I love yoghurt, because of its health benefits. It is loaded with protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals from dairy foods. Plus, it has ‘good bacteria’ for the digestive tract. I got more interested with Greek yoghurt because it is said to be healthier than most. [Read more…]
Salads can be eaten by itself, and soup, too. But sometimes, one is not enough. Salad alone, especially if it is mainly vegetables, can still leave you a bit hungry. Soups alone, unless it is a thick soup, may also still leave you hankering for more. The best lunch or dinner would be a combination of a salad and a soup. It would be just about right, and not too filling compared to eating meat.
Let us try this recipe for a Greek salad that calls for some grilled vegetables. Here is what we need:
- Zucchini, sliced, 2 pieces large.
- Potato, parboiled and sliced, 1 piece large.
- Onion, sliced, 1 piece large.
- Red bell peppers, seeds removed and cut into quarters, 2 pieces.
- Eggplant, sliced in thick rounds of half inch, 2 pieces medium.
- Feta cheese, crumbled.
- Olive oil to brush over the vegetables while grilling.
Because this is Greek, our vinaigrette, of course, will be olive oil-based. Here are the other ingredients we need:
- Balsamic vinegar, 45 grams.
- Olive oil, 75 grams.
- Garlic, peeled and smashed, 1 clove.
- Dried marjoram, a small pinch.
- Dried mint, 5 grams.
- Dried oregano, 5 grams.
- Coarse salt, 2.5 grams.
- Freshly-ground black pepper, 1.25 grams.
It should take about a quick 35 minutes to prepare the ingredients and cook it. the above quantity would be comfortable up to 6 servings.
How to prepare the vinaigrette:
- in a small bowl, add the ingredients and whisk together.
- let it stay for half an hour for the flavors to blend and settle.
- before using the vinaigrette later, remove the garlic cloves.
How to cook the vegetables:
- put the grill on medium heat.
- put the vegetables over the grill, lightly brushing it with olive oil while it cooks.
- when the vegetables are tender, remove from flame.
How to make the salad:
- cut the grilled vegetables into chunks.
- place in a bowl and add the vinaigrette.
- sprinkle feta cheese on top for presentation and for some zest.
That salad, being all vegetables, is rather light. Even its vinaigrette is also light. It can be combined with a chicken soup for some hearty meal.
This chicken soup is iconic in Greece. It is a great mix of flavors of the egg, lemon and chicken. It is always present in the menu of any Greek restaurant, and if you are lucky to be in Greece during a local festivity, you will definitely have a taste of this soup.
Ingredients for the Chicken Soup:
- Chicken, whole piece, approximately 3.5 lbs (remove the fat and skin).
- Water, 12 cups.
- Celery stalks, halved, 2 pieces.
- Bay leaves, 2 pieces.
- Carrots, halved, 2 pieces.
- Onion, peeled and halved, 1 piece large.
- Black peppercorns, whole, 5 pieces.
- Salt, 10 grams.
- Rice or orzo pasta, 8 tbsps.
- Eggs, 3 pieces.
- Fresh lemon zest, 5 grams.
- Lemon juice, strained, 2 lemons.
- Cornstarch dissolved in water, 2 tbsp (optional if you want thick soup).
Cooking the soup:
- Mix the chicken, water, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, black peppercorn and salt in a big pot.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the hit.
- Simmer for about an hour.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables.
- The remaining broth has to be strained through a sieve.
- Put this sieved broth in a pot and boil.
- Add to it the orzo pasta or rice.
- Leave the pot cooking but without cover for 12 minutes or until pasta or rice is tender.
- Prepare the egg-lemon mix while pasta cooks.
- When pasta is cooked, get 2 cups of its broth and place in a container.
- Pour the broth into the egg-lemon mix while still whisking (if you don’t whisk, the broth will curdle the egg).
- Stir the broth and egg-lemon mix over very low heat for 10 minutes, but don’t bring to a boil.
- Add seasoning to taste.
- You can now return the chicken and the vegetables into the broth.
Preparing the egg-lemon mix: (no. 8 step above)
- Beat the eggs until frothy.
- Add the lemon juice and zest while whisking the egg.
Finally, let us answer the question: what do you serve first, soup or salad? Soup goes first.
There is no secret potion that make Greek food so delicious; the country is blessed with rich agriculture. The fruits of their land and seas are so bountiful that you can easily have fresh vegetables, produce and seafood.
Greece has one of the longest coastline in Europe. Understandably, its marine life is teeming with fish, squid and octopus. It is such a common sight to see octopus being hang outside houses in coastal areas.
Octopus in my salad? Why not! If you want to know and try various Greek salads, you cannot pass on having an octopus salad. It may sound exotic if you’re not in Greece, but in Greece, this salad is actually a simple fare.
Don’t be so intimidated by the octopus. Here are a few preparation tips:
- Thorough wash to remove sand and other particles.
- Remove eyes, beak, tentacles, ink sac and intestines. Your butcher can do this.
- Avoid cooking the octopus by frying or sautéing in butter, because octopus is naturally high in cholesterol.
- Use non-stick cooking spray when grilling or sautéing.
This Octopus Salad needs:
- White wine vinegar, 4 ounces.
- Extra-virgin olive oil, 4 ounces.
- Fresh lemon juice, 4 ounces.
- Dried bay leaves, 4 pieces.
- Freshly-ground black pepper.
- Kosher salt, 30 grams.
- Dried oregano, 5 grams.
- Garlic, minced, 1 clove.
You can use any mixed greens for salad. Here is one suggestion:
- Romaine lettuce, 1 head.
- Peppery arugula, a few sprigs.
- Peppery wild cress, a few sprigs.
- Borage, 3 sprigs.
- Dill or fennel fronds, 4 sprigs.
- Scallions, 3 pieces.
- Fresh mint.
Cut them just before serving. It is good to cut or slice very thinly. A coarse cut can affect the taste of the salad.
How to prepare the octopus:
- In a saucepan, boil together vinegar (3 tbsp.), water (6 cups), salt (2 tbsp.) and bay leaves.
- Add octopus then put on low fire.
- Let it simmer, but stir occasionally.
- Wait for the octopus to be tender, approximately 30 minutes cooking time.
- Remove octopus from the pan and drain.
- When drained, cut into smaller pieces.
- Put cut octopus in a bowl, mix with remaining lemon juice, oregano, oil and garlic.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
To serve the Octopus Salad:
Put the salad greens on a platter. Use this as the bed for the octopus mix. Season with salt and pepper.
Octopus is generally a healthy food. It is low in fat. It is rich in iron, which carries oxygen throughout your body and boosts the immune system. It has high content of selenium, which aids digestion and is also an antioxidant. It is full of vitamin B12 essential for red blood cells production, and also for brain functions. On the downside, it is high in cholesterol so how it is cooked matters. Try to avoid rich butter.
It can also be eaten in various ways. You can grill it. For an added spin, you can pair it with skewered vegetables like asparagus and squash. You can also sauté, and then mix it with seafood stock. You can season with onions, bay leaves, leeks, salt and pepper added into the pan. Just before serving, drizzle some lemon juice on it.
It’s Greek salad, but this time it is swimming in a bowl of broth. It’s Greek Salad Soup. If you are just about ready to discount this recipe as being too soup-y, here is some news that just might get you to the kitchen to cook really fast.
According to research, soup is a good slimming food. A bowl of soup is referred to as a bowl of miracle. To lose weight, you should shift to an all-soup diet. You will start seeing the result in just 10 days. If you’re too afraid to see nothing but cabbage swimming in water, you’d be delighted to know that there is no limit to what kind of soup you eat as long as it is soup.
It appears that the combination of solids, like vegetables, and water is healthy and able to provide the nutrients our body needs. So while you lose weight, you will not lose out on the much-needed nutrients. Soup contains a good balance of protein, fats, fiber, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals.
Soup is also easy to make, convenient to store, easy to reheat, and will not cost much compared to a slice of meat. It can be served either hot or cold.
To add variation to your soup diet, here is a recipe for a bowl of rich Greek Salad soup.
Ingredients for the soup:
- Pickling cucumber, ends removed and body cut into chunks, 2 cups.
- Garlic, smashed, 1 clove.
- Red onion, chopped, 1.5 lbs.
- Arugula, 16 tablespoons.
- Cherry tomatoes, chopped, .5 lbs.
- Fresh oregano, 2 sprigs.
- Feta cheese, crumbled, ¼ cup.
- Salt, 5 grams.
- Water, 1.5 cups.
- Lemon juice, 1 lemon.
- Plain Greek yoghurt, 1 cup.
We will also need these for the garnish:
- Cherry tomatoes, chopped, 4 ounces.
- Kalamata olives, chopped, 4 ounces.
- Bread, 4 slices.
- Garlic, cut into halves, 1 clove.
- Olive oil.
- Feta cheese crumbs (optional).
To cook the soup:
- Place in a blender the water, lemon, onion, cucumber, garlic and tomatoes.
- Blend until you see chunky bits only.
- Add the salt, cheese, oregano, arugula and yoghurt.
- Blend it again but don’t completely puree it. Leave some chunks.
- Pour this soup mix into a bowl and chill.
For those who are not on salad diet, and they just want to enjoy this refreshing salad, you can make the meal a bit heavier with some crouton garnish.
To make the garnish:
- Heat a skillet on mid-heat.
- When heated, add olive oil to fully cover the bottom of the pan.
- Rub garlic on both sides of the bread, then place bread in the pan.
- Remove bread when it has become golden brown.
- Put on top of paper towel for oil to be absorbed.
- Mix in a bowl the tomatoes, olives and cheese, dribble some olive oil over it.
When you are ready to sit down for a good meal, remove soup from chiller and pour some into your bowl. Put some tomatoes, olives and cheese with olive oil on a slice of bread. Enjoy!
Greece is surrounded by the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. The country boasts of a long coastline. Understandably, seafood is one of its prime products. The more common and affordable fishes are the sardines, mackerel, anchovies, bogue, pike and smelt. These small fishes are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which make it great for brain power. These fishes do not swim in deep seas, which is why they are easy to catch and widely available.
Sardines, though common, can be spiced up and served in fancy ways either as appetizer or the main course. They can be served grilled or fried. Some bake it in tomato sauce, with the flavor of lemon and oregano.
Greek salads are usually composed of vegetables. However, if you are one to want a heavier meal, this recipe of fish and salad will truly delight you.
You need these ingredients:
- Fish fillet of any fresh, firm white fish, 4 pieces with each weighing 160g.
- Sweet paprika, 5 grams.
- Flat-leaf parsley, chopped, 57 grams.
- Lemon zest, finely-grated, 15 grams.
- Garlic, crushed, 2 cloves.
- Lemon wedges.
- Cooking oil spray.
For the Greek salad, you need:
- Green capsicums, small, cut into rings, 2 pieces.
- Lebanese cucumber, sliced, 1 piece.
- Cherry tomatoes, quarter-cuts, 1 cup.
- Red onion, small, cut into rings, 1 piece.
- Black olives soaked in brine, drained and pitted, 4 ounces.
- Feta cheese, crumbled coarsely, ½ cup.
- Lemon juice, .5 ounces.
- Dried oregano, ½ teaspoon.
To prepare the fish:
- Rub some paprika on both sides of the fish.
- Heat a large frying pan using medium heat.
- Spray some oil on the fish before putting it inside the heated pan.
- Fry each side for 4 minutes tops. It should be a golden brown.
- Put together on a plate parsley, lemon zest and garlic. This is the gremolata.
- Remove the fish from the pan, and put it on top of the gremolata.
To make the salad:
- Combine all the ingredients in large salad bowl, and toss.
- Serve each guest a plate with a chunk of the fish on a bed of salad. You can sprinkle some chopped parsley for color and flavor on top. Put a lemon wedge on the side.
- You may squeeze the lemon juice over the fish.
- Take a forkful of the greens with a good portion of the flaky fish.
This recipe is healthy, nutritious and delicious. For best results, use fish that has firm meat, like cod fish. To fillet, remove the bones, or you can request your kind fishmonger to do the dirty job for you.
The crispy greens of the salad make a good combination with the flaky fish fillet. The outer portion of the fish may also be crispy from frying.
To complete the meal, serve the fish and salad with white wine, preferably full-bodied and aged in oak. For options, you can have a Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or for authenticity, Moschofilero from Greece.
You would think that the words ‘Greek Salad’ would be a generic term for all salads that originate from Greece. It may pleasantly surprise you to learn that it actually refers to a specific recipe of salad that well, did originate from Greece.
This Greek Salad is also referred to as ‘rustic salad’ or ‘summer salad’.
It has for its ingredients:
- Tomatoes, sliced.
- Feta cheese.
- Olives, preferably Kalamata olives.
- Seasonings of salt and oregano.
- Dressing of olive oil.
At your option, you can also include:
- Green bell pepper, sliced.
These ingredients comprise the most basic Greek Salad as it is referred to in its home country. Over the years, the term became a generic reference, and Greek Salads have sprouted and gained popularity in other countries like North America, Australia, and the United Kingdom and in South Africa.
The different variations now include additional ingredients like lettuce, radish, anchovies and pickled hot peppers. Dressings have also become a bit more complicated with the mixture of oil and vinegar, where the original recipe used only olive oil.
Noticeably, all the ingredients are organic. It is mainly vegetables. This is quite expected as Greece is an agricultural country. Its main products are olives, which account for the presence of olives and the use of olive oil in this recipe. Goats are more commonly bred, compared to cattle, thus explains the abundance of cheese.
In Cyprus, still part of Greece, they have the Cypriot Salad, which includes these ingredients:
- Tomatoes, finely chopped.
- Flat-leaf parsley.
- Feta cheese.
- Dressing of olive oil, lemon or as alternative, red wine vinegar.
Vegetables easily expire, and if you have lesser quality of it in your salad, the taste and the whole experience itself would not be so great. Here are a few tips in choosing the best ones for your salad:
- The tomatoes have to be firm, and not soggy.
- Onions should smell, but a fresh smell, not a stinky one.
- Use your fork to pierce the cucumber. If it instead bounces, ditch it.
Salads are generally easy to make. If you plan to serve it to some guests, it may take some preparations. You can do some of it the night before. The chopping can be done ahead, but don’t mix the ingredients yet. Put each kind in separate containers, the good kind that will securely seal it, and not mix the smell and flavors in the refrigerator. Do the mixing and the seasoning a few minutes before your guests arrive. It is best to put the dressing at the side so each guest can have his own preference. If you have nuts and cheese, try to put it in the side, too. Some guests may have allergies.
The full taste of the feta cheese will tease the palate, but the stomach may want something more filling than just a salad. For a hearty meal, you can serve this with bread or with a main course of meat or fish. But if you are on diet, you can still enjoy it with soup, like lentil or butter bean soup.