I've been dreaming a lot about Greece lately. The pandemic upended all my travel plans, like my summer visit to my mom or our traditional big family Christmas visit. Traveling just didn't happen this year, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything will work out for a summer visit. Dreaming of Greece made me dream a lot about summer (as I'm sure everyone else caught in these last winter storms has!) and recently I decided to whip up a really typical summer meal - Greek salad, tzatziki dip and souvlaki - all with a little help from our latest Sparoza arrivals.
When Sparoza's founder, Efi Ekmetzoglou, first told me about her newest creations, I was a little nervous, because for the first time since I'd started Zelos, I wasn't able to try a new product before bringing it to the States (yet another consequence of the pandemic). Still, I was a big fan of all of the other Sparoza products Efi crafted herself, and I knew that she had a real knack for coming up with unique blends, so I took the chance. Am I glad I did! These Greek Cuisine Classics are just perfect for anyone new to Greek cooking, or for those times when you're feeling nostalgic but a bit lazy, like I've been lately. I used all three - the Greek Farmer's Salad Mix, Greek Granny's Tzatziki Mix, and Greek Shepherd's Souvlaki & BBQ Mix - and in no time, I had a lunch that reminded us of our favorite Thessaloniki taverna! You can scroll down for the recipes Efi has put on the conveniently stackable tubs and for another surprisingly flavorful lunch idea that I "accidentally" made for my husband last week, using the Greek Shepard's mix.
For our zealous fans that might be wondering how these Greek Cuisine Classics differ from Sparoza's Cooking Blends, my friend, Pauline, tells me that the Greek Cuisine Classics are perfect for her, lazy cook that she calls herself (!), whereas the Cooking Blends are for her husband, who's the real creative cook in their kitchen. Personally, I like to think of the Cooking Blends as an artist's palette - really intense, bold, concentrated flavors that I love to play with in the kitchen. The Greek Cuisine Classics, though, were unbeatable as super-convenient mixes that give you a really authentic Greek flavor time after time.
Greek Souvlaki, those small chunks of meat (and/or vegetables) barbecued on a skewer and often wrapped in pita bread, is the most popular Greek street food.
To make some at home, you’ll need meat (pork, beef or chicken in 3 cm chunks), olive oil, fresh lemon juice and Greek Shepherd’s Mix. For a marinade combine 1 tbsp mix and 2 tbsp olive oil. Rub the spice mix on the meat just before grilling or barbecuing and enjoy a Greek souvlaki at its best!
I also made a fantastic chicken lunch last week that you have to try! I had sprinkled some of the mix on boneless chicken thighs and was about to cook them when something unexpected came up and I had to step away from the kitchen. An hour later, when I got back, I cooked up the chicken in a non-stick pan (didn't even add olive oil), and the result was just amazing, so juicy and flavorful! I want to try making veggie chips or baking chickpeas with this BBQ Mix for a healthy snack...but that's for another blog!
Tzatziki is a fresh yogurt dip that is traditionally served as part of a Greek meze plate or as a side for meat dishes and barbecue. To prepare an authentic and delicious Greek tzatziki, blend a bowl (200g) of strained yogurt, 1/2 (half) cup of grated and well-strained cucumber, 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, a few drops of lemon juice, and one tsp of Greek Granny’s Tzatziki Mix. Mix well, refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving and enjoy a Greek tzatziki at its best!
The traditional Greek salad, or as it’s called in Greek, “horiatiki”, is a delicious, fresh and nutritious dish. This mix will help you reproduce the Greek salad from your sunny holidays in a matter of minutes - all you need are ripe tomatoes in wedges, sliced cucumber and feta cheese. Other key ingredients like onion and peppers are already included in Sparoza's Greek Farmer’s Mix! Sprinkle generously, drizzle with olive oil and enjoy a Greek salad at its best.
I admit to having added some lettuce in mine, which is a no-no in true horiatiki. But since we're in the depths of winter and really good tomatoes are hard to find, I went for it - Efi's cooking mix gave it just the right flavor and fragrance of a real Greek salad! I also used this mix in my traditional meatballs and the flavor was fantastic!
Let us know how you enjoy these new Sparoza treats - we'd love to share your pictures on our next blogs!
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In this blog, we want to share with you stories of people and places and things that reflect zēlos, that Greek energy and enthusiasm that characterizes all we do. We hope you enjoy finding out more about this small, resilient, fascinating country and all it offers and inspires.
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