Food is influenced by the times we live in. Certain times we need to change our habits due to food supply restrictions. Nowadays this happens in the winter when the watermelon supply gets short and the prices go up. And we are bumped. Awwww 😦 . Did I mention that it is not even seedless? I know! Total agony. We turn to forget some other times back in the turn of the last century when war was a reality to every part of the world; from Europe to Americas and from Asia to Africa. Back then food supply was already short and the war made it even worst. Lucky people had to improvise and adjust their habits; most would just suffer.
If you need to add a sweet element, but the temperature required does not facilitate the melting of raw sugar, simple syrup is the way to go! Like most Greeks deserts, simple syrup is applied to a large variety of sweets like baklava and galactoboureko. In America, simple syrup is the common sweetener for iced tea and coffee. Simple syrup is also on of the best ingredients for cocktails. Syrup brighten ups the flavors and take the sharpness of harsh liquor.
Today the 13th day of October it is my mom’s name day. It is a typical Greek traditional celebration to celebrate the day of the saint or martyr that you are named after. So today it is my mom’s day and we are celebrating by making the best pizza ever. It is all that my mom’s cooking is all about simple ingredients, simple flavors that they highlight and accentuates the taste of simple ingredients, like feta and tomato. And this is the bottom line of the greek cuisine: simple ingredients brought together in a simple manner. So this sort of pizza is just that. And I call it sort of pizza, because it does not share anything of the typical pizza characteristics, sauce, melted cheese, thin crust. It is on the contrary puffy, with just tomato and feta a non melting cheese. I am making two version the original and still king, my mom’s and mine a more gourmet take on it. So let’s get started.
If you are greek, probably you should not read this post. This is about the most common way of greeks to enjoy the neurotoxin also called caffeine. And as all simple things each one has a way of enjoying it, and even worse a way of making it. Being an unconventional coffee this one imposes a whole new set of layers to personalize it. So again, if you are greek, skip this, you will probably disagree with what I say and How I make it. If you insist in reading please go ahead on your own risk. This is different from all other coffee, because it is made with instant coffee.
This is the third recipe that has a special meaning. It is from my island in Greece the glorious island of Crete, and even more specifically from my Home town, the town of Ierapetra ( Ιεράπετρα ) that literally translates as Hollystone. Crete is most known for the agriculture and farming, ranging from olive oil, vegetables and wine to animal farming (sheep and goats) and fishing. It is in a way self sustained island. The wine industry although not well developed is responsible for a great by product. All the leftover grape mush after the juice is extracted. This waste is converted to one of the most celebrated distilled spirit of Crete tsikoudia (τσικουδιά) or raki after the turkish version of another distilled spirit. One difference with all the other spirits? It is never mixed, not even with ice. Always straight, never in a cocktail. Well things are about to change. I just made a perfect cocktail based on the same techniques of all the classic cocktails.