Friday, July 11, 2014

Lemony Grilled Chicken {Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna} ~ #GreekSummer {It's All Greek To Me}

This post is part of Take a "trip" to Greece this summer with Debbie Matenopolous sponsored by Bella Books, Inc.
All opinions are my own - This post contains Amazon Affiliate links

I was so excited when It's All Greek To Me by Debbie Matenopoulos arrived at my doorstep earlier this month as Greek food is one of my favorite foods but I have never tried it at home.  Since Greek food is not found as easily in Portland as it is found in Germany it has been way too long.  So needless to say I was beyond happy to review a book on Greek cuisine.

What do you think of when you think of Greek food? Let me tell you what comes to my mind is fragrant, perfectly grilled meats with light sauces, rice, cucumbers, tomatoes, lemons, and of course olives as well as olive oil.  I think of Retsina, white houses, geraniums, blue skies, and blue water - something I remember from my one visit to the Greek island of Rhodes over 20 years ago.  So yes,  you can say that I had a lot of expectation for It's All Greek To Me; did it deliver?  Well, you can say so it exceeded my expectations…

From it's beautiful cover to its beautiful photos descriptive recipes and eloquent introductions to Greek food and culture cook book lives up fully to its expectation.  It  takes the reader on a virtual trip through Greece; the pictures along with the beautifully written introductions to each section of the book take the reader on a "trip" through Greece.  It certainly was the perfect medicine for this homesick European.

It contains useful cooking tips and a great glossary of The Greek Pantry explaining everything from bread crumbs to the vinegar used in Greek cuisine.  One point I particular liked was the special note on vegan "butter" and learning that some of the sweets can also be easily recreated by using it.  This is - as may come as no surprise to you - a big win for me.

The cookbook contains everything from Appetizers - Mezzethes to Main Dishes both vegetarian and meat based to Sweet Pastries - Glyka.  The recipes are beautifully written, easy to follow and the bulk of them are adaptable to a dairy free kitchen {triple yay for that}; I for one am super excited to learn there is a dairy free alternative to Tazatziki which Skorthalia pg. 81 let me tell you I had no idea….

The recipes both sounds amazing and intriguing; Horta - Dandelion Greens Salad, Pligouri Salata - Bulgur Wheat Salad, Domlmathes Gyalantzi - Stuffed Grape Leaves, Faki - Greek Lentil Soup, Tahinosoupa, Tahini Soup…so far a couple of recipes have been recreated in my kitchen but the list is super long; way too long to list here :)  So far we have enjoyed Aunt Aphfroditie's Beet and Apple  Salad page 108 which was just amazing {I used vegan sour cream instead to make it dairy free} and also Pilafi - Rice Pilaf with Carrots and Parsley page 230 along with Latholemono - Lemon-Olive Oil Dressing page75 and the most amazingly moist delicious Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna - Lemony Grilled Chicken.  Now, it is confession time once again…but I am usually not the biggest fan of white chicken meat as it tends to be too dry for me however this recipe?!  It is just amazing, moist, lemony and full of flavor.  Take a look

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Lemonati Kota sta Karvouna (leh-moh-NAH-tee KOH-tah stah KAR-voo-nah)
Lemony Grilled Chicken (page 201)

I have found that simple food with great flavor is often the most satisfying, healthy, and easy to prepare. This fast and fantastic chicken recipe is packed with flavor and can be doubled or tripled easily for a big crowd. Serve this chicken with Summer Peach Salsa for a great summer lunch or light dinner. You can make the salsa and start to marinate the chicken right before you leave for work in the morning. Then, when you come home, just toss the chicken on the grill, and you can have a healthy dinner on the table in about 20 minutes.

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about
2 lemons)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
5 scallions, soft green parts reserved, thinly sliced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups loosely packed mixed greens or baby spinach
1 recipe Summer Peach Salsa (page 83) or Latholemono (page 73)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and the white parts of the scallions. Set aside.

Rinse the chicken under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and season on both sides with the salt and pepper. Put the chicken into a large Ziploc bag and pour in the lemon juice mixture. Squeeze out as much air as possible, seal the bag, and shake to coat chicken in the marinade. Refrigerate on a large plate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Flip the bag over at least once so that the chicken marinates evenly.

Prepare a very hot grill or set a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the grill or grill pan with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from the grill and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, evenly distribute the greens among 4 plates. Slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch diagonal slices and fan the slices over the greens. Spoon the Summer Peach Salsa or Latholemono over the top of the chicken. Garnish with the reserved green parts of the scallions. This chicken is also delicious served with Tzatziki (page 76).

Here is the nitty gritty brief review

It's All Greek to Me by Debbie Matenopoulos
Publisher BenBella Books, Inc., 2014
Hardcover, 303 pages ~ $29.95

Cuisine:                        Greek
Difficulty of recipes:    Mostly easy
Easily adaptable:          YES, the bulk of recipes can be adapted to a dairy free 
                                     and galactosemic diet
Pro:                              Great recipes for every day life that are easy to follow; the portions are
                                     generously calculated.  The pictures of Greece and the food photography
                                     a like are amazing.

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