We are familiar with Greek gods and goddesses, in line with its typified fiction and myth. Like surprising gifts, these legendary tales speak of beauty and enthrallment, along with powers that seemingly exude human and god-like sense. With that being said, we can only expect one thing from Greek cuisine- the warmth of good food spiced in its own way.
Over the years, foreigners and tourists have only a thing to say- it is so delicious that it is something that they want and will naturally crave. To them, Greek cuisine is something that is woven with special hands using special spices and herbs. And having the opportunity to taste it is simply heaven.
On the contrary, Greek cuisine also has its share of ups and downs. In fact, there was a time when traditional dishes are seemingly confined within household kitchens. Still, the locals decided to adapt and learn while enriching their traditional recipes and truly they have succeeded. As of the present, key cities and places throughout the world serve Greek food like a medium of art typified in various languages. The evolution of this cuisine is also attributed to the people’s fervor and dedication to traditional cooking, not to forget their continual passion for everything Greek.
Greek cuisine is also famous for its herbs and spices. In fact, the so called ‘Greek herbs’ are among the best, for each plant is cultivated with much love and zest. Historically, these spices are used by the Greeks since the ancient times to compliment local ingredients. And during the Middle Ages when everything gets spoiled easily, the Greeks thought of using these herbs to preserve foods longer.
Ingredients Utilized in Greek Cuisine
Beef, Pork, Lamb, Chicken, Game meats (Venison)
Fish, Squid, Lobster, Shrimps
Potatoes, Olives, Cabbage, Carrot, Mushroom, Pepper, Aubergine (Eggplant), Cucumber, Beetroot, Spinach, Leeks, Celery, Tomatoes, Zucchini, Green Beans
Cheese (usually Feta), Eggs, Milk, Yogurt
Spices, Herbs and Seasonings:
Cloves, Basil, Oregano, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Parsley, Mint, Garlic, Cumin, Paprika, Sage, Rosemary, Dill, Bay Leaves, Thyme, Parsley, Saffron, Marjoram, White Sesame
Typical dishes speak of salads, soups, desserts, meat dishes, vegetarian meals and appetizers. The most common would be the Greek Salad that is normally comprised of onions, feta cheese, cucumber and kalamata olives. One can also enjoy Fakes, a lentil soup that is served with vinegar and cheese or you can simply indulge in Moussaka, a casserole dish that makes use of eggplants, rice or zucchini.
Greek cuisine, in general, is very diverse. It will also be very difficult to associate Greek food with a particular niche, since the country is made up of regions and villages. You may go from one place to another and taste a variation of a local treat. Nevertheless, households will always be gracious enough to feed and entertain guests.
Authentic Greek Recipes
Greek Spetsiotiko Fish
Recipe Source: realgreekrecipes.blogspot.com
This is a method of baking fish that comes from the island of Spetses – hence the name Spetsiotiko. It can be used for a few different types of fish. The one we prepared which you can see in the photo is Fagri or sea bream. You can also use large Lavraki or sea bass, Sinagrida or dentex, Sfirida or white grouper, large Tsipoura or dorado. As far as I have checked, these are the correct English translations of the fish names.
1 kg fish
3 cups grated tomatoes
1 ½ cups olive oil
3 tbsp parsley finely chopped
1 clove garlic crushed
1 cup crumbled rusks
Salt & pepper
Clean the fish and salt it.
You can leave the fish whole, but if it is large you can cut it into slices.
Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl, apart from the rusks.
Place the fish in an oven dish and pour the sauce over it.
Take half of the rusks and sprinkle them over the fish.
Put a little of the sauce over the rusks to moisten them.
Sprinkle the rest of the rusks on top.
Put in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for approx. 1 hour.
During this time, once or twice you can spoon some of the sauce in the oven dish over the fish. If, for some reason, you find that there is not enough sauce, you can add a little white wine.
When it’s done, the sauce should be like a crust on the fish.
Mediterranean Greek Salad
Recipe Source: allrecipes.com
- 3 cucumbers, seeded and sliced
- 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
- 3 cups diced roma tomatoes
- 1/3 cup diced oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, oil reserved
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- In a large salad bowl, toss together the cucumbers, feta cheese, olives, roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons reserved sun-dried tomato oil, and red onion. Chill until serving.
Image Credit: travelguide2greece.com
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Chef Heinz Reitbauer is the backbone of Steirereck, and through his exemplary culinary skills, he pushed his restaurant up nine positions in this year’s list of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Last year, they were at the 30th position, and this year, Steirereck climbed to the 21st spot.
Food has always interested Chef Reitbauer, especially since his parents run their own restaurant. His parents have instilled in him during his childhood years the love and respect for good food, and they have also introduced him to the gastronomic pleasures of fine dining at distinguished restaurants. In fact, he can still clearly remember the first time that he entered a fine-dining restaurant. He was, he says, about 8 or 9 years old then, and he was immediately captivated by the atmosphere. It was so much different from the cooking preparations done at home – impressive, intriguing, mysterious, a whole new world, really – yet so much familiar. That experience sparked his interest in the culinary world.
His first step in pursuing his culinary career started in his parents’ restaurant and hotel, and after a year of training, he left home to go to Werfen and work with brothers Karl and Rudi Obauer at their restaurant/hotel. It was with the brothers that he finished his training, and it was also with them that he learned the basics in being a chef. Chef Reitbauer states that it was the Obauer brothers who taught him the basic yet most fundamental aspects of the culinary world, and he also admits that he is still benefiting from the knowledge and skills that he got from them.
After finishing his training with the Obauer brothers in Werfen, he then went to work in Lyon with Alain Chapel and in London with Anton Mosimann. These two great chefs have also influenced his cooking techniques and style, and their timeless cuisines have served as an inspiration to him.
It was in 1996 that he opened his first restaurant, Steirereck. He not only managed the restaurant, but he was also the head chef of the kitchen where he had the freedom to pour out his passion and talent into his creations. Chef Reitbauer sees cooking as a craft, and as a craft, he has the freedom to be as creative and as versatile as he wants to be, and his passion showed in his cuisine.
You can appreciate all the good things in the ingredients that he used for his dishes, and you will see the passion and feelings that he put into his creations as he worked with fresh and seasonal ingredients. He interprets traditional Austrian dishes and creates a contemporary cuisine that is shaped by the season of the land and the products produced each season.
Because Chef Reitbauer was brought up to enjoy fresh ingredients and local and seasonal produce, he decided to open his own farm. It was a very good move on their part as Steirereck’s diners are always assured of the freshest ingredients in their dishes.
Today, Steirereck and Chef Reitbauer’s culinary skill is not only known in Austria but in the international culinary world as well. Although he has great respect for molecular gastronomy, he advocates that it is still the fresh produce that can make a dish exciting and flavorful.
Chef Heinz Reitbauer’s Sauna Ham with Eggs and Potato Puree
Original recipe from: translate.google.com
- 200 g Sauna ham (sliced)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
For the mashed potatoes:
- 500 g floury potatoes
- 150 ml milk
- 150 g butter
For the puree: Peel the potatoes and cut into equal sized cubes. Boil in salted water until soft, then mix and pass through the “Flotte Lotte.” Stir in hot milk and cold butter cubes until smooth. Season with salt and nutmeg. Make sure that the puree is not too watery.
For the eggs: Boil the eggs for 4.5 to 5.5 minutes (depending upon the size of the eggs) and place into ice water immediately. Carefully peel boiled eggs and soak in salt water to keep warm.
Preparation: Brush oil on cups before covering each with plastic wrap. Lay out the sauna ham. The ham should be 1 to 2 cm above the rim of the cup.
Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon of mashed potato filling and place one egg on top of it. Turn the edges of the ham and then turn the cup over a plate. Remove cup and plastic wrapper and then garnish with mayonnaise, sour cream, and herbs before serving.
Servings: Serves 4.
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German cuisine features a style of cookery that varies from one region to another. Social and political developments have caused the cuisine to evolve and change. Germany’s southern regions of Bavaria and Swabia also influenced the cuisine in various ways, since both places share common dishes. The variances and influences have likewise brought regional and provincial dishes to a much larger pool of audiences, since such has been introduced across the country by the locals themselves.
Traditional German cuisine, to begin with, is characterized as flavorful yet healthy. Dishes are prepared with utmost care, as locals make use of the finest and freshest ingredients. To associate German foods with sausages and beer is a bit of an understatement, if not negating the true value of the cuisine itself. For the Germans’ appreciation of cookery goes beyond simple meals and are more geared towards preparation and serving. A great meal served with love and care- this is the concept behind German cooking and every person, who is fortunate enough to have a taste, is indeed privileged.
For the Germans, a usual breakfast comprises of coffee/tea, spreads and toast. They also enjoy having bread rolls along with honey, jam and eggs. Other common breakfast items are ham, salami and marmalade. When it comes to beverages, hot cocoa or milk is mostly prepared for kids. Lunch has always been considered as the main meal while dinner normally features smaller meals like sandwiches. As of the present, certain changes have been made regarding meal patterns, wherein people prefer small lunches and tend to enjoy hot meals for supper. However, these shifts do not affect the Germans’ treatment of breakfast, where a more elaborate preparation is made.
Dumplings and potatoes have been very popular among Germans. Noodles, is likewise valued as a key food item. Popular drinks likewise include pilsen and beer. In fact, many of the country’s regions have their own brand of special or local beer. Wine is relatively popular and the country has also been famous for producing great wine varieties.
Desserts mostly offer tarts and cakes along with fresh fruits and other sweets. Other types of popular desserts are Berliner, Donuts and Cheesecake. In Northern Germany, a red fruit pudding known as Rote Grutze remains as the most popular dessert. In addition, locals have been fond of tasting sorbets and ice cream, which is basically a product of Italian influence.
Ingredients Utilized in German Cuisine
Pork, Beef, Chicken, Duck, Goose, Turkey
Tuna, Salmon, Herring, Trout, Sardines, Mackerel, Carp, European Perch, Pike
Potatoes, Beans, Carrots, Turnips, Cabbage, Spinach, Peas, Asparagus, Peas, Broccoli
Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Thyme, Laurel, Chives, Parsley, Sage, Basil, Oregano, Chili Peppers, Garlic
Being regional in nature, the German cuisine likewise offers a diverse range of regional dishes. Traditional German food is defined by delicacies such as sausages, soups and breads. Among these regional specialties are frankfurters and sausages, which are normally made of pork and fresh herbs. It is also believed that each region has something special to offer. For instance, Hamburg is famous for Labskaus, which is made from corned beef. Another Hamburg specialty is the Aalsuppe, which is a soup consisting of vegetables, herbs, dried fruits and meat broth.
These diversities have made the German cuisine different and unique. For the Germans, their cuisine is truly representative of their food’s flavor and taste. In addition, the differences shared by the country’s regions somehow work to increase the popularity of German cuisine. For as they strive to produce the best specialties, these foods represent the country’s overwhelming desire to be known beyond its borders.
Authentic German Recipes
Hot German Potato Salad Recipe
Recipe Source: kitchenproject.com
Boil in their jackets, peel and slice:
4 large potatoes
Dice: 5 thick slices of bacon
Prepare: 1 Cup chopped onion
Mix dressing ingredients in measuring cup:
¼ Cup wine vinegar
¼ Cup water
¼ Cup sugar
Use to taste: salt and pepper
1 .Fry the diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until almost crisp.
2 . Add chopped onion and continue stirring until onion is cooked and turns slightly golden brown.
3 . Add mixed dressing ingredients, heat and stir until mixture boils and sugar is dissolved.
4. Add sliced potatoes, mixing everything together well.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for at least 10 minutes, or until the potatoes have absorbed all the liquid and are heated through. Continue heating and turning the mixture over for another 5 to 10 minutes. May allow to stand for additional 10-15 minutes to let the flavors blend completely.
Bauernomlett (Farmer’s Omelet)
Recipe Source: allrecipes.com
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 3 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 potatoes
- 3 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place potatoes in a saucepan covered by lightly salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium, and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then cut into 1/4-inch slices.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon strips in the butter until browned, 5 to 7 minutes; remove bacon and set aside. Add the potatoes to the bacon fat and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes.
- Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and mix with the potatoes and bacon; allow to cook until eggs are set, 3 to 5 minutes, turning once.
Image Credit: allrecipes.com
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Chef Massimiliano Alajmo’s restaurant, Le Calandre, made a good comeback this year at the S. Pellegrino’s Top 50 restaurants of the world. In 2009, they ranked 49th, but this year, they climbed 29 spots up and bagged the 20th position. This big accomplishment is credited to Chef Alajmo and his wholesome representation of the traditional Italian cuisine.
The Le Calandre has always been a family-owned restaurant. It has been in his family for three generations, and it was started by his grandparents which they have passed on to his parents. His mother, Rita Chimetto, is a popular Italian chef as well as patisserie who is well-known in Italy’s culinary world. She worked with his father to continue the Le Calandre legacy, and together, they have earned their first Michelin star in 1992. With his kind of family background, it is not surprising that Chef Alajmo and his brother, Raffaele, will follow in the footsteps of their grandparents and parents, especially since the love and passion for food has been instilled in them since their early childhood years.
Chef Alajmo pursued his culinary education at the Pietro d’Abano hotel management school where he received his degree in 1990. After his receiving his degree, he went on to work at the Ja Navalge restaurant an worked with Alfredo Chiocchetti. He has also worked with Marc Veyrat and Michel Guerard before he came back home three years after to take over the management of Le Calandre and work as a chef. He has much to live up to as his mother has earned a Michelin star in 1992, and he has to safeguard that and match his mother’s skill in the kitchen.
He accomplished both, plus more. Not only did he maintain the Michelin star that Le Calandre has before he took over the kitchen, but he also added his own to it when the restaurant received its second Michelin star in late 1996 and its third Michelin star in late 2002. He also lived up to his mother’s reputation as he became the youngest chef to have earned three Michelin stars. There were more awards and praises for Chef Alajmo and his restaurant, and, in fact, he is fondly called “Mozart of Cookery” by Paolo Marchi, a famous Italian food critic.
Chef Alajmo defines his cuisine as something that will excite all your senses. The way he skillfully and artistically plate his dishes is a feast to your sense of sight; the aroma of his dishes is a feast to your sense of smell; the textures will delight your sense of touch; and lastly the flavors will delight your sense of taste. He believes that respect for the basic ingredients, humility, and consistency make a very good dish.
Chef Massimiliano Alajmo’s Risotto with Saffron and Liquorice Powder
- 190 gr. hen broth
- 4 gr. saffron powder
- Dissolve saffron in hot hen broth.
- Simmer until reduced to a third
- 2 lt. hen broth
- 320 gr. Carnaroli rice
- 80 gr. grated Parmigiano
- 70 gr. dry white wine
- 60 gr. Butter
- 50 gr. saffron reduction
- 15 gr. white onion, minced
- 12 gr. extra virgin olive oil
- 5 gr. fresh lemon juice
- 4 gr. dark liquorice powder
- 1 gr. saffron threads
- pinch of salt
- hint of castor sugar
1. Toast rice in wide pot with extra virgin and onion, add wine and evaporate.
2. Add salt and saffron threads, continue cooking, adding 30 gr. of saffron reduction and then vegetable gelatin broth, a ladle at a time.
3. Once cooked, remove from heat and energetically stir in butter, Parmigiano and lemon juice.
4. Emulsify with a little vegetable gelatin broth and ladle onto a flat plate, allowing risotto to spread.
5. Sprinkle with liquorice powder and garnish with a few drops and brush strokes of the saffron reduction
Servings: Makes 4.
Image Credit: marcdelage.unblog.fr
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