Greek Food Has an Array of Wonderful and Interesting Ingredients

If you appreciate eating as a whole dining experience right from when you first sit at your restaurant table and look at the menu to make your choice all the way through to that last satisfying forkful that leaves you wishing that you could eat more, then the food in Greece will tick the right boxes for you.

The food in Greece is about tantalizing your taste buds and getting those digestive juices flowing and wherever you go you cannot help but be surrounded by the amazing smells of food being prepared and cooked and it really adds to your eating experience.

In these days of fast food and convenience meals there are plenty of people that have forgotten what it is like to really enjoy freshly cooked, home-grown produce and ingredients that have been carefully put together into dishes that are beyond tasty.

Traditional Greek food is about making the most of the things that are locally available and grown in abundance and putting it all to good use. Think plump, juicy olives with a taste like no other for starters and before you turn your nose up, give them a try they have such a fantastic flavor and are nothing like you would find in a jar, they just ooze Mediterranean goodness.

With Greek salads using fresh, crisp lettuce, sweet, juicy tomatoes and succulent cucumber all topped with the most amazingly creamy feta cheese, you can taste how good it is when you eat it.

Do not fall into the trap of avoiding the dishes whose names are not familiar to you on a Greek menu, because if you do believe me when I say that you really are missing out on some of the most fantastic cuisine that you will find anywhere in the world.

If you love chicken, then the souvlaki is delicious, OK so it sounds strange but, what you actually get is tender pieces of breast threaded onto a skewer and served with chips, rice and salad. You can also have pork souvlaki too which is just as tasty.

For beef lovers, stifado is a must with meat so tender that you barely have to cut or chew it, all cooked in an amazing tasting gravy with the sweetest oven baked shallots that I have ever had.

Some parts of Greece you will find dolmades, which to you and I basically consists of minced lamb with spices all wrapped in vine leaves and they make for a pretty addictive dish too.

Experience the Amazing Food

Brazil has many great places to visit and amazing sites to see but another thing about visiting Brazil is the food that they have. It might not be known as a place with great food but if you go for the traditional Brazilian food you will find yourself some real treats.

In Brazil, eating is an event, which makes the Rodizio a popular place to visit. The word Rodizio means rotate and when it’s associated with a restaurant it means all you can eat, and tends to be a barbeque. If you go to a Rodizio you should be prepared to eat a lot of meat, it’s not for the faint hearted or for vegetarians. There is a buffet to get the accompaniments to your food, such as salad and sauces and once you are sat down the waiters will start to bring you your food.

They will bring many different types of meat to you. There will be at least 10 different types of beef, chicken, pork and some extras such as chicken hearts. All the food is barbequed. You can sit there for as long as you like and you will get a card that you can turn over to indicate whether you need more food. If it’s on red the waiters won’t bring food if it’s on green they will keep coming.

As well as going out for barbeques they are also very popular at home. At home barbeques, you will also find lots of meat, there will be Farofa, which is a accompaniment to meat which has a rough breadcrumb like consistency and you will find that Brazilian eat it with many different foods. To make your food even more tasty you can add Manteiga de Garrafa (Bottled Butter) to your food.

A type of food that can be used as a main course or as a side order is Salpicao. It’s similar to Coleslaw but is served warm and has meat, such as ham and shredded chicken in it and can also have fruit in it.

Many Cultures Influence The Taste Of Mexican

Do you love and crave the wonderful flavors and aromas of Mexican foods? Many people do today. However, many of the different dishes that we may consider as Mexican foods are influenced by outside sources. These sources came from a great many other cultures as the new world was being discovered by those who came into the country from faraway places by way of the oceans or by trekking over land from closer destinations.

Interestingly, you can go to different locations in Mexico and the same dish will have a different taste, aroma, and flavor. This is really nothing unusual since if you visit various southern States, even the southern fried chicken recipes will vary in ingredients, flavors and aromas. It is the same for many different types of foods recipes with the same title all over the world. The reason for this is that most people will use what they have on hand while creating meals for themselves and their families. Although, there are many fundamental ingredients useful for making different types of Hispanic foods, many Mexican foods are influenced by many other cultures.

The Fundamentals of Mexican Recipes

Basics included some local wild game, which was not abundant. However, their diet did include from time to time such meats sources as wild turkey, deer, ducks, and rabbit. Other foods include various types of delicious fruits native to the area as well as honey, vanilla, cacao or chocolate, salt, corn, beans, squash, avocados, tomatoes, and fish. However, various strong native herbs, spices, and chilies are included to add zest and flavor to many different foods.

The meat from cactus was also useful for creating a base in many of the main dishes of traditional Mexican foods. They also made use of lard in their many recipes rather than butter or margarine, since it was rendered while cooking the fat off animals. This bit of lard included in their recipes is one of the main ingredients that enhance the flavors and aroma of their many different dishes.

Delicious Ingredients Added to Mexican Recipes

As time passed along many different types of cultures of people have made their own special impression on the variety of ingredients that are useful today for making a delicious family meal, a side dish or even party foods and desserts. For instance, others food sources included pork, beef and lamb, garlic, coriander, wheat and other herbs and spices. However, many other cultures have added their own special spin on these types of recipes down through the years.

Mexican Cooking Utensils

Long ago, Mexican foods were made in clay or earthen cookware. It is the use of these more natural cooking aids and tools that help give authentic Mexican food its wonderful aroma and taste. Cooking Mexican foods in metal is another modern addition to the changes that many of these recipes have seen as the years have passed. Although, cooking in metal cookware can create some wonderful tasty dishes and treats, it cannot replicate the original tastes of this type of food since; pottery is the initial or fundamental component. You may not choose to use authentic Mexican pottery cookware unless it is marked as safe for food and lead free. Any pottery cookware that is not safe should be marked as for decorative use only.

Traditional Peruvian Food

Like many other cultures, Peruvian cuisine is a rich hodge-podge of influences, primarily combining Spanish cuisine with indigenous Peruvian ingredients and with the influx of immigrants were introduced the flavours from China, Italy, West Africa and Japan. For a quick sampling of what this Latin American country offers on its tables, here are some of the food and beverages that Peruvians enjoy:

Anticuchos. A popular street food, this is made of small pieces of marinated meat (most popular is beef heart) and grilled. They typically come with a boiled potato or corn on the end of the skewer, like a shish kabob.

Butifarras. Peru’s version of the ham sandwich, except this is made with a bread roll that is similar to the hamburger bun and the ham is a processed meat product to which is added a spicy sauce of sliced onions, chili peppers, lime, salt, pepper and oil.

Ceviche. A simple dish made with fresh sliced fish or any seafood marinated in lime or lemon, sliced onions, salt and chili. The citrus marinade cooks or “pickles” the fish making it unnecessary to use heat or fire. In Peru, ceviche is typically served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn.

Chicha Morada. A sweet, cold and unfermented homemade drink prepared from purple corn (maiz morado), and boiled with pineapple rind, cinnamon and clove.

Lomo Saltado. Another local staple that is made with sliced beef, stir fried with onions, tomatoes, soy sauce, vinegar and chili and served with French fried potatoes and rice.

Tamales. Another popular of Peru food, the tamales is a traditional savoury dish made with masa (a corn-based meal), filled with all kinds of favorite ingredients such as meat, cheese, vegetables, chilies then wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Depending on the region or village in Peru, the tamales may be wrapped in corn husks and may be bigger or smaller.

Mexican Food

Posole, which is sometimes spelt pozole, is a traditional Mexican food recipe and this soup dates back hundreds of years. This dish is made with corn, meat, and seasonings including chilies. The meat might be chicken, turkey or pork rinds. There are also vegetarian and vegans versions of posole.

The ingredients of this dish changed a little after the Spanish began to arrive in South America but corn remained a popular ingredient in most of the recipes. You can get it in Mexican restaurants in the American southwest as well as in numerous Mexican states. Corn was sacred for the Aztecs, so posole was prepared for special occasions.

Turkey Posole

Heat three tablespoons of oil in a big pot and cook two diced yellow onions and two chopped, de-seeded, fresh poblano chilies in there until they are tender. Stir in two minced garlic cloves and cook for two minutes.

Add a tablespoon of chili powder and two tablespoons each of dried oregano and ground cumin. Stir in two quarts of turkey broth, four cups of cubed cooked turkey, a four ounce can of chopped green chilies and two fifteen ounce cans of drained, rinsed cannellini beans.

Add two fifteen ounce cans of drained white hominy and stir well. You can add a little more water if necessary, to ensure everything in the pan is covered in liquid. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper if necessary. Bring the soup to the boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for an hour, so the flavors can blend. Stir it a few times during the cooking process.

Vegan Posole

Very few traditional Mexican foods are vegan because Mexans love meat, fish, and animal products like eggs, cheese and cream, but if you are a vegan you can still enjoy Mexican food, as this tasty vegan soup recipe proves.

Simmer a diced onion, three sliced carrots, and three minced garlic cloves in half a cup of water until the onion is soft. Add three cups of vegetable broth and let the soup simmer for five minutes or until the carrots are tender.

Add half a teaspoon each of salt and cumin, a teaspoon of chili powder, a pinch of black pepper, a chopped red bell pepper, and a fifteen ounce can each of crushed tomatoes and hominy. Simmer the soup for twenty five minutes, then serve, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Seafood Posole

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over a moderately high heat. Saute a chopped onion in there for five minutes, then add three minced garlic cloves and stir for half a minute.

Add three cups of clam juice, a cup of salsa verde (it might be labeled as tomatillo salsa), a fifteen ounce can of white hominy (drain and rinse it first), two tablespoons of finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil and a tablespoon of grated lime zest. Simmer for five minutes. Let the mixture cool down, and then bring it back to a simmer.

Add a pound each of horizontally halved sea scallops and peeled, de-veined, uncooked jumbo shrimp and three tablespoons of chopped cilantro. You can add more clam juice if the soup is too thick. Simmer the mixture until the seafood is done, then season with salt and pepper and serve with more cilantro sprinkled over it.

Cooking Traditional Cuban

fd3Cooking Cuban Black Beans

In 2007 my family was finally reunited after a long separation. As the older female I was cooking traditional Cuban Food. Imagine my surprise when my grandson’s wife said “Do you know that a lot of your recipes are very popular in Canada?”

Of course I was very surprise, since I have never visited Canada. She continue to explained that my grandson had given her one of two of my recipes, and that she in turn gave the recipes to her mother, who passed the recipes to her family and friends.

As I was remembering this day. I decided why not share some of my recipes with my Squidoo friends.

My first recipe is for Black Beans Cuban style.

What you will need:

1 bag of dried black beans
1 Large Onion
1 Green Pepper
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper optional
1 teaspoon of sugar

Soak the dried beans overnight or at least a couple of hours before cooking.
Wash and Rinse the beans drain the soaking water.

Start cooking the beans with 4 cups of water at high heat until it starts boiling and then reduce to med heat.

Cook the beans for about 45 minutes or until soft.

Cut or chop the onion and the green pepper and the garlic.

Saute onions, garlic and green peppers with 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Add salt and Pepper to taste. ( the traditional black beans are a little heavy on black pepper)

My fathers recipes added one teaspoon of white sugar to the mix (optional)

After the initial 45 minutes of cooking the water should have decreased and the beans should be soft add the sauted onions, green pepper, garlic and salt and pepper.

Cook on med low for about 25 to 30 minutes and the Black beans should be ready now.

When you first start to cook black beans you may find that the soup has not thicken, there 2 ways to remedy this problem.

Add about a 1/4 cup of instant mash potatoes to the beans and stir till thicken, or use one tablespoon of corn starch either one of this methods should to the trick nicely. As a soup, place black beans in a bowl and add a side of the following: Finely chopped onions or scallions, and extra olive oil (Virgin and cold press is best) some gourmet restaurant also offer a side of sour cream. How to serve Black Beans.

You may also puree the black beans on a blender and serve with the above side dishes.

The traditional way of serving black beans Cuban style is to serve the beans with either a side dish of white rice or over white rice.

A traditional Cuban meal consist of Black beans, white rice, beef, chicken or pork. The other traditional side dishes are fried plantains.
tostones or Yuca.

Flavors of Aphrodisiac Foods

Aphrodisiac foods can be due to many different things. The most traditional aphrodisiac foods or the most well known are chocolate and oysters. It should be noted that most aphrodisiac substances work by the power of suggestion as there are very few foods that actually can bring about sexual arousal.

Chocolate is a very popular aphrodisiac foods as it contains many stimulants including phenethylamine, tryptophan, sugar and theobromine. Tryptophan can block pain and increase pleasure and when you fall in love the brain releases phenethylamine. However the quantities of these compounds found in chocolate is very minute and the aphrodisiac side of chocolate may be sure to its stimulant properties.

Oysters have been associated with eroticism for a very long time because of their appearance and texture. However it is most likely the high zinc levels found in oysters that make them an aphrodisiac food. If you are deficient of zinc then you run the risk of being impotent or having delayed sexual development. However if you are not zinc deficient then it is unknown how oysters can help with your sexual arousal.

Many fruits and vegetables are considered aphrodisiac because of their shape and appearance. However to maintain a healthy sex drive you need to maintain a healthy, nutritious diet and a healthy diet is full of fruits and vegetables. However no direct links to specific products is currently known.

Aromas are what can increase the level of arousal and in men the aromas that did this include cinnamon buns, cheese pizza, strawberries, vanilla, buttered popcorn, lily of the Valley, doughnuts, orange sand black liquorice. For women aromas that increased arousal include baby powder, banana nut bread, chocolate, cucumber, candy, pumpkin pie, and liquorice. The products that contain sweet spices tend to have more success at increasing arousal as sweet spices work by decreasing anxiety.

Aside from foods, you can also use herbal extracts or supplements that act as aphrodisiacs and add them to your diet. The trick is to use them on a daily basis so that they are constantly active in your system… meaning when the time comes you will be ready to perform no matter what! Sexual health, just as general health is extremely important for a balanced lifestyle, so when buying foods and supplements to help in that department, it is wise to use organic produce that is free from pesticides and GMO products that may actually do you more harm than good.

The Traditional Fare on Clean Monday

As I write this we are in the middle of carnival weekend. It’s big weekend here in Greece leading into Lent and is a time for a good deal of celebration. Following the main carnival weekend we have Kathari Deftera or ‘Clean Monday’ which is the official start of lent. On this day there are specific foods that it is traditional to eat and most Greeks head out to a local taverna and order a table load. In fact, for the devout, it will pretty much form their diet until Easter in 40 days time. Lets run through the staples of a Clean Monday menu and find out how to prepare some of these simple, tasty dishes.

All food served today will be accompanied by a special bread called Lagana. This was once unleavened but over the years the recipe has started to include a little yeast. It comes in the form of a large rectangle covered in sesame seeds and is most wonderful but very expensive to buy (bakers make a killing on Clean Monday!).

The types of foods eaten on clean Monday are generally vegetable or seafood based. Even the normally ubiquitous feta cheese is absent. Here is a list of what you would typically find on the menu:

Taramasalata (a dip made with cod’s roe), Skordalia (a dip made with garlic and potatoes), marinated octopus, calamari (squid), fava dip, bean salad, and lettuce salad.

There are other dishes, like whitebait, prawns and cuttlefish for example, that may show up here and there as well. But here we will concentrate on the staple dishes.

  1. Taramasalata. You will need 100g red salted cod roe, 300g boiled potatoes, 1 cup of olive oil, 1 small onion finely grated and the juice of 2 lemons. Simply mash the fish roe, onion and the potato together and drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice gradually. Don’t worry if you can’t find the fish roe where you live, you will no doubt find that there are commercially made versions of this salad available to buy.
  2. Skordalia. You will need: a head of garlic, 200g boiled potatoes, half a cup of olive oil, a couple of teaspoons of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Mash the garlic first then add the potato and vinegar. Continue mashing to a purée whilst dribbling in the olive oil a bit at a time.
  3. Fava Dip. For this you will need 500g fava beans (split red peas), 2 medium onions (1 quartered and 1 finely chopped), half a cup of olive oil, the juice of a lemon and salt & pepper. Wash & boil the fava beans, skimming off any scum that forms on the top. Add the quartered onion, salt & pepper and half of the oil. Continue to simmer until the fava had broken down to a porridge-like consistency. Put the mixture through a food mill of processor to form puree. Sir in the rest of the lemon juice and serve topped with the raw finely chopped onion.
  4. Lettuce Salad. Quick & simple. Just finely shred a couple of lettuces and toss with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing (two-thirds oil, one third juice)
  5. Bean Salad Another simple one. 500g of dried white beans, soaked and boiled or – better still – 2 cans of white beans drained, 1 medium onion finely chopped, oil & lemon dressing as described in the lettuce salad, a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and salt. Simply mix the ingredients together in a bowl and add the dressing.
  6. Calamari. Cut the squid into rings (use the tentacles too) and dip into milk. Squeeze of excess milk and toss in flour. Shake off excess flour in a sieve and deep fry until golden. Throw on some salt and serve immediately while piping hot with wedges of lemon.
  7. Marinated Octopus. Not as difficult as it may seem, this one. Firstly, a word about octopi. Don’t fret about trying to find a fresh one in February. 99.99999% of Greeks will use a frozen one. Octopus does not lose any quality through freezing. In fact, many would say that the freezing process helps to tenderise the flesh. Anyway, find a frozen one and, if you can, find one from Morocco as they are the best. Here’s what you will need: A 1.5 kilo octopus (thawed), 3 cloves of garlic mashed or v. finely chopped, a teaspoon of dried oregano, a cup of olive oil and half a cup of red wine vinegar, a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper. Wash the octopus inside and out (it will already be prepared if you buy a frozen one) and put into a large stockpot or saucepan. Many people say do not add water, but I put a just little in the bottom just to protect the pan in the early stages of cooking. You could put a little white wine in if you wish…not much, a couple glugs, that’s all. Then cook the octopus in its own juice over a low heat until it is tender to the point of a knife. Remove the octopus from the water and, when it has cooled, chop it into small pieces. Take all of the other ingredients and put into a jar, put the lid on (do remember this) and shake vigorously. Use this dressing to pour over the octopus. This will keep well for several days in the fridge and tastes much nicer the day after it has been made, once all of the flavours have got to know one another.

Other vegetable dishes would include a shredded white cabbage and carrot salad dressed with oil & lemon, vine leaves stuffed with a rice mixture and horta (boiled mixed wild greens)

For a dessert, Greeks would favour ‘Halva’ a sweet made with semolina and nuts which is available in many different varieties.

Traditional Food From Scotland

When travelling to different countries it is always important to bring home some traditional souvenirs. Traditional haggis is a souvenir that you can bring home in two different ways. Haggis is a commonly known dish that is made out of what is considered “sheep’s pluck”. That is the sheep’s liver, lungs, and the heart. It is then minced with many different ingredients that include oatmeal, spices, salt, suet, onion, and stock. They then simmer the meat inside of the animal’s stomach for a few hours. It sounds unappealing but it is a popular due to its unique taste and references in regards to Scottish culture on American television shows such as the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson for example. Learning how to make this haggis would be a fantastic way to bring home as a souvenir. Despite how unappealing it sounds it is said that it has a nutty texture and tastes wonderful.

There is a lot of folklore surrounding this traditional Scottish meal. The best (and cutest) story surrounding haggis is that the animal that is used to make this dish is actually a small animal that has a set of legs that is shorter than the other set of legs. This is to prevent the Haggis can be on the highlands without falling off of the ledges. In fact, many Americans believe that haggis is actually a real animal while it is really often made out of sheep.

There are many variations of haggis in Scotland such as “haggis supper” that includes chips (French fries), a “haggis burger” that is served on a bun, and a “haggis bhaji” which is served in Indian restaurants around the area of Glasgow. There are even vegetarian alternatives for those that don’t eat meat. With so many variations there are a lot of options for those that want to take part in this traditional Scottish meal.

For those that are uninterested in eating any variation of haggis, there are stuffed animals that can be brought home as a traditional souvenir. Bring home a cute stuffed haggis to keep as a memory of when visiting Scotland. In fact, haggis is known to be banned in America. So, if you are a rebel without a cause it would be fantastic to learn how to make it. Or if you are in line with the law, it would be best to just purchase a stuffed haggis.

Eat Healthy Chinese Food

Some people will write Chinese food off as fatty and full of MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate). Saturated fats and excess salts are considered bad for the heart and so it follows that Chinese food is unhealthy, right?

Wrong Some Chinese dishes, corrupted to become popular to western palates, fit this bill. Authentic Chinese food is not fatty, and MSG, if used at all, is used sparingly. In fact Chinese food has a long history of being directed towards promoting health; a much longer one than any local ‘fad’ in the west.

Some history

Although united 2000 years ago, China never developed a state system for healthcare until recently. Citizens had to take their own measures when sick, and since these were often too expensive, that meant avoiding sickness in the first place if at all possible.

The first principles of food therapy were established nearly 4000 years ago, though it was only during the Tang Dynasty (608-906 AD) that this form of knowledge became really popular. Four ‘pillars’ were identified as crucial to staying healthy: lifestyle, diet, exercise and mind. Of these diet was considered the most important, probably as it was the one over which people had the most control.

Food plays a central role in Chinese culture. Cooking healthy food for the family is a lifelong profession for most women. Children are brought up with some knowledge of the health properties of their food and dietary restrictions are commonly understood and observed. Eating healthily is almost an obsession and forms an unspoken bond between family members.

Using modern terminology we can identify Grains as equivalent to carbohydrates, vegetables as roughage, fruits as vitamins and minerals and meats as protein.

A balance of 40:40:10:10 is considered ideal, with perhaps some variation in the balance between vegetables and meats.

Note that dairy products do not feature here. Most Chinese do not eat any dairy foods after childhood and, in fact, become intolerant to them as young adults.

It all comes down to what you choose

Bearing just this little bit of knowledge in mind it is possible to order better and more healthy Chinese food. By definition that will also be more authentic Chinese food.