Cooking - A Taste of Greek Cuisine

Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine, sharing characteristics with the cuisines of Italy, the Balkans, Turkey, and the Levant. Contemporary Greek cookery makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables and herbs, grains and bread, wine, fish, and various meats, including poultry, rabbit and pork. Also important are olives, cheese, eggplant (aubergine), courgette, and yogurt. Greek desserts are characterized by the dominant use of nuts and honey. Some dishes use filo pastry.
Mezés is a collective name for a variety of small dishes, typically served with wines or anise-flavored liqueurs as ouzo or homemade tsipouro. Orektika is the formal name for appetizers and is often used as a reference to eating a first course of a cuisine other than Greek cuisine. Dips are served with bread loaf or pita bread.




Greek cuisine has a long tradition and its flavours change with the season and its geography. Greek cookery, historically a forerunner of Western cuisine, spread its culinary influence - via ancient Rome - throughout Europe and beyond. It has influences from the different people's cuisine the Greeks have interacted with over the centuries, as evidenced by several types of sweets and cooked foods. It was Archestratos in 320 B.C. who wrote the first cookbook in history. Greece has a culinary tradition of some 4,000 years. Ancient Greek cuisine was characterized by its frugality and was founded on the "Mediterranean triad": wheat, olive oil, and wine, with meat being rarely eaten and fish being more common. This trend in Greek diet continued in Roman and Ottoman times and changed only fairly recently when technological progress has made meat more available. Wine and olive oil have always been a central part of it and the spread of grapes and olive trees in the Mediterranean and further afield is correlated with Greek colonization. The Byzantine cuisine was similar to the classical cuisine including however new ingredients that were not available before, like caviar, nutmeg and lemons, with fish continuing to be an integral part of the diet. Culinary advice was influenced by the theory of humors, first put forth by the ancient Greek doctor Claudius Aelius Galenus. Byzantine cuisine benefited from Constantinople’s position as a global hub of the spice trade.





Greek Appetizers
In the cities especially around midday the great army of office workers is drawn in little groups to the countless small restaurants that have opened up in recent years, hidden among the rows of houses, and that have now become sought-after addresses. In the mezedopolio, a shop selling nothing but mezes as far as the eye can see, there will certainly be something to suit every taste. Ouzo, the Greek anise-flavored schnapps, is a constant accompaniment to all mezedes. Drunk with ice, water, or straight, its task is to reinforce the appetizing sensation aroused by the mezedes. "Appetite making" is, after all, the meaning of the word mezes, which comes from Turkish. Appetizers certainly do that, but if you are not careful, they manage to do something else as well; they make you feel much too full much too quickly, just because you are longing to try a bit of everything. You can always tell experienced connoisseurs of mezedes by the restrained way their forks pick up, say a piece of squid, then a potato, perhaps an olive next or maybe a small meatball. In between people chat, break off a piece of break, sip their glass of ouzo, have a drink of water, and generally take their time. Where people dine in groups, all selecting uninhibitedly from the dishes, something of the original rural Greece has obviously survived, as in the past whole villages would demonstrate and renew their social solidarity through similar forms of communal eating.
The difference regions of Greece reveal the characteristics of their cuisine not least in the selection and preparation of the typical local mezedes. So the mezes must definitely be seen as a kind of ambassador. For example, in the areas which were once strongly Ottoman, oriental influences predominate, while a western fragrance permeate those parts of the country which were formerly under Venetian sovereignty. On the Greek islands, the selection of mezedes is still determined by what is produced on each island, and on the mainland, appetizers have a stronger taste than in the south of Greece. They whole variety of Greek mezedes can be seen gathered together in the big cities, where the host's origins and the preferences of his regular customers are the deciding factors. And they are available from morning till night, because Greek appetizer culture is a round-the-clock affair. Mezedes will be available at any time of the day, even if you arrive at 11 p.m.

Zesty Chicken Oregano (Kotopoulo me Riganates Skaras)

1 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) broiler− fryer chicken, cut up
1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
Lemon slices

Place chicken in ungreased 13 x 9−inch baking pan. Mix remaining ingredients except lemon slices; pour over chicken. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F, spooning oil mixture over chicken occasionally, 30 minutes. Turn chicken; cook until thickest pieces are done, about 30 minutes longer. Garnish with lemon slices.
Yields 6 to 8 servings.

Skorthalia (Garlic Sauce)

3 slices white bread, crusts removed
Cold water
3 large cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon or 2 tablespoons
white wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts

Soak bread in cold water for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Put into a blender with the garlic, lemon juice or wine vinegar and walnuts, if desired, and process well. Gradually pour in the olive oil until you have a sauce the consistency of mayonnaise. Serve with vegetables or triangles of pita bread for dipping.

Moussaka

1 large eggplant
1 pound ground beef or lamb
Vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/4 cups canned tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
2 egg whites
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Pare eggplant and cut into 1/2−inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Brown meat in vegetable oil with onions and garlic. Drain off the fat. Add salt, seasonings, parsley, tomatoes and wine. Cover and cook slowly for 30 minutes. Cool. Mix in unbeaten egg whites and half of the crumbs. Brown the eggplant slices in vegetable oil. Sprinkle bottom of a 13 x 9−inch baking dish with remaining crumbs. Cover with the eggplant. Spoon meat mixture over the eggplant. Pour Sauce over this mixture. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Sauce

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter. Add flour slowly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in the milk. Return to heat and stir until the sauce thickens. Beat egg yolks well. Gradually stir yolks, salt and pepper into the sauce. Blend well.

Greek Goddess Salad

1 head romaine or green−leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn into bite−size pieces
1 medium green bell pepper, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
1/4 cup pitted, sliced olives, Kalamata or other oil−cured variety (optional)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

To prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, oregano, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. Dry lettuce thoroughly in a salad spinner or with a double layer of paper towels. Place in a large salad bowl. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, olives, and feta. Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss gently to coat. Divide the salad among serving plates and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Galaktoboureko

Syrup

3/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 edge of orange rind
1 cinnamon stick
Boil for 10 minutes. Cool. Prepare this before making pastry.

Pastry

2 quarts milk
1 cup farina
6 eggs
3/4 pound unsalted sweet butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
20 phyllo sheets

Heat milk to scalding. Beat eggs until thick. Add farina and mix. Add mixture to milk with 1/4 pound butter. Heat, stirring, until thickened. Remove from heat. Add vanilla extract. Melt remaining butter and butter bottom and sides of a 10 x 14 x 2−inch pan. Place 10 buttered phyllo leaves in pan. Pour farina mixture in and cover with remaining phyllo, buttering each leaf as it is laid. Butter the top sheet very well and score into diamond−shaped pieces. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes. Pour the COOLED syrup over HOT pastry.

Athenian Salad (Salata Athenas)

1 medium head lettuce
1 bunch romaine
10 radishes, sliced
1 medium cucumber, sliced
6 scallions (with tops), cut into 1/2−inch pieces
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/3 cup wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
24 Greek or ripe green olives
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 (2 ounce) can rolled anchovies with capers, drained

Tear lettuce and romaine into bite−size pieces. Place lettuce, romaine, radishes, cucumber and scallions in large plastic bag. Close bag tightly and refrigerate. Shake oil, vinegar, salt and oregano in tightly covered jar; refrigerate. Just before serving, shake dressing. Add dressing and olives to vegetables in bag. Close bag tightly and shake until ingredients are well coated. Pour salad into large bowl; top with cheese and anchovies. Yields 8 servings.

Greek Beef Over Zucchini

1 1/2 pounds stew meat
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 small cans tomato sauce
10 to 12 medium zucchini

Slice zucchini lengthwise. Brown in oil and drain. Put onto a large platter. Brown onion until clear. Add meat, then brown. Add tomato sauce and spices and simmer until done. Add water if needed. Pour this over zucchini and serve. Sprinkle on just a bit of cinnamon and grate Romano cheese over the top. This may be served over spaghetti instead of zucchini.

Greek Hot Potato Salad

4 to 5 large potatoes
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup celery, diced
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
Parsley, chopped

Boil potatoes until tender and keep hot. Slice onion into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and cold water, and allow to stand about 5 minutes; drain. Slice hot potatoes and add to onions. Add olive oil, lemon juice and celery. Mix well to absorb dressing. Season to taste, and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve warm.

Revanie (Yogurt Cake)

Syrup

2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 slice lemon
1 slice orange

Batter

1 cup flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs, thickly beaten
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange rind

Combine water, sugar, lemon and orange slices in small saucepan. Cook at a slow boil until clear and syrupy. Set aside. Mix and sift flour and baking powder. Add sugar to eggs gradually, beating constantly, until smooth and thick. Stir in yogurt. Add orange rind and flour−baking powder mixture; mix smooth. Pour into an 8−inch square baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes; remove. Cake will have a delicate brown color. Pour cool syrup slowly over hot cake until absorbed; cool. Cut cake diagonally into diamond shapes. Serve plain or garnished with diced orange sections, whipped cream, toasted almonds, chopped pistachio nuts or whatever else you desire.

Tomato Pilaf

2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked regular rice
1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cook and stir tomatoes and onions in butter in 2−quart saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, stirring once or twice; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 14 minutes without lifting cover or stirring. Remove from heat. Fluff rice lightly with fork; cover and let steam 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Yields 8 servings.

Athenian Stuffed Peppers

1 pound ground beef
1 cup rice
2 onions, ground
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons salt, divided v3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 egg, well beaten
8 green bell peppers
6 cups water
5 medium potatoes, sliced

Combine meat, rice, onions, garlic, oil, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, oregano and egg. Wash green peppers; cut and remove seeds. Fill peppers with meat mixture; place open side down in circle in roasting pan. Combine remaining ingredients except potatoes; pour over peppers. Place potatoes in center of pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Greek Chicken with Olives

1 (2− to 3−pound) chicken, cut up
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 yellow onions, chopped
3 cups tomatoes (fresh or canned), chopped
1 (6 ounce) jar green stuffed olives or 3/4 cup salad olives
Black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh)
1 cup dry red wine
Salt, to taste

Brown chicken in olive oil. Remove chicken and saute garlic and onions until tender. Add tomatoes and olives and saute until tomatoes (if fresh) are soft. Add pepper, oregano, wine, and chicken. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes, or until tender. Taste for salt, as the olives are salty. Serves 4 to 6.

Greek Meatballs (Keftethes)

1 large onion, finely minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1kg (2 1/4 pound) lean minced beef or lamb
2 cups unseasoned breadcrumbs, moistened in about 3/4 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped mint (if not available use chopped, dried mint)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Ouzo (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Plain flour
1 cup olive oil and corn oil mixed (you may need slightly more)

Fry onions with vegetable oil over low heat until golden. Remove to a large mixing bowl. Add meat and all other ingredients except flour and olive/corn oil mix. Knead for about 10 minutes or until mixture is a smooth paste. Heat the oil mix in a large frying pan to the point of fragrance. Meanwhile, start to shape mixture into balls about the size of a large marble by rolling lightly between palms of hands, I suggest that you do them in batches of say 12 − 16, each batch being enough to space evenly but separately in the frying pan. As each meatball is formed place them on a large plate which has been liberally covered with plain flour. When the batch is finished lightly roll the meatball in the flour. At this point the oil in the frying pan should be just ready. Put the batch of meatball into the pan (Use kitchen tongs as the oil is very hot). Start on your second batch of meatballs, make them and place them on the floured plate. At this point it is time to turn the meatballs over and when you have completed this roll the second batch in the flour. Now it is time to remove the first batch from the frying pan using a slotted spoon or kitchen tongs and place on paper towels to drain. Put the second batch of meatballs into the pan to cook and carry on with the process until you have finished the mixture. These meatballs are deliciously light and delicately flavoured and you can serve them hot, warm or cold or freeze for future use.

Rice with Garbanzos and Currants

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 cup long−grain rice
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
2 cups fresh or canned chicken stock, or water
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick−peas, ceci), drained or 1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight and boiled for 45 minutes, until tender
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly−ground pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley (for garnish)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to thoroughly coat the rice with the oil. Add the optional wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock or water and the remaining ingredients and simmer covered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rice is done. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 6.

Traditional Greek Lamb in Egg Lemon Sauce

2 pounds lamb shoulder
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon dry dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh dill
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
6 bunches scallions, chopped
1 1/2 cups water

Trim excess fat from meat and cut into stew pieces. Place in deep saucepan over high heat. Add butter and seasonings. Brown meat well until juices are absorbed. Add green scallions. Cover and cook over low heat until soft. Add water. Continue cooking slowly for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is done. Serve with Egg Lemon Sauce.
Egg Lemon Sauce
3 eggs, well beaten
2 lemons, juiced
1 cup hot chicken broth
Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice slowly, beating well. Gradually add hot broth, beating constantly at low speed.

Baked Macaroni with Beef and Cheese (Pasticcio)

2 cups uncooked ziti or elbow macaroni
3/4 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups grated Kasseri, Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cook macaroni as directed on package; drain. Cook and stir beef and onion in 10−inch skillet until beef is light brown; drain. Stir in tomato sauce and salt. Spread half the macaroni in a greased 8−inch square baking dish; cover with beef mixture. Mix 1/2 cup of the cheese and cinnamon. Sprinkle over beef mixture. Cover with remaining macaroni. Cook and stir milk and butter in 2−quart saucepan until butter is melted. Stir at least half the milk mixture gradually into beaten eggs. Blend into milk mixture in saucepan; pour over macaroni. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees F until brown and center is set, about 50 minutes. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Garnish with parsley if desired. Yields 6 servings.

Greek Chicken with Rice

1 (3 pound) broiler chicken
1 medium onion, chopped fine
3 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Clean chicken thoroughly and cut into pieces. Heat olive oil in pan and brown chicken on both sides. Add onion, cinnamon, tomato and season to taste. Add 1 cup water; cover and cook over low flame until chicken is almost done. Remove cover. Add rice and 3 cups boiling water. Cook over low flame until rice is tender. Add more water, if needed. Stir occasionally, but carefully, so as not to break up the chicken pieces. Remove from heat and allow to stand for a few minutes before serving.

Greek Twirls Salad

1 (12 ounce) package rainbow twirls macaroni, uncooked
1 cup crumbled feta, Roquefort or blue cheese
1/2 cup chopped black olives
3/4 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup sliced scallion
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon oregano

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl, toss hot cooked twirls with cheese, olives, radishes, scallion and artichoke hearts until well blended. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; toss with twirl mixture until evenly coated. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill.

Rolled Baklava

1 pound filo dough, thawed
1 cup vegetable oil
Nut Filling
Syrup
Spread out 1 sheet of filo dough. Dab or lightly brush with oil. Over this, evenly place a second sheet of filo. Brush sheet with oil and lightly sprinkle with Nut Filling. Place a third sheet of filo over this, brush with oil and sprinkle with more Nut Filling. Roll up tightly (the 3 sheets together) jelly−roll fashion. Slice diagonally into 1−inch pieces. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat until all filo dough and filling are used. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 20 minutes or until light golden. Cool. Freeze at this point, if desired. When ready to serve, prepare Syrup, cool and pour over individual pieces. Serve in paper candy cups. Makes about 4 to 5 dozen.
NUT FILLING: In a medium bowl, combine 5 cups almonds OR pecans, chopped fine in food processor, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional) and 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional). Mix well.
SYRUP: In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cups honey and 1 cup water. Heat to boiling and cook until sticky, about 5 to 8 minutes, until syrup coats the back of a spoon. Do not overcook.

Tzatziki (Greek−Turkish)

4 cucumbers
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups yogurt, or yogurt and sour cream mixed

Peel and seed the cucumbers, and put through a fine grater (not a blender). Allow to drain in a colander until the juices have stopped running. In a small bowl, mash the garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir in the cucumbers and yogurt. Chill, covered, for 1 hour or more. Serve as a dip with crackers or raw vegetables.

Braised Chicken in Aromatic Tomato Sauce(Pastitsatha)

1/4 cup olive oil
1 (3 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups chopped red onions
6 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 (28 ounce) can whole Italian−style tomatoes, drained, juices
reserved, tomatoes chopped
1 cup water
2 tablespoon (or more) red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch of granulated sugar
12 ounces perciatelli pasta or spaghetti
Freshly grated kefalotyri cheese or Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium−high heat. Add chicken in batches and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Place chicken on platter. Add onions to Dutch oven; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add spices; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and their juices and water. Return chicken to Dutch oven. Cover; simmer over medium−low heat until chicken is very tender, about 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent with foil. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar, tomato paste and sugar to Dutch oven. Simmer until thickened to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and more vinegar, if desired. Remove from heat. Cover to keep warm. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer pasta to platter. Top with chicken, sauce and cheese.

Greek Fried Cheese (Saganaki)

4 tablespoons butter
1 egg, well beaten
1 teaspoon flour
1/2 pound kasseri cheese*, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons brandy
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat the butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat. Beat the egg and flour together, and dip the cheese slices into the mixture. Fry until well browned on both sides. Remove from the heat and add the brandy. Carefully ignite the brandy with a match, and shake the skillet until the flame is extinguished. Squeeze the lemon juice over the cheese and serve from the skillet along with crusty bread. Serves 6 to 8.

Imam Bayaldi (Stuffed Eggplant)

2 medium eggplants
4 scallions (including green tops), chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup chopped celery, including some leaves
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon crumbled bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried mint
3 tablespoons diced fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup chicken broth
Freshly−ground black pepper
Kalamata olives (optional)
Feta cheese (optional)

Peel eggplants lengthwise, leaving 1−inch bands of peel. Halve eggplants lengthwise. Scoop out centers to make boats. Chop scooped−out eggplant pulp; put into a large mixing bowl. Add scallions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, green pepper, bay leaves, oregano, mint and parsley; mix well. Stuff eggplant boats with mixture. Sprinkle with a little olive oil. Place boats in a baking dish. Pour chicken broth and remaining olive oil into dish, around the boats. Cover and bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven for 45 minutes, or until eggplant is tender. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
Note: This dish does not freeze well.

Saint Basil's Bread (Vasilopeta)

2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all−purpose flour
6 eggs
2 teaspoons double−acting baking powder
1 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, almonds, or pistachios)
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar together until light. Add flour and stir until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir baking powder into milk and stir into egg mixture. Mix baking soda and lemon juice and stir in. Mix well. Pour into a greased round layer cake pan 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep. Randomly throw in a clean coin. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with nuts and sugar and bake 20 to 30 minutes longer, or until cake tests done. Cool 10 minutes in pan and invert onto serving plate. Serve right side up.

Xoriatiki (Greek "Village" Salad)

Serves 6
4 ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 onion
1 green bell pepper
Olives
Capers
Oregano
Salt
1/3 pound feta cheese, crumbles
1/2 cup olive oil

Cut the vegetables into slices and mix in a salad bowl. Top with the olives, capers and oregano and cover with crumbled feta cheese. Pour the olive oil evenly over the top.

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