Metamorfosis, Baklava, & Skordalia

May 24, 2007 Metamorfosis, Greece

Yesterday we drove into Thessaloniki via the road through and behind Poligyros. We passed the Poligyros hospital and on through beautiful mountain landscape. The road is very nice until you arrive down to the plain; then, the road becomes curvy and just two lanes. The road (about 60 km to Thermi from Metamorfosis) takes you to Thermi, close to Makedonia airport. We took the bus into Thessaloniki from the IKEA parking lot where we generally leave our car. After visiting the Bank of Greece (Ethniki Trapeza tis Ellados), we walked over to a store, one that Dimitra had scouted for us, to see about imprinted ribbon for Niko and Chelsea’s boubounieras. However, because they sell to retailers, they had a minimum of 200 meters, and we don’t need that much. I think Dimitra and I can find a better selection and perhaps a better price. Anyway, I need to be inspired by seeing other boubouniera configurations—i.e. netting, flowers, colors, and types of ribbon. The hunt continues!

The rain continues since last week. We visited an internet café on Tuesday in Ormyllia, Prestige. They charged 3 euros per hour. On Wednesday we visited another one in Nikiti—2 euros per hour. I’m still hoping that the computer game café down the street from us adds internet, so we can just walk to check an occasional email.

Update on latest Mamalakis’ television food show—he visited Helsinki, Finland and concentrated more on what to see and do there rather than their food which left me uninspired. They use butter like crazy! I wonder what their statistics for heart disease are? The first recipe was for wild duck with assorted vegetables. Although the duck breasts were sautéed in butter, the thighs and artfully-cut-into-a-rectangle potatoes were boiled in butter. The second recipe was for grilled beef tenderloin with accompanied vegetables sauteed in—butter! Mamalakis pointed out this chef’s interesting tattoo on his left arm—Memorandium Viviere—I just slaughtered the Latin language—“remember to live life.”

May 25, 2007

I’m watching television this morning, and some doctors are talking about the thyroid. I know at least three women who have thyroid problems here, a country that includes a lot of fish and iodine in the national diet. The doctors have not said the possible causes for such thyroid problems. On another note, I read that in Europe, Lithuania has the highest suicide rate per 100,000 and Greece the lowest!

Guess what else is on telelvison at 10am today: Emeril with Greek voice-over and Rachel Ray. Cooking shows are more and more popular here.

Mamalakis_E_frameIn looking back at my little notebooks from previous summers, I see some more Mamalakis’ recipe gems:

1. Baked feta: Cut feta into a slice the size of a playing card. Wrap in filo dough. Fry until golden. Pour over the feta “package” a sauce made of honey and vinegar. Sprinkle sesame seeds over it and serve. You’ll have to use your own common sense about the portions of honey and vinegar.

2. Baklava: In a 13 x 9” pan, layer filo dough with nut mixture (about 1 cup of crushed nuts and 2 TBL sugar, dash of cinnamon). Score deeply with a sharp knife. Heat a wine glass full of olive oil and pour over the entire pan. Bake at 350 until golden brown on top. While still warm, pour over one wine glass full of honey.

Skordalia

6 boiled potatoes
1 Greek coffee cup of olive oil
As much crushed garlic to your taste
Vinegar, salt, cumin to taste
Mash well. Add more oil for desired consistency. Goes well with fried fish, traditionally with fried cod.

Herb information from Ingrid, our closest neighbor and a lovely German lady married to Yiorgos, a Greek architect:

Throumbi=make a tea to renew energy, like ginseng.
Spirilina=used by Indian women. Has lots of calcium, anti-oxidants, etc.
Flamouri=makes a fragrant tea
Arnica=for pain and closes wounds
Calendula=cures infections

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