Monday, July 22, 2013

Greek side dishes

A whole new week full of Greek! I just had to say that because it rhymes, but also because it's true. With this suddenly and horribly hot weather outside we've been barbecuing almost every day, which means that every day we're enjoying lots of lovely summer side dishes. These two Greek dishes are our favorites: Grilled Feta and Tsatsiki.


When you scroll down to look at the recipes you'll notice the quantaties of the ingredients are missing or they're very variable. This is simply because the ingredients will vary every time. One day I'll be using a creamy thick yogurt for my tsatsiki and the next I only have 'normal' yoghurt. Another day altogether I'll feel like adding loads of garlic and practically omitting vinegar. Not only will the ingredients or my taste vary every time, but your taste and ingredients will vary greatly from mine. Or not so greatly but they'll vary either way. So I don't want to give you exact recipes to follow. I want to give you a guideline to follow and find your own taste. 


Tsatsiki
Ingredients for approx. 1 large bowl*

1 Cucumber
1 kilo (Greek) thick Yogurt
2-5 tablespoons Oil
1-3 tablespoons Vinegar
Salt
2-3 cloves Garlic

1. Peel the cucumber and then grate it. Squeeze the water out and pour that down the drain. (Or drink it, but it tastes as healthy as it is.)
2. Find balance between your cucumber and yogurt. I prefer a lot of cucumber, so I just eyeball it until there is about as much yogurt as cucumber.
3. Keep tasting while you add oil and vinegar. Stop the tasting and the adding when you believe it's right.
4. Finish by adding garlic and salt. Keep tasting until you like the flavour. Remember that the taste of garlic will become more profound over time, so unless you're serving it immediately always go for less garlic.

* I had to give you some sort of guideline so you know what you're up against. By all means do not follow it. Find your own balance!



And now for the recipe of the grilled feta. I found out about this from my boyfriend who lives in Greece and ever since my mom tagged along we've been eating it daily and recommending it everywhere.

Grilled Feta

Feta *
Oil
Oregano
Tomato

 1. Cut your feta until it is as thick as your finger. Or thinner, but definitely not more. It needs to be thin enough to melt quickly. The size doesn't actually matter.
2. Drizzle with oil.
3. Place a slice of tomato on top.
4. Top with oregano or another herb of choice.
5A. Grill: fold aluminum foil around the feta and place on the grill. Leave for about 15 minutes until the feta is softened.
5B. Microwave: Place the feta on a plate and microwave for around 2-3 minutes until the feta has softened and starts melting.

* Feta from goat's milk has a richer and saltier taste while cow's milk gives a much softer and creamer taste. Feta from sheep milk is also available, but I haven't tried it yet.

Once you get the hang of what you like you can start omitting and replacing ingredients. For example I personally dislike warm tomatoes, so I've scratched those and my sister dislikes the strong taste of oregano so we make one for her without herbs. Tsatsiki sometimes include herbs such as parsley or dill to enhance the taste. Both recipes are very easy to mess around with.


I really hope you enjoy your summer and all the lovely barbecues we can have meanwhile! Most of all I hope you don't die of heat or melt or evaporate or other things like that. Quite frankly I'm not sure I'll make it to the next post in the same state.

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