Oh, it’s oregano!

I went outside to check on the #herb #garden this morning and thought the oregano looked mighty fine.

 

Last week, or a couple of weeks ago (I can’t really remember, they all blur together) I had a personal culinary epiphany that led to a buying decision this weekend at the local lawn and garden shop. Oregano. It’s not like I was unfamiliar with oregano before, I just never paid it any attention. That was until Mrs. Primate did the shopping while I went to get some prescriptions refilled and planned a meal of chicken souvlaki for me to make (because at that point, which seems like part of the distant past, she worked later than I did) for dinner.

Opah! #homemade chicken souvlaki and Tatziki. #greekfood #imnotgreekbutiwishiwas

I got home from work that day, had my evening coffee (something I did once in the not-so-distant past when my morning started much earlier and my evenings would end far too soon if I didn’t fortify my alertness with a delicious mug of joy. I digress. I pulled out the recipe and realized that the meat needed to be marinated for something along the lines of two hours. OOPS. Well, I had less time to work with so I got cracking. Apparently the secret marinade that the Greeks use on their delicious souvlaki is olive oil, salt, lemon juice, and oregano.

iPhone honeymoon photos

Look up at the photo. This is what flashes in my brain when I catch a whiff of oregano. The flavor of Greek food that I’ve always wondered about? Oregano. The smell that makes me feel like I’m in the middle of a square on an island somewhere with ancient ruins, Ottoman and Byzantine architecture, and bougainvillea everywhere? Oregano. The scent of blissful early summer evenings in the Mediterranean wondering what adventures the next day would hold? Oregano. I instantly realized that I love oregano, I always have. Oregano is my pretty-girl-who-was-right-in-front-of-my-face-but-I-didn’t-realize-it-until-the-end-of-the-John-Hughes-teen-movie of herbs and spices.

When we were picking out herbs for our little herb garden on Sunday, you’d better believe that as soon as I saw the “Greek Oregano” plant I said “oh we have to have that one.” And we do.

 

Advertisements

G is for Greek food, that’s good enough for me!

I love greek food.

I really and truly think it might be my favorite food. It might even be better than Thai and Indian foods. That’s a big maybe. I mean, I don’t really know Greek cuisine. I haven’t yet been to Greece, though that’s changing very soon. All I know is that when Carolyn and I still lived in Florida we would escape our workplace for the little Greek place across the street for lunch on paydays, and that’s where I started to fall in love with their tasty noms. Of course, I was already in love with Carolyn at that point, so everything was better anyway, so maybe this is just the first thing I remember getting into after Carolyn came into my life.

Anyway, that’s enough with the words for today. Greek food was impossible to get in Korea, so here’s pictures of Greek delicacies I’ve enjoyed since returning to the U.S. 😉

Okay so that last one probably doesn’t count as Greek ;). But I mean, COME ON, everybody loves Liz Lemon. Also, I know there’s more to Greek cuisine than Gyros, dolmas, and yogurt, and I can’t wait to give it all a try in a few weeks when we visit Greece!

Food I would fly to, right now.

20130108-214021.jpg

This is a mangosteen. It is the queen of fruits. Its delicate white flesh literally melts in your mouth. It tastes like every fruit you’ve ever enjoyed all mixed together in a punch, and nothing you’ve ever tasted all at the same time. You can’t get them fresh outside of Southeast Asia, and you need a knife to open them up, because that violet-red skin is tough to get into and it’ll stain your fingers. It’s worth all of that, the flight to Southeast Asia, the haggling in the market, finding a knife, and walking around with purple fingers for a day. It’s that good. I’ve written about mangosteen before back when we went to Thailand and all. It’s not the food that this post is about, though.

Lunch at the Acropolis by dklimke, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License ; ;by ; ;dklimke ;

This is an gyro platter. This is what I’m craving right now. I want that spongy, spit-roasted meat with its seasoning and grease and fat and oil. I literally dream about that bomb of sodium, fat, and grease that I long to stuff down my maw. I want a fresh salad with vegetables that are crisp, fresh, and not of questionable provenance like the ones I get at the grocery stores here in Korea. That salad needs some fresh olive oil and feta cheese, too. You know what else, that flat bread. I want that flat bread. I mean, I can get some pretty freaking great naan here in Korea, but not that flatbread that comes with every Mediterranean meal. I need a dolma too. I want oily grape leaves wrapped around meat and rice until its a veritable sausage of delightful greasy fatty sodium laced goodness just waiting to burst open between my razor sharp incisors.

So yeah, I would fly across at least one ocean to eat an gyro platter right now. Now, let me add a caveat. I’d prefer to get this all American style, from a Greek diner in Chicago or New York. I know it’s not exactly the same as you’d get in Greece, but I’ve already got plans to go there in just a few months. I want the nasty stuff Carolyn and I used to get from the Parthenon Express or whatever the little dive across the street from our old dive shop was called. That’s what I want right now, and there’s nothing even close to that in my little corner of Asia. I guess I’ll just have to wait.

Five cuisines I’m ready to eat on their own turf.

photo by Sangutxujai on Flickr

5. Spain’s cuisine seems to have been all the rage in the culinary world over the past couple of years. Growing up so close to Mexico, I can distinctly remember having vocabulary sessions in Spanish class where the teacher had to explain that a tortilla was a completely different experience altogether in Spain.

I’m not a huge seafood lover, but the idea of super expensive canned seafood products really intrigues me, and I can’t wait to give some of those canned oysters a try on our tentatively planned visit to Spain. Additionally, it appears to this armchair foodie that molecular gastronomy is a really big thing in Spain, but that it’s done in a playful manner that doesn’t take itself too seriously. My kind of people, you know? Spain is the tentative first stop on our honeymoon, so hopefully I’ll be experiencing the sabor of Spanish cuisine myself early next year.

photo from David McKelvey on flickr

4. France has to make an appearance on this list. It’s where all of the classical cooking techniques that home cooks like me talk about in order to make ourselves sound more worldly come from. That’s really not what I’m most ready to sink my teeth into, though. I want to bite into something crusty, flaky, and soft on the inside. You know, a fresh baked baguette.

Anything baked is what my mind tells me I most want to eat on a trip to France, and that day is coming soon I do believe. Breads, pastries, wines, cheeses, roasted vegetables and meats; your days are numbered. Hopefully I’ll be tasting some fine French foods in early 2013.

Sashimi is only one of the foods I’m excited about in Japan

3. Japan has been on my food hit list for a long, long time. Everything from ramen, soba, and takoyaki to the more expensive sushi and Kobe beef has danced through my dreams at some point over the past three or four years. I don’t have to dream much longer, as I’ll be visiting Kyoto and Osaka on September 29th. I imagine that our visit to Japan will be a breathtakingly expensive journey through the world of “cheap” Japanese eats, and that my taste buds will want to go back for years to come.

photo by the TheLawleys on flickr

2. Thailand has been spicing up my life with its cuisine for long before I ever thought I’d actually make it there. On August 4th we’ll be headed to Thailand, and the first thing we plan to do upon arrival is get something to eat. I think the Thai people work magic with fish sauce, vegetables, tofu and noodles. I’m hoping that the cooking class I’ve signed up for will teach me some of their techniques and secrets so that I can keep the heat of Thailand in my belly for a long time to come.

photo by Kristie’s NaturesPortraits on flickr

1. Greece has created over the past bajillion years a cuisine that I at one time really didn’t like. It took me a long time to appreciate the flavors and textures of Greek food, but when it clicked, it clicked in a big way. The food I wish I could find or make while we’ve been living here in Korea is Greek food. The food that looks best on television is Greek food. The food that makes my stomach rumble as I look through friends’ facebook photos is Greek. The liquor that looks like it would produce the most terrible hangovers that are actually worth it is Greek.

Let’s put Greece on notice. Stock up on your food supplies, Greeks. Be ready to teach me your ways. I’m coming for you, Moussaka (that sounded so sinister I had to include it.) I plan to gain at least 10-15 pounds made completely out of feta cheese and meat roasted on sticks. It’ll be worth it when I’m trying to carve those pounds off with runs through the park and weights after we get back home.

Congratulations Greece, you’re #1 on my list.

(function() {
var li = document.createElement(‘script’); li.type = ‘text/javascript’; li.async = true;
li.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https:’ : ‘http:’) + ‘//platform.stumbleupon.com/1/widgets.js’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(li, s);
})();