Sunday, September 21, 2014

Greek Party Themes

Above- Baklava

Healthy, tangy bright flavors.  I just love Greek, or Greek-ish, food.  
Some of you may say (and you're probably one of my sisters...) 
"Hey, that's not Greek!" 
But, maybe, just maybe it's almost Greek-like.  

Greek food is one of my all time favorites, but I often hear people say they really don't know too much about it. So, I started thinking of all the Greek recipes on my blog, and how I might organize them into some menus or party ideas.


The weather has been so nice lately, it's the perfect summer time to have a party to celebrate Greek flavors, but heck, any time of the year is fine for me with Greek food.

Below are some ideas for Greek Dinner for friends or family:



The Classic Greek
Chilled Cucumber Feta Soup 
Greek Tzatziki 
Grilled Greek Potato Salad
Greek Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce
Baklava



Fall Game Day for a Crowd
Artichoke Olive Cheese Bread
Spicy Feta Dip/Spread 
Tabouleh
Lemon, Onion and Cucumber Salad 
Baked Orzo, Spinach, Bacon and Feta   
Baked Greek Chicken, with Tomatoes and Feta 
Baklava


The Winter Feast  
Greek Spinach Pinwheels 
Avgolemono- Greek Wedding Soup
Farro, Green Olive and Feta Salad
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew 



Spring Healthy Dinner
Artichoke and Roasted Cumin Dip  
Honeydew, Cucumber and Feta Salad
Garlic Spinach Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti Squash

Index of Greek (and Greek-ish) recipes from my Blog:

Appetizers:
Artichoke and Roasted Cumin Dip
Artichoke Olive Cheese Bread
Greek Spinach Pinwheels
Greek Tzatziki 
Spicy Feta Dip/Spread
Spicy Fried Garbonzos

Salad:
Farro, Green Olive and Feta Salad
Grilled Greek Potato Salad
Greek Panzanella Bread Salad
Grilled Vegetable Couscous Salad
Honeydew, Cucumber and Feta Salad
Lemon, Onion and Cucumber Salad 
Tabouleh
Watermelon, Arugula and Feta Salad

Soup:
Avgolemono- Greek Wedding Soup
Chilled Cucumber Feta Soup 
Creamy Artichoke Soup, Fast & Easy

Side dishes, or Vegetarian Options:
Black Lentils (spiced) with Yogurt & Mint
Feta & Spinach Strata
Stuffed Peppers with quinoa, spinach and feta
Spinach Artichoke Bake  
Baked Orzo, Spinach, Bacon and Feta 
Pasta with Pepperoni, Pepperoncini and Peppers
Toasted Orzo
 
Main Dishes:
Greek Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce
Baked Greek Chicken, with Tomatoes and Feta
Beef Kebabs with Chimichurri Sauce
Lamb Burger with Goat Cheese and Onion Jam
Greek Pork and Garbanzo Stew
Baked Prawns with Feta and Orzo Pasta
Garlic Spinach Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti Squash
Greek Fish, baked in Parchment
Prawns al Fresco
Salmon, Spinach & Garbonzos baked in foil
Baked Orzo, Spinach, Bacon and Feta 
Pasta with Pepperoni, Pepperoncini and Peppers
Toasted Orzo


Desserts
Baklava

Other Stuff that "lend" themselves nicely to Greek Stuff:
Aioli-  Sauce Variations & Ideas to Improve Almost Anything!
Drunken Fig Jam 
Honey and Lemon Jelly 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Copenhagen



Some people say the Little Mermaid is overrated.
What?
That’s not nice.

Everyone seems to love the Little Mermaid while in Copenhagen; 
 it’s just what you do! 

I was surprised at how big she is, because all of my life, I’ve been seeing the replica in Stanley Park in Vancouver BC. This gal is definitely life size. I know I look a little large in comparison in this shot, but its all about perspective. I'd have gotten up on the rock with her, but peer pressure kept me behaving.

We’d walked for miles to get the canal side park where the bronze sculpture perches on the rocks on the outskirts of the downtown core of Copenhagen.  By the time we got there, we were tired and sweaty in the brilliant September sunshine.  After taking our obligatory photos with the mer-gal, we needed some sustenance.  Luckily, there was a great little place right near the park to stop and enjoy the day while having a refreshing beverage outside in the sunshine.

A Danish beer, a yummy Riesling and some delectable sliced meats, with brown bread and a mustard aioli, it was just enough to keep us going for another round of sightseeing in the afternoon.   

Sitting there watching all types of international people go by, with the boats on the canal putting by was so much fun.Even though this restaurant was a take-out kind of style, the presentation and quality was amazing.  Plus, I thought the prices were really good for such an expensive city. If you go out to the Little Mermaid, I’d suggest you plan on a stop here.



Rosenborg Castle
Denmark has the world’s oldest monarchy, over 1300 years.  The Danish royal family is intermixed with all the monarchy's of Europe.  The current queen of Denmark’s sister is the queen of Greece, while their other sister is just married to a German prince.  Nice, huh?

Makes me wonder if my sisters and I weren’t ambitious enough. LOL.

The castle and garden is beautiful, not the biggest castle out there, but truly delightful place that was so enjoyable. 

In 1849, Frederick the VII decided that a constitutional monarchy was the way to go.  Like England, the royalty no longer gets involved in politics and making the laws, but let’s the public vote officials for that.  Smart guy, I say, why put all that pressure on the King or Queen.
 
The Royal Danish treasury collection was in the basement of Rosenborg Castle. There were lots of beautiful jewels, gold and ivory objects.

I decided this crown was just my style.








Tivoli Gardens


No trip to Copenhagen is complete without a trip to Tivoli Gardens.  It’s a kitschy and wonderful Danish Disney land that’s been there for over 100 years.  I’m an unabashed Disney fan so I LOVED it at Tivoli.   Famous for thousands of lanterns at night.  The lanterns above are my favorite!
 We even went twice in the three days that we were there as our hotel was so close to the park.  Apparently Walt Disney visited Tivoli in 1951 and was more than a little inspired for his Disneyland plan.  In 1955 Disneyland opened, and many of the elements you see at Tivoli are part of the Disney parks; the Storybook Land whale mouth, the “Small World” type ride of Hans Christian Anderson’s stories ad so much more at familiar to us at Tivoli.
Tickets into Tivioli without rides are about $15, and with unlimited rides are $45 each.  Not being huge ride people, we elected the cheap ticket.  We did buy individual tickets to go Hans Christian Anderson Storybook land ride. I will give my guy credit, he never complained about going on the Small World-esque ride and spent 100dkk ($15) for the two of us to go.  Not sure the ride was really worth $15, but still, I was delighted and had a blast. I think my hubby didn't complain because there was no annoying "It's a Small World after all" song. There are plenty of good restaurants in the park with interesting food that are pretty good, and more formal than Disney too.




Bikes are everywhere is Copenhagen.  Amsterdam may be more famous for their colorful bikes, but there seemed to be as many bikes in Copenhagen.  We were able to rent them at our hotel, nice automatic shifting “city” bikes with big seats and cute baskets.  For about $20 each, we put a good ten miles on the bikes that day, even revisiting the Lil Mermaid.  I felt very safe riding through the city, especially since there are large bike lanes that are curbed from the main rode, and even separate bike lane signals so that you can cross busy city intersections safely.  So much fun.

Christiana is a funny little hippy community not too far out of town.  We rode bikes over bridges and canals to get to the “community”.  No pictures are allowed in this artist community filled with quirky restaurants, artist booths and more… the “more” is the reason for no photos as people are openly selling pot and smoking it too all from very civilized little booths set up under camouflage. Not too shocking for a girl from Washington state where you can now buy it in stores.  Christiana was started in the 1970’s in a formal naval base that had been abandoned and the squatters moved in and took the place over.  A very organized community with rules on behavior and now they limit how many people can live there, when someone moves out, they vote to see who is allowed to move in.  Kind of mainstream establishment kind of rules for a squatters community, huh?.  I bought a cool necklace from an all females blacksmith shop where the gals were listening and singing along to ABBA. Yep, I loved that. 

Canal boat ride and Nyhavn "New Harbor"



In the late afternoon of our last day, we locked up the bikes in Nyhavn and had a beer ...
...and a Danish hotdog and sat in the sun taking it all in.   Don't you love the bun to meat ratio with this one?  Pickles, fried onions and sauerkraut made it awesome.
 
The weather was still glorious on day three of our trip , so we opted for  tickets for a canal boat tour, might as well do all the touristy thing, you know?.  Nyhavn is so darling filled with colorful tall row houses and a small canal that stretches into the city from the main waterway canal.  For only $10 you get a hour long trip around the city’s waterways, seeing a different perspective from the water.  The lil Mermaid again, Christiana from the water, Castles, modern building) and fountains from the water. Nice.



Danish guards at Amalienborg Palace (that's where the Queen lives now...)

This is about as close as you can get without getting in trouble...