month we take you back to the Mediterranean to the islands
of Greece. Greek cuisine is noted for signature dishes
such as dolmades, (stuffed grape leaves), spanakopita, (spinach
pie) or baklava (layered sweet pastry) and many other traditional
meals that are influenced by the foods and cooking styles
of neighboring countries such as Turkey, Bulgaria and Italy.
Many of the ingredients that are featured in our collection
of Greek recipes are borrowed from these cultures. Cinnamon,
cloves, and allspice flavor many of the recipes and reminding
us of Turkish cooking, meat sauces, pasta and the use of tomatoes
are reminiscent of much of the cooking prepared throughout
Prepare a few Greek recipes and youll
quickly notice that Greek food is made from largely healthy
and natural foods and recipes that are based on fresh and
cooking includes many different types of foods, but uses a
few trade mark ingredients, the most widely used of which
is undoubtedly, olive oil. Greeces arid climate
is ideal for growing olive trees so it is no surprise that
olive oil and olives find their way into a majority of Greek
meals. Olive oil is used almost exclusively and is used
instead of butter. Fresh, seasonal ingredients and a
generous use of olive oil, makes Greek cuisine not only delicious,
but also a healthy alternative.
Another common and widely used ingredient
is feta cheese. Feta is made from pasteurized sheeps
and goats milk. This versatile cheese is used
in everything from salads, pastries, mezze dishes, or appetizers
to entrees. Authentic Greek feta is salty because it
is stored in a brine solution.
Tomatoes are used in a majority of Greek
recipes and in a variety of ways. Other commonly found
ingredients are lemons, garlic, oranges, grapes, pine nuts,
sesame seeds, vine leaves, yogurt, aromatic spices and herbs.
Oregano or wild marjoram is the favorite herb and is a stronger
variety than the marjoram available in the U.S.
absence of lamb
A couple of years ago, we did our first
article on Greek cuisine. We prepared many lovely gluten-free
Greek recipes without ever once including lamb. This
article and the recipes within will be no exception.
In fact, you may have noticed that there is not one single
recipe with lamb in our entire collection of over 3000 gluten-free
recipes! Is this just an oversight or a plot to save
lambs? Neither. The Executive Chefs of Glutenfreeda.com
do not eat lamb, ever. They (myself being one) do not
cook it, eat it or even tolerate the smell of it. I
know, I know, there are fabulous recipes for lamb and most
people consider it a sophisticated entrée perfect for
special occasions. Even so, we avoid it entirely.
Why? I guess our distain was the result of over saturation.
Many years ago, we lived in the middle east where lamb is
a mainstay of not only the family table, but also, clothing,
home furnishings and just about all other aspects of Iranian
life. It was not uncommon to be walking down a city
street where one would have to detour around someone slaughtering
a lamb in the middle of the sidewalk. As blood was running
into the street, a lively exchange of bargaining would ensue
for the lambs entrails. The scent of lamb was
everywhere, raw or cooked, and inescapable. We have
never been able to or wanted to eat lamb since.
A chef once advised me that to get the best
results from your cooking, you must love what you cook and
you should never cook things that you dont like.
Obviously, we have taken this advice to heart.
So, I offer a little apology to those who
love lamb and find our recipe archives wanting in that area.
All I can say is I hear lamb is lovely with a little olive
oil, garlic and fresh mint.
As with many other cultures, Greek society
revolves around food. Cooking and eating is an important
social aspect of Greek life. Although you wont
find recipes for lamb in this article, you will find wonderful
gluten-free recipes that will tempt your palate and satisfy
Cod with Toasted Almonds
Pilaf with Kalamata Olives
and Onion Casserole
Pasta with Meat Sauce
and Olive Salad with Fried Feta
and Eggplant Dip
and Yogurt Dip
with Goat Cheese & Basil
Stuffed with Walnuts & Feta
& Stuffed Red Peppers
Dont miss this
months on-line cooking class featuring gluten-free
phyllo dough. We had expert help on this class from
our friend Demitrios. If you thought phyllo dough was
out of your reach, think again!