Monday, January 11, 2010

Greek Food

We did a lot of unusual sight seeing around Athens this trip. Unusual mostly because we did a lot of free stuff that just involved walking around the city. I'm sure Idle Husband had some idea, but when we arrived (on the 24th), everything was closed for Christmas until Monday. Everything. Good thing we had already been to all the museums last time, hey?

We spent a week at his family's house where we...ate. Ate and slept and that was about it, because by then it was New Year's and again everything had completely shut down until Monday. I think there was only a few days scattered here and there where things were open!

Anyway, because all we did was eat, I decided to take a lot of food pictures. That and because it's kinda interesting to see what other people are eating. Well, to me it is. And this isn't like, oh here we are eating a Greek salad in Greece! which is such a typical Greek vacation photo. This is like actual home cooked meals (and some take-out) from the home of a typical Greek family. Which makes it more interesting, no?

Our first "light" meal when we arrived.

Ok, my favourite meal IH's mom makes is stuffed tomatoes (and now stuffed eggplant -- or "little shoes" as they were called -- but I didn't get a pic of that cuz it was too delicious to stop to find my camera). It's such a simple dish, but the taste is divine. It's probably because of all the olive oil (as you can see there), but if I had been able to, I would have eaten both of those tomatoes plus IH's (he's not a fan). I also learned of another lesser known Greek salad. Even better than the first? Maybe! It's also super easy (most Greek food tends to be) as it was made up of only shredded lettuce, chopped green onions, olive oil, and a ton of lemon juice. So good! I'll be making that in the near future. Anyway, this meal was just to tide us over until dinner time which is crazy because to me that WAS dinner and it was at dinner time -- well, our dinner time of about 6. The actual dinner was to be served at 10:30 or 11.

Another light meal.

Let's see...there's tzatziki (natch), greek salad (obivously), feta and mozzarella, terrokafteri (which is like feta ground up with spices used as a dip), crepes filled with ham and cheese, moussaka, and mini cheese pies.

Pasticio. It's like lasagna only it's made with a macaroni-type noodle and it has a thick layer of bechamel sauce on top.

Mmmm fireplace meat. Honestly, I have no idea what kind of meat this was. I'm going to guess it was pork, but I have no idea. They had this twirling around in the fireplace pretty much nonstop since we arrived.

Saganaki. Breaded, fried cheese with lemon. You can make this with any hard white cheese and it's super easy, though I have one thing to say about it. It tastes so much better when it's burning hot right out of the pan. If you let it get even a touch cold, it's just like eating a block of cheese and it loses it's magic. Weird, that.

Pretty standard breakfasts included:

Greek pancakes. Like our pancakes but smaller, with no sugar and "deep fried" in olive oil (well duh). IH ate them with honey, but I preferred them with jam.

Pomegranite seeds. I did this once at home in Canada and hated it immensely. So much work, so much mess, and then they tasted awful. I loved them there. They were so much sweeter and tastier! Of course they were probably getting them from some tree in the village, I'm sure.

Greek yogurt. Oh how I wish we had proper greek yogurt here! I can't properly describe to you how good this is. Because I've been spoiled for having tasted the good stuff, I can't eat that runny crap they call yogurt here anymore.

And his mom would squeeze us fresh orange and blood orange juice every day. They had trees in their backyard. And orange trees lined every Athen's street. It's what I noticed most this trip. It kinda blew my mind though because no one picks the ones in Athens. They just grow, fall off, and rot in the streets. IH said it's because they're not very good. But I'm still like, "but they're free!"

Sweets were also served after dinner and again for breakfast

I don't know what this one was called, but it's IH's favourite cake. I wasn't that keen on it, it was too strange. I thought it was trying to be too many things at once. Jello, fruit salad, mousse, cake -- choose an option and stick with it, dessert!

Melomakarna. A traditional Greek Christmas cookie. It tasted very much like gingerbread (very nutmeg-y) but it was soaked in honey so it was very soft and sweet, but strangely not that sweet. We ate a lot of these.

Vassilopita. Greek New Year's cake. They bake a coin inside and whoever finds it has good luck for the new year. I really loved this cake. I would knock off all the icing sugar and eat it plain. It wasn't very sweet, but it had a really nice flavour all the same. I like how most of their desserts fall in the not-too-sweet category.

This was special just for us. They ordered a wedding cake so we could do that whole wedding-cake tradition and everyone could take pictures. It wasn't awkward at all. Nope. The cake was really good, though. Creamy, with cookie bits...pretty standard, I think.

IH told me these were the cookies I had last time on the ship. Remember those? Anyway, they were not the cookies I remember. We both had one of these and that was it. They were really dry and flavourless. I think my ship cookies are but a distant memory...

Some of our take-out meals included:

Authentic gyro. This is how it's done people: Warm pita, gyro meat, lots of tzatziki, tomatoes, purple onions, french fries. The end. They have those "Greek gyro" places here but they're not doing it right.

Cheese pie. It's actually really easy to make at home. Feta mashed with egg, add some seasoning if you like (I've added nutmeg), then pop it into some sort of pastry. There it's puff (I believe), I've used a standard hand-pie dough here. Whatever you like!

Gyro meat, this time minus the pita.

They have a fast food restaurant called Goody's and it's everywhere you go. This meal consisted of a chicky sandwich (chicken nuggets in a bun), a bowl of french fries, and the Goody's grill (three types of meat with salad and potato wedges). What I find fascinating about this fast food is the fact that they serve it on proper plates with forks and knives.

Mallioras' souvlaki, one of the best take-out meals we had, honestly. For our last meal there, this is what we ordered. IH wanted to get burgers from a new burger place there, but I was like, "burgers?! We can get a damn mushroom burger anywhere we want when we get home. I want Mallioras!" It's just so good.

And that's just a sampling of what we ate. There were lots of other foods I didn't manage to take pictures of. More desserts that I either loved so much I didn't take the time to capture it, or that I didn't like and it never got past the single bite stage, or that I ate while around IH's entire family and just couldn't find the opportunity. There was a pork chop the size of my head that I made a fair attempt at finishing. Some eggplant with mozzarella and tomato sauce, breaded chicken filets, crackers with jam, chestnuts (not what I expected at all). And some dining out with IH's friends where in one instance I forgot my camera and the other we ate at a traditional Italian restaurant and I just had a salad.

I'll post pics from around Athens and the activities we did soon!


Mae said...

Oh, goodness! I'm taken back to meals with my Greek Yia Yia and Papou!

GALaxy said...

I miss it already!