"Mediterranean" news and stories
I'm not sure that there is anything as tantalizing as Greek food. While most culinary regions tap into my moods at certain times, I am always itching to go for Greek. From flaming Opa! to Ouzo, it's all good. How can you not love meals that always starts with garlic bread or pita with delicious, feta-laden salad? It's the type of food that makes diets irrelevant.
To give you a quick taste of Greek flavor at home, try out the above recipe for melitzanosalata, or eggplant salad. The preparation is pretty simple, and in a flash you can have a rich and smokey dip that would be perfect with your Greek-themed meal, or as a creamy side to toasted chunks of pita. Unfortunately, the recipe requires a gas stove. If you're like me and sadly gas-free, try broiling, or grilling the eggplant either on a stovetop grill or bbq grill.
The thesis of the book is that the abundance of ingredients and mash of cultures in a city can be the inspiration for a cook's creativity. That's a great idea, and a true one, but I don't believe that fusion influences are specifically urban -- in this day of super supermarkets, including those online, one doesn't have to live in a big city to have za'aatar in one's spice cabinet or, accordingly, on one's flatbread. (In fact, most of those "urban" ingredients or techniques originated with indigenous cuisines.)
The strength of this cookbook is the dishes themselves, which are organized by technique and which highlight a diversity of ingredients. Thus there are sections on raw and steam cooking, sauteeing, grilling, roasting, and stewing. Within each are recipes from appetizers and salads straight through to desert, all of them accessible to the home cook.
Printed on yellowed pages with ragged edges, Biba's Italy is a collection of recipes gathered from some of the country's big cities -- Rome, Florence, Bologna, Milan, and Venice. The book discusses the typical Italian menu, an espresso glossary, and then digs into the culinary treats -- each city broken down into its own menu of Appetizers, Pasta/First Courses, Entrees, Vegetables/Salads, and Desserts, plus further information about wines, restaurants, and other food fare for the city. You can dip into the Bologna's Stuffed Pork Chops that feature parmigiano and prosciutto, taste some Milanese Saffron Risotto, or even some Venitian Whipped Creamy Salt Cod with Soft Polenta.
It's like a book that's been handed down over the years -- ready to use and full of history. It has the feel of age, presented in a way that you want to throw it on your counter and dig into the varied and delectable recipes. Most of the ingredients are easy to find and procure, and the meals are free from any gourmet fastidiousness. If you love Italian food, or want to expand your knowledge of Italian flavor, this book is definitely worth a look.
Filed under: Cookbook Spotlight
You're on vacation in Greece when your stomach gives a sudden lurch and you start to suspect that the grilled lamb you ate the night before might not have been as squeaky clean as you thought (this is not a scenario I've ever found myself in, but hey, it could happen). Instead of running out to a pharmacy for the local equivalent of Pepto-Bismol, head to the local cheese shop for a slab of raw milk feta.
According to Panagiotis Chanos, a researcher from the University of Lincoln, they've been able "to isolate lactic acid bacteria found in raw sheep milk from small farms in Macedonia, northern Greece. Several of these friendly bacteria naturally produce antibiotics that killed off dangerous food-poisoning bacteria like Listeria."
They are hoping to take this research and leverage it into new ways to fight Listeria, as it has been known to cause death in populations who have weakened immune systems.
[via The Grinder]
A few weeks ago, my friends and I got together after work to play board games (yes yes I know - how very, um, exciting), and a friend and I were charged with providing food. We were meeting rather late, so there was no need to go with full dinner fare. I decided on a few Mediterranean dips and a salad because really now, is there anything better than ripping a pita loaf into shreds when you're caught up in the excitement of Jenga?!?! Tzatziki is one of my favorites, and though I do believe it's used more as a sauce or condiment in Greek cuisine, I love scooping it up with pita bread. My Sarah-ized version is written out after the jump: