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toniiv

Active member
I know that traditionally, Greek food doesn't use a lot of spices. But, when I was in Greece, I saw that they are more adventurous than we may have realized. Spices from other cultures have made their way into the cuisine, and chefs experiment. I thought I would make a lost of some of the spices that could possibly be used in Greek cooking.

Paprika

Paprika is a bright red spice made from dried and ground peppers. It's a common ingredient in Greek cuisine, and is used to add smoky, slightly sweet flavor and deep red color to dishes. Paprika can also vary in heat intensity, depending on the type of pepper used, ranging from mild to hot. In Greek cooking, sweet paprika is often used to add flavor to stews, soups, and roasted meats, while hot paprika can be added to dips and sauces for an extra kick of heat.

Cumin

Cumin is a spice with a warm, earthy flavor and a slightly bitter undertone. It's a popular ingredient in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking, and is often used in Greek dishes like moussaka, stuffed peppers, and lentil soup. Cumin has a moderate level of spiciness, and can give dishes a subtle kick of heat while also adding depth of flavor.

Red Pepper Flakes

Red pepper flakes, also known as crushed red pepper, are made from dried, crushed chili peppers. They're commonly used in Greek cuisine to add heat to dishes like pizza, pasta, and grilled meats. Red pepper flakes pack a substantial amount of heat, measuring in at around 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. However, their spicy kick is often balanced by the sweet, fruity flavor of the peppers used.

Harissa

Harissa is a fiery Tunisian hot sauce that's popular throughout North Africa and the Middle East. In Greek cuisine, it's often used as a marinade for grilled meats or fish, or as a dip for bread or vegetables. Made from a blend of chili peppers, garlic, caraway seeds, and other spices, harissa can range from mildly spicy to extremely hot, depending on the brand and recipe. To be honest I didn't really see this much, but when I researched online I found that it is available in Greece.
 
I found the same thing as you - that my perception of Greek herbs and spices has been very much dictated by the preferences of my family. I have family members who don't tolerate hot foods very well, and they won't even use red pepper flakes. Yet when Iw as in Greece, I found those flavors. Like on Crete, I had a hortopita that was spiced with cumin! There's a lot more to Greek cooking than I originally thought.
 

Corn Dishes from Greece

I noticed in Greece while I was there last that there is actually corn! Does it grow in Greece? I think I read somewhere that it grows in Northern Greece, but I have never been.

Does anyone know if there are some Greek traditional dishes that involve corn? I know that we can get street corn in the summer (and it's delicious), but I am not sure what Greeks would actually do with it. I am pretty sure it's not native to Greece, but I do see corn sometimes here and there on menus while in Greece.

Usually I am on the mainland when this happens, but like I said, I have never been to Northern Greece.

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

Different Types of Feta Cheese?

Whenever I buy feta cheese from different places, it tastes slightly different. Does anyone know why? I know that there are specific rules for creating feta cheese, so what is responsible for his differential in flavor and texture?

Is it possible that a place (for example a restaurant) may not actually be buying "Greek" feta? Meaning, could it be a situation where they aren't following the rules and are making a feta-like cheese using different milks, etc? Perhaps it isn't from Greece?

I truly only like Greek feta as far as I know. How can the other places call it feta if they're not following the rules?

greek-feta-cheese.jpg

Favorite Greek Seafood?

I love Greek cuisine! I have learned that it many regions in Greece, seafood is a big part of the culinary traditions.

This got me thinking, and I'm curious to know—what's your favorite Greek seafood dish? Do you also have a favorite fish that you like to eat?

I'm eager to hear about your experiences and preferences!

Thanks in advance ...
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