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voula_slat

Active member
I just attended an outside barbecue party but instead of using the grill, the people (of Greek descent) had created a fire pit, started a wood fire, then laid a steel barrel which had been cut in half across the top. Then, they used that as two mini spits to cook whole chickens rotisserie style.

I don't have a photo unfortunately, and I may not be describing it well.

Anyway, the details of that scenario don't matter as much as my question... I have never seen a scenario where people had cooked over an open fire like this, and I wonder if this is pretty common in Greece. My family has been here in the United States for a few generations, and this family is a lot closer to Greece - they came over a generation ago.
 
I have seen it a lot in Greece, especially in some of the villages, and mostly in Crete. It's not as common as using a simple gas grill, but Greeks get creative if they don't have a grill, or need to feed a larger crowd...
 

Different kinds of Greek salads?

I love horiatiki when I go to Greece - but I also noticed other types of salads being served.

Do they have names?

I tried one or two of them and most of them involved greens - like lettuce, etc.

Are they just the invention of the restaurant or are they common dishes? I guess it's hard to truly know unless I can share examples from restaurants, but Id didn't think to take pics last time I was in Greece.

What is different about Greek cuisine in the US?

I am a Greek American living in the Boston area, and I have also been to Greece a lot.

I have noticed that there are some differences between here and Greece in terms of cuisine. I can't put my finger on it, but I know that things are just different.

Does anyone have any insights as to why? I feel like a large part is the freshness of all the ingredients. But I think the recipes are different, too.

Any advice on how I can recreate some of that magic here?

Chocolate Koulourakia Recipe

I had Chocolate Koulourakia when in Greece and I recently found and tried the recipe. It was good! Thought I'd share:

Ingredients:​

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk (if needed)
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions:​

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add Eggs and Vanilla: Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, baking powder, flour, and salt.
  5. Mix Dry and Wet Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until a dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk to help bring it together.
  6. Shape the Cookies: Take small pieces of dough and roll them into ropes about 4-5 inches long. Fold each rope in half and twist the ends together to form a twist shape, or shape them into rings if you prefer.
  7. Egg Wash: In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
  8. Bake: Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the cookies are firm and slightly golden around the edges.
  9. Cool and Serve: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Good Greek Dips and Spreads for Entertaining

I like to entertain and I like to have some good recipes on hand to throw together at the last minute. Did I miss anything? Here's what I have:
  • Tzatziki
  • Hummus
  • Melitzanosalata
  • Taramosalata
  • Fava
I eat tapenade (olive spread) a lot in Greece, but I don't have a good recipe...

Tips for Baking Greek Bread?

Does anyone have any tips or secrets for baking Greek bread at home? Here are a few specific areas where I could use some advice - I am new to baking bread, and most Greek breads I have had taste different than other breads I've had - so I am guessing there are nuances I need to learn.
  1. Are there specific types of flour or yeast that are essential for authentic Greek bread?
  2. Any particular methods that work best for achieving the right dough consistency?
  3. How long should the dough be left to rise, and are there any tricks to getting the perfect rise?
  4. Ideal oven temperature and baking times?
  5. Any traditional additives or spices that can elevate the bread?
I appreciate any insights or experiences you all could share!
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