I don't know if all of you are signed up for our newsletter, but those of you who are may have seen last week's "An Ode to Greece" message. For those who didn't, here's an excerpt:

Greece is causing a global economic crisis. Boooh. On the Upside, There's Spanakopita.

While everyone, (including Ford, Tiffany's and Kraft Foods) is hating on Greece for causing a European economic crisis that is starting to affect the U.S. economy, we feel we should celebrate Greece's triumphs. Wikipedia reminds us, after all, that Greece is the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, and the Olympic Games (coming up!). The Greeks were (are?) donners of togas, imbibers of wine, drivers of chariots, believers in polytheism! But above all this, the Greeks have brought us Greek salad, mezze platters, and the Mediterrranean Diet. The Greeks may not have a handle on their finances, but when it comes to the kitchen, they know what's cooking.

Let's lend a hand to our Grecian brothers and sisters in this time of strife (but let's not lend too much else!...) and celebrate their cuisine. Here are some Mediterranean inspired recipes from our collection to help you remember what's great about this region.

Drafting this email really got me into the Mediterranean spirit, and last night, while the mister-to-be and I made one of our infrequent pilgrimages to Mecca (read: Whole Foods), I suggested we make kebabs for dinner. It was already 8pm, and kebabs were a quick-fix option that I hadn't made in a while. Turned out to be the perfect choice.

Given the late hour, we decided to take some short cuts. We bought pre-made tabouleh at $5 and were ready to buy pre-made tzatziki until we saw the price tag: $7.50! No way, jose. I took a look at the ingredients, which I had most of at home, picked up some dill and cucumber, and for under $3, made homemade, delicious tzatziki. You've really got to watch your wallet at Whole Foods, man. Most produce is a good value there, but the cheeses, meats and premade foods will get you!

We got back from the store with our over-priced ingredients, and went to work. The mister-to-be minced everything up while I took my second shower of the day (seemed to have been attacked by ants in the parking lot...ick). Post-shower, I whipped up the tzatiki, added spices to the lamb mixture, and soon enough we had a fantastic dinner on hand. Here are the recipes:

Lamb Kebabs (Serves 4)

  • 1 package of ground lamb (just over 1 lb)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced finely
  • 3/4 bunch of flat leaf parsley, minced finely
  • garlic powder (a lot)
  • ground cumin (a lot)
  • paprika (a fair amount)
  • cayenne powder (a fair amount)
  • approx 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-2 dashes ground cinammon

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. When I say "a lot" above for the spices, I mean a lot. Sorry that I don't have measurements, but there are probably at least 1.5ish tbsp of garlic powder in there (maybe more?!) and at least 1 tbsp cumin. I just gave each shaker a couple shakes -- I'd estimate 4-5 shakes of the garlic and cumin powder (mine pour pretty heavy, so it's really a lot of spice!), 2-3 shakes of the paprika and cayenne (depending on your tolerance for heat), and 1-2 shakes of the cinnamon. Combine all ingredients together by hand until evenly distributed. Form round or oval shaped meatballs and place on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until meat juices are flowing out and meat is cooked through (should be brown, no pink).

Homemade Tzatziki (Serves 4)

  • 4 large spoons of Greek yogurt
  • approx 1/8 cup heavy cream
  • milk
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 large handful of dill, minced
Put yogurt in a small bowl, and add a little bit of heavy cream and a time and stir until you get a smooth consistency. Then add just a touch of milk. You should have a smooth, light consistency, but not liquid. Add remaining ingredients, stir and refrigerate until ready to serve.

*In case it's not clear, the measurements above are rough approximations. Sorry! Use your judgment -- it'll turn out just fine :)

*I served the kebabs as gyro sandwiches. To do this, lightly toast pita bread, halve them, and fill each half with tabouleh, kebabs and tzatiki. Enjoy!!