Thursday, May 15, 2008
The summer following my junior year of college, I took the trip of a lifetime and traveled all through Europe with 3 friends. We were gone for 3 1/2 weeks, stayed in youth hostels, and traveled by Eurail with about all we owned on our backs.
We toured Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Greece. We visited the Anne Frank House, climbed the hill to the castle Neuschwanstein, took a cruise down the Rhine River, saw The Vatican, and Michelangelo's David. We even took the touristy yet beautiful Sound of Music Tour in Salzburg. In Heidelberg, Germany is where I first experienced Marzipan (covered in chocolate) and it remains one of my favorite confections - so much so that I named my blog after the yummy sweetened almond paste!
By the time we got to Greece (our last stop before returning home), we were "all toured out" and exhausted. All we wanted to do was relax on the beach, never mind that we were blocks away from the ruins of The Parthenon. I have barely any pictures from Greece in my photo album, but the memories that stay in my mind from Athens have to do with the food. In Greece, I tasted the most delicious Greek food. In particular, I remember the rice pudding and the greatest Greek Salad I have ever tasted. It could be that it was in Europe that my love affair with food started. I have yet to find the recipe for rice pudding that takes me back there (I'm still searching), but I have found a terrific recipe for Greek Salad. (I only omit the green peppers). I made it the other night with chicken I had marinated briefly in some of the dressing and grilled. εύγευστος! (Delicious!)
From Food Network Kitchens
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Greek
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 head romaine lettuce (about 1 pound), trimmed of tough stems and torn into bite-sized pieces
6 ounces calamata olives, about 1 cup
1/2 pound Feta cheese, crumbled
1 English (seedless) cucumber, trimmed, cut into 1 inch chunks
12 ounces vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes and drained
1 green pepper, trimmed, seeded, and diced
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and oil. Stir in the oregano and pepper to taste. Set aside.
When ready to serve: In a large bowl lightly toss the lettuce with some of the dressing. Divide the lettuce among 4 salad bowls. Scatter the olives, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, and peppers over the top of the greens. Serve and pass the remaining dressing at the table.