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Archive for the ‘Greek’ Category

cherrytomatofish

I have really lucked out with access to fresh local fruits and vegetables lately. First, there were the figs. Remember the Grilled Fig and Prosciutto Pizza and the Fig Upside Down Cake? Then we had the mountain blueberry extravaganza that resulted in this Peach and Blueberry Crisp. Last week I found out that my brother in law’s tomato plants were going crazy. This summer he planted his first garden and I was really excited to hear that his tomatoes were doing really well and really excited that he wanted to share some with me!

When I saw the beautiful red and yellow cherry tomatoes I was instantly inspired to serve them over fish. I Googled “fish and cherry tomatoes” and this recipe from epicurious.com was the first to pop up. Usually, I spend forever looking for the perfect recipe but this was just what I had in mind so I went with it.

I found red snapper on sale at the store and it ended up working great with this dish. It was firm and didn’t fall apart when sauteed and good for my husband who doesn’t like strong fish. The cherry tomato/olive mixture is very flavorful and the red pepper flakes add just the right amount of spice to the dish.

This was a great summer dinner and we’ll definitely have this again!

Sauteed Snapper with Cherry Tomatoes
(Recipe source epicurious.com)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 to 1 pound tilapia, red snapper, orange roughy fillets
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4-1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (depending on your spice tolerance)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmers. Place fish in skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your fish. Fish should be opaque and flake easily. Transfer to plate.

Add parsley, crushed red pepper, tomatoes, olives and garlic to same skillet and saute until tomatoes are soft and juicy, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and spoon over fish.

Yield: 2 servings

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chickengyropita

If you read my blog regularly you’ve probably noticed that I love Greek foods and flavors. When I read Annie from Annie’s Eats rave about this being her new favorite recipe I knew I had to try it.  We don’t do a lot of sandwichy things for dinner so this was a nice change for us. I love tzatziki sauce and smothered my pita in it (which is why you probably aren’t seeing the chicken in the photo above).

The only complaint I had was not having time to make homemade pita bread and all they had at the grocery was very wheaty and dense pitas. I look forward to trying this again with a more traditional pita.

Chicken Gyros
(Recipe heavily adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TZATZIKI SAUCE
16 ounces plain lowfat yogurt
1/2 hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of about 1/4 a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil

FOR THE CHICKEN
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons plain lowfat yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced

TO ASSEMBLE
3 pita bread rounds
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced

Directions:

FOR THE TZATZIKI SAUCE

If you want a thicker tzatziki sauce you can strain your yogurt. I actually prefer mine a little thinner (I know I’m in the minority here) so I skipped this step.

Finely shred the cucumber and wrap in paper towels to remove as much water as possible. Whisk together yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop.

FOR THE CHICKEN
Whisk together garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the sliced chicken and coat well with marinade mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the broiler to high. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray over a jelly roll pan. Line chicken slices on rack. Cook chicken for about 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from oven and flip chicken. Continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 160 degrees.

TO ASSEMBLE
Heat pitas (by wrapping and placing in microwave or oven). To serve, layer a few chicken pieces over pita, drizzle (or in my case drench) with tzatziki and top with tomatoes and cucumber.

Yield: 3 servings

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fetaflounder

I love fish with Greek preparations. I had some delicious whole milk feta in the fridge and a craving for fish. I picked up some flounder and Roma tomatoes at the grocery and came home with a mission of creating a Greek inspired fish entree.

I was extremely pleased with how this turned out. It was ready in about 20 minutes and full of flavor. Unfortunately, Brandon is out of town so I didn’t have anyone to taste test for me but I told him all about it and he’s excited to try it out.

So if you’re a feta/Greek flavor lover like me and looking for a new preparation for flaky white fish, this is a dish you want to make!

Greek Inspired Flounder
(Recipe source Bakin’ and Eggs)

Ingredients:

2 flounder fillets (can sub any other flaky white fish like tilapia, snapper, etc)
2 tablespoons flour
1 Roma tomato, sliced
2 ounces of high-quality feta cheese
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Rinse fish with water and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with flour and shake off excess.Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add fish to skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until lightly golden.

Remove fish from pan and place in prepared baking dish. Squeeze lemon juice over fish. Sprinkle with basil and oregano. Line fish with 3-4 tomato slices and top with crumbled feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Place in preheated oven and cook for about 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and cook for another 2-3 minutes,  until feta very lightly browns.

Remove from oven and carefully transfer from baking dish to plate. I served mine over cous cous with a small green salad.

Yield: 2 servings

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easyspanakopita

I had some great feta in the fridge and ever since I starred a few spanakopita recipes in my Google Reader I had been craving it. I went back to read the recipes I starred and realized there was no way I would have time to make them on a weekday. Working with the phylo dough was going to be extremely time intesive. Not something I want to tackle when I don’t get home until 7 p.m. and it’s all I can do to feed us by 8 or 8:30.

So off I went in search of “easy” spanakopita recipes. I checked one of my favorite blogs for Greek inspired food, Elly Says Opa!, and sure enough she had a Cheater Spanakopita recipe. The real time saver is that this recipe uses puff pastry instead of the phylo dough.

We loved these spanakopitas. While they weren’t quite the real deal, they definitely got the job done for a quick dinner. I served them with a big Greek salad and it made a nice vegetarian meal. This recipe makes a ton of spanakopitas but the leftovers were great for lunch. During dinner we also talked about how great these would be for an appetizer at a party.

Easy Spanakopita
(Recipe source Elly Says Opa!)

Ingredients:

2 sheets puff pastry (one box), thawed
Olive oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
fresh dill, to taste (omitted, dill is my least favorite herb!)
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 lb fresh spinach (about 1 bag)
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 eggs, divided
salt and pepper

Directions:

Remove puff pastry from freezer and follow directions on box for thawing. We let ours sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and saute until they begin to get tender and translucent. Stir in the spinach and then turn off the heat. Let the spinach wilt down a bit (but not completely, you still want it to have a little life).

Roll the puff pastry dough into a square, making it slightly thinner. Cut each sheet into 9 equal squares by making 2 horizontal cuts and 2 vertical cuts.

Transfer spinach mixture to a bowl. Add in feta, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Beat one egg and add to mixture. Stir well.

Spoon about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spinach mixture in each puff pastry square. Bring the 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle and press with your fingers to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Beat the second egg and then brush the tops of the triangles with the egg. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Yield: 18 spanakopita triangles

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Greek Night with Keftedes

greeknight

We love Greek food and were really craving it tonight. There is an amazing Greek restaurant a couple blocks from our house that we love. Unfortunately, after the holidays we’re on a bit of a budget so we decided to have our own Greek feast at home.

One of my favorite blogs for Greek food is Elly Says Opa! There was a post of her top 30 of 2008 in my Google Reader today and I starred this Greek meatball recipe. It was perfect for tonight.

I served the meatballs with Greek salad, wild rice and hummus with pita bread. It was a great dinner and we have plenty of leftovers. I’ll be making this again for sure!

Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)
(Recipe source Elly Says Opa!)

Ingredients:

1 slice of bread
milk
1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 an onion, finely diced or grated
2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 heaping tsp. dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste
flour, for dredging
olive oil, for pan frying

Directions:

Place slice of bread in a bowl and pour milk over. Allow bread to soak up milk as you are prepping other ingredients. Squeeze the bread to get rid of some of the milk, and then discard the remaining milk, keeping just the soggy bread.

Add the beef, egg, onion, garlic, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper to the bread. Mix everything together, careful not to over mix.  Then, shape into meatballs–any size you want. Mine were around 1-1 1/2 inch around.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add some olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Dredge the meatballs in flour, shaking off the excess. When the oil is hot, add meatballs and pan fry until cooked through (working in batches, if necessary). Mine took around 4 minutes per side, flipping halfway through.

I placed them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain before serving.

Greek Salad Dressing
(Recipe source my parents)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a jar. Shake and chill. This recipe can be cut in half or quartered for smaller serving.

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Greek Pasta

We love anything with Greek flavors and have tried several variations of Greek pasta. Usually we find that something seems to be lacking but I think we’ve finally found one to stick with. This was delicious and came together really quickly. The flavor was great and you can definitely play around with the ingredients and try different substitutions. For example, I forgot to buy kalamata olives at the store and we had green in the fridge. Rather than omit olives, I decided to throw the green in and it worked great.

Greek Pasta
(Loosely adapted from Mediterranean Pasta in Minutes, Tyler Florence)

Ingredients:
1/2 box of penne pasta (or your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 8 1/2 oz can quartered artichoke hearts in water
1/3 kalamata or green olives, pitted and halved
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (divided into 1/4 and 1/4)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Follow cooking instructions on box for pasta.

Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat (depending on your oven). Add olive oil and heat until shimmery. Add chicken strips and cook until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add diced onion and garlic and saute for about 3 more minutes, until onion begins to look translucsent. Add in artichoke hearts, olives, diced tomatoes, basil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reduce heat and cook on low until heated through. Stir in 1/4 of feta cheese and remove from heat.

Place cooked pasta in a large bowl. Pour chicken mixture over pasta. Top plated dishes with remaining feta cheese.

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