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Travel by Tastebud

If there’s one thing I learned growing up in a warm climate and without air conditioning, it’s that it’s often too hot to be in the kitchen. It’s a problem my mother solved with a delicious solution: cooking outside. In my mind, summer is very closely associated with charbroiled flavors from the fire (or grill).

My mother (Greek by marriage) had no shortage of recipes that work well over a flame. When you flip through any Greek cookbook you’ll find dish names like souvlaki, kotópoulo and αρνί, all prepared on the grill. If you’ve ever traveled in Greece and walked by a seaside café you’ll find smoky tastes of grilled vegetables, nuts and meats floating in the air. So for this blog post I thought I’d put up some of our favorite grilling recipes from or inspired by Greece.

Mama Changuris’ Greek Chicken Marinade (works with lamb or beef, too):

  • lemon
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • onion
  • salt and pepper
  • rosemary
  • oregano

The beauty of this recipe is that you can completely customize it for your taste. Love lemon? Use a lot. Not a big fan of rosemary? Use a little (or leave it out). No onion on hand? Fine.

Lamb Shish-Kebab (Souvlakia)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • dried oregano
  • 4 pounds boned leg of lamb, cut into  1½-inch cubes

Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt pepper and oregano. Add meat and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours, turning meat over several times. Thread meat onto oiled skewers. Grill until evenly browned. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Variation: Beef sirloin or pork can be substituted for lamb.

Greek saladGreek Salad

  • tomato
  • onion
  • cucumber
  • olives
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • feta cheese

That’s right, when you order a traditional Greek salad in Greece you won’t find lettuce on your plate. Most areas of Greece don’t get enough rain to grow it well, so it’s not traditionally used. Modern growing techniques and produce distribution have made lettuce more readily available, but we’ve ordered more lettuce-less salads than not on our trips to the Greek islands.

You’ll also notice the simple oil and vinegar dressing. That’s what we found served most often, but just in case you’re looking for a milder option here’s a simple recipe for Greek dressing:

Greek Salad Dressing

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine in a jar, cover and shake well before using.

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About No Kids, Will Travel

In the eyes of their friends and family, Amanda and Zeke are a young jet setting couple without any real responsibility. In real life, the stress of work and raising a kitten push them to flee reality at every opportunity. The "lack of obligation" gives them the chance to explore the world.

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