Here’s a quick video to explain how to make Saganaki at home. One of the Taverna favorites. Goat cheese is a favorite in Greece and coating in flour and pan frying is an all time favorite.
The smell is fantastic and this is comfort food at its finest. Serve with toasted pita bread and a nice Greek wine for an additional treat for your guests – or just for you!
resources: Video provided on YouTube by GreekFoodTV.
Click on the image of “COPP” our flyer image below to make a clearer and larger image.
Here at the Taverna, we appreciate the craftsmanship of these the local breweries such as:
Copp Brewery and Winery in Crystal River, FL
Orange Blossom Brewery in Orlando, FL
and Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville, FL.
We invite you to
come and spend some time and try them all at the Taverna. Come try some of the best brewed beers around! Stin Ya’sas (Cheers!)
CLICK ON THE LOGO OF “COPP” BELOW TO ENLARGE THE FLYER:
This is a statue of PHAEDRA – Daughter of Minos and Pasiphae.
A Goddess in Greek Mythology who had a long, crazy life that was often tragic and ended badly (Oh the Drama!)
but here she is with a long tall cold brew!
by Chef John Kana
Here are some great tips on how to care for your Cast Iron pots and pans. Any great chef will tell you that cast iron is awesome to cook on! A good set will last your lifetime and your children and grandchildren’s lifetime too!
Many people shy away from cast iron in lieu of Teflon looking for nonstick properties – but nothing compares to a great pan that has been well seasoned
Cast iron provides hot, hot heat which is perfect for searing, braising or browning your meats before simmering or oven roasting. The entire pan can go into the oven to finish. These are versatile pans for any kitchen and no other pans can compare. Don’t be afraid to use it.
New enameled sets are pricey but so worth the money. Purchasing these enameled set of iron pots and pans is an investment and guaranteed to improve your cooking skills.
Here’s some tips from Southern Living. Click on the picture to enlarge,
Thanks to http://www.Visitgreece.gr for reminding us about the beautiful fragrance and tastes the spices give to our wonderful Greek food. The smells and essences of these spices date back to the very beginning of civilization and many brought from Asia on the way to the West.
So many of these spices are not only fragrant and flavorful, but they are scientifically healthy as well.
- Purlsane: Good for raw salads, it protects the heart.
- Basil: A stomach tonic as herbal tea, it calms the nerves and the headaches. It’s famous for its wonderful aroma and its insect-repellent properties too.
- Valeriana: The anti-stress element of nature.
- Anis: As tea it invigorates the digestive and the nervous systems; in dough and drinks (ouzo, tsípouro) it gives a rich taste.
- Laurel: With antiseptic properties against the catarrh and bronchitis, it adds a tasteful aroma to pulses, salads and meats. In its oily form, it tonifies hair.
- Spearmint: In its essential oil version it fights against inflammations in the nasopharynx, gingivitis, and rheumatics. It is beneficiary in case of stomach conditions and migraines. Irreplaceable for sauces and meatballs.
- Rosemary: Anaemia, insomnia, dizziness and mind exhaustion can find a good rival in rosemary. If boiled, its vapour functions as a great face cleanser. It is used in hair lotions too.
- Dittany: Spasmolytic, tonifying, anti-diabetic as tea; useful in aromatherapy and for pharmaceutical applications as an essential oil.
- Eucalyptus: When boiled, its vapour helps as an antiseptic for the lungs. What is more, it makes a tea with digestive and tonifying effects.
- Thyme: Antiseptic and tonifying, it fights against fever and flu, as well as skin infections. It gives off a wonderful aroma when used to marinate meat.
- Coriander: Good for your stomach, it is used to season fish and meat alike.
- Lemon verbena: A natural analgesic, especially for the stomach.
- Lavender: It calms your body, it perfumes the house, and it is the perfect natural antibiotic against infections.
- Lemon balm: It makes a tea with excellent anti-stress, analgesic and tonifying effects.
- Mint: With its peppery pleasant taste it gives you a soft push and some digestive help. It is famous as an ingredient for pastry, for liqueurs, for perfumes and for medicines.
- Mallow: For relaxing and smoothing needs of the stomach.
- Dandelion: For anaemia, cholesterol, diabetes and skin conditions. Traditional pies and salads are lucky to have it as an ingredient.
- Oregano: If you suffer from diarrhea or travellers’ nausea and if you feel weak, it’s what you need. Enjoy it on the famous Greek salad and with all kinds of meat.
- Nettle: It detoxifies your body, it fights against cholesterol and stomach conditions and it helps you against anaemia. Take in its beneficiary properties in pies.
- Greek Mountain Tea (sideritis clandestina): It’s the commonest type of tea not just for its delicious taste, but also for its digestive, warming, tonifying and antioxidant effects. Get rid of your cold with its aid, and use it with lemon and honey as an antiseptic for your throat.
- Sage: Aromatic, digestive, disinfective, tonifying and soothing at the same time.
- Camomile: It will tonify you and it will calm you; but it will also be your loyal ally for beauty and skin health.
- Cinnamon Has been known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and normalize insulin.
Star Anise: Is the primary source of shikimic acid, a plant-based compound that is the precursor to oseltamivir, an antiviral medication that is marketed as Tamiflu
Cloves: Are renown for temporarily treatment of a toothache. You can temporarily alleviate the pain by dabbing a little clove oil on a cotton ball and placing it on the
sore tooth or on your gums. Cloves also Relieve upper respiratory infections, reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
Mahlab: According to mahlab seed oil was found to have potentials to become a new edible oil source as it contained a high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids especially, α-eleostearic acid, which is a conjugated fatty acid rarely found in vegetable oils and has a beneficial effects on human health.
Saffron: Saffron contains more than 150 volatile compounds and its a powerful carotenoid and antioxidant that can protect your body from free radical damage.
There is no doubt that cinnamon is the queen of all spices, with a tinge of sweetness and warmth. It has been very popular since ancient times. Did you know that the English name “cinnamon” derives from the ancient Greek word “κιννάμωμον” (kinnamomon)?
Use it in traditional sweets, cookies, cream, cakes and sweet breads. Also use it in dishes of red meat, poultry, fish as well as marinades.
Try it in Bougatsa
Cloves have a strong, particularly biting taste and a pleasant aroma. Their flavour is a mixture of spicy and sweet notes and can be used either in confectionery or cooking with equally satisfactory results. It is a spice reminiscent of winter and autumn flavours, as it offers a sense of warmth and coziness.
Use them to season pork and beef meat, nail them on onions and add them in your broths. Also bake pies, tarts, and prepare sweets and syrups with a pinch of cloves, add them to fruits, walnuts and honey or season your favourite liqueur with them.
Try them in Baklava
Nutmeg has a nice strong penetrating aroma and an intense, almost sweet taste. There is no doubt that cinnamon is its true match, yet a combination of nutmeg and cloves is a fine one as well.
Use it mostly in traditional sweets, in red meat dishes and sauces, in salads and liqueurs.
Try it in Mousaka
Saffron is known as the “red gold” deriving from the red stigmas of the crocus flower. The Greek crocus of Kozani is known to yield top quality saffron, the world over. Having a light violet aroma, a wonderful slightly bitter taste and a unique yellow colour, saffron takes creations in pastry, cooking, cheese making and liquor-making to great heights.
Use it: in rice, potatoes, pasta, white meat and seafood or in your coffee and tea.
Try it: in Mussel Pilaf with Saffron
Cardamom has a strong piquant taste with lemon and pine notes. It is considered one of the most expensive spices and it is famous for its stimulating properties.
Use it: mostly in sauces and vegetables. It makes interesting combinations with rice, chicken, lentils, cream, carrots, citrus fruits, pumpkin, tea and coffee.
Try it: in Baked quinces with cardamom
Coriander was very popular in antiquity, as ancient Greeks believed that it could secure immortality of the soul. It has an earthy yet strong flavour leaving a citrus and sage aftertaste.
Use whole seeds or grate it in order to flavour your soups, roasts and lemon-seasoned meat, fishes, poultry and vegetables.
Try it: in Potatoes with coriander
The Greek name of anise “glykanissos” betrays its sweet character [glýka means sweetness]. Its best known use is in the famous ouzo, the Greeks’ favourite drink for the summertime. It is also used to flavour tsipouro drink.
Use it in baking and pastry-making
Try it in ouzo cookies
Ginger has a strong piquant taste, leaving a tickling sensation on the tongue. Ancient Greeks knew it as zingiveri. It is today the basic ingredient of Ginger Beer, a well-known alcoholic drink made in Corfu.
Use it either grated or in the form of syrup to season your sweets and sauces.
Try it in Olive oil with ginger
Mahlab comes from the kernel of the sour cherry. On account of its intense aroma it is mostly used in pastry-making, leaving a unique aftertaste of cherry and bitter almond.
Use it in traditional Greek sweet bread (tsoureki) and in cookies.
Try it in Tsoureki
For links to the recipes and more information about travel, eating and touring Greece see more here: http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/nature/flora/aromatic_and_therapeutic_herbs
1 http://ebm.rsmjournals.com/content/227/1/20.full, Cancer Chemopreventive and Tumoricidal Properties of Saffron (Crocus sativus L.)
2 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23168242, Investigation of the neuroprotective action of saffron (Crocus sativus L.) in aluminum-exposed adult mice through behavioral and neurobiochemical assessment, Dec. 2012
Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research only
by Deborah Manos
Live longer – be healthy. Eat like a Greek. The Mediterranean diet has been studied and found to be the healthiest way of eating on the planet. Here’s a listing of the unique flavors that may peak your curiosity and stimulate your imagination. If you are traveling to Greece make sure you eat your way through the country! If you are nearby Citrus County Florida then come to our Taverna and sample some of the different foods listed below. Of course, we do not have all of these things, but what we do have we are sure you will ENJOY!
FETA: A traditional brined curd cheese that fits in with every dish. It is eaten in various forms – plain, with olive oil and herbs such as oregano, best with freshly baked bread, in a salad, with tomato, or in cheese pies.
HORIATIKI: This is the real deal – The Greek traditional salad. It can be the entire entree course where fresh picked tomato still warm from the kiss of the sun, meets up with juicy flavorful cucumber, green pepper, onion, feta cheese, olive oil and traditional Greek herb, oregano.
TZATZIKI: Yogurt, cucumber and lots of garlic. I suggest that everyone in your travel group eat this together – garlic is well…garlic!
SOUVLAKI PITA: The ultimate souvlaki. Pork, lamb or chicken wrapped in a pita bread (flat bread) with tomato, onion, tzatziki and for an added twist, especially in Athens, they will add French fries with it.
KALAMAKI: Delectable chunks of pork, chicken or beef cubes grilled and sprinkled with salt, oregano and lemon.
GYROS: In America we serve a mix of lamb and beef meat, but in Athens it’s pork meat roasted vertically on a spit and cut into thin slices with a long sharp knife. It is served with grilled pita bread, tzatziki sauce and wrapped.
MOUSSAKA: Ultimate Greek comfort food: Layered aubergine(eggplant), ground beef and tomato oven-baked with a thick topping of bechamel (to die for) sauce.
DOLMADAKIA: Fresh grape leaves blanketed with rice and ground beef and spices. Tangy goodness. Usually served with a coating of olive oil and lemon or special lemon cream sauce.
MEZETHES: An all around term for small portions of tasty Greek goodness. These are not really appetizers per se – think tapas for Greeks.
FAVA: Healthy yellow, big, fava beans sprinkled with lemon, olive oil, and chopped onions.
HORTA: Dandelions, spinach, or any other field greens that have been boiled and covered with olive oil and lemon with a slice of feta on the side. Why people live over 100 years.
SAGANAKI: Kasseri cheese, battered in flour and fried till crisp. Often ignited with brandy and the flame extinguished with a slice of lemon. Opa! Watch the flames!
SPANAKOPITA: If it’s made correctly it can be Heaven in your mouth. Warmed layers of buttered filo dough, baked to golden brown with Spinach and traditional feta cheese and dill layered within.
TARAMOSALATA: Fish roe mixed with boiled potatoes or moistened breadcrumbs, olive oil and lemon juice served with pita wedges.
PASTICHIO: More Greek comfort food. Baked large hollow pasta noodles with a ground-meat filling, a hint of cinnamon or cardamom with a rich, creamy Bechtel sauce topping.
SCORDALIA: hmmmm Garlic!! This is a wonderful appetizer. It is also used as a topping for fried fish or vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini squash. My favorite is with pita wedges. It consists of a thick garlic and potato puree, or garlic and bread puree. This is guaranteed to keep colds, virus and vampires away.
OUZO: Rarely straight, instead served mixed with water and a cube of ice. Paired with the meze, and a perfect companion to grilled octopus and calamari. Ouzo is a protected designation-of-origin product, which means it comes from one area only. Drink ouzo, then its time for a nap afterwards. Just the way it is.
TSIPOURO: This belongs in the “men only club.” It’s strong distilled liquor similar to ouzo. Powerful stuff.
FRAPPE: Not a Starbucks item – this is THE summer beverage in Greece. Its like a cold coffee-chocolaty smoothie with lots of sugar and served over ice.
FREDDO: (a stronger Frappe) Espresso done a la Frappe, with foamed cold milk and crushed ice. Jet fuel.
ELLINIKOS: Finely ground Greek coffee that is boiled in a pot (briki) and served hot with lots of bubbles. Comes straight, semi-sweet, sweet or very sweet. To be enjoyed slowly. Very strong flavor. If you’re lucky someone in the cafe will be able to “read” your coffee grounds and predict your future. Similar to reading tea leaves. Or do it yourself – invert your cup after drinking. Flip when you think the timing is just right. View the grounds and look for images that you visualize in the cup. Whatever it means to you – that’s your future! Yes, this is more jet fuel.
KOULOURI: Cookie like dough – not too sweet and covered in sesame seeds. Think Biscotti only not so hard and much buttery better.
BOUGATSA: Another dessert straight from the gods. This is filo dough smothered in sweet semolina custard, and sprinkled with powered sugar.
LOYKOUMADES: Little fried balls of dough dredged in honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. These go down too quickly.
BAKLAVA: This is the most iconic dessert in Greek cuisine. Thin filo pastry layers filled with chopped walnuts (I have seen pistachio nuts used too) and cinnamon then drenched in a mix of honey, and sugar water.
KANDAIFI: Much like baklava having the same filling and syrup but instead of layers of filo, they shredded the dough to resemble shredded wheat sold in America. Easy to eat with fingers – usually no fork is required.
GALAKTOBOUREKO: The first place winner in the contest to be the best dessert ever. Soft, scrumptious custard baked between layers of filo and then soaked with lemon-scented honey syrup.
FYSTIKI: Roasted pistachio nuts from Aegina. No red residue on your fingers, just healthy clean food.
AMYGDALOTO: Powdered blanched almonds, confectioner’s sugar and rose water.
KOURABIEDES: We called these “wedding cookies” when I was growing up. They are made with flour, butter and crushed roasted almonds generously dusted with powdered sugar. My yiayia’s kourabiedes melted in your mouth. No chewing necessary.
PASTELI: As kids this was our “candy bar” – sesame seeds and pure honey.
YAOURTI MELI: Yogurt with honey combined with peaches or watermelon makes a yummy breakfast. Also served as a dessert, with honey and chopped walnuts.
LOUKOUMIA: Made from starch and sugar, this is similar to Turkish delight, usually flavored with rose water or mastic.
GLYKO KOUTALIOY (SPOON SWEETS): The most popular version is sour cherry (vissino).
Te header picture is a picture of my breakfast at the Bacchus Pension in Ancient Pisa, Peloponnese. Grapes, fresh cantaloupe and watermelon, bougatsa, yaourti meli (yogurt and honey), hard boiled egg, snuck out from under the hen that morning, with fresh squeezed juice and cold spring fed mineral water from the local springs.
The number one rule of Greek food is that the taste should be simple, fresh, and “explosive” so be prepared to send your taste buds on an adventure to never forget.
by Deborah Manos
This is a classic and is served everywhere throughout Greece. Easy to make – fresh and quick. This was eating “raw” before it became a fad.
Traditional Greek salad is made with pieces of tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, onion, feta cheese, and Kalamata olives. Horiatiki is also typically seasoned with salt and oregano. In America, most Greek salads come with Greek dressing, but the traditional horiatiki is just simple olive oil.
Greek Salad Ingredients:
- 3 tomatoes cut into wedges
- 1 large green peppers cut into rings
- 2 sliced cucumber
- 1 Sliced onion
- 6 tablespoons Greek virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/3 lb. Real Greek feta cheese (goat Feta is authentic)
- 2 dozen black Greek olives – Kalamata are the Taverna’s favorites
- Chopped or crumbled dried oregano or parsley
Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and peppers in a large salad bowl.
Shake together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad.
Put on top the feta cheese, cut in squares and the olives.
Sprinkle with parseley or oregano.
by Deborah Manos
Ah, the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Volumes of information posted on Google, Facebook and Twitter should make us be living longer, right? That’s just not the case. Here’s one potential factor:
During a recent trip to Athens, Greece, I may have uncovered one of the secrets to why they live longer and we don’t.
Outside Athens, my cousin George took me to the Manos Bakery. A Yia Yia (old lady) was completing her purchase. I watched her as she left the bakery – cane in one hand – bakery bag in the other. She literally sprinted up the hill totting her goodies. As I watched her, I couldn’t help lament, “How can she eat that?” – and more importantly “how can she walk up this hill that fast?!”
My father was a baker. I used to love eating bread. Now I shy away from it. Often times, I pass the “bakery” of the grocery store and notice the smell that does not smell like fresh baked bread. It has an usual yeasty smell. So, how is it that now I think all things from the bakery are unhealthy?
Let’s look inside Yia Yia’s bakery bag.
Inside there is nothing made with unbleached, or brominated flours. Her bakery was not baked with flour stripped of necessary nutrients. Her flour was not covered in a toxic chlorine gas bath, along with benzyl peroxide and chlorine dioxide to make it white nor did they use Potassium bromate. Yes, this is how our four is made in America.
In 1910 America, bleached flour was declared illegal and “unfit for human consumption.” The newly formed FDA and it’s first FDA chief were lobbied by bread millers of the day. Torn between duty to the public and duty to the corporations – the corporations won out and the results are on our grocery and bakery shelves.
What is Bromination? Bromated means the flour has been treated with potassium bromate. Here’s a direct quote from Breast Cancer Choices.org website about other products that contain bromide/bromate:
“Currently, bromide is found in pesticides (methyl bromide), bread products (potassium bromate), brominated vegetable oil that may be added to citrus-flavored drinks, hot tub cleansers, certain asthma inhalers and prescription drugs, plastic products, some personal care products, and some fabric dyes”[i]
Potassium bromate is a known carcinogen. Carcinogen means it causes Cancer. There are no laws against using this in the U.S. However bromination is Illegal in Canada, the U.K., Australia and Europe. Bromination studies have shown a direct scientific link to thyroid dysfunction.
Well there you have it. Is any surprise that Greek women live longer and have more stamina as they age? Buy organic – look for non brominated flour in the ingredients and best of all bake your own if you can! You’ll be amazed at the difference – and yea, you might add years to your life in the process.
MANOS BAKERY ITEMS IN ATHENS, GREECE