Monday, October 29, 2012

Around the World in 80 Plates: Greece

This next post features all kinds of yummy Greek food from Vegan Eats World and The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe but I'll let you in on a little secret...it was enjoyed all the way back at the beginning of the month for our Thanksgiving feast (better late than never right). Around this house there is always the usual discussion of what to make for big meals, you know, your Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter kind of meals. These meals always feature certain things in most families and these things get repeated every year in the name of tradition. This tradition I have thrown out the window, not because I can't recreate these things (because I can!) but just because I don't want to make the same thing year after year. I've decided to honor tradition in a different way, every year for these meals, I will make something awesome that takes a bit more time and effort than I am willing to put in on any other day and most importantly, I will share it with my family. When you really get down to it, that is the part you love about those big holidays. Sitting around the table and sharing time with your family and friends and enjoying each other's company. There, I got that out of the way...on to the food!

This year, I went with a Greek themed meal using recipes I knew I loved from testing for Vegan Eats World. It had been awhile since I made any of them so I was really looking forward to it too. I decided the centrepiece of this meal would be the Tomatoes and Peppers (though I left it at just tomatoes) Stuffed with Dill Rice or Yemista. Like I mentioned, I skipped the peppers this time but only because I bought a big flat of Ontario tomatoes at Costco, both are equally delicious! The filling is super flavourful in these, full of walnuts, fresh herbs and onions/garlic. They are impressive to serve but really are easy to make but shhh...let them be wowed!

Stuffed Tomatoes with Dill Rice
(from Vegan Eats World)


I also made the Lemon Garlic Roasted Potatoes which are also quick and easy but super yummy! Kiddo loves these big time too. Another hit at the table this Thanksgiving was the Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup. Everyone loved this as a starter with the veggies, beans and rice seasoned with dill and oregano. Also on the table for our feast were some souvlaki soy curls. I have yet to really write down and perfect this recipe but basically I soak and drain/squeeze the soy curls then marinate them in lemon juice (fresh squeezed really works best here), lots of garlic that I finely grate (like a whole head), a big pinch of dried oregano and some salt and pepper. Then all you have to do is pan fry them until they are golden and a bit crispy on the outside. I always taste a few as I cook and adjust the seasoning as I go. I served these up and made sure to have lots of thick Greek style pitas, sliced tomatoes and red onions and some homemade tzatziki too. To make the tzatziki, I pressed out some of the homemade yogurt from Artisan Vegan Cheese until it was thick and creamy in my Tofu Xpress. Then I added one small Lebanese style cucumber that I grated finely and the juice that came out while grating, a splash of lemon juice, about a tablespoon of fresh minced dill, one glove of garlic grated finely as well with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. It was perfect too, kinda of dry like goat's milk tzatziki would be but still creamy and it was excellent with the soy curls and potatoes too.

Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup
(from Vegan Eats World)

Souvlaki Soy Curls (my little improv recipe) and
 Lemon Garlic Roasted Potatoes (from Vegan Eats World)


Homemade Tzatziki

I also added in something new that I have never tried, Dolmas, from The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe. I had picked up some vine leaves in a Middle Eastern market recently and the only thing that came to mind was dolmas. They were similar in filling to the tomatoes in that it was rice based but they were different. I was a little hesitant at first about eating a leaf but I decided to say what the heck and go for it and they were so worth the chance. They were especially good dipped in the tzatziki too.

Dolmas (from The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe)

Put it all together!

And of course there was dessert and what better dessert to have with our Greek feast than Hazelnut Orange Blossom Baklava from Vegan Eats World?? This is some seriously delicious baklava made with a mix of butter and olive oil and I swear I will never go back to any other way of making it. The nuts and the syrup mix together to make a sticky sweet nutty flavour party. Plus it looks pretty too, right?!

Hazelnut Orange Blossom Baklava (from Vegan Eats World)











6 comments:

  1. Your baklava looks great! I love baklava so much, but it takes so long to make that I hardly ever do it.

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  2. Ole!! That all looks so delicious!

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  3. Whoa that's quite a spread! I can't get over how thick your tzatziki came out. Beautiful job on the baklava, that's a dessert I've always wanted to try making.

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  4. When you go to Ukraine, you definitely should try local cuisine. It is so tasty, both meat and vegetarian meals http://ukraine-vacation-guide.com/index/meals_in_ukraine/0-107 There are lots of cafes and restaurants where you can taste national dishes. Most of them are simple to cook so you can try them at home. But you should not drink as much gorilka as Ukrainians do :)

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