Greece

Something Greek to spread on that fresh pita bread

Something Greek to spread on that fresh pita bread

We've been practicing pita (see July 7 post) until we got it down just right. Sure enough, our loaves stay nice and pliable and puff up with an air pocket from edge to edge. The key is searing the first side when you start cooking. But with all that pita, we needed something Greek to spread on it. Wherever we went in Athens, every meze platter had pita with four spreads: hummus, tzatziki (cucumber yogurt), tirokafteri (whipped feta with red pepper), and baba ganoush. We have yet to tackle making our own hummus and we're reserving baba ganoush for next week's post. But here are our recipes for the yin and yang of Greek dips or spreads, tzatziki and tirokafteri. TZATZIKI This utterly refreshing dip/sauce...Read More
Going Greek: the pleasures of homemade pita bread

Going Greek: the pleasures of homemade pita bread

Greece was the last place we were able to visit before the worldwide pandemic struck. The Parthenon, Delphi, and all the rest fulfilled that bucket-list desire to see the origins of western civilization. And we really enjoyed the food—everything from simple salads with slabs of feta to roasted whole fish. We had never really tried cooking Greek dishes at home, but as long as we're in a travel holding pattern, there's no time like the present to remedy that. We're focusing on some of the staples we enjoyed on our sojourn in Athens last winter. That begins with the simplest of breads. Pita isn't a quick bread, but it takes very little time to make Except for the fresh strawberries with super-thick yogurt we ate...Read More
Tastes of Greece at Pantopoleion gourmet shop

Tastes of Greece at Pantopoleion gourmet shop

We love shopping in grocery stores to look for the foods that local people use in their kitchens. That's usually what we bring home to our own kitchen. But Athens supermarkets proved too much for us because we are illiterate in Greek. The alphabet confounded us. We can usually figure out food names in most European languages that use a Roman alphabet. Ironically, many of those food names come down from Greek. But knowing that doesn't help when you can't sound out the spelling. So we resorted to Pantopoleion (34 Dimitrakopolou, Athens; +30 210 325 4890; pantopwlion.gr/), a local specialty store in our neighborhood, and put ourselves in the capable hands of John Kontoyiannis, one of the owners. (That's John behind the deli counter at...Read More
In the beginning … was Greece

In the beginning … was Greece

As we all keep living in the eternal present, we are grateful for the recent past. Last winter we caught the Paris sales and moved on to Athens, a city we had wanted to visit for years. Even while we were there in our rented apartment, we kept seeing ominous news of an infection that was sweeping Wuhan in China. Not long after we got back to Boston in February, it had jumped to Lombardy. The rest is already history, with more in the making. But we wouldn't give up that trip for anything. Even Greek friends told us we'd get bored after three days in Athens, but for us, a week was still not enough. Beyond the amazing sites from antiquity and the stunning...Read More