Monday, April 24, 2017

INTERNATIONAL: GREECE: Part 6 - Continuing The Cylades with recipe links, PHOTOS and VIDEOS

Links to previous posts








LINK to information about the Cyclades

The Cyclades

Approximately 20 inhabited islands extend from the southern tip of the peninsula around Athens and dot the central part of the Aegean. These include Milos, Kea, Naxos, Andros, Myconos, and Santorini, as well as many uninhabited land masses. The mainstays of the cuisine—savory barley and wheat biscuits, simple cheeses, and cured pork—have remained more or less unchanged throughout the centuries. The drystone terraces on the steep hillsides were originally built in antiquity to expand the scarce cultivable land of the islands so that the people could plant barley, beans, and vegetables. Barley, which has been cultivated in the Mediterranean since the beginnings of civilization, was for centuries the staple for the island people.
Greek Capers and Tomatoes
Paximadia, the barley biscuits, were convenient food for sailors, who took them on long voyages. Today, city people as well as tourists love these versatile crunchy biscuits, which are crumbled and made into delicious salads with the flavorful island tomatoes and capers, drizzled with fruity olive oil and seasoned with fragrant oreganoPaximadia are also topped with ksyno, a slightly tangy fresh local cheese.
The wonderful artisanal cheeses of the Cyclades—produced mainly from goat's milk, with some sheep's or cow's milk—are seasonal and most fall out of the DOC system, as they are produced in little shacks that do not even remotely meet European Union standards for exportation. The numerous myzithra (the term is generic for all kinds of cheeses), fresh and soft, aged and hard, can be excellent, though they are inconsistent and in short supply. On the islands of Tinos and Naxos, there are cheese-producing cooperatives that make the local DOC graviera from a mixture of sheep's and cow's milk. In Syros, the San Michali graviera, produced only from cow's milk, is probably the best of its kind in Greece.

Pork plays a significant role in the diet of these islanders. The winter family feasts and customs surrounding the slaughtering of the pig have not changed for centuries. Some parts of the animal, such as chops, are roasted in the oven or over the hearth fire, or stewed with celery and winter greens and lemon, often as part of a festive Christmas meal, while most is cured and stored for use throughout the year. Louza or loza—exquisite cured pork that can be compared to the best jamón serrano of Spain—is made from the tenderloin, which is marinated in wine, then spiced and smoked. Pieces of cured pork are also added to vegetable stews, bean soups, and island omelets, which are made with seasonal produce such as fresh fava beans, artichokes, or simple wild greens gathered from the hills. Cycladic sausages, seasoned with intensely aromatic dried savory or oregano and occasionally with wild fennel and orange peel, are often dipped in wine before being smoked. Seafood is not plentiful in the Aegean, which may explain why it has never been one of the basic foods of the islanders.

Santorini Tomato Patties / Tomatokeftedes Santorinis
LINK to recipe

Sifnos chick pea soup / Xespastaria 

LINK to recipe

Greek Omelette with Sausages and Potatoes / Froutalia

Kopanisti: Greece’s Rock Star Cheese

LINK to information about famous cheese (no recipe)

Stifado:  Greek Beef Stew

 10 Greek Desserts

LINK to 10 Greek dessert photos and recipe links

Bougatsa (Μπουγάτσα) – A cream filled phyllo pastry 

Ekmek Kadaifi (Εκμέκ Κανταΐφι) – Shredded wheat pastry topped with two creams

Galatopita (Γαλατόπιτα) – A baked semolina and custard pie

 Karidopita (Καρυδόπιτα) – A mouthwatering moist walnut cake

Loukoumi (Λουκούμι) – The Greek version of “Turkish Delight”

Moustalevria (Μουσταλευριά) – A grape must pudding with roasted sesame seeds

Pasteli (Παστέλι) – Nut bar with honey. Sesame bar is the most popular. 

Portokalopita (Πορτοκαλόπιτα) – A delicious sweet orange phyllo pie

Revani (Ρεβανί) – A moist and delicious semolina cake

Spoon Sweet (Γλυκό του κουταλιού) – Fruits or nuts preserves in sugary syrup.

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