Vegetable

Summer Food: Eggplant Napoleon

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The summer is almost over (with 2 weeks left to it), but the summer food does not have to go. Summer comes with all these fresh veggies at their peak of ripeness giving us endless possibilities for creative cooking, that does not have to be confined in the salad making. In this recipe I am making a dish that is largely inspired by a Raw Food class I recently attended in New York City. The class is regularly offered in California by Gisselle Gordon, but if you are lucky you might catch Gisselle in one of her trips. My views on Raw Food as a diet perspective are outlined in the previous posts, but regardless the fact that I largely disagree with the claims, I cannot overlook the taste aspects of it especially what it comes loaded with fresh ingredients in a way you have never seen before. This is actually a great way to few all these diets, focus on the taste and the appearance of the food, don't dismiss them just because you don't agree with their claims. It is called being open-minded, and in the culinary world it can take you very very far.

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Quinoa Salad

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The last few years there is a growing number of grains that have hit the market. Many of them have been around for a while (a few thousand years) but their nutritional value was hardly been recognized. In their majority they emerged as an alternative to the existing grains that recently have been under the gun for not being as healthy as we though they were. A major concern is gluten. Gluten is a form of tough network of proteins that is created by the cross-linking of gliadin and a gluten with the help of water. Both gliadin and a glutenin are in abundance in many grains, primarily in wheat, rye and barley. Several people have a immunogenic response to it, in which the body recognizes several molecules (gliadin in this case) as an intruder. This is causing a cascade of effects that can lead to unpredictable results. This is considered part of the Celiac Disease and is not recognized as an allergy due to the unusual response of the body ranging from stomach cramps to joint pains.

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Lentil Soup

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I am about to kick of the New Year with the probably most underrated legume of all times. Actually it is one of the most underrated food items of all time (except probably in India). Lentils! It is the one food that I used to hate as a kid and I love as an adult. As a kid all legumes were by far the worst food I could ever have. They were always served as a substitute to meat, especially during lent before Christmas, Easter or Dormition of the Theotokos (Assumption of Mary in the Roman Catholic Religion). They were usually (and by usually I mean 100% of the times) served in a soup form with tomato, garlic and the optional vinegar that very well suits them. I still, however, didn't like them because they were highly associated with the dreadful lent that meant one thing: no meat. And I am a generation Y kid. Born in the era of the fast-food globalization, the abundance of meat and wealth that spread all across Europe including Greece. And it is a shame. A big shame, because lentils are as reach in protein as meat. And of course a lot more healthy than meat.

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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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My mom’s Pizza

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Today the 13th day of October it is my mom’s name day. It is a typical Greek traditional celebration to celebrate the day of the saint or martyr that you are named after. So today it is my mom’s day and we are celebrating by making the best pizza ever. It is all that my mom’s cooking is all about simple ingredients, simple flavors that they highlight and accentuates the taste of simple ingredients, like feta and tomato. And this is the bottom line of the greek cuisine: simple ingredients brought together in a simple manner. So this sort of pizza is just that. And I call it sort of pizza, because it does not share anything of the typical pizza characteristics, sauce, melted cheese, thin crust. It is on the contrary puffy, with just tomato and feta a non melting cheese. I am making two version the original and still king, my mom’s and mine a more gourmet take on it. So let’s get started.

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Bruschetta (?) My Way

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Since it is summer, I am more keen in making and creating dishes, that are summery and fresh that combine a large number of various elements: texture, flavors and engage all the senses. This is what I making today. A take on a bruschetta, the italian delicacy that is been around since the 15th century. It was a fun recipe since it is largely similar to the the previous post in regards to the ingredients. It showcases that sam ingredients put together in a different way results in such a different result.As you probably noticed on the title next to the bruschetta is a question mark. Why? Because I think that in the melting culinary pot in america many cuisines were merged, fused, combined and unavoidably either lost their origin meaning or got a load of new ingredients, that changed drastically their appearance and flavor profile.

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My Take on a Classic: Greek Salad

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Greek salad is one the poster foods of greek cuisine. And for a good reason. It combines in a plate all the vegetables that mean summer in Greece; sweet juicy tomatoes, succulent snappy cucumbers, peppery sweet onions, crisp peppers and of course who can leave out the greek briny cheese, also known as feta. All of them held together with the power of olive oil, topped with oregano. A herb that is 100% greek. You find it in abundance in the hills and mountains of the greek country side. The greek salad is not only a delicious combination, but it is also visually appealing. As they say: you eat with your eyes first. And the crispness of the vegetables also engage your ears in the experience. It is therefore a full sense experience. The quintessential greek summer (and not only) dish.

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Summer Food: Swordfish Steak with Zucchini pasta

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Usually around this time I start posting a series of post entitled Summer Food. But, what is summer food? What makes a great summer food plate? It has to be, simple, fresh, not heavy in oils and fats, and most importantly remind you of summer. Being in Boston the summer food time is a little late, but it is here at last, and being in Boston it is a great opportunity to get our hands on some fresh amazing fish. This time some freshly caught (or at least I want to believe freshly caught) swordfish. Served with an unusual type of pasta…

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