Traditional

Greek Christmas Cookies: Kourampiedes

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Every country or nation that has more than 50 years exposure to Christianity will have a special dessert that made exclusively around the Christmas time. Greece is no exception, and since it had embraced christianity for almost 2000 years the number of desserts for the occasion is huge. However, the one that is closer to my heart, because is delicious and also is what my grandma used to make every christmas, is the Kourampies (κουραμπιές, koo-ra-byies) that is a crumbly almond cookie dusted in powder sugar. Simple ingredients, humble cookie and big flavor. Although the Christmas reference of the cookie for most of the people comes from the white dusting of sugar, that resembles the snow, for me it is more the relation of the humble beginnings the cookies with the humble beginnings of the Messiah.

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Happy Thanksgiving – Cranberry Sauce

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The highlight of the thanksgiving holiday is of course the thanksgiving dinner. It is a staple all across the United States, and although the turkey is the star of the table, there is plethora of side dishes that complete the feast and are equally important. Potatoes, stuffing and the cranberry sauce. The last two actually, are almost exclusively consumed during only that dinner. Stuffing and cranberry sauce. The stuffing is a very complex and diverse dish, ranging from the cornbread, that seems to be the most common, to rice stuffing, that I make and is the best. But cranberry sauce is as simple as it gets. It is also vegetarian, dairy free, gluten-free and all-alergens free, making it safe for everyone. It is tangy enough to add and extra dimension to every meat, even the bland and boring turkey. The acid wakes up the taste buds, changes the pH and enhances the flavor. Although important, it is the one item that almost always comes out of a can. And it is a shame. Cranberry sauce is easy to make and since it is part of the Thanksgiving celebration we should take the time to make it at home.

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Baba Ganoush: An inevitable plate

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This is an inevitable post. Inevitable since just in the previous I presented the sibling dish of this one, the hummus. This one is all about eggplant. The one plant that has become a stable food around Mediterranean and primarily in the middle-eastern countries. Most of these countries rely heavily on vegetables as power source. Eggplant is not one of them. It is a plant, but not a power source. With a mere 25 kcal per 100 g of the fruit, eggplant is food with low energy value. It does have some other minerals and vitamins, but again they are not even enough to make eggplant a "super-food". Then why do we eat it? Why is it so valuable in Middle East, India etc?

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The Greek Adopted Dish: Hummus

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Greek restaurants across the USA had to adapt and adjust their menu and recipes. This usually happens with in three ways: i) the adaptation of classic recipes to whatever ingredients are available ii) the adaptation to the taste palette of the locals and iii) the adoption of dishes from other countries just because the locals seem to like them. Actually one of the most classic dishes, the poster child of the Greek food, the gyro sandwich originated in its final form in New York by Greek food track vendors out of necessity to battle tacos and shawarma as a fast food alternative. In the restaurant scenery, one of the Greek adopted dishes was, and still is, the hummus.

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Down Home with The Dagas

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Exposure to various cuisine is the portal to understanding and embracing cultures around the world. The flavors represent not only the people’s lifestyle and philosophy but their attitude towards life. And I don ‘t speak of the food you eat when you go out, or the food you make when you have guests. I talk about the food you eat when you are wearing your pajamas and your hair is all messed up. I am talking about real down to home food that is family, nationality and you… Thee real you. The food you eat from a house in India, Bolivia, Ecuador, Greece, Russia, Pakistan and you think you are back home. For a split second that house becomes your home. 

That was exactly ...

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Ceviche

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I started again the summer food series, since the summer is only a few days away and in Florida is practically here. Summer in Florida: humidity, rain, storms, heat. In this weather we always seek a refreshing food, that can make us feel fresh feeling and relaxed. To find a food like that you have to look at the areas of the world where they face the heat on a yearly base. Florida is not one of these places. It is pretty damn cold here over the winter time. But Mexico… it is warmer almost the whole year. And there the people have developed food to sooth the heat and refresh the senses. One of them is the Ceviche. Althou...

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Pineapple Mango Salsa

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This is an alternative salsa, something you do not see very often. It is a sweet and hot spicy salsa, that is very good compliment to white meat like fish (tilapia, mahi-mahi etc) and chicken or pork. A quick method to turn this to a marinate is to pass it through a blender. This will pulverize the salsa to a thick marinate. An additional effect of this is the papain. It is an enzyme primarily found in papaya and it has the ability to break down proteins like collagen. This will tenderize the meat making it juicer. Its primary utility actually is the breaking down the tough meat fibers and has been utilized for thousands of years in its native South America. 

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Salsa Galore

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The summer is here and nothing reminds of summer better that the fresh veggies, the cold refreshing food and the porch snacking. Among probably the most common foods that can compete as the most summery food snacks is salsa. The mexican traditional food that took over the world. It is refreshing, easy to make, and a good way to polish your knife skills. 

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Miso Soup

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For those who know me it comes like surprise, since I am very well known not to cook asian food. The primary reason is the expertise that you need to cook asian food. The wok, the preparation the procedures… Everything is different than what I have been used to cook. And yes, I can put it vegetables and chicken pieces in the pan and call it chinese chicken, but according to the popular believe, things are not always what you call them. So although I admit that I am not aware of the asian cooking techniques, I do admit that I like certain dishes, and flavors. One of the is miso soup. 

Miso ...

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A Dish that is Santorini

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When most greeks when they hear Santorini, think of the historic island of Greece, that one of the biggest volcanic eruptions recorded in human history. The one that destroyed the Minoan civilization. On the other hand, foreigners that hear Santorini, think of the island of the sun, the fun, the girls, the weather the sunset. Especially the last one was voted, as the best sunset on the world. One of the characteristics of the island, however, is the very dry and hot climate during the summer time. 

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