I spent a Summer in Greece once… a summer I forever wish I could travel back to. It was before 9.11…when you could say goodbye to your parents through the windows of the Airplane. I didn’t have a cell phone or fancy apps to let my family know I was safe. I made friends with the locals, scuba dove in the Mediterranean and got fat on bread and octopus.
I went with a Theatre organization out of Michigan. A company of 25 people that got to audition for an opportunity to travel to Spetses, Greece. Where we studied theatre, did improve, yoga, learned the Greek language and rehearsed for a play that we would eventually tour and perform. And although the organization this was with, was not exactly the best. Nor did I learn to be a better actress, but I saw some of the most amazing things… and met some of the coolest people. We rode on double decker buses and toured some of the oldest Amphitheatre’s that have ever existed. We saw the play the Oresteia in a Greek Amphitheatre. We lived in an abandoned boy’s school, and I remember washing my clothes in the bathroom sink and hang drying them in my room. The windows didn’t have screens and at night mosquitos would land in my ear. At night we would eat dinner at 9pm and go dancing right after with all the locals. I traveled to Rome on a boat after the performances were done. I slept outside on a towel under the stars. It was the cheapest way to travel, and I wanted to hear the Mediterranean waves.
As I close my eyes and remember this journey to Greece, the biggest memory for me was the food. The wine. The conversations. So, in today’s blog, I want to share with you one of my favorite easy Greek dishes I love to make my family. It is a staple in Greece. Tzatziki. It goes with everything, and it is an absolute must. Slather it onto sandwiches, serve it alongside a Mediterranean salad like tabbouleh or couscous salad, or top it onto falafel, meatballs or flatbread. And serve it with pita and lots of grilled veggies for a delicious, easy dinner.
By: Love and Lemons
· ½ cup finely grated cucumber
· 1 cup thick whole milk Greek yogurt
· 1 tablespoon lemon juice
· ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 garlic clove, grated
· ¼ teaspoon sea salt
· 1 tablespoon chopped dill
· 1 tablespoon chopped mint, optional
1. Place the cucumber on a towel and gently squeeze out a bit of the excess water.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, dill, and mint, if using. Chill until ready to use.
When I think about music in the kitchen, I truly do not have any limitations. There is so much good music out there that it’s so hard to pick which one goes with my recipes. I’ve always leaned towards the Indie Rock Genre in my youthful 20’s and 30’s and as I’ve reached my 40’s it just goes everywhere. From Broadway musicals to Country. From Rock and Roll to Duke Ellington Jazz. This week I will be pairing a punk rock band out of New York. (Thank you to my husband who offered his suggestion to pair this band)! Known for their Romani punk… incorporating accordion and violin. Gogol Bordello was a band I heard in Los Angeles…Their song Start Wearing Purple is so much fun!!! And fantastic to listen to while cooking a Greek Menu in your kitchen! EEK!!! ENJOY THIS!
I kept a journal during my time in Greece and Italy that summer and I revisited it while writing this blog. Oh my goodness!! I was so youthful!!! And very inspired by the beauty… most days I didn’t write, but when I did, I wrote about the people I was with, the places I went and the food that I ate. I did so much in a very small amount of time… that was 22 years ago. Holy Moly where does the time go??? I must go back someday… I have to go swim in the Aegean Sea again and watch a play at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. But until then, I’ll attempt to bring it in my home. Teach my kids about Greek Gods and Historic Amphitheatres.
July 2, 2001
“A great way of establishing a magic memory. Today we drove to the city Corinthia where the Apostle Paul spoke and preached to the Romans about Jesus. How exciting to be able to say I stood on the spot he preached on and walked around where he did. This is incredible and now I am for sure going to come back!! We left the George and John hotel this morning and after touring the bus to Corinth we came to Loutraki – the Poisedon Hotel. The Frogs are performing tonight at the theatre and the Bacchae is performing tomorrow. We ARE the entertainment. I love it!!!... “