I had the idea of using couscous in a warm Greek salad for a while now. I decided on Israeli couscous just because the pasta is larger and works better as a salad. The recipe reminded me a lot of the Lebanese Tabbouleh, though the flavors are definitely grounded in Greek cuisine. The recipe resembles a classic Greek salad as it contains olives, lemon juice, feta cheese, tomatoes and red onions. What gives the recipe a twist is that the salad is warm and the onions and tomatoes are lightly sauteed. The result was a delicious side dish that was great with the Chicken Kalamaki.
Kalamaki (or Souvlaki) is a Greek food that can be made with chicken, beef or vegetables. The meat is marinated and grilled on a skewer. I marinated the chicken in lemon, yogurt and oregano for a few hours before grilling. It was a simple marinade of fresh ingredients that went really well with the flavors of the grilled chicken. Putting the chicken on a skewer is optional but it does end up being more fun to eat.
I was craving penne pasta the other night but I wanted to do something different than a tomato or cream sauce. I decided to go with a pesto sauce and I was not disappointed with the results! This pesto recipe has a light creaminess with just a hint of mint and walnuts. I threw in a little crumbled feta for extra creaminess. It was great on pasta and I would imagine it would be tasty on panini sandwiches as well. Since I don’t have a food processor I used a standard blender which worked fine.
Greek Salad is made of simple ingredients, mixed together in a little vinegar and olive oil. I wanted to have a salad with the chicken Gyros and this proved to be a great choice. It was light, flavorful, and went well with the Gyros.
I made Tzatziki the other day to go with some chicken Souvlaki. Souvlaki is skewered and roasted chicken, marinated in yogurt, oregano, and lemon. The gyro is a sandwich made of onions, feta cheese, tzatziki, roasted peppers, and meat (usually chicken or lamb) all wrapped in pita bread. Since I had no skewers or rotisserie oven, I just cut the meat into strips and broiled it, turning a couple times to get everything browned. The chicken was very tender from marinating in the lemon juice, and went really well with the flavors of the roasted peppers, feta and tzatziki.
Tzatziki is a Greek appetizer made from strained yogurt, cucumber and garlic. It’s also used as a condiment on gyros and other Greek foods.Tzatziki has a cooling effect similar to sour cream. To give it some extra flavor, dill, mint, and lemon juice are also added. I didn’t have any mint leaves around but I did have some mint extract so I used a drop of that in the Tzatziki. I was surprised at how nicely that worked out! The mint extract gave it a subtle, minty after taste. I only put in one drop so it would be easy to over do it.