Now On To The Party!
Now On To The Party!
Mocha is one of my favorite flavors. Coffee and chocolate blend so well together in desserts. I make so many chocolate based cakes that add coffee so I decided to switch it up for this month’s Recipe ReDux challenge: Show us how you like to cook, bake or mix-it-up with spirits, extracts and other alcohols.
I used 3 spirited items: coffee liqueur, chocolate liqueur and pure vanilla extract.
Looking at the recipe you must be saying, how can those cakes be considered healthier eating? I look at it as first, everything in moderation. One of the best solutions to stop yourself from binge eating is to allow yourself a little treat once in a while. Also seek out butter produced from grass-fed cows. This butter contains higher amounts of Vitamin K. Some studies show that butter is actually better for you than processed margarine. Butter contains many nutrients that protect against heart disease including vitamins A, D, K2, and E, lecithin, iodine and selenium. Nutrients obtained from fatty acids are more readily absorbed by the body.
If you are concerned about your saturated fat intake, here’s the breakdown. One cupcake with the frosting is 172 calories, 5.1 total fat of which 2.84 grams is saturated fat. Without the frosting, 134 calories 12 calories from fat of which .41 is saturated fat. These cakes are delicious either way!
Greek cooking uses all those healthful Mediterranean ingredients that I love. Combine briny olives, salty Feta, juicy tomatoes in an array of satisfying meals and I’m in heaven. As good as that sounds I know there is much more to Greek cuisine.
That’s why I was so happy to be chosen for Debbie Matenopoulos’s blog tour of her new cookbook, It’s All Greek to Me: Transform Your Health the Mediterranean Way with My Family’s Century-Old Recipes.
Debbie shares her family’s delicious classic Greek recipes. I love the way she includes the pronunciation of each dish along with a bit of personal history.
I was fortunate to have a chance to ask this busy lady a few questions about Greek cuisine. Thank you Debbie!
Me: Do you have a favorite region of Greece that inspires your cooking?
D.M.: It’s hard to say what my favorite region in Greece is. It’s not a very large country (only 11 million people). But I’ve probably been most inspired by the cuisine of Northern Greece because that’s where my family is from and where I spent most of my summers growing up. Places like Thessaloniki, Kavala, Xathi. They are on the mainland, but on the coast, so there is always an abundance of fresh fish, octopus, and calamari. There are also loads of farms all over Greece so all of the produce is picked that morning and on your table that afternoon. I’ve never had fresher food in my life as I have in Greece. It’s what the Greeks really pride themselves on.
Me: What 5 items are a must in a well-stocked Greek pantry?
D.M.: A Greek pantry is NOT a Greek pantry without some very key ingredients. I know you’ve asked for 5, but there are actually 7 that every Greek kitchen should be stocked with. They are Greek extra virgin olive oil, dried Greek oregano, fresh lemons, fresh flat leaf parsley, fresh tomatoes, and onions. Combined, those ingredients and you have the base of a lot of Greek dishes.
Me: What is your go-to dessert?
D.M.: I’m not really big on dessert and I’ve never had a sweet tooth, but my go to sweet would have to be Paksimathia (Greek Biscotti). They are so great to dunk in your coffee and they have just the right amount of crunch. They are light and not too sweet which is what I love. They have a nice cinnamon-y flavor. You can make the traditional recipe or add chocolate chips, or raisins. There are lots of variations.
Me: The Mediterranean Diet is high in healthy fats. How do you incorporate heart-healthy oils into your recipes?
D.M.: It has been proven time and time again that extra virgin olive oil is the most heart healthy of all oils. It is all I have ever used and it is all that my family ever used growing up. Although the smoke point is much lower than it is on other oils, in my opinion, it is still the best way to go when cooking or flavoring any dish. I wouldn’t consider cooking with anything else. Extra virgin olive oil has been proven to lower cholesterol and fight heart disease. As a matter of fact, one of the leading cardiologists in the country, Dr. Michael Ozner, wrote the forward to my book and in it, he discusses this very issue. That’s why he too believes that the Mediterranean way of eating that I describe in my book is the most healthy way of eating on the planet.
Me: Do you have a favorite of wine varietal you use in cooking?
D.M.: I’m an equal opportunity lover of wine for cooking. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cheap red or white that was left over from the night before or a very expensive bottle, in the end they all do the same job. So if I were you, I’d save the good stuff for drinking with the meal, not putting it in it.
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I was very excited to try out one these healthful recipes. I chose Debbie’s Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta found on page 180. This dish uses her Mom’s Stewed Tomatoes ( Mama’s Domata Saltsa), on page 74 which made a delightful sauce for this pasta dish. Thanks Debbie for sharing your recipe!
Kritharaki me Domata kai Feta (kree-thah-RAH-kee meh doh-MAH-tah keh FEH-tah) Orzo with Tomatoes and Feta Orzo, tomatoes, and feta are classic Greek kitchen staples that combine to create a quick, luscious pasta dish. Serve with crusty bread and a fresh salad for a hearty and delicious meal that is ready in no time.
Debbie’s Tip: To make this dish vegan, simply omit the feta cheese. Without feta, this dish is a light accompaniment or bed for many of the heartier dishes throughout the book.
Author: Debbie Matenopoulos
I received a free copy of Debbie Matenopoulos’s It’s All Greek To Me Cookbook to review plus the opportunity to give a copy away. Opinions are my own. I received no further compensation for my post or review.