Most of my favorite foods are found on Greek menus, making it one of my favorite types of cuisine. Born and bred in NJ, I was raised on diners, which as you know are mostly run by Greeks. If you are wondering why, read this quick primer from the New York Times. My friend Elizabeth is a great cook and tells me
I love feta, kalamata, vinegar, eggplant, yogurt, dolmas, lamb, fish of any sort, and combinations of any of the above. I drink Ouzo with my coffee and will eat leftover stuffed grape leaves right off your plate. I was even in a sorority, and walked around college for a few years wearing a Delta and a Gamma on my hats, sweatshirts and boxer shorts.
In fact, I'm in a diner right now writing this, smothering their Greek Chicken Multigrain Panini in my favorite tzatziki sauce at the Westfield Diner.
If you similarly enjoy Hellenic fare, The Holy Trinity Greek Fest 2011 should be a priority for you this weekend. Thirty-four hours of loukomathes, baklava, gyros and souvlaki await you. Full dinners, Greek appetizers and homemade traditional sweets will be offered, along with a Greek market place and wine tastings. Stop by a live cooking demo at Yiayia's Kitchen with celebrity chefs. Of course there are many other forms of entertainment to accompany your Greek Feast, including live music dancing, kid zone, crafts market and a tour of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church featuring Byzantine iconography. But if you just want a piping hot fresh lamb gyro, go to the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church at 250 Gallows Hill Road in Westfield. Click this link for the full festival schedule.
I have recommendations if you are so inclined to bring a little Greek gastronomy into your kitchen. Let's start with the most well known Greek condiment - Tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki is traditionally a mixture of strained yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt and fresh herbs such as dill, mint or parsley. I've seen it with added lemon, olive oil, oregano and vinegar. It's all good! It goes with practically anything and is a great low cal, low fat alternative to any sauce or dressing. You can use it on sandwiches, wraps, on grilled fish or chicken, as a salad dressing, a dip, or whatever suits your fancy. I also like it on turkey burgers, fruit and on toast.
There are a few places to get some great Tzatziki sauce in Westfield. You can take it home from the Westfield Diner or enjoy it on many dishes at the diner. Last week at Limani Seafood Grill I spotted a trio of sliders topped with Tzatziki on their specials menu. Kings sells a great artisan crafted Tzatziki Sauce by Maison LeGrand, which promises to get you "dancing like Zorba the Greek!" With no added oil or sugar, each 2 tbsp serving has only 30 calories, 2 g fat, 2 g carbs and the health benefits of probiotic yogurt.
If you want to make your own, and it's pretty simple and economical to do so, I am including two recipes here. The first is from the Savory Spice Shop on Broad Street. They sell a seasoning blend that offers the right blend of herbs with a nice kick from lemon peel and spearmint. Check their website for their Mt. Olympus Spiced Tzatziki Sauce.