Smoked wrinkled olives

My personal winter treat!

My personal winter treat!

Cretan days are getting longer and warmer, but nights are still crispy and chilly.

You wish nothing but to cuddle your couch pillow, watch a good movie while nibbling on a Cretan snack. 

My favorite these days are smoked olives with a glass of aromatic Cretan wine. I called them smoked since they are a little bit oily and wrinkled like grapes dried under the sun.

Teeny - tiny, usually hosting a stone, were sprinkled with lots of salt and left to release their juices.

They are the best for winter days and if too salty, soak them in water before the enjoyment of consumption.

Kali orexi! (Καλή όρεξη!)

Very old legume is a chickpea

Ρεβύθια (read revithia), chickpea, ciecierzyca, like all peas is a little bit heavy and fills your stomach pretty fast.

Greeks do not have a deep tradition of soups but one of the liquid dishes they may use, mostly in winter time, it is chickpea soup.

Soak it through the night and next day cook it slow. It may take up two hours. Right before it is ready, add some flour with lemon juice. I usually add a cube of chicken broth as well.

Nothing like a taste of hot chickpea soup with fresh, village bread!

Marouli is your Greek salad

Μαρούλι (read marouli), lettuce,la laitue, salata siewna... those are the names for the one and only Lactuca sativa!

It is usually in winter time that we enjoy it in Crete. It is as popular as a raw cabbage. Watered with olive oil and sprinkled with a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar, it tastes amazing!

Its long and thick leaves have a deep taste, nothing like light, watery iceberg salads.

It can be a very dirty vegetable so clean it carefully. They say that the best marouli (organic growing) is when there are some snails hidden around the core (sic!).

Remember to soak it well and for extra cleaning you can add some vinegar to the water.

Nice and neat, marouli is usually cut in pretty slim straps.

 

 

Rosemary in your olive

rosemary and olive oil.JPG
mixed peeper.JPG
IMG_2003.JPG
garlic.JPG

Here in Chania, a while ago I was introduced to the excellent butcher! He takes care of his faithful customers and on a occassion provides them with a little gift! (that is what I  call customer oriented business!).

Just recently, together with a bag full of yummy meat products, I left with a slim bottle of spiced olive oil.  

I stared into the bottom and was surprised that so far I have never done it myself.

To spice your olive oil, just: 

Cut some fresh rosemary

Get some mixed pepper (white, black, red) 

Some fresh garlic (depends on how big fan of garlic you are) 

And your salad will definitely change its flavor under the few drops of such oil.   

OIe! 

Fava...Greek world of peas!

fava.JPG
fava.JPG

It may cause you some bigger belly but it's worth it! Especially now when it gets cooler and darker and your appetite drives you crazy!  

Honestly, it is a dish you do not have to do too much!  

Package of split peas, regular pot with cold water, some salt, some pepper and if you like to add more flavor, just drop in a medium size onion.

Boil your peas till soft. Blend them for the smoother structure. When places in the bowl, pour on the top some olive oil.  

A few drops of lemon juice will not hurt as well.  

This is one of those Greek dishes that you mainly try during winter time.  

Here comes the world of peas and lentils that Greeks and Cretans cherish on the short winter days! Soon more on that! 

 

Tomato and cucumber

Excellent climate, enough sun, perfect natural envirnoment to grow and taste delicious.  

Cretan tomatoes and cucumbers are your ultimate summer snack. Deep fruity flavor and a drop of olive oil.  

Cut them fat, let the tomato juice sit and blend with olive.  

If you want to make a difference, you may add some green pepper, capari (the best from Santorini, a great substitute of salt). Avoid salad leaves, it is not in season right now.  

Simple is the best!  

Fresh bread not to waste tomato juice, may make your salad a regular day meal.  

Simple gemista

Cretancuisine.JPG
gemista.JPG

While sitting in the taverna in the South of Crete, watching tourists splishing splashing in the crystal clear sea, I ordered. 

I ordered like a Greek.. a little bit more than we could eat.  

So we enjoyed stuffed tomatoes for the next morning, but it got to me what I shall cook for this summer hot days! 

Looks sophisitcated, somehow complex, but it is soooo simple, easy and not too expensive to prepare.  

Gemista are Greek stuffed vegetables. Perfect summer dish and so light if no mince meat is added.

Not making a lot of fuss about it, just stuff some tomatoes and peppers (Greek jogurt on the side may be your choice as well!): 

1. Clean both tomatoes and peppers and empty them (tomatoes have to keep a fat wall so they do not break apart while cooking)  

2. Mix some rice (a cup like for Greek coffee for each vegetable) with spearmint, pepper, salt, a drop of olive oil, lemon juice (fresh one), tomatoes insides (you can add canned ones as well for more flavor), a cube of chicken or vegetable broth. Cook, just a little bit, the whole mix so the ingredients get together.

3. Place empty vegetables in the pot polished with some olive oil. Cover with a lid and for approximately one hour bake in the temperature of 180 C.  

4. If you prepared more than necessary rice mix, just sprinkle it around stuffed vegetables. Later, it can serve as an addition to some meat dish.

Enjoy and cook again...I will.

You do not have to warm it up!  

stuffedvegetables.JPG
stuffedvegetables.JPG

Glistrida

glistrida.JPG

Greek summer delicacy. Thick but with soft flavor. Looks a little bit like rucola but there is no bitterness you would expect looking at its leaves.

It is well-known under the name: Portulaca oleracea (easy to remember, isn't it? better stick with Greek name, right?!) They say its good for your blood!  

If you got bored with yout traditional Greek salad (χωριάτικη!),just cut some glistrida and sprinkle on top of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion rings with a bar of feta cheese.