6 November 2007

Greek Rice-Yammas!!!!!

My mind is wandering once again to warm climates and beautiful azure seas. Just a few more moments of reflection before I willingly move into comfort foods, warm blankets and woolly socks.

Greek food has always been a passion of mine. Until last Spring I had only been accustomed to foods in the Greek-style and not necessarily how the Greeks themselves would eat day to day. When visiting Greece a lot of the dishes available were totally unfamiliar to me with ingredients not readily available here in my part of Canada. I have been to every Greek restaurant within a 100 km radius and they all serve the same dishes such as spanakopita, souvlakia, saganaki, marinated octopus and moussaka. They also serve all dishes with Greek rice and potatoes and a Greek salad with a sprinkling of grated feta cheese on top. I love them all!!!!



When in Greece the cuisine is so much more than that!!! In Athens I had Skordalia me Kapari (Caper Potato-Garlic Dip); in the Zagoria Tiganopita me Feta (Feta Cheese Pancake), on Santorini Domatokeftedes (Tomato Patties); on Kea Kolokithanthi Gemesti (Fried Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Feta & Mint), and on Naxos Garides Saganaki (Shrimp Baked in Tomato Sauce with Feta). The list goes on forever...but you get my point. These dishes are like nothing we have on the menu at our Canadian-ized versions of Greek restaurants.

There are other ways to eat as well rather than 3 meals a day. Who knew? Commonly in Greek tavernas they serve mezes or small plates of food. You order several small plates to make a larger meal. Meze's is usually translated from Greek to English as "appetizer's", but this translation does not do justice to the fundamental role mezes play in Greek tradition. Zorbas the Greek sums up the essence of mezes the best, "On the coast I felt for the first time what a pleasant thing it could be to have a meal. We started eating and drinking, the conversation became animated. I at last realized that eating was a spiritual function and the meat, bread, and wine were the raw materials from which the soul is made....". When sitting down to a large table of friends and family this can be said of any culture and it's cuisine and traditions.

Mezes capture the zest of life, gathering of family and friends, and the simple appreciation of delicious food and wine. This rice dish is made in the Greek-style using Greek flavourings and ingredients and could be a dish they serve at a meze table...at least my table. It is not considered what I would call typical Greek food. But then what is really. With the introduction of many different flavour combinations and international cuisine Peter at Kalofagas- Pursuit of Delicious Foods states that Greek food can be considered whatever is made by a Greek cook. He is a Greek living in Canada so he should know!! I love that philosphy because then I can imagine that I come from a long line of wonderful Greek cooks making spanakopita, pastitsio, moussaka, saganaki...all the traditional Greek foods. In reality I am not of Greek descent. Nevertheless, I love this rice and have many requests for the recipe. I urge you to try it!!!!

Photo is taken in the town of Oia on the island of Santorini in Greece overlooking the azure Agean Sea. I am reposting this recipe because I prepared this dish today. I was feeling nostalgic.
Yammas!!!!


**Greek Rice**

1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cups diced onions
8 oz sliced mushrooms, optional
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 generous T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp minced fresh oregano
1 package frozen, thawed, chopped spinach, drained and squeezed to eliminate excess moisture
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 T dry sherry, optional
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled ( I use more!!)

Combine chicken broth and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Add rice, cover and reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.

Meanwhile, over medium heat in a pan saute onion in butter and olive oil. Saute 5 - 7 minutes. Add mushrooms, if using, spinach and garlic and saute for 1 minute more. Add to rice in saucepan. Sprinkle with pepper. Add lemon juice, oregano and sherry, if using, and continue to cook 3 more minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

Add the crumbled feta cheese and toss until the cheese begins to melt.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips

16 comments:

  1. The rice sounds really tasty. I have been introduced to a lot of Greek recipes this summer and I have really been enjoying them.

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  2. Valli, all this Greek talk and Greek food makes me want to jump on a plane to Greece. :-)

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  3. This rice dish sounds like comefort food.

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  4. Ahhh, I wish I was bathing in the sun there...
    The Greek rice is defintely something I would eat. I love grains and pasta mixed with vegetables...no meat necessary!

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  5. mmmm! add some chipotle and it would be perfect...
    HA! not really. But you know, I do a version of this, Greek Spinach Rice and I read that the addition of the spinach actually increased the protein in the dish...very cool, huh?

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  6. I love rice just about any which way so this is a dish right up my alley! I'd use extra Feta also, I love it!

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  7. Valli I featured you and a couple of others at Baking Delights this mornign..check it out..
    http://www.bakingdelights.com/2007/09/10/delicious-dessertsfrom-the-blog-roll/

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  8. I am visiting Greece thru your blog Val, keep up the nice work. I do not mean to sound like a broken record, but I so enjoy your photos of Greece. The rice sounds good and I like these types of dishes to serve at lunch time. I will certainly try this one!

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  9. I also have an affinity for any tupe of mediterranean cuisine. I have yet to find a "homerun" greek rice recipe. I've managed to perfect my greek potatoes, my greek salad, my souvlaki, and my moussaka... maybe now I should turn my attention to the rice!

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  10. What a beautiful photo, Valli...the more I read your blog, the more I get your love of Greece...its really a stunning part of the world. I'm going to Ireland in the spring, but Greece is sounding like a great idea in the future. :-) And the rice sounds delicious...I am crazy about rice!

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  11. Anyone that wants to head to Greece right now, I highly recommend it!!! I always add extra feta to mine as well Andy!!!!

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  12. Yes, I want to go to Greece now! :)
    I always wanted but now it is more than ever on my mind...

    Yes, please check out those websites and nominate someone, or nominate someone else... I'm looking forward to see whose photography is inspiring you :)

    Greetings, Margot

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  13. Love mezes. And that rice looks yummy. Have a good day.

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  14. I love Greek food too, there's actually some fantastic Greek restaurants in the city of Chicago.
    But you definately won't get the scenery!!

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  15. OMG Valli, skordalia is my hubby's favorite appetizer! We also found that using instant (I know, I know) mashed potatoes worked just as well if you are in a hurry. But the addition of capers is great! I am the caper freak of the family and you bet I will be adding them to our next batch:)

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  16. I am a caper freak as well Deb! I will have to post the recipe for Skordalia with Capers soon!

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Welcome to my home. Thank you so much for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your comments, suggestions, daily encouragement and support.

Val

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