Thursday, July 18, 2013

What's for Dinner: Greek

Earlier this week, I was scanning through my site, just checking to see if anything glaring was out of whack, out of date, or generally wrong.  Plus I updated the calendar with a bunch of fall dates, but that's a different post.

As I read through my blog page, the one that directs you from my site over here, I noticed that I had announced I would sometimes post recipes, or what's for dinner, or general cookery type stuff.  I LOVE to cook, and cook almost everything and every meal from scratch.  Plus, I'm pretty good at it.  Which is probably why I originally thought I should share some of my best finds or secrets or kitchen whatnots.

I don't think I've done anything like that in forever. But tonight I'm going Greek.  There is very little I like more than Greek food.  Truly.  Any of it.  You can name every single item on a Greek menu and I love it.   So a few of those things are in my standards list.  Like tzatziki, black olive tapenade, Greek salads, grilled lemon chicken or souvlaki - with a fresh, soft, pita?  heaven.

So that's what we're having, all of the above.  And courtesy of Pinterest, I'm going to post pics with links to recipes, along with my notes for how I make mine - different, easier.

First:  fig and olive tapenade (via  This is a great all around recipe if you want to make it extra fancy.  Today's is the super simple version.  Equal parts pitted black Kalamata olives and figs, and it doesn't matter if they are the dark Mission figs or the lighter Calmyrna figs like this recipe has.  I use both and they are equally good. Then pour a glug (technically?  maybe 2 tbps?) of olive oil on top of them in the food processor. Whiz. Done. The fancier version, for company, includes lemon zest, or rosemary, garlic, but usually not as much as they've got. Sometimes a little feta to make it a bit creamy too. I serve with wedges of pita - sometimes fresh, sometimes just heated with a spritz of olive in a pan to warm, sometimes toasted a bit, sometimes grilled a bit on the grill - whatever the mood strikes. These two food items together are divine.

Main Course:  chicken skewers (via  Love this marinade.  Like the idea of the sliced lemon pieces in between the meat.  But I'll skip the green onion part, or sub a chunk of red onion, because that's all I've got today.

Served with tzatziki (via  This is a good recipe, and seems a lot like mine, but I usually only make about half this much at a time.  I like it fresh rather than sitting in the fridge for days.  I grate the cucumber on a cheese grater because it's faster and it leaves nicer bits in the dip.  I don't bother de-seeding it either - the English cucumbers have almost no seeds, and regular cukes - well, the seeds are really good for you, why toss them? Instead of all that draining bit that a lot of recipes call for, the grated cucumber can just be squeezed out in your hand.  Don't toss that juice! - just drink it down in one big swig.  It's the best tasting stuff ever and holy moly good for your health.  I could drink just cucumber juice on a daily basis (well, I almost do).  Red wine vinegar works too, that's what I usually have more of.  Love adding fresh dill and/or fresh mint, sometimes lemon zest.  I always skip the extra olive oil - I just like it clean and light.

Side dish - salad.  Love any kind of Greek salad.  I'm especially partial to any of those watermelon and feta type recipes too.  My go-to has a bit of lime juice and a pinch of salt, toss in the red onion and let sit for a couple minutes while you chop the rest, just to take the bite out of the onion.  Add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, some pitted Kalamata olives, chopped mint and/or parsley, then toss dressing stuff on top, like a couple of glugs of olive oil, black pepper.  Feta cheese - if it's the crumbles, add it last after everything else is tossed, and gently fold in.  If it's nice big cubes of the harder stuff, you can put it all together at once.  Oooh la la.  This stuff is great.

This recipe is a simplified watermelon, feta, mint combo (via Twopeasandtheirpod).  A great way to dip your toes in if you've never tried it before.  But if you're a fan of the Greek Salad anyway, don't be afraid of throwing in a handful of watermelon into the whole mix. 

I'm famished now.  Get your Greek on!