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Koukou's Travels

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm back and can gladly share some of what I ate and/or cooked along the way. Greece is beautiful in the summer, all the sun and fun make it hard to eat too much and we focused on what the Mediterranean is best known for: fresh seasonal ingredients, simply prepared, and lots of olive oil smile.gif

It all begins with my favorite meal, snails of course. Snails are a staple of the kretan diet, considered a great protein during the Lenten period. Here they are fried in olive oil with Rosemary and finished with a whole cup of very strong red vinegar.


And a snail risotto made with a saffron tomato broth.

Edited by Koukouvagia - 8/20/14 at 4:32am

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
Typical breakfast, eggs from our chicken, "Horta" which are boiled weeds (another staple of the kretan diet), some Serrano and bread with olive oil.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
"Artos" is a traditional sweet bread made with "masticha," a resin collected from the mastic tree native to the nearby island of Chios. The bread is brought by the parishioners to church every Sunday and it is blessed and given to the congregation. We're taking this batch to a local church for an important holiday in the village.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
There are both sweet and savory versions of Krete's famous cheese pie "kaltsouni". This is a sweet one made with a very fresh local mizithra which is similar to ricotta.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Seasonal ingredients to die for. All have been given to us by friends or neighbors under the village's inherent barter system.

I lost count if how many figs I ate. Perfect with mizithra.

Cucumbers by the bushels


"Stamnangathi", another weed, pleasantly bitter.


Quail eggs!

Edited by Koukouvagia - 8/20/14 at 4:30am

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
If you haven't fried potatoes over an open fire you are missing out.

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Heading to a nearby village to celebrate the annual Sardine Festival.




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post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
My favorite, fasolada. I've posted my recipe and pictures here lots before but this is the original, Mom's! Vegan vegetable bean soup with hearty bread.

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post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
A late night out usually ends up like this. You may be surprised to know that the topping of choice is not tzatziki but plain Greek yogurt, or as we like to call it... Yogurt.

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post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
A refreshing snack with fava (yellow split pea purée), olives, raw onion. Taken right before it was drizzled with olive oil.

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post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
The famous Agora in Chania
Salt packed sardines.


Smoked herring


Bread is secondary to paximadi. Kretans are crazy about their dried bread.


Some cooked food at the stalls




Some cheese







Fish and meats




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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
By chance I stumbled into this little place that makes traditional Bougatsa. In other parts of Greece this is a sweet dessert but in Chania Bougatsa is made with a savory cheese custard filling. Light flaky hand stretched phyllo!


They weigh your portion on this old scale


Then they slice it up and sprinkle it with caster sugar and cinammon


Eating it was a religious experience. I may have shed a tear.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Somehow we had the time to smoke a pork butt and a belly. Good thing the family had a huge smoker they has no idea what to do with.

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
And when we weren't eating we were doing this:


And this


This


Lots of this!


Watching the swallows take over the cables at the end of the day


Finding secret beaches



Some beaches come equipped with free sea
snacks. These little guys are called limpets.

Edited by Koukouvagia - 8/20/14 at 11:08am

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #15 of 26

Very nice. Thanks.

Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
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post #16 of 26

Gorgeous! Thank you Koukou!

post #17 of 26

Next time take me with you! Now that's the life. You made me dream with this thread, Kouk'!

post #18 of 26

Very nice. Thanks. 

 

Others who go on vacations and focus on food should create the same kind of thread. 

post #19 of 26
Wonderful photographs, KK biggrin.gif
We may be going back to Corfu in late October... Depends on whether building work at home gets completed in time.
post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 
Glad everyone is enjoying it. I'm hungry looking back at the photos.

One thing I did not get to eat this summer was staka. It is a tricky dish shrouded in mystery. Old wives tales dictate that staka should be made secretly without alerting anyone. It should never be asked for or discussed. It should come out as a surprise. But that's hard to do considering the formidable smell it creates throughout the house and my mother's 2 attempts to make it proved disasterous. Both times she blamed me and my husband for snooping around the kitchen asking questions, supposedly our questions ruined the staka.

Staka is a roux which explains why it very easily can break and curdle. Staka is eaten only in Krete I believe. It begins with fresh unpasteurized goat milk. The goat milk is placed on the stove top and heated gently without stirring. Eventually a film forms on the top, remove and place on a jar. Repeat this procedure everyday with fresh milk and keep placing that in the jar until you collect at least half a jar of this stuff. Then put it out in the sun for 3-5 days until it melts and curdles. This can then be made into staka by placing in a pan and melting slowly, adding flour and milk until it forms a roux with a porridge like consistency. The roux will begin to split. At this time collect the melted clarified fat and place in a jar. This is called stakovoutiro or staka butter. Excellent for tossing in noodles or eggs. The butter is also used in the traditional kretan wedding rice pilaf, made with the broth of an old boiled goat.

The roux itself can be served as a dip, side dish or even scrambled with eggs. It is an acquired taste lol. Too bad I ruined 2 batches of it lol.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #21 of 26

KK

I had a foodgasm when i saw those sardines from the food festival picture. 

I started salivating...

 

I think i looked more at the food then anything else lol.... 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #22 of 26

Thank you  for this beautiful culinary travelogue, Koukou'!

 

Takes me back to our two, three-week vacation tours in Greece, including a week on Crete. They were conducted by a college professor of Greek extraction who spoke it like a native, and had been doing these groups for years. He had a roster of places to visit, lodge, and eat - many wonderful small mom-and-pop tavernas  where we ate inexpensively but very well: no steam tables.  We acquired a love of Greek food and ever since that first trip, we have bought our olive oil - usually Kalamata - by the gallon.

 

One of the funniest aspects, repeated over and over, happened when our group entered any museum or tourist attraction.  Our professor would just start showing and explaining the place when a resident guide would rush up and tell him to stop - only government-licensed guides were allowed to show the place (and earn the customary fee.) The prof would then unsnap a leather pouch on his belt and slowly unfold a huge piece of parchment, larger and more impressive  than my college diploma, which was his official guide's license. We saw a lot of disappointed guides on both trips.

 

We were told back then that during the summer season, there were more tourists than Greeks in Greece. Is this still true? This was, of course, before the colonels or the fiscal problems.   Also that the word Greek does not exist in the Greek language - where English uses "Greek"  it is "Hellene." to the natives; not Greece but Hellas.

 

Love it, whatever ya call it.

 

Mike

travelling gourmand
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post #23 of 26

I agree about the sardines!

Sometimes my dad would bring some home for he and I to share.

He would start a fire under a small grill he save for his "delicacies" lol.

We would eat them along with oysters (halfshell and warmed on grill)nand his homemade toasted sourdough bread (sliced very thin).

What a feast!

If I can ever get over my fear of flying over water Greece will be high on my list of places to savor.

Thanks for sharing!

 

mimi

post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Speaking of little fish, here are some smelts washed and ready to be dredged and fried. They're eaten whole, head to tail. Popcorn fish hehe.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Speaking of little fish, here are some smelts washed and ready to be dredged and fried. They're eaten whole, head to tail. Popcorn fish hehe.

This excites me koukou!

When we are wading thru the water and come across those the trout are not far behind.!

Will be tossing a few quarts in the cooler next time we fish the bay!

Just SP and olive oil?

 

mimi

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Just salt and dredged lightly through flour, fried in olive oil.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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