Friday, November 24, 2006

Greeks and Turkey in the Kitchen

Having just celebrated the American feast of Thanksgiving, it is almost difficult to write about food and flavors... almost, but not quite! Just as I put the oregano aside for one meal and picked up the cranberries and pumpkin, I was excited to see that the CBS Early Show chose to highlight a Greek twist to Thanksgiving this year.

(This is amusing as I spent Thanksgiving morning discussing with friends the Greek-American tradition of adding lamb, lemon potatoes and pites of all sorts to the holiday's traditional table.)

With that, CBS Early Show host Harry Smith was joined by executive chef and restaurant-owner, Jim Botsakos, to showcase "our" approach to Thanksgiving and preview the dishes being served at Botsakos' Manhattan restaurant,
Molyvos. As most of you may have expected, this included free-flowing olive oil, lemon, oregano and other tasty herbs that we rely on in the Greek kitchen to add a fresh, savory kick.
For the Greek foodies, here are few other hints chef Botsakos shared:

- Replacing sugar with mavrodaphne in glyko tou koutaliou as an alternative to cranberry sauce

- Using mavrodaphne with traditional glaze preparations for sweet potatoes

- Arranging phyllo sheets in ramekin dishes for individual xortopitakia (this would also be a great idea for kleftiko)

- Replacing sour cream with whipped
Greek yogurt as garnish for thicker soups, chili or mashed potatoes

Specific recipes, along with the videos of all three segments (side dishes, entree and dessert) are still available on the show's

P.S. Stay tuned for more news about chef Jim Botsakos.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Greek Gift Guide... for the Paidakia

While Narnia may have been hot last Christmas, I propose that this year's delight will actually be "Loukoumi"... and this little lamb has nothing but important lessons to share.

"Loukoumi", and the follow-up "Growing Up with Loukoumi", chronicle universal life-lessons learned by Loukoumi, the cute little lamb and the friends she makes along the way, including Fistiki the cat, Marika the monkey, Dean the dog and Gus the bear. While the Greek-theme is certainly evident (Loukoumi ponders her most important questions under the olive tree after all!), the emphasis placed on goals, hard-work, friends and listening to elders are quintessential lessons for every child.

The books themselves are playfully illustrated and "Growing Up with Loukoumi" is even accompanied by a narrated CD version featuring Alexis Christoforous, Olympia Dukakis, Frank Dicopoulos, Gloria Gaynor and Constantine Maroulis. There is even a Greek version of the first book, which Anna Vissi is slated to narrate in the near future. But all of those famous voices are not the best part... you can also get a plush version of Loukoumi for your favorite mikro or mikroula! (This last part was the big hit for me... soooo soft!)

And by the way, I am not the only fan... I hear that CSI:NY star Melina Kanakaredes was one of Loukoumi's first fans!

Click here to find out more about Loukoumi, the ongoing book tour and how to place your order. Transactions are conducted via PayPal and shipping takes about a week (although I would allow plenty of time to allow for the holiday rush).

P.S. Don't be shy.... please share your thoughts and experiences with Loukoumi.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Get Tuned In

A thriving availability of media is one of the keys to awareness, education and celebration of culture. With our busy schedules and diverse priorities, we depend on media from different mediums to keep us looped to the matters we deem important.

If you are reading this, I hope that "Greekness" is one of the matters that you choose to keep top of mind. While on the web, I am elated that this is one of the places you find information and hope that you choose to stop by a few of the links I have provided to broaden your access to "Greekness".

With Thanksgiving approaching, I am taking this quick opportunity to express my gratitude that these resources exist thanks to the efforts of countless individuals that support them either by consumption, volunteerism or financial support.

Speaking of financial support, if you are a fan of "traditional" Greek radio, you can help ensure that the Greek voice of Cosmos-FM stays on the airwaves of NY public radio (91.5 FM) by taking part in the station's seasonal fund drive. If you are more of a web-radio fan, remember that Greece365 has multiple advertising slots available, as well as upcoming social events that help fund the station.

Stay tuned to both stations and "Under The Olive Tree" for information about some of the festive functions we have to look forward to for the remainder of 2006 and into 2007. Kales giortes!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Never underestimate

On this, this 33rd anniversary of the student sit-in at "Polytechnio", it is most important to commemorate and harness the spirit that those brave young people embodied.

Just as it seemed that nothing anybody did could change the current reality, that the best thing for the country was being undermined and that previous efforts had only served to demonstrate hopelessness, a relatively small, but passionate and determined group of young and progressive Greeks managed to take a stand that toppled the status quo and began to bring an entire (troubled) country into a more promising light.

No idea is too big and no action is too small.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Greek Gift Guide - Coming Soon!!!

Come back soon for the special GreekGiftGuide just in time for the holidays (including time for shipping!)

Stay tuned for holiday gift ideas for mama, baba, giagia, pappou, mora, crazy thia and lazy theo too!



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