Sunday, August 29, 2010

Facts About Greek Cuisines - A Merger Of Mediterranean Cooking Styles

By Hector Villa

Greek Giouvetsi Recipe (Lamb with Pasta Baked in the Oven)

Greek cuisine is a perfect blend of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes including various kinds of meats, poultry, fish and fresh vegetables, with the taste from Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines. The zesty and tart flavored spices used in Greek food are the key ingredients that provide a unique flavor to the dishes. Herbs and other ingredients such as garlic, olives and lime are a few of the main flavoring agents in Greek recipes. Greek celebrations, festivals and religious observations are the center of the Greek life, bringing families and friends together to savor the richness of the food.

Holiday and Religious Recipes of Greek Food In the Greek culture, Easter begins with the first day of Lent, when people get ready for the resurrection of Christ by cleansing their bodies. A special Greek food is prepared at this time with the term 'nistisima' associated with it which means all restricted foods are prohibited. 'Tsoureki' is the traditional Greek bread prepared at Easter has little sweet taste and is well-liked in Greek cuisine.Greeks also make Greek Easter cookies to share with friends and visitors. In Greek culture, Easter Sunday is celebrated with fun and frolic. The special attraction in Greek Easter food is 'Mayeritsa', a soup containing organs of lamb along with other spices and seasonings.

During the Christmas holidays, the Greek custom includes melomakarona (cookies topped with honey and walnuts) and kourabiethes (almond sugar cookies). Greeks also enjoy a range of cakes and other desserts.

Filo Dishes Filo recipes have always been the most favorite and integral part of Greek cuisine as this super-thin pastry dough makes some delectable dishes. Some famous Greek dishes such as 'spanakopita' (pie made of spinach) and 'baklava' (famous Greek nut pastry) are the perfect examples of filo dough.Other favorite Greek recipes with filo include seafood appetizers, "nest" side dishes, appetizers and desserts and tarts.

Meats Lamb is the most favorite variety of meat served in Greek households and commercial eateries.Lamb is used for main dishes and in casseroles with vegetables. Apart from lamb dishes chicken and fish dishes together with beef and pork are also widely served in Greek food.Any of these meats could be used in souvlaki, one of the favorite Greek, wrap-style sandwiches.

Pita Bread Pita bread is the widely served side dish that can be eaten in any of the Greek meals. Pita bread is frequently eaten with specially made yogurt-cucumber dip or lemon dip mixed with olive oil and herb seasonings. Various Greek wrap sandwiches are also made out of pita bread with slices of lamb and tomatoes as a stuffing. 'Gyro' is a Greek pita bread sandwich that features yogurt dressing and onion rings along with the lamb stuffing.

Salad Recipes Greek salads often include olives, tomatoes and feta cheese. The dressing has an olive oil base and is mixed with vinegar and other seasonings. Greek style salad garnish include nuts.

Variety of Vegetables Vegetables are an integral part of Greek food. One of the most famous Greek vegetable dishes is 'Moussaka' that includes eggplant as the main ingredient along with tomatoes, any kind of pepper and onions. Often meat is also added to give richness to this layered baked dish. Virtually all seasonal and fresh vegetables are used in Greek cuisine such as cabbage, carrots and all kind of green vegetables.

Olives and Lemons Many Greek foods, including main dishes and salads, call for olives, olive oil, and lemons. Most of the Greek main dishes as well as salad recipes include olives and lemons. Even olive oil is extensively used in Greek recipes.Olive oil is one of the most common ingredients in Greek cuisine. It is used in salads, main dishes and as dipping sauce. Lemons provide the zesty flavor Greek dishes are known for.

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