The Sweeter Side of Athens
The flavors of lemon and oregano immediately come to mind when I think of Greek food. Today I decided to look at a few of the sweet items on the Greek menu.
First up, Pasteli!
(I thought about making baklava but thought I’d deal with phyllo another day.)
Pasteli goes way back to the days of the Iliad. It is said the soldiers ate this honey and sesame seed mixture as a health food before going into battle. This was my first venture into any type of candy making and I think it is a bit more scientific than I would have guessed. Right now, my pasteli is cooling on the kitchen table and I am doubtful it will harden as it should. I think I took it off the stove too soon, but time will tell. I have tasted a little bit and let me tell you it is super sweet, but delicious. I even grated a little lemon zest and put it in just to mix things up a bit.
What I find most remarkable to about pasteli is that when I eat it in 2011 it’s is quite similar to what was being eaten over 6,000 years ago. That is just mind blowing to me. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make it. Pasteli or something like it can also be found it Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine.
Next, Ouzo (Soda)!
I don’t know about you, but I hardly pass up an opportunity to have Ouzo. The anise flavored, Greek liquor tastes like licorice and does cool things when it gets cold. It’s always a good time in my book. Earlier this summer I had experimented by making lavender soda, so I thought, maybe I could try to make an ouzo-esque soda as well. The process was pretty simple.
1/2 c sugar
1 c water
4 star anise
Bring to a boil, take off the heat, and let cool. Add to club soda to taste.
I have to say, I was pretty impressed with my little experiment! The anise flavor was faint, but there. If you wanted to kick it up a notch, just add more anise to the original mixture.
So there you have it. An ancient energy bar, and a liquor inspired soda from my staycation in Athens. Please let me know if you are enjoying this series. I know I am having fun with it! Until next time!
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