Friday, July 4, 2014

Greek Cooking 101

(good day)

If you do not speak Greek, you've just learned your first word and greeting! 

Welcome to Greek Cooking 101 

I thought I'd start posting some Greek dishes once or twice a month for those who would like to learn and for those who need a refresher course.  
My father is first generation Greek and my mother was born and raised in Scotland....quite an ethnic upbringing.  I'm really a good long as it's Greek food!
There is nothing easier than Greek food, I promise.  One of the most popular meals in any Greek home is chicken, potatoes and some kind of vegetable.  It just so happens, that I didn't have any potatoes in the house, so I substituted with rice and added some sugar snap peas, which come in a bag at the grocery store.  

This meal comes out to about $1.50 a plate!

Let's get started on the chicken!  
You will need:  
Any kind of chicken with the skin on
Cavendar's Seasoning (not essential, but yummy)
Dried basil
Dried oregano
Lemon juice (I like Minute Maid from the freezer section of your grocery store)
Butter or olive oil (a must for crusty skin!)

There's no measuring in Greek cooking!  We only measure when we are baking. 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit 

1.  Squirt some of your lemon juice (not the whole bottle) all over the chicken.
2.  Sprinkle, generously (don't be stingy here), the seasonings
3.  Add little slices of butter or olive oil (not margarine) on the top of each piece.
4.  Add some water or chicken broth to the bottom of the pan, just enough to cover the bottom.
5.  Place, uncovered, in the oven 
It will take about an hour and a half to cook for this size pan.  
6.  After half an hour, baste.  Then baste every 15 or 20 minutes.  This gets that nice crispy crust on the skin.  
About 15 minutes after your last baste, take it out of the oven.  Your skin will not be crispy if you baste and then take it out of the oven.

Cook the rice 30 minutes before the chicken is done.

I like Uncle Ben's rice the best.  
Store bought chicken broth (not essential but yummy) and 
dried chives (if you don't have any, it's fine).
Follow the directions on your box or rice for how many servings you need.  Use the chicken broth instead of water.
Stir in some chives after cooking.

These will take about 10 minutes.

Heat some butter or olive oil in your pan on medium heat.
Throw in your sugar peas, some salt and pepper and some minced garlic (optional but yummy).  Toss around every couple minutes or so.  You want them tender, but with a slight crunch.

There you go!  Greek Cooking 101!

I thought I'd share a little yarny goodness from my Yia Yia (Greek for grandmother)
When she was 14 years old in 1908 she did this beautiful cross stitch in her home town of Akrata, Greece.  I love it so.  She did two, one facing the other direction.  Now, my dad has a twin brother.  One of his daughters is named Gloria.  The family thought it was only right that the "twin birds" should go to the "twin brothers" daughters!  

When we went to Greece in 2006, we found some paintings we really liked.  The one above looks just like the village, Platanos, my Papou (grandfather) lived in during the late 1800's early 1900's.  We stopped in to the actual house he was brought up in.  My dad went knocking on doors, not sure which one was the right one, calling out our family name.  A lady came out of her house and pointed to the correct door!  She recognized the name!

This one looks just like Akrata, the village where my Yia Yia is from.  Right on the water!  You can walk about 50 feet from the front door to the ocean!

I'm so proud of my heritage.  I have this Big Fat Greek/Scottish/Amish Family!  One day I'll give you the story of how Amish got in there!  It's really sweet, but rather lengthy.  I have one of THE most interesting families ever!


Sheila (Keelia)
Food tip:
Extra virgin olive is the best as it is from the first pressing of the olives.  Don't be put off by the price.  It's SO much better for you that any other oil.  
You can, however, do a 50/50 of olive oil and corn/vegetable oil and still have great results and flavor.

1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    I just found your blog and love your work.
    My kids' dad is Greek, so I've cooked a lot of Greek food in my day...and it IS the best food there is :)
    I will try your chicken recipe as it is different than how I've made mine (it looks delicious!)
    I plan to buy your scarf pattern as well.
    Thanks for sharing!


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