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paharo45

Active member
I love chestnuts. Do they grow regularly in Greece? When are they in season? I heard that you can buy roasted chestnuts on the street, but I have never seen it. When does it happen?

I am also curious if there are some Greek dishes to try that involve chestnuts?
 

Cooking Greek Style Octopus

One of the things I like about Greek cuisine is the octopus! It's so tender and flavorful. I get it a lot when I am in Greece and only a few times in the United States. I want to learn how to do that. In particular I want to know:
  • Choosing the Right Octopus: What should I look for when buying octopus? Are there any specific types or sizes that work best?
  • Tenderizing Process: I’ve heard that tenderizing the octopus is crucial. What methods do you recommend? I’ve heard of everything from beating it to simmering it in a pot. What works best?
  • Cooking Techniques: Should I grill it, bake it, or cook it in a stew? I'm aiming for something that's traditionally Greek.
  • Marination and Seasonings: What are the best herbs, spices, or marination techniques to use? I know olive oil and lemon are staples, but are there any other must-have seasonings?
Any advice you can give is welcome!

What are your favorite Greek olives?

I love Kalamata olives but I am trying to branch out to different ones. Which Greek olives do you like best? I did some research about the different types:

Kalamata Olives: Perhaps the most renowned Greek olives, Kalamatas, are recognized by their dark purple color and almond shape. They are often preserved in wine vinegar or olive oil, which further accentuates their rich and fruity flavor.

Halkidiki Olives: These are large, pale green olives from the Halkidiki region of Northern Greece. Known for their crisp flesh and slightly peppery taste, Halkidiki olives are commonly stuffed with various fillings, from feta cheese to almonds, making them a good choice for appetizers.

Amfissa Olives: Cultivated primarily in Central Greece, near the ancient oracle of Delphi, Amfissa olives can range in color from green to black, depending on their ripeness. They have a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a meaty texture.

Throumba Olives: Unique to the island of Thassos, these olives are naturally sun-dried on the tree. They have a wrinkled appearance and a savory taste with a hint of vinegar, due to their natural fermentation.

I have never had any of these olives other than Kalamata and I am sure there are others, too.

greek-olives.jpg

Does this look like a good koliva recipe?

I am planning a memorial service coming up in about two weeks. The person who makes the koliva for everyone in the church is going to be out of town, and I can't find another person to do it. So I thought I'd make it.

I found this recipe - does it look like it would work?

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup black raisins
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • Garnish: pomegranate seeds, whole almonds, and powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preparing the Wheat:
  • Rinse the wheat berries thoroughly in a strainer under cold running water.
  • Place the wheat in a large pot and add water until it's about 2 inches above the wheat level.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until they are tender but not mushy, adding more water as necessary.
  • Drain the wheat and spread it out on a towel or a large baking tray to dry out completely, preferably overnight.
  1. Toasting Ingredients:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5-8 minutes, till golden; be vigilant as they can burn quickly.
  • Repeat this process with the almonds and the walnuts, ensuring each is nicely toasted but not burnt.
  1. Mixing the Koliva:
  • Once the wheat is dry, combine it in a large bowl with powdered sugar, toasted walnuts, toasted sesame seeds, toasted almonds, golden and black raisins, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Stir the mixture gently to combine.
  1. Assembling the Dish:
  • Mound the mixture onto a large serving platter, shaping it into a dome with your hands or a spoon.
  • Decorate the top with whole almonds and pomegranate seeds creating a cross or other religious symbols as is traditional.
  • Just before serving, sift powdered sugar over the top to cover.

How did you all learn how to cook Greek food?

For all of you who know a lot about Greek cuisine, how did you learn?

For me, I learned from a combination of my family, with recipes handed down, and from cookbooks to fill in the gaps.

My yiayia was straight from Greece and she taught me everything she knew. She didn't really teach me on purpose, I just cooked with her a lot.

When she passed, I realized that the recipes were all in my head, and if I neglected to learn something from her, the rest of the family somehow didn't know either. So I had to find some good cookbooks to help.

How about you guys?

What is Mahlepi Spice Exactly?

I have some Greek recipes that call for Mahlepi (in Greek) - also known as Maheleb and other names, depending on the language. I have recently found a source near me - a place where I can buy it - so I can try some of the recipes.

I also did some research about what it is! Thought I'd share:

This unique spice has its roots in the fragrant cherry plums of the Prunus mahaleb tree in the Middle East. The seeds inside these little fruits are ground to make the mahleb spice that we've come to love.

Mahleb hits you with a sweet, floral scent, and a flavor that's a mix of bitter almond and cherry, with just a touch of spice. It's a star player in Greek baked goods like tsoureki, a sweet bread that's a staple during Easter but is also used in many other pastries and breads.
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