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Help! Cooking for real live Greek people!

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Furry, bless his hairy little toes, has invited work colleagues of his over for dinner on Sat... down at Chez Fur...

Greek workmates, REAL LIVE GREEK PEOPLE!!!

REAL LIVE MIDDLE AGED PINCH-YOUR-CHEEK-AND-TELL-YOU-"YOU'RE TOO SKINNY"-GREEK-PEOPLE

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

I have met these people once before, at a full-on Greek BBQ... with the spit and gyros and octopodi.. the whole shebang!!

And everything was gorgeous...and Greek!!

So, here's your challenge..

What the hell do I cook for REAL LIVE GREEK PEOPLE, WHO HAVE THEIR OWN SPIT ROASTING PIT AND PIZZA OVEN?????

pg (WHO WHO'LL BE POSTING THIS PATHETIC PLEA ON EVERY FOOD FORUM IN THE WORLD)

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  1. Know what I'd do?

    Not make Greek food. I'd assume they'd like something OTHER than Greek food since guess what? They can make it pretty good themselves by the sound of it. Steer clear unless you want to see them making faces because what you made is not as good as "mama's." Do you have any items that are in your rolodex as things you do quite well (if you do say so yourself?)

    Mexican?

    "american" grilling - straightforward steaks / chops - Lamb??
    That might be a good idea. Straight up steaks, and lamb chops med rare on the grill? Grilled veggies along side?

    6 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      I completely agree with not making Greek food.

      1. re: roadfix

        I agree also. Make what you do best.

        1. re: nolanani

          Just gotta add my vote for non greek. They probably eat greek all the time, since they probably grew up on it and that's what they cook most often. :) Do something that's very local to your area, or something you do very well, instead. :)

          1. re: Morganna

            I lived in the heart of Greek town in Toronto. When I made a new recipe for dinner, anything from casseroles to soups to veggies, etc., I would always take some across the street to my neighbours, who were of course Greek. They would just love it, because it was not Greek food. They in turn would send over food to my home which I loved because it was Greek food,
            So I would have to say go with what you do best.

      2. re: gordeaux

        Maybe get some Ouzo so they can CELEBRATE with you their way with a toast.

        Also, what about appies of those great gourmet "spreads" I've seen in Australian grocery stores served on crackers or crostini. Like, the corn and bacon spread, pate', chickpea sandwich spread, chicken apple spread, (nothing strong vinegary though) (and, maybe skip the Vegemite - or NOT - expose them !)

        If you're worried that their palettes prefer Greek, then do somethins with lemon - like Lemon Picatta (on chicken or white fish) with mashed potatoes and broccoli.
        Greek potatose are chunks of potatoe baked and then seasoned with salt, lemon juice and garlic. But, just do mashed potatoe and let them put the lemon piccatta sauce on them if they want.

        I think that Greek Food is more intensly flavored than Australian Food that you may be used to.
        Garlic
        Salty (like feta cheese as compared to Gouda)
        Lemony
        Honey sweet

        Can't miss with a Ceasar's salad. Don't use bottled dressing, use olive oil, and place real anchovies on top. Have a platter also of raw veggies (carrots, sugar snap peas, maybe celery and cucumbers) with a dip YOU like, and add some high quality kalmata olives if you have an olive bar somewhere - nothing from a can)

        Dessert?
        How about some hazelnut and chocolate spread filling in filo dough triangles
        (pre-made dough from the frozen section of the grocery store?)
        and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream?
        Ice cream can go in the expresso coffee also if you want.

        1. re: kc girl

          In addition to vanilla ice cream, this banana ice cream recipe is easy (no ice cream machine needed) and really tasty if the bananas are quite ripe - like starting to show brown spots ripe.

          See recipe, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

          Serves 6.
          Bon App├ętit
          June 1998
          The Cooks Exchange
          Seemi Iqbal; Karachi, Pakistan

      3. http://www.astronet.gr/modules.php?na...

        1. I thought, as a generalisation, older Greek people didn't really warm to "foreign foods"?

          Cos I do a lot of Greek cooking, but I am a dab hand at Aussie-Asian fusion, too... Maybe a steamed whole schnapper, gow gees and a funky salad? Ginger glazed shallots and rice paper rolls? A Thai beef salad?

          I am working on the theory that they'll like lots of appetisers, no matter what the country of origin, a baked dish with vegie sides and a salad.

          And dessert.

          Unfortunately my go-to dish is baklava... or a tira misu.

          4 Replies
          1. re: purple goddess

            PG - I have a sneaking suspicion that whatever you make will be scoffed down in record time. Fret not. You already have your menu - posted above. It's gonna be great! I just know it.

            1. re: Gio

              Thanks for the supprt Gio, it's just weird ya know.. I put this pressure on myself!! And so many older Greeks I know turn their noses up at "foreign food" like curries, or Asian stuff.

              And I hardly know these people, except for one social occasion where they went all out on the Big Fat Greek Wedding style food.

              The pay off is that Furry's just told me that they have offered to help us build a spit pit ;)

              I NEED to impress these people!

              And I know.. I am not going to do it with Greek food, no matter HOW good a non-Greek Greek cook I am.

              I am thinking stuff that is not too far removed from greek food (hence the baked schnapper) with an Australian/Asian twist.

              Here's the recipe I am going to use for the schnapper:

              http://agoddessinthekitchen.blogspot....

              Thinking along the lines of ginger glazed shallots, and steamed green beans with balsamic syrup and slivered almond salad...

              Stuff that isn't too "foreign" looking.

            2. re: purple goddess

              Purple Goddess, why take the time to cook food that your guests are unlikely to enjoy? Most people who have grown up in traditional food cultures (any country) where food means one thing have a hard time getting into new tastes. We all have had the uneasy experience of eating with people who are looking around for SOMETHING they feel comfortable eating.You should have enough stuff that they are likely to recognize and enjoy -grilled meat and seafood, simple salads maybe pasta - your tiramisu and baklava sound like great choices- and alcohol, as others suggest. And if they want to make a pit and help you grill, go for it - less work for you.

              1. re: jen kalb

                The pit is not to be built on the day, it will (hopefully) be a permanent structure, with a mains-powered spit, attached to our outdoor kitchen (Which currently features a wood-fired dome oven and prep benches, surrounded by herb beds)

                I will post the current menu further down!

            3. Make whatever YOU'RE comfortable with, within reason. I mean if you just love alfalfa sprouts and carrot juice, it might not go over well.
              I dunno, lasagna, or another pasta, or like gord suggests, grilled chops or steaks.

              Wanna make everyone happy? Try to find out what they like to imbibe - ouzo? Dry white wine? Beer? A little of everything? Have plenty of drinks on hand before and everybody's gonna be smiling and the food WILL BE GREAT!

              1 Reply
              1. re: porker

                Better Living Via Alcohol!

                Love it!

                **adds ouzo, beer and champagne to the shopping list**

              2. If it were me, I'd go with an Italian menu, on the grounds that it's not Greek, yet not too exotic. Easy appetizers like cheese platters, bread, olives, salami, tapenade, etc. Something oven baked (i.e., no attention) like lasagna or lamb shanks for the main, with a green salad. If you want green beans, just dress them with a little olive oil and lemon zest for a different touch. Finish with your go-to dessert, tiramisu, and you're done!

                But no matter what you do, they'll love that you did it! It'll all be fine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                  poifect!

                2. What ever dishes go well with Metaxa, ouzo and retsina... The more you "Eis Egian," the less it will make a difference...

                  1. Instead of cooking "foreign food", why not do good ole American favorites? Rib roast, twice stuffed garlic potatoes, green beans almondine, seared asparagus, decadent mac & cheese, deep fried turkey, crab cakes, devilled eggs, meat loaf, bbq brisket, just to name a few.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sheilal

                      Or good ol' Australian favorites, as pg is from Melbourne.

                      I'd be inclined to go with lamb (still a Greek thing) but jazz it up Aussie style. Or, as Karen suggested, Italian but with local, Australian ingredients. Perhaps one or two "different" things that include the Aussie-Asian fusion style you'd like to incorporate.

                    2. I know from a good handful of personal experiences that people from other lands may or may not openly accept food outside of their own cultures. Each country and each of those country's generations can have wildly different tolerance levels. If the OP or the OP's spouse knows anything about their personalities, general eating habits, etc., this would be the biggest help in deciding which direction to go.

                      As Aunt Voula said upon finding out about fiance Ian's vegetarian food preferences in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", "What do you mean he don't eat no meat?!?! (stunned look, the room suddenly is dead quiet, then resignation) Ah, that's okay - I make lamb..."

                      1. yeah, it's pretty much that "Ok, I cook you lamb" kinda family!

                        I'm going with the schnapper, a boned leg of lamb stiffed with fetta, anchovies and sun-dried tomatoes, chat potatoes cooked in duck fat with bacon, rosemary and garlic cloves, a fig, blue cheese and caramelized onion tart, a simple green salad, steamed beans with toasted almond and a lemon dressing, and some trad mezzes such as tzatziki, baba ghanoush, dolmades, kefalogravia, and a few extras such as ginger-glazed shallotts. Home made pitas and a ciabatta-style loaf from my local wood-fired bakery.

                        All stuff, I am a dab hand at, so there will be no pressure to try anything new and bugger it up!, and all stuff that is not too far removed from "Greek food", yet I'm not trying to compete.

                        I think I got this sussed...

                        And at the end of the day, if they don't like it, there's always Macca's on the drive home!

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: purple goddess

                          That sounds divine and a perfect balance between recognizable and different to standard Greek. And lucky you with an outdoor kitchen!

                          1. re: purple goddess

                            Sounds wonderful, pg! But could you let this American know what "chat potatoes" are? And nything cooked in duck fat with bacon, rosemary and garlic is going to be good! Just need to know what you mean by "chat potatoes".

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              chats are baby potatoes, usually coliban's. Have a floury texture and are ACE for baking and smashing. Potato Perfection in one bite!

                              1. re: purple goddess

                                So pg, you've got to finish the "story" started here - HOW did the dinner party go over last weekend? How did your Greek guests enjoy their dinner?

                            2. re: purple goddess

                              Yum, sounds great! What time's dinner?!

                              1. re: purple goddess

                                ACE, Maytie!

                              2. I ran your blog by my boyfriend last night who is Greek and his family are all great cooks. His first insinct was also to tell you not to cook Greek food as they do so much of it and like it done a certain way. Anything else you make I am sure will be wonderful and if it does turn out to be the lamb as you stated, I am sure it will be great and they will love it.

                                1. Never cook the nationality of the visiting guests unless you are as good as the originals - my theory for everything. If you think they will not like something exotic, stick with mediterranean (Italian, Spanish) if you can do it well. If not, how about a really well done prime rib roast with root vegetables roasted? Who can resist that? Even my old Italian friends like that! Snapper sounds lovely, or salmon is good too. I think keeping it simple is best, simple seasonings, no heavy sauces, good qualilty ingredients , and lots of libations - you'll be a hit!