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mastichas09

Active member
I didn't know that the tomato isn't native to Greece until my last trip to the country. One of the farmers I met mentioned it. So, I was curious as to how the tomato started getting used in Greek cooking. Here's a summary of some of the information I found:

Tomatoes are thought to have come from South America. They were introduced to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 16th century and eventually made its way to Greece. However, it wasn’t an immediate hit with the locals. Many Greeks were skeptical of the tomato, believing it to be poisonous due to its bright red color. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that the tomato started gaining popularity in Greece, thanks in part to Italian immigrants who brought with them a love for tomatoes.

How are tomatoes used in Greek cuisine? My favorite is the horiatiki (village) salad. It features tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, and olive oil, with optional additions like olives and peppers. It’s the perfect salad for a hot summer day. Another popular tomato-based dish is moussaka, a baked dish made with layers of eggplant, potatoes, ground meat, and, of course, tomato sauce. This hearty meal is a staple in Greek households, often served on special occasions or weekends.

What makes the tomato such an important ingredient in Greek cuisine is its versatility. Tomatoes can be used in a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to casseroles and sauces. They can be baked, grilled, roasted, or eaten raw. And they pair beautifully with a variety of other ingredients, from classic Mediterranean flavors like feta cheese and olives to more unexpected combinations like cinnamon and even cumin, which has been used more and more in Greek cuisine over the past few years.

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I adore tomatoes and I use them in my cooking all the time. Fresh, canned, tomato sauce, tomato paste - it really is a versatile ingredient. I love village salad, too - it's my favorite! They're especially great off the vine!

I didn't realize it wasn't native to Greece, either! Very interesting.
 

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?

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!

Best Greek Olive Oil for Salads?

I’m looking to elevate my salad game and have heard that Greek olive oil is a fantastic choice for getting that rich, authentic flavor. With so many options out there, I’m a bit overwhelmed and could use some guidance from those who have experience in this area.

What are your top recommendations for the best Greek olive oil to use for salads? I'm specifically looking for:
  1. Quality: I want something that's high-quality with a robust flavor profile.
  2. Authenticity: Ideally, the olive oil should be authentic and imported from Greece.
  3. Versatility: While my main focus is on salads, it would be great if the olive oil can also be used for other dishes.
I’ve heard brands like Kalios, Iliada, and Gaea are pretty good, but I’d love to hear your personal favorites and why you recommend them.

greek-olive-oil.jpg

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...

List of Famous Greek Chefs?

I'm looking to explore the world of Greek cuisine and would love to get a list of famous Greek chefs. Who are the top chefs in Greece known for their exceptional culinary skills and contributions to Greek gastronomy?

I'd appreciate any recommendations, whether they are well-known for traditional dishes or modern takes on Greek food.

Thanks in advance! Content can be in Greek or English too.
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