Tuesday, April 21, 2009

GF Greek!

Greek cuisine is wonderfully versatile for the gluten-free diner. The prominence of vegetables, rice, legumes, fresh herbs, meats, as well as simply prepared marinates, sauces, and stock makes for many naturally gluten-free options. True, you’ll have to pass on the phyllo dough and the pita bread, but you’ll still get to enjoy a world of rich flavors and textures.

For gluten-free Greek food when dining out, be sure to speak to your server up front about your dietary needs. If you want to take extra precautions, print out this restaurant card, written in Greek, and show it to your server: http://www.celiactravel.com/gluten-free-cards/16-greek-high.html (Courtesy CeliacTravel.com).

Remember that most dishes are prepared simply with ingredients like lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil, but be sure your food doesn’t come into contact with foods like pita bread and phyllo, which sometimes can be served near or alongside otherwise gluten-free entrees. Try dishes like souvlaki, dolmades, skewers, and vegetable moussaka (traditional moussaka almost always includes breadcrumbs, but vegetable moussaka does not always use breadcrumbs—check with your server!). Pick appetizers like hummus and tzatziki, and consider bringing your own rice crackers and chips to dip in!

Making GF Greek food at home is another option and will ensure your dinner is made just for you! Try our recipes below

Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Serves Four

12 fresh (or preserved—don’t rinse them) vine leaves
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tbsp pine nuts
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup cooked rice (long grain is best)
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeding, and finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint (not essential, but adds a nice flavor)
1 lemon, sliced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock (make sure no gluten has been added!)
salt and pepper

1. Blanch the wine leaves in boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until they turn dark and soften. Rinse the leaves under cold water and drain.
2. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and stir until softened. Add the pine nuts and garlic and cook with the onion, stirring continuously until the onions and pine nuts are golden.
3. Stir the mixture into the rice, then add the tomatoes and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Place a spoonful of the rice mixture at the stalk end of each vine leaf. Fold the sides over the filling and roll up tightly.
5. Place the stuffed leaves close together, seam side down, into a casserole dish. Place the lemon slices on top and in between the stuffed leaves. Pour the white wine and sufficient stock just to cover the stuffed leaves and lemon slices. Cover the dish with lid and place into an unheated oven. Set oven to 400˚F and cook for 30 min. Reduce heat to 325˚F and cook for another 30 min.
6. Enjoy! Dolmades can be served either hot or cold, drizzled with a little extra olive oil!

Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers
Serves 4

2 large ripe tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chooped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup long grain rice, boiled and drained
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp golden raisins
3 tbsp ground almonds
salt and pepper

1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon
2. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Halve the peppers, leaving the stalks intact. Scoop out the seeds. Brush the peppers with 1 tbsp of the oil and bake on a baking tray for 15 minutes. Place the peppers and tomatoes in a shallow ovenproof dish and season with salt and pepper.
3. Sauté the onions in the remaining oil until they are transparent. Add the garlic and chopped almonds and sauté for a minute or two longer.
4. Remove the pan from heat and stir in rice, chopped tomatoes, mint, parsley, and golden raisins. Season well with salt and pepper and spoon the mixture into tomatoes and peppers.
5. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water around the tomatoes and peppers and bake, uncovered, for 20 min. Sprinkle with the ground almonds and sprinkle with a little extra olive oil. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until turning golden. Enjoy!

Avgolemono Soup
Serves 4

This classic Greek soup works equally well as a first course or the main course!

3 3/4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/3 cup long grain rice
3 egg yolks
1-4 tbsp lmon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
lemon slices and parsley sprigs for garnish

1. Pour stock into pan, bring to a simmer, then add the drained rice. Half cover and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the rice is just tender. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then add about 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add a ladleful of soup and whisk again.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and slowly add the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Stir in the parsley. Serve immediately, without reheating, and garnish with lemon slices and parsley sprigs.

Chicken with Figs and Mint
Serves Four

3 1/4 cups dried figs
1/2 bottle fruity white wine
4 chicken breast fillets, about 6-8oz each (skinner or unskinned)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dark orange marmalade
10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

1. Place figs in a pan with wine and bring to a boil, then simmer gently for an hour. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.
2. Fry the chicken breast fillets in butter over a medium heat until they are cooked through and golden. Remove to keep warm.
3. Drain any fat from pan and pour in the juice from the figs. Boil and reduce to about 2/3 cup.
4. Add the marmalade, mint, and lemon juice, and simmer for a few minutes. When the sauce is thick and shiny, pour it over the chicken, garnish with figs and mint leaves, then serve immediately.

Tzatziki (Yogurt Dip) *Easy!*
Serve as an appetizer with GF crackers/chips for dipping, or use as a sauce over meats!

1 8oz. container of plain Greek-style Yogurt (try brands like Fage, or pick another full-fatted yogurt. For a lower-calorie version, use lowfat yogurt—the texture may change, but not the taste!)
1 cucumber, peeled, scraped of its seeds, and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
mint (optional, to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl. The flavors will mix and develop best if stored in the fridge for a day or so before serving, although tzatziki can be served immediately.


Anonymous said...

great taste delicous

Anonymous said...

great delicous taste

Anonymous said...

Επισκεφτείτε τους Groceristas .Πίσω από το Κάραβελ .Έχουν πολλά προϊόντα gluten free σε χαμηλές τιμές.
Ευφρονίου 31-33.Τηλ.2130326323

Βιολογικό Delicatessen με αγάπη στα gluten free food.