Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 64! Greece - Kotopoylo Yemisto (Roast Stuffed Chicken), Salata Therini (Greek Summer Salad), Melitzanosalta (Aubergine Salad), Up Next - Spiraling back to Germany

I love Greek food. The ingredients are so clean and simple, yet in combination, they yield some of the most beautiful, flavorful dishes I've ever had. It doesn't hurt that I could eat olives, lemons, garlic, olive oil, egg plant (aubergine), red onions and feta cheese for every meal - substituted only by an occasional pastry infused with nuts and honey.

Located in Southern Europe on the Southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, Greece is surrounded by the Mediterranean ocean. Greek cuisine, which dates back some 4,000 years,  has much in common with food from Italy, the Balkans and Turkey. Amazingly, the first Greek cookbook was written by Archestratos in 320 B.C. and contained nearly all of the same staples: olive oil, olives, lemons, grains and cheeses enjoyed today.

Sautéed pine nuts for stuffing
I ran these recipes past my beautiful friend Myrto, a real-life Greek Goddess,  who gave me the thumbs up for authenticity. Although I'm sure they don't come close to replicating dishes made by her family, I hope I'll get a few props for attempting to decipher the Greek cookbook she lent me!

Kotopoylo Yemisto - Roast Stuffed Chicken

Season and stuff chicken with pinenuts, currents and rice
Cover with cheese cloth and baste with melted butter

Roast, removing cheese cloth for last 15 minutes to brown skin
Melitzanosalata - Aubergine (Eggplant) Salad and Salata Therini - Greek Summer Salad

Baby egg plant, yellow and red tomatoes for Arcadian Farm 

Salata Therini - Greek Summer Salad

Melitzanosalata - Roasted eggplant salad
A delicious and beautiful Greek meal...and...

Glykisma Amigthalou - Almond Torte to finish things off!
The Recipes - From an excellent web resource:

Roast Stuffed Chicken - Kotopolylo Yemisto

1 5-7 pound chicken
2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter
4 tbsp. pine nuts
1 cup rice
2 cups water
4 tbsp. currants
1/2 tsp. pepper

Prepare chicken for roasting. Rub neck and body cavities lightly with salt. Chop giblets into small pieces. In 1/4 cup hot butter in saucepan, saute pinenuts until they turn golden. Remove pine nuts and saute giblets in same butter. Add rice; saute 3 mintues. Add pine nuts, water, currants, salt and pepper. Cover and cook slowly over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Fill chicken about 2/3 full with the stuffing and skewer the opening.

Place chicken breast side up. Cover top and sides with cheese cloth and brush with melted butter. Roast in 350F oven for about 2 hours. Remove cheese cloth towards the end of the cooking period.

Greek Summer Salad - Salata Therini

3 Tomatoes, cut in wedges
1 Cucumber, sliced
1 Red onion, sliced
1 Green pepper, cut in rings
6 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 lb. Feta Cheese
2 Dozen black olives
Parley for garnish

Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and peppers in a large salad bowl.
Shake together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad. Add the Feta cheese, cut in cubes and the olives.

Aubergine (Eggplant) Salad - Melitzanosalata

3-4 long type aubergine
1 small red onion, grated
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. wine vinegar
Salt, pepper to taste
Black olives
Green peppers

Wash the aubergines, place on a baking sheet and bake in 375F oven for about 1 hour until soft. Allow skin to turn black so as to give a smoke flavor. Skin aubergines wile still hot and chop into small pieces. Continue, chopping while slowly adding the onion, garlic, tomatoes, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Put in a salad bowl, and garnish with olives and green pepper.

Final Assessment: This was one of my favorite meals - full of flavor, beautiful to look at and healthy. A+


Young Werther said...

I love Greek food too!

Work with a very good Greek friend (two in fact) and they're always bringing me dolmades for lunch :)

Karen said...

mmm....that looks fantastic !! Love Greek food, love love love !! Poor Germany though :)