Wednesday, April 19, 2017

You Asked, I Answer (Greek Food, Employment and On Meeting The Most Amazing Man In The World)

I'll begin this year's round of answers by thanking everyone who participated in my ‘Ask Me Anything’ post. For those who missed it and would like to join in, feel free to do so while there's still time. Just click here.

My first post answers an assortment of questions. Let’s begin...

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Jim asked:
What is your favourite Greek food dish? And.....what is your favourite one to cook?

As many of you know, I have a Greek heritage. My parents came to Canada from Greece in the late 50s and brought with them a rich culture, many interesting traditions and a whole heap of great recipes. Lucky for me, my mother is a very good cook and I grew up eating some of the best homemade Greek dishes.

Do I have favourites? You bet I do. Favourites...not just a favourite. There are so many I enjoy that it’s impossible to settle on just one. But to keep this answer as reasonably short as possible, I’ll list ten appetizers, soups, main dishes, sweets and desserts that I love.

1) Pastitsio (or pastichio) – This baked dish that consists of layers of pasta and spiced minced meat, and is topped with a creamy béchamel sauce is a classic Greek comfort food.

2) Moussaka – One of the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes is this creamy and juicy oven-baked casserole of layered eggplant, potato and minced meat topped with a creamy béchamel sauce.

3) Spanakopita – A delicious filo pastry pie of spinach and feta cheese filling that can be eaten hot or cold, and as a man dish, an appetizer or mid-day snack.

4) Yemista (or gemista) - Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and even potato are hollowed out, stuffed with rice and herb filling and then baked until soft and nicely browned. Minced meat is also commonly used in the filling.

5) Youvarlakia Avgolemono - Or in simple English: meatball soup. A staple of Greek cooking, avgolemono is a creamy egg and lemon sauce that is often added to a variety of dishes, including soups like this one.

6) Kolokithokeftedes – Try saying that three times! Or just call them what I call them: pumpkin patties. This is a popular appetizer made with pumpkin, zucchini or other forms of squash that will have your taste buds singing.

7) Tsoureki – This sweet bread is a staple during Greek (Orthodox) Easter and is one of the most eagerly anticipated sweet treats of the year in every household.

8) Koulourakia – These traditional butter cookies are also made at Easter but because they are ridiculously easy to make and a perfect accompaniment to coffee or tea, I make them year round.

9) Galaktoboureko – This hard to pronounce pie is an extremely popular Greek dessert made with layers of golden brown crispy phyllo and filled with creamy custard. It is my absolute favourite Greek pastry. De-li-cious!

10) Lahanodolmades Avgolemono – Tender cabbage pieces are wrapped tightly around a tasty meat and rice filling, and topped with avgolomeno (creamy egg and lemon) sauce. Need I say more?

And there you have it. Ten Greek foods that I really like; all of which can be altered to accommodate all types of diets from the vegan to the carnivore. With the exception of numbers 7, 9 and 10, I have personally made all the others.


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Linda asked:
Did you guys have to find new jobs when you moved?

The answer is no. The most amazing man in the world officially retired at the ripe old age of 58 last summer, which I wrote about here.

Lucky for him, he contributed to a wonderful pension plan for almost 30 years in a telecommunications company, most of which he spent working as a senior project manager. In August 2016, he reached the level of years where he could start collecting on that pension and decided to do so. He will not be returning to the job market but he will do some volunteer work together with me.

As for me, I used to work as a computer programmer. Then I got tired of that and took time off to decide what to do next, which led to volunteer work up until we moved to our new city. While we work on giving our home the facelift it needs, that’s where my focus will remain. Once things are in order, I will decide whether I want to find a paying part time job along with some volunteer work to fill in the gaps or simply spend more time volunteering. The most amazing man in the world says we don’t really need the extra money and that I should just retire along with him and simply enjoy life. We will see what happens.

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Jan asked:
How did you meet "the most wonderful man in the world?"

Well, Jan, in 2015’s Ask Me Anything post, a couple of blogging pals asked the same question and instead of giving the short answer of having met him online, I decided to give the long version. I set in motion a series of posts titled “Our Story”. It is an in depth look at where I was at prior to my current relationship, what led me down the road I am on now and why I call my husband the most amazing man in the world. If you feel like reading our love story, start right here: Our Story (1): It Begins Here


And that's a wrap for today. I'll be back next week with more answers!

40 comments:

  1. All those foods sound so good, I have only had the spanakopita and that was great. I read the first 6 parts of your story and look forward to reading more tomorrow, but I still have to write my post for tomorrow. And I say enjoy your retirement together as long as you can afford it.

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    1. There are a lot of amazing Greek foods but hard to find at restaurants. Most Greek food is in fast food places or places that don't really serve authentic dishes. The best bet is to make it at home.

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  2. The Greek dishes sound amazing Martha!

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  3. Man oh man, I love Greek food. I make a mean spanakopita, if I do say so myself, and I've been itching to try this new recipe for it that I got from Joyce's October Farm blog. In a couple of weeks when I have a free weekend, I'm gonna go for it!

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    1. You make a mean spanakopita? I'm making you an honorary Greek, Debra! I'm going to have to check out that blog for that recipe. There are so many ways to make this food and all of them are good!

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  4. I like Greek food but we don't have any good Greek restaurants here and I'm not makin Greek food!

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  5. After reading about that food, I'm both salivating and wondering how you keep your gorgeous figure. =)

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    1. You are a flattered, Robyn. My figure is not exactly gorgeous but I appreciate the lovely comment! And I don't eat this type of food regularly. Just now and again!

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  6. I didn't realize there were that many Greek dishes! They all sound delicious!!!

    betty

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  7. I think that's one thing that keeps people stuck in one city is their jobs. Not so easy to make the switch

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    1. Very true, Adam. A steady job that isn't easy to transfer is a problem when moving.

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  8. My mouth is watering now...Have a great day!

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  9. Guess I should keep up on your posts more often!! hahaha!
    So nice to be able to retire at the ripe old age of 58...
    My boyfriend just retired Jan 1...at the VERY ripe old age of 70!!
    No company pension...but years of wise investing to keep us going...
    Raining here today...geesh...enough already!!
    Thanks for the answer Martha!!
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. This rain just keeps going, Linda. I suppose it's better than snow ;) I've never had a job with a company pension, so I envy those that do. And nowadays company pensions are not offered in many places anymore. Very tough on the next generation.

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  10. Was your life anything like My Big Fat Greek Wedding?

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    1. No. My parents were very quiet people and so was most of my extended family. I did know other Greek families that were big - and loud!

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  11. After reading your story of meeting the most amazing man in the world, I would say he is also the luckiest man in the world to have found you. Unfortunately there are no Greek restaurants around, so we have to make some of these dishes ourselves. That does not happen often enough. Now you have made me hungry.

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    1. Thank you for that comment. I really appreciate it! The best Greek food is the type made at home. Or someone's else's house that you're a guest at :)

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  12. I was interested to read your answer about retirement. My partner has the opportunity to retire early and it's filling me with dread! That sounds bad I know. How do you cope being together 24 hours a day?

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    1. I guess it all depends on what each person is comfortable with. My husband and I get along great and we can spend 24/7 together easily. This isn't to say that we're glued to each other. Sometimes we spend time apart even when we're home together, if that makes any sense.

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  13. Your descriptions of those dishes and my subsequent drooling has shorted out my keyboard!! And I think you are very brave, not just in inviting questions, but in your life. I read "Our Story" around the time I found your blog, and my hat is off to you for your courage.

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    1. HAHAHA! This made me laugh out loud. Did you plug in another keyboard to finish the comment or was it a temporary short? Just teasing. If you lived closer I'd bring you a batch of butter cookies. You would just love them!

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    2. I'm pretty sure you're right :) (unfortunately for my diet!)

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    3. Okay, I'd bring over just one cookie so you can try it. A little one :)

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  14. Martha, my thanks to you and the most wonderful man in the world, for this beautiful love story. The part before "he" came into your life was both tragic and heartbreaking. I cried. I felt your helplessness. Your searching for answers. I lived my first marriage again through your story. So many similarities. Years of suffering. Thankfully we both survived. We both found love, true love in our second marriages. My hubby and I will be celebrating our 46th anniversary on the 26th.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story 💞💕💞

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    1. 46 years! How wonderful. I wish you many, many more. My first marriage was a total disaster but at least I got it right the second time around!

      Thank you for taking the time to read our love story!

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  15. I'll take #4 without meat please and also some pumpkin patties. I'll also take some eggplant, no dairy no meat. I'm so picky.

    Nothing though, like the food of our family. Truly grand.

    PS: I don't know where I was when you asked us to ask questions. Must have been during my blogger break or during my keyboard break down.

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    1. All of these meals can be converted to veggie diet and even vegan. I follow a blogger who posts vegan Greek foods. So cool.

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  16. I really enjoyed reading this post, Martha. So many wonderful Greek dishes that I haven't tried yet! -Jenn

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    1. I think you'd love them, Jenn. And homemade is the best way to go!

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  17. The descriptions of the 10 Greek dishes made my mouth water, Martha! Lucky you! I'm o f Scottish heritage, and that means lively things like porridge and haggis. LOL! How wonderful that you have the option to work or not. I retired almost five years ago, and I never looked back. I also grateful! Enjoy your weekend!

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    1. HAHA! You make me smile, Louise :) There are a lot of great Greek dishes and if they're homemade they are fabulous! Eating this food at a restaurant is fine but it's hard to find one that makes authentic Greek food.

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  18. oh dear dear martha you are so wonderful lady ad i am so happy for you from the bottom of my heart that you finally got in your life what you deserved .
    today i spent lots of time just reading your life story and i am so glad that you shared it with us my friend .
    the man in your life is really most amazing as he loves you and is a caring and above all the responsible man which is most important for a mother .
    your video made me cry .
    i love you my dear and always be praying for your happiness .

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    1. Oh, Baili, you are sweet ♥ Thank you for this beautiful comment. My husband is truly a blessing in my life. He is such a good and loving man, and I ma very grateful for him.

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  19. Oh those Greek dishes they sound amazing.

    What a great post Martha ...

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan! I hope you're having a great weekend.

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