Greeking Out

I have a new obsession.

GREEK FOOD.

I’m not sure I’d call it a new obsession because I have loved it for a very long time but I am now starting to cook it and y’all, I cannot get enough. Where is the feta? Give me all the feta??

Do not be one of those people that only eats chicken tenders and mac and cheese. Please! I cannot explain to you how much you are missing out on.

If you only order chicken tenders and French fries every time you go out to eat then you are missing the deliciousness of an Oriental dumpling, lightly pan fried and dipped in a hot & spicy sauce.

If you only order a burger then you might never get the chance to taste Pad Thai in all of it’s peanutty deliciousness.

And if you only order the steak and baked potato then how will you ever know how a lobster roll with butter feels as it drips onto your boobs?? You won’t!

About three years ago David and I visited a Greek restaurant on the outskirts of Houston. (I know, I know, Houston is not exactly the reigning pinnacle of great Greek cuisine, but you go with what you got) We placed our order, they brought us our food, we ate it, and then we placed another order, they brought us our food, we ate it and then we placed another order.

We did that three times. We didn’t do it a fourth because I’m pretty sure they were talking about us at this point. But it was then and there I decided I would not be wasting my money on 23 and Me because it was clear: I was Greek.

Except I’m not. I only wish I was.

I cannot get enough of this food, especially in the summer. In the last couple of weeks I have gone to two shindigs where I had to bring a side. Here are the two recipes I took…

ORZO Pasta salad (recipe from www.carlsbadcravings.com)

·      16 oz. uncooked orzo pasta

·      2 tablespoon olive oil

·      1 tablespoon unsalted butter

·      4 1/4 cups low sodium chicken broth

·      1/4 cup lemon juice

·      1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper

·      1/2 red onion chopped

SALAD

·      2 ears grilled corn, cut off the cob (Hi, it’s me, Melissa. I used can corn. Sue me)

·      1 English cucumber sliced and quartered

·      1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

·      1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans {chickpeas} drained and rinsed

·      1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives halved

·      1/2 cup sliced almonds

·      1/2 cup fresh basil chopped

·      1/2 cup feta

DRESSING

·      1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

·      2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

·      1 tablespoon lemon juice

·      1 TBS EACH fresh dill parsley, oregano OR 1 tsp EACH dried

·      1 teaspoon sugar

·      1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

·      1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt

·      1/4 teaspoon pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Make dressing by adding all of the ingredients to either a small bowl and whisking or a jar and shaking. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium-low heat. Once melted, increase heat to medium-high and add orzo and red onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until red onion are soft.

3. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice salt and pepper. Simmer until orzo is al dente, 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently the last couple minutes of cooking so it doesn’t burn. If you have leftover liquid, drain orzo. Transfer to a large bowl to cool in the refrigerator while you finish chopping your veggies.

4. Add all of the salad ingredients to the orzo followed by the dressing. Toss to coat.

5. Taste and season with additional lemon juice or salt and pepper to taste.

And then the other one is not necessarily Greek, but it is a salad so leave me alone about it and let me be my own unique Greek Goddess even if the salad I am making is probably Italian. Whatevs!

Take Fresh mozzarella balls (I like the ones that are in the olive oil at Sam’s)

Add fresh basil & Oregano (shout out to my dad who bought me a beautiful herb garden!)

Slice up one or two fresh avocados

Cherry tomatoes

Mix these things together in a big bowl and then pour some Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Glaze all over the top. It has to be Nonna Pia’s. That stuff is the best! I got mine from Amazon but Sam’s now carries it!

When there are salads this good in the world, how come none of us fit in our jeans from High School? I just don’t get it. But anyway, I wanted to share these two recipes with y’all and invite you to send me your best Greek dish because I will make it, we will eat it and then we will hang your picture in our house as a token of our appreciation.

Cheers! (Or as the Greeks say, ya mas!!)

Now, seriously, quit ordering chicken nuggets,

Melissa