Thursday, January 21, 2016

Opa! It's Greek Night

Greek food is one of those 'ethnic food' categories that I feel goes under-appreciated. I'm not sure how Greek food procured a reputation as 'bland' and 'all the same flavor' (I've heard it multiple times....), but I can assure you that that is certainly NOT the case.

I love Greek recipes because there's a huge focus on  using fresh, bright flavors in combination to create something delectable. And if you're a citrus lover? THIS is your cuisine!

So what's in the bento up above?

First up: Spanakorizo, a delightful way to get your veggies in. Onions, spinach and rice are simmered together with a bit of dill and lemon juice for a truly addicting side.


  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 4 TB fresh dill, minced and divided in half
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 pound baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Feta
Heat olive oil over medium/high heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add in garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add cumin, lemon zest and spinach. Cover pan and cook until spinach has wilted. Add in chicken broth, rice, 1/2 of the dill and bring to a boil. (Note: before boiling, you could transfer everything into a rice cooker and cook according to directions) Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 15-20 minutes. Stir in remaining dill and lemon juice, and add in crumbles of feta cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt/pepper if desired.

Next: Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki. The marinade for this chicken smells so good- marinate shoe leather in this stuff and I'm sure it would turn out. Whip up plenty of minty-cool tzatziki for dipping (or schmeering on a pita!) and you're in for a tasty main dish.


  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano (or 1 TB fresh)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1" chunks 
Whisk all ingredients together. Add marinade to a large ziploc bag (or bowl), add chicken, toss, and rest in fridge for several hours, ideally overnight. 

Remove chicken from marinade, pat dry and cook as desired. Grilling is recommended (skewer and grill 8-10 minutes), but oven-baking is also acceptable (lay on a pan and broil until chicken is done, timing will vary based on oven and rack position)


  • 6 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 smallish cucumber, peeled and grated (use large grater holes)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon (adding more to taste if desired)
  • 1 TB fresh mint, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced fine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, adding in more seasoning until you're happy. Allow to rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes so flavors can meld.

Finally: Greek Honey Cake. I just need to take a minute here and tell you how unique this cake is. It really is unlike anything I've ever had. The texture is almost like cornbread, and despite nearly drowning the pan in an addicting honey syrup, the cake maintains it's structure.


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and orange zest. Set aside.

Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. 

Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and milk to sugar mixture, scraping down the bowl as needed. 

Pour batter into pan and bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan. 

While the cake is cooling, prepare the syrup. In a large saucepan, add 1 cup honey and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add in 1 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp orange juice- cook another 2-3 minutes. Pour over the top of the cake.

Let the syrup soak into the cake for 30 minutes-1 hour. Enjoy! 

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