Greek Recipes: Shrimp Saganaki

Shrimp Saganaki

Shrimp Saganaki

The Shrimp Saganaki recipe from Food & Wine Magazine’s March 2009 issue is pretty much what started my obsession with wanting to cook a lot while we are in Taiwan.  It looked absolutely mouth-watering and the ingredients seemed easy to get here and from there, we decided to do a themed week of cooking – all Greek recipes. 

Grocery shopping for the shrimp out here was a little interesting though.  Seems as though most shrimp in the stores are sold with their heads still attached – not really what I was looking for!  We finally found some small shrimp, but nothing already deveined.  Weeks later, we discovered Costco is finally carrying the larger deveined shrimp, both with or without tails.  Too bad our freezer is not any bigger! LOL. 

Anyways, we finally had all the ingredients to make this – including the Kalamata olives we hunted all over Taipei for!  I was excited to make it.  Although the shrimp I had to use were about 1/2 the size called for in the recipe, I just doubled the amount of shrimp and this dish was incredible. 

Ingredients

  1. 2 tablespoons each of extra-virgin olive oil and canola oil
  2. 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  3. 6 plum tomatoes (1 1/4 pounds), coarsely chopped
  4. Salt
  5. Crushed red pepper
  6. 1 1/2 pounds shelled and deveined large shrimp, halved lengthwise
  7. 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  8. 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  9. 3 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  10. Crusty bread, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and crushed red pepper and cook until softened, crushing them with the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and olives and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the dill and half of the feta and cook just until the feta is hot, about 1 minute. Transfer to shallow bowls, sprinkle with the remaining feta and serve with crusty bread.

Servings: 4

Spanakorizo

Spanakorizo

To serve with the shrimp, I made something that is probably one of my favorite side dishes of all time now.  It is called Spanakorizo, basically a spinach and rice recipe.  I found a particular one of interest on Allrecipes (of course).  The original recipe calls for fresh spinach but I could not find any here so I used canned spinach instead.  One of the things I love most about Allrecipes is the list of reviews and ratings that follow – I try to read all the suggestions and input from the people who’ve made it.  It really does help – some people have found to reduce this or that, to add more of this, or to completely spin off and do something different with the recipe. 

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh spinach, rinsed and stemmed
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup uncooked white rice

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions in the oil until soft and translucent. Add spinach, and cook stirring for a few minutes, then pour in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil, and season with parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Stir in rice, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is tender. Add more water if necessary.
 

 

 

Dinner with Pinot Grigio

Dinner with Pinot Grigio

Servings: 4

 

 

 

 

Wine Pairing:  2008 Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio

 

Food & Wine Magazine had some great Greek wines to pair with their dishes but we couldn’t find anything over here so we tried to improvise the best we could. 

They mentioned a grapefruit scented wine so I opted for a fruity Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita since it was readily available here. 

Ironically, the wine is less expensive here in Taiwan than I have seen it in the US for. 

 

 

 

 

Greek Recipes: Bifteki Leftovers!

Leftover Bifteki and Greek Potatoes

Leftover Bifteki and Greek Potatoes

It was Friday night and Brett had another late night at work.  We decided to make it an easy night and just do leftovers since we had some ground pork left over.  We had some sourdough bread and decided to make actual burgers with the bifteki.  We just used a George Foreman type grill we bought here and toasted the bread slightly.  Sliced some cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and more Feta cheese on top.  Add some more Greek style potatoes on the side and we were good to go.   Such a simple idea and it was a great really way to use up some leftover ingredients. 

Leftovers and a nice Rose

Leftovers and a nice Rose

Wine Pairing: Les Petites Caves Cotes de Provence Rose

Greek Recipes: Kalamata Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary

Kalamata Pork Tenderloin and Greek Potato Stew

Kalamata Pork Tenderloin and Greek Potato Stew

We still had not found Kalamata olives here in Taiwan so we opted to try this recipe without any olives, for fear the ones we did have would completely ruin the dish.  Pulled from Allrecipes, I found this to be an excellent choice.  I am sure it would be heavenly with the Kalamata olives added.  The recipe calls for a dry red wine and I used the Mourvedre that we would be drinking with the meal.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin medallions
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/8 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemon zest

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pound the meat to 1/4 inch thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge pork in flour to coat.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork in olive oil until browned, turning once. Transfer meat to a warmed plate.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, and add rosemary and garlic to the pan. Pour in wine, and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid is thick. Pour in chicken stock, and boil until volume is reduced by half. Stir in olives and lemon zest. Pour sauce over the meat, and serve.

Servings: 4

 

Close up of Potato Stew & Pork

Close up of Potato Stew & Pork

 

To serve with the dish, we had a Greek Potato Stew that also came from Allrecipes.  This dish also called for Kalamata olives so I did use the green Spanish olives but only a very little amount.  Sadly, mine came out more like a stew than it should have as I had dinner ready but Brett got stuck at a late evening meal, so I had to try and keep the food warm which didn’t work so great.  Although it was a bit mushy, it still tasted great! :-)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup whole, pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and stir. Stir in the garlic. Add the olives and cook and stir for several minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, and oregano.
  2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Servings: 6

Wine Pairing: 2004 Lava Cap Mourvedre Reserve

 

 

 

Pork Tenderloin, Potato Stew, Greek Salad & a Mourvedre

Pork Tenderloin, Potato Stew, Greek Salad & a Mourvedre

 

 

Greek Recipes: Bifteki, Greek Potatoes, and a Greek Salad

The first recipe I used for the week came from Allrecipes.  It is a recipe for Greek Bifteki, which is basically a Greek hamburger. You use yogurt when mixing the burgers and the patties are stuffed with chunks of Feta Cheese.

It’s a pretty simple recipe and it came out incredibly tender.  We added chopped onions and garlic to our patties while mixing as we really love onions and garlic both.

Bifteki & Greek Style Potatoes

Bifteki & Greek Style Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces feta cheese

Directions

  • Preheat grill for indirect heat.
  • In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, yogurt, thyme, and salt and pepper. Form meat into 8 patties, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter.
  • Cut the cheese into 4 slices. Place one cheese slice between two patties, and seal the edges. Repeat with remaining beef patties and cheese slices. Set bifteki aside.
  • Brush grate with oil, and arrange bifteki on hot grate. Cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and cheese is melted.

Servings: 4

For a side dish, I used another recipe for Greek Style Potatoes.  Not having a huge selection of potatoes at the stores here, I went for the small mixed color potatoes, which were fine and added some nice visual appeal to the plate.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 potatoes, peeled and quartered

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a small bowl, mix olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, bouillon cubes and pepper.
  • Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of a medium baking dish. Pour the olive oil mixture over the potatoes. Cover, and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the preheated oven, turning occasionally, until tender but firm.

Servings: 4

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

To go with it, I made a regular Greek salad, using the best tomatoes I could find here, red onions, more Feta, olives (couldn’t find Kalamata at the time), cucumber, and just an oil & vinegar dressing.  I love Greek salad and could probably just eat that for a meal!

Wine pairing:  2004 Monmousseau Rose D’Anjou

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