All posts tagged: food

picky toddler: greek foods that don’t go to the dog

My dear friend A, who lived on a Greek island for 20 years, where daily she tended a fabulous fruit and vegetable garden so skillfully that we named her Lara Crop, left it all behind to move to the US. One day, beyond disbelief, she Skyped me to tearfully announce that lemons there cost a dollar apiece and were all GMO. It was then that I was struck with the realization that despite the crappy crisis and many other problematic issues in this country, we are at least fortunate enough to live in a place where neighbours with country houses will actually try to force bags of garden-grown, organic lemons on you so they don’t have to watch them rot in a pile. Here, we are still lucky enough (but for how long, I don’t know) to have access to rich varieties of non-GMO, healthy and delectable, locally-grown foods; saying that, the majority of fruit & veg is heavily sprayed so one has to seek out the organically grown stuff, and even then there’s the issue …

Greece on a Plate

What does Greece taste like to the most successful Greek-origin chefs in the world? By Alexia Amvrazi Chef Michael Psilakis Award-winning chef Michael Psilakis owns the lauded Kefi, MP Taverna, The Hall at MP and Fishtag restaurants in the US for which he has received numerous accolades, including the James Beard Award and a Michelin Star. His book How To Roast A Lamb was received with great aplomb for its heartening references to comforting Greek foods and earned him several TV appearances and articles in major publications. MOST EVOCATIVE TASTE & AROMA OF GREECE: Lemon. The bright acidity it provides is the basis of why the simplicity of Greek cuisine is so brilliant. Every bite starts anew when the lemony finish cleanses the palate and prepares the taste buds to experience subtle nuances, as if it were the first bite. FAVORITE GREEK FOOD TO EAT RAW: Sea urchin, cracked on the rocks, rinsed in the ocean, with a squeeze of lemon, salt… equals heaven. IT’S WORTH DEDICATING HOURS TO COOK…: Live fire, spit-roasted lamb, embodies the …

Q&A: diane kochilas, chef and food writer

DIANE Kochilas is one of the foremost authorities on Greek cuisine in the world. She is a chef, host of Greece’s most popular cooking show, “What’s Cooking Today, Mom?” cookbook author (18 books!), and passionate pioneer of healthy Greek cuisine. She is as native New Yorker whose family hails from the “Blue Zone” Greek island of Ikaria, on which her latest book is dedicated. Every summer she and her husband, Vassilis Stenos, host a cooking and cultural immersion experience on the island. Here she talks to My Greek Review about her hopes and her bond with Greece. How Greek are you? Hybrid. Greco-American citizen of the world. What is your biggest role in life? Juggler-parent. What is most important to you right now? My family. What are you most grateful for? Everything. What scares you most? Nothing I would put to words. What is Greece to you? Mana. A direct link to the raw energy of life.   Your one favourite thing about Greece past, present and future? Past: Unspoiled beaches. Present: The excitement of being in …

bio-diversity in the pantry

OVER the years I have become increasingly fascinated by the effect of foods on my organism, and deeply committed to eating right, opting for fresh, seasonal produce, mainly vegetarian, chiefly locally sourced and ethically grown, which offers my body clean, high-nutrient fuel. I found that once I started eating this way, not only was I contributing to a kinder, more compassionate way of life that supported local farmers and food producers, but also making the most of my eating experiences by really getting the most nutritious value out of what I was eating. Once I started consciously cutting out all the foods that are filled with preservatives, GMO ingredients and the ugly cost of involving animal abuse or human slavery (today that unfortunately defines the majority of corporation-produced foods you’ll find in your local store, anywhere in the world), it was fascinating to see the way my body responded  by thanking me – offering better energy, better quality of sleep, better digestion,  and guiding me to choose some foods over others. It started to react immediately to chemically-laden rubbish foods and drinks …

street food: falafellas

IN A country where your fast food options vary between souvlaki, flaky pies slathered in hydrogenated fats and sandwiches you only really crave if it’s 7am and you’ve been up partying all night, it’s nice to finally have another option that is a tad healthier and, by international standards, very tasty – crunchy falafels, tucked into Arabic pitta bread along with other condiments. As is often the case with popular places such as Falafellas in central Athens, where people are willing to queue for a good 15 minutes to grab their bit of local street food, one wonders why it took so long for someone to come up with the idea of making the beloved Middle Eastern food the newest food trend. There have of course been a handful of places serving falafels in the capital, but none of them ever took off as Falafellas did. Perhaps it’s the smart location, just round the corner from the throbbing Aghias Eirinis Square and a stone’s throw away from Monastiraki Square as well as Ermou st, the central shopping high street of …

crayfish, sea samphire and gardenia

    THERE is no doubt in the picturesque Alonissian universe that ‘Tassia’s Cooking’ in the tiny, fairytale-like fishing village of Steni Vala, serves the most memorable food. It is no secret, either, as day tours take tourists there for lunch daily, but at night it has a magic about it that the large groups popping over to Alonissos from a nearby island such as Skopelos usually miss out on. an ageless classic, the taverna is as good today as it was 15 years ago, and unsurprisingly has developed a fan base made up of gourmet foodies and diners with the simplest of demands alike. Head to Steni Vala at the start of what photographers call glow-time just after sunset and as you approach along the downward curvy road, stop to take in a view of the village from above: the glittering sea, dim little lights that announce the loud brightness of the day has been replaced by evening calm, and uncontrolled lush greenery where sturdy little fishing boats and tall slender sailboats huddle together in the marina. At Steni Vala you will find …

japanophile’s pleasure

JAPAN and its sensual, perfectionist aesthetic has always been in my heart (perhaps even my DNA?). Over the years many Japanese places have opened up around Athens, but the one I’m staunchly loyal to is Furin Kazan on Appollonos St just a few minutes walk from Syntagma Sq. I became a big fan since the late ’90s when I worked nearby and regularly ordered take-out (usually it was Yakisoba and half a portion of maki, no sake!) as its food gave my working day a sense of joy. After visiting Japan for a month and sampling tongue-tantalising delights, only to return feeling I would never have that authentic experience again, I eventually (maybe six days after returning) shrugged my shoulders in surrender and went to Furin Kazan in the desperate search of similar tastes. Yet upon ordering several dishes that I had relished in various Japanese cities during my trip what was earlier a cheeky fancy for accessible Asian food turned into committed love, as I realised that this place really served food that offered the delicate flavour and authenticity I …