buy fresh sore bought Phyllo and it is very good. And, I never heard of 6 inch high spanikopita.

                            3. re: Sophia.

                              This is my first posting, so apologies if I do anything wrong. I lived in Greece for four years but am English. Kiria Maria, with whom I lived for part of the time, used to make gigantes which I loved and it is still one of my (Irish) husband's favourite dishes. Kiria Maria's magic ingredient was mint, which was at first a great surprise to me. I have a couple of times made it without but generally I add around two tablespoons of freshly chopped mint. Has anyone else heard of this as an ingredient?

                              1. re: Foodlexi

                                Yes, I will occasionally put mint in gigantes depending on what other herbs are available. I agree it makes tasty gigantes. But here's my normal recipe: http://medcookingalaska.blogspot.com/...

                                1. re: Laurie Constantino

                                  Laurie, I am totally enamored of your blog....I want to try the gigantes recipe...what are some good sides for it or is it meant to be a side dish to meat? I'm not crazy about 2 proteins together so I'd prefer non-meat suggestions for side dishes with this--something fresh and green comes to mind...spinach? And is that feta cheese in the picture with the gigantes? Thanks for your advice.

                                  1. re: Val

                                    I'm so glad you like it! In Greece, gigantes are typically served as one of many mezedes (appetizers or little plates). Here, I serve it for dinner with a nice green salad or with a village salad of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, a few green peppers, and feta cheese. (And, yes, that's feta and olives in the picture.) Fresh spinach would be a fine salad or cooked as a side dish (sometimes I add spinach or wild greens to the gigantes themselves; that is tasty too). I don't serve it as a side dish to meat (though if I serve it as part of mezedes, I'll often include meatballs as part of the appetizer spread). If you're a bean person, this is delicious pretty much anyway you want to serve it!

                                  2. re: Laurie Constantino

                                    Laurie, that recipe sounds perfect. Mine is very similar. I agree on your addition of red pepper flakes. The added heat balances out the dish. Yigandes plaki is a wonderful thing. Mint doesn't quite work for me in this instance. Fresh parsley is the way to go.

                                    1. re: Laurie Constantino

                                      @Laura,
                                      Rather late in the day having been out and about for a few days, I just wanted to say that I really like your blog and have bookmarked it. I was glad to hear that you do occasionally use mint, but will try your recipe next time I make it. It looks so delicious.Many thanks.

                                2. My sis married a Greek and my mom ran a restaurant with two Greek brothers. I've been to many Greek weddings. Love leg of lamb...love Greek chicken/lemon soup. My mom made fabulous baklava and my sis makes the best stuffed grape leaves. Greek food is one of my favorites. Thanks to mom and those "crazy Greek cooks", I make a mean leg-of-lamb! Lucky you!

                                  1. Please Please - A Recipe for Gyro meat and/or the seasonings used in it.

                                    I have seen Alton Browns episode but I am sure there is better authentic.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jimbosox04

                                      Authentic, hmm. In Greece, gyros are made with real meat, not the mystery substance that is sold as gyros in the US. There slices of meat are stacked on a skewer, grilled, and then sliced off. The slices aren't one pieces, like in the US, but are a bunch of little pieces, those being the edges of the meat slices that are nicely grilled. So much better than the scary mishmash sole here.

                                    2. My mother had a Greek boyfriend for 18 yrs, so not only did I get to spend almost every summer on one of the many islands, but also got to eat a lot of Greek food beyond souvlaki (xtapodi, juvetsi, skordalia. Though there's certainly nothing wrong with good souvlaki -- I had my best at a small stand in Patras.

                                      Also, one of my best high school buddies was Greek, so we'd travel around Greece a couple summers.

                                      And I just LOVE loukoumades, which I first had in Evia. Not all that crazy about baklava after one summer during which I had mentioned that I liked it, and my buddy's aunt decided to pick up a box at one of Athen's more renowned pastry stores. A box with three layers of baklava. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I still like baklava, but I generally can't have more than one. Loukoumades on the other hand...bring 'em on. Cali orexi!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: linguafood

                                        You love loukoumades probably as much
                                        as I love melomakarouna. I'm fine paying
                                        $11.99/lb for them too. I buy just a few (every chance I get, lol).

                                      2. My best friend's mother was a Sephardic Jew who had married a Greek Jew from Ioannina. This was way back . . . I think they got the U.S. just before the Nazis eliminated Jews from Greece. She made the world's best spanokopita. We used to take it to the beach in the summer. I love Greek cooking, and whenever I eat spanokopita I can't help but think of her.

                                        1. I am a super-duper WASP regarding my ethnic roots, but love lots of Greek food. I make what I think is a yummy veggie mousakka (sp?) but my 1st generation boyfriend at the time (a disaster -- that's another story!) sneered that that ain't mousakka. Sigh.

                                          As for "Big Fat Greek Wedding," I saw it with one of my best friends, who is 2nd generation. He has also worked in a Greek restaurant (the owner is an Orthodox Minister!). He was laughing so hard through that movie I thought he was going to pass out from oxygen deprivation. One of the best ones for him was when the brother (Joey Fatone) is dancing and smiling and saying "we're gonna kill you!"

                                          One of my oldest friends is also Greek extraction and she said she laughed just as hard at the movie.

                                          As a WASP, I realized that really parts of my family are similar, just toned down a little. Believe me, I thought it was hilarious. And it had a happy ending. YAY!

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: BratleFoodie

                                            Another Greek here. I grew up on an amalgam of Greek and Macedonian dishes (Grandmother was from Thessaloniki, Grandfather was from Bouf, Macedonia) and American dishes. "Pita" was definitely more of a special holiday treat than apple pie in my house and if you bought store-bought phyllo, you were a cheater! :) I do not, however, identify with the Big Fat Greek Wedding or the whole thing about a lot of relatives happy and kissing. I found my father's side of the family (the Greek side) to be really a dour and fairly mean group of people, and so were the other Greeks in the neighborhood who visited my grandmother's house. Now that I'm older, I think that it wasn't because they were Greek so much as the fact that they were extremely poor immigrant families living in bad neighborhoods so they fell on a lot of hard times and had a hard life. In my grandmother's house you got yelled at if you touched anything (like the TV - an adult had to change the channels and you couldn't ask more than twice) or sat on the furniture instead of the floor because you had to "preserve" it forever. You had to be inside or outside but you couldn't come and go. You couldn't talk if you wanted to sit in the kitchen where the adults sat (and if you did want in there, you had to sit on the floor in the corner and either read or play a quiet game such as pick-up-sticks). And when my father died when I was an adult, nobody has ever been meaner to me in my life than his family was (they hated me because when I was a child and my parents got divorced, I chose to live with my mother, and also because I wasn't AT my father's bedside staring at him when he died, which he would have hated).

                                            That being said I do love Greek food and Greek culture and plan to visit Greece next year. I find that my getting into cooking the Greek foods has helped me to heal the wounds caused by my father's mean family.

                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                              This is perhaps the most poignant and sincere post I've ever seen on this board.

                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                Excellent post, thank you for sharing with us!!!!!!
                                                Enjoy your trip to Greece!

                                                1. re: Heidi Ho

                                                  Hiedi, you really started quite a thread there. I totally forgot about this.

                                                  Lots of emotions going on here, I wonder if the Chowhound police are going to kick us off and send us all to therapy instead.

                                                  Anyways, and switching back to my original post on 8th, and with Orthodox Easter coming up, where are all those kokoretsi makers out there? Let's all share some of our whole lamb on a spit recipes.

                                                  You cannot truly enjoy anything Greek without experiencing a Greek Easter from the church service all the way to the eating and drinking party!

                                            2. oh wow, this post is getting me so excited. this is my first orthodox easter, as one of the girls i work with just invited me to their HUGE greek celebration. she married into a greek family.

                                              she's told me they buy live lamb and slaughter it themselves, they even have a pit in the backyard that they made specifically for their lamb roasts. apparently all the recipes made for easter are very traditionally greek and made from their grandmother's very ancient handwritten recipe notebook.

                                              as i said before, i am very excited. ive been trying to figure out what im going to bring. i was thinking just a veggie platter with tzatziki and hummus. as i am simply an anglo saxon, i am scared to undertake anything more.

                                              great thread, heidi ho.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: tinymango

                                                Don't be scared - you can always bring a Bundt cake...

                                              2. Although not greek-by-heritage at all, people often think I am! I was apparently conceived in Greece (gross, thanks mom and dad) and have traveled there many times in my young life. I'm hoping that someone can post a tried and true recipe for skordalia...my fam and I can never get the texture just right, and I know my Dad will be ecstatic if I can make it for hijust like the Greeks do next time I visit.

                                                And on a side note, what's with the lack of skordalia in American greek restaurants?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: lkhorgan

                                                  We normally feed skordalia to foreigners visiting Greece so they don't fool around on the beaches.

                                                  Skordalia keeps vampires and .... away. (I'll let you guess the rest)

                                                  1. re: lkhorgan

                                                    re: lack of skordalia in American Greek restaurants...
                                                    probably due to a fear of garlic. Many non-Greek and/or non-foodie people I've met, immediately ask if there's garlic in this or that. Their concern over their breath guides their dinner choices. Taramasalata is also pretty rare in some restaurants- I'm guessing again that the non-foodies aren't into the fish roe. If the majority of a restaurant's clientele is non-foodie, the restaurant might just sell the "best of" dips, and skordalia gets left off the list because it's garlicky and not as popular as Tzatziki. There are a couple other dips that are common in Greece, that I rarely find over here- the Russian salad and Fava (not fava beans- it's made from split peas).

                                                    re: texture...
                                                    could be that American potatoes are to blame. Haven't really had a skordalia I haven't liked, but I know that dumplings made with North American potatoes don't turn out the same as dumplings made with European potatoes. Also, some recipes for skordalia use only potatoes, only bread crumbs, or a mixture of bread crumbs and potato. Each of these variations would effect the texture. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sk...

                                                    Most Greek Canadian restaurants serve skordalia and beets as a traditional side dishes with bakaliaros (cod). If you find a Greek American restaurant that serves bakaliaros, you'll probably find some skordalia;)

                                                    1. re: lkhorgan

                                                      Again, Michael's Bar and Grill in St. Louis, the place that I mentioned earlier in the thread serves skordalia with their fried calamari appetizer. I usually get a double dose of the skordalia.

                                                    2. St. Paul said that wives should submit to their husbands but he also said that husbands should cherish and sacrifice for their wives as did Christ. Sounds like your husbnd has a lot to learn. Even Turks like Greek food.

                                                      When my husband was in the Air Force, we lived in Athens. We ate the local food and cooked the local recipes. Our daughter's first solid food was Greek bread and Tzatziki. When we visited the neighbors, they'd send the son down to the local bakery to get a pastry. Picture a happy spoiled year-old girl tearing into one of those wonderful cream, flake, and sin Greek pastries!

                                                      1. Grew up in a neighborhood that had a strong Greek influence, one of my fondest memories was plucking ripe figs of the trees and just popping them inside out and chowing down on a sweet red ripe fig..

                                                        1. Hi there, I didn't grow up Greek, but I was definitely raised to appreciate the culinary culture. We always went to the local Greek Festival and to Tarpon Springs every chance we get. I LOVE the food. I always stuff myself on feta, salad and pastries. My favorite Greek dish is these dome-shaped almond cookies. They are light in color and fairly chewy. There is no powdered sugar; only slivered almonds on top. Sometimes you can find them finger-shaped with apricot filling. What are these cookies called and where can I find the recipe? I have been searching for years and the one term I found was almond macaroons? Does this sound correct? It looked like a picture of the apricot filled cookies. I haven't had any in 3 years and I am desperate. Thank You!

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