Archives for: January 2007, 12
This category shall address the standard offerings of a Greek/Turkish/Middle Eastern-Levantine/N.African sort of eatery (The provençal/mediterranean region of France shall be treated elsewhere). I don't claim to have covered all subregions, but I do think there's enough information here to assist you with most menus.
By now you are growing accustomed to approach any cuisine with the question, "What are its staple grains(s) and fat(s)?" In the Mediterranean region, we B's are blessed: Yes, we must stay away from most standard meze/appetizer platters (tabbouleh, falafel, baba ghanoush, tahini sauce/dressing, tomato salads), but a choice of beneficials-only meals is usually a possibility.
Grains: Rice is abundantly available. In the Western Mediterranean, a form of semolina called "couscous" is a specialty (not to be confused with "bulghur", which is an Eastern Mediterranean cracked wheat product, to be avoided). In the Eastern Mediterranean, pita bread is often served. Some restaurants offer Whole Wheat Pita, in addition to the white flour kind: Stick with the latter, if you're a wheat eater: Some B's avoid wheat, too, especially if overweight. ("Too much weight? Too much wheat!")
Fat: Ah, the Mediterranean: Home of the golden green elixir so dear to B's. We're on home turf now, when it comes to oils; don't worry about sautéed dishes here, where Olive Oil reigns.
Protein: Lamb, goat, mutton, sardines, mackerel, other fishes.
Dairy: Yogurt (in tsatsiki, etc.)( and called "labnah" in the Levant), Feta (in greek salad, spanakopita, etc.), cottage cheese
Oil: Olive Oil
Vegetables: Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Hot Pepper sauce (harissa), Carrots, Parsley.
Protein: Beef, Fishes (?carp roe? "Taramasalata")
Grain: Rice, couscous (semolina), white pita bread
Nuts/Seeds: Walnuts, almonds
Vegetables: Salads, spinach, onions, cucumbers, fennel, green beans, garlic, zucchini, herbs (thyme, oregano, marjoram, mint, etc.)
Fruits: Orange, lemon, figs, quince, dates, apricots
Beverages: Mint tea, wine, coffee, tea
Protein: Chicken/pigeon (and chicken broth in Avgolemono Soup, for example), Anchovy
Grain: Bulghur ("tabbouleh")
Beans/legumes: Chick peas ("Hummous", "Falafel", "Baba Ghanoush"); Lentils (watch out: sometimes mixed with rice in a "pilaf": Ask for Plain Rice)
Nuts/Seeds: Pistachio ("Baklava"), Pine nuts (sometimes hiding in a "Pilaf"); Poppy seeds, Sesame seeds ("Tahini" sauce/dressing, "halvah" dessert")
Ajvar (Balkan eggplant/pepper spread/relish)
Skordalia (garlic dip served with fried eggplant)
Lamb! Shish-kabob: Broiled, grilled. And if you can watch for hidden tomato and/or olives in a sauce, a Lamb Tagine! mmmm
Fishes: in a "charmoula" herb sauce, with plain rice and grilled eggplant
Spanakopita (filo appetizer stuffed with spinach and feta)
TsaTsiki: Yogurt/cucumber/parsley appetizer
Eggplant salad or grilled (NOT "baba ghanoush", which usually has a chick pea base)
Stuffed Grape Leaves (rice stuffing)
"Greek Salad" with no tomatoes or olives (Ask for lettuce, peppers, cucumber, onions and a chunk of feta cheese: A simple pleasure)
Baklava dessert if Walnuts are the only nut used
Bee Healthy, B's.