Greek Goodness

This months international series took us to Greece! Lemon, olive oil, garlic and oregano filled to store with savory scents. Here is a peak at the recipes!

greek

 

Pita Bread

1 cup water, at about 100F, or warm but not hot to the touch

2 tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast

1 Tbsp olive oil (plus more for coating the dough and oiling the pan)

2 tsp salt

3 cups all purpose flour (fluff the flour before scooping and leveling)

INSTRUCTIONS

Put the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl if doing by hand) and sprinkle in the yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Blend in the oil and salt, and then mix in the flour. Once the flour is incorporated, knead for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.

Coat the dough lightly with oil and place in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic and then a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm spot for an hour, it will double in bulk.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Cut it in half, and then cut each half into 3 pieces, so you have 6 total. I like to take each piece and form a round ball, that way it is easier to roll out evenly. Keep the rest of the dough covered as you work with each piece.

Roll out one of the pieces of the dough into approximately a 6 inch round.

Heat a skillet or cast iron pan on medium high until it is hot. My gas range goes from 1 (low) to 7 (high) and I kept the heat at mark 5. Lightly oil the pan for the first piece of dough, but after that you should be fine without adding anything additional.

Lay the round of dough on the hot pan and cook for about 30 seconds, until you start to see bubbles, or lumps, appear. Flip it over and cook for one minute. Then flip it again, and cook for a final minute.

Remove the bread and immediately wrap it in a clean kitchen towel. The steam will keep it soft. While one pita is cooking you can be rolling out the next piece of dough.

Repeat with the rest of the dough, and keep all the pitas stacked inside the towel until they have cooled. Then you can store them in plastic baggies.

NOTES: The puffing can be a little bit capricious…if you really want it to puff and make an inner pocket, cut your dough into 8 instead of 6 pieces, and roll them on the thin side.  Make sure your pan is hot.  I prefer the thicker, softer rounds of bread, but it’s up to you.   These can be cooked in the oven, but again, I tried that and wasn’t happy with the results.  The pan gives you more control.

Patates Lemonates

Ingredients

7 large potatoes (maris piper)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

150ml olive oil (3/4 cup)

150ml water (3/4 cup)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon semolina

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F

To prepare these extra crispy Greek lemon potatoes, cut the potatoes into wedges and place them on a large metal roasting pan. Into a bowl add  the remaining ingredients (including the semolina) and blend; pour the semolina-lemon mixture over the potatoes and season well with salt and pepper.

Bake for 40 minutes, until a nice golden crust has formed on the potatoes; turn them out of the oven, toss them a little bit to bring them upside down, sprinkle with a pinch of oregano and put back into the oven for another 30-40 minutes. If all of the liquid has been absorbed and the pan appears to be getting dry, add 1/4-1/2 of a cup hot water into the pan or some extra lemon mixture, before they have fully browned

The secret for these extra crispy Greek lemon potatoes is to sprinkle the potatoes with some semolina, as it helps to form a nice golden crust around them. Don’t be afraid of over baking them- they will become even more delicious!

Melitzanosalata

Ingredients

3 large eggplants

300g strained Greek yoghurt or mayonnaise

3 medium-sized cloves of garlic

2 tablespoonfuls extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon

Salt

Preparation

Wash the eggplants and make a few deep cuts in their skin with a sharp knife.

Bake them whole in a very hot oven for approximately 1 hour until the skin is burned and cracks if you tap it with your fingers. It is important to be burned because that gives a special smoky taste to the dip.

Allow them to cool and cut them in two lengthwise.

Scoop out the white flesh and try to remove the dark seeds.

Put the flesh in a colander, add salt which will remove the bitterness from the eggplants and lemon juice which will help them to remain white.

Allow them to stand and drain for an hour.

Mash them as much as you can with the help of a fork, do not use a blender.

Add the yoghurt (or mayonnaise), the crushed garlic and the olive oil and stir them well.

Place them in a shallow bowl and decorate them with parsley leaves and a few drops of olive oil.

 

Chicken Souvlakia

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

pepper

 

Cut chicken breast into chunks.  In a large ziplock bag combine marinade ingredients.  Add chicken and refrigerate 1-2 hours.  Preheat grill.  Thread chicken onto pre-soaked wooden skewers.  Discard marinade.  Grill kabobs on medium high for 8-9 minutes per side or until juices run clear.

 

Spanakopita

Ingredients

10 sheets of phyllo dough

500g spinach, washed and roughly chopped (18 ounces)

2 red onions, finely chopped

1 spring onion, finely chopped (optional)

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 eggs, beaten

200g feta cheese, crumbled (7 ounces)

a pinch of grated nutmeg

1-2 tbsps fresh dill, chopped (optional)

some melted butter or olive oil for brushing

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

If you’re a beginner with phyllo, check out some helpful handling tips before start preparing this spanakopita triangles recipe.

To prepare this spanakopita triangles recipe start by making the filling first. Sauté the onions in a large knob of butter or olive oil until soft and turning golden. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the spinach in batches and cook until wilted.

Let the mixture cool down for a while and then tip into a bowl, leaving behind any excess liquid from the spinach (you don’t want your spanakopita triangles to become mushy). Mix in the feta cheese, eggs, nutmeg, spring onion and season. At this point you can add some chopped fresh herbs if you like; some fresh dill will surely lift the flavour. This will be the filling of the spanakopita triangles.

Preheat the oven to 180C and start shaping your spanakopita triangles.

Spread one sheet of the phyllo dough on the kitchen counter and with a cooking brush drizzle with some melted butter or olive oil. Spread one more sheet on top and drizzle with some more butter.

Cut the phyllo sheets in 3-4 lanes (depending on if you like the spanakopita triangles to be small or larger). At the end of each lane add one tablespoon of the filling. Fold one corner to form a triangle and continue folding the triangle upon itself, until the entire piece of phyllo is used. Continue with the rest phyllo sheets and filling.

Oil the bottom of a large baking tray, place the spanakopita triangles and brush them with some melted butter on top. Bake in preheated oven at 180C/350 FCfor 25-30 minutes, until golden and crispy.

 

Homemade Tzatziki

Makes ~2 cups

Ingredients:

500 g Greek Yogurt (one full container … I opt for fat free Fage)

½ Medium-Sized Cucumber (deseeded & finely chopped)

1 ½ Tbl Minced Garlic (~ 4 large cloves worth)

1 Lemon Juiced

2 Tbl White Wine Vinegar

1 tsp Kosher Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for garnish/drizzle)

Directions:

Pour the extra water off the top of the Greek yogurt. You want it to be as thick as possible. (Feel free to let the yogurt drain in a cheesecloth for a few hours for an extra thick texture).

Press the deseeded and chopped cucumber in cheesecloth or paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible. Press down and squeeze, don’t worry about bruising.

Stir all the ingredients together.

Drizzle with a little EVOO to finish, if you so desire.

Serve with any veggies or grilled flat bread.

 

As always our recipes can also be found on our Pinterest page. Enjoy!