Thursday, January 10, 2013

On the Menu: Greek Food pt. 2

 Language and lunch!

It's your lucky day!  Not only do you get a lesson in Greek but a yummy recipe as well. 

The Greek language has been spoken for over 3000 years making it one of the oldest languages in Europe (and probably the world).  Since Greece was such an influence on the ancient world, many of the words in other languages have come from the Greek language.  The English language can thank Greek for anywhere between 13% to 25% of it's words.  I know that's a big range but every article I read had a different number!  Irregardless, that's a big influence.  The Greeks had such a large vocabulary and many words are composites - hippopotamus = hippo (river) potamus (horse). 
Here are a few other words we've borrowed and made our own: alphabet, demon, echo,arithmetic, empathy, baptism.  The list could go on and on but we don't have time for all that.

 Let's learn a few Greek words and phrases as they are spoken in Greece!  They are written in the English alphabet but the Greeks have their own alphabet too!

Yes - ne      No - ohi      Thank you - efharisto    Please - parakalo
Hello - yassou    Goodbye - yassas   Good Morning - kalimera
Good Evening - kalispera    I love you - S'agapo

1- ena       2- thio      3- tria       4- tesera       5- pente
6- pente    7- efta      8- ohto     9- enaia       10- theka

Ok, so now we can use our good manners when we order our lunch- "Gyro parakalo"

Gyro meat is usually made from pieces of meat that are marinated and then layered on a spike and cooked on a rotating spit.  Once it's cooked the chef slices off pieces of the meat - YUM!  Sure, we could do that at home, but, I don't have a spit and I don't need to feed 50 people (thank goodness)!  So we found a recipe on for Ground Beef Gyros.  BTW, it's pronounced "Yee-row"

Ground Beef Gyros with Tzatsiki sauce

For the recipe you will need:
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano - the recipe was written with 1 1/2 tsp but I thought it tasted to much like oregano!
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 ground pepper
  • pita breads or flatbread
  • shredded lettuce
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onions
  • tzatsiki sauce (recipe to follow)
1.  Combine ground beef and seasonings.  Mix well.
2.  Shape into 4 patties and grill, broil, or fry until cooked through.
3.  Cut patties into thin slices and put on pita with tomatoes, onions,lettuce and tsatsiki sauce. Enjoy!!!

Tzatsiki Sauce

  • 1 8oz container of plain yogurt (Greek, of course)
  • 1/3 cup chopped and seeded cucumber
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped onions
  • 1 garlic clove - finely minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
1. Combine and enjoy.  I love this sauce :)

Ok, normally my kids love Gyro meat but I think I made mine with a little too much oregano.  I cut the oregano for the posted recipe and hopefully it helped.  They still ate the flatbreads and they loved the feta cheese and kalamata olives we had on the side.  The rest of the family enjoyed them - oregano and all.  If you can get real Gyro meat it is better, but this was a pretty tasty substitute.  I think I could put that sauce on everything!!! 

 We had some appetizers from Trader Joe's too - Spanakopita (spinach and cheese wrapped it phyllo dough) and Mini Gyro Bites. They were ok if you're craving a quick Greek bite!

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