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Food

Enjoying Greek Flavors, Recipes for the 4th of July

For most Americans, the 4th of July is as synonymous with barbecues as fireworks. For Greek-Americans, that usually means a menu combining the best of both worlds in terms of cuisine featuring American favorites like hot dogs and hamburgers often with a Greek twist, along with classic Greek dishes. Enjoy the following recipes at this year’s 4th of July feast.

 

Chicken Souvlaki

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 15 minutes, or metal skewers

Pita bread

2-3 plum tomatoes, sliced

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

Tzatziki (recipe follows)

 

Place the chicken in a large, nonreactive, mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic, and toss to coat the chicken pieces. Cover with plastic wrap and marinade for at least half an hour or up to four hours in the refrigerator. Stir 2-3 times while the chicken is marinading and return to the refrigerator. Thread the chicken pieces on the soaked bamboo or metal skewers. When ready, prepare the grill. Place the marinaded, skewered chicken on the grill and brush with the remaining marinade. Grill over medium heat, turning the chicken pieces on all sides until done, or the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. A meat thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the chicken piece should give you an accurate temperature. Once the chicken is grilled, remove it to a serving plate and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Enjoy on the stick with a piece of bread or if preferred, remove the grilled chicken from skewers and serve with pita bread warmed on the grill and top with sliced tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki, if using.

 

Tzatziki

1 large seedless cucumber, grated coarsely

Greek sea salt

2 cups Greek yogurt

4-6 garlic cloves to taste, minced

3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

 

Place grated cucumber in a strainer over a bowl, sprinkle with a 1/4 teaspoon salt and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour to drain off the liquid. If preferred, place in cheesecloth and after an hour squeeze out any excess liquid. Place the cucumber in a mixing bowl with the yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon, and dill, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, if needed. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving.

 

Greek Burgers

Burgers. Photo by Mario, via Unsplash

2 pounds ground beef

1 teaspoon Greek oregano

1 teaspoon Greek sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

In a mixing bowl, combine the ingredients, careful not to overwork the mixture. Form into patties and grill over medium heat turning only once until browned on both sides and to the desired doneness. An 8-ounce burger cooked medium rare takes about 10 minutes total on the grill and should be turned about 5 minutes through the cooking time. If preferred use a meat thermometer to take the temperature of the burger. An internal temperature of 160 degrees F is considered safe by the USDA. A well-done burger’s temperature should read 165 degrees F or higher. Be advised that cooking time alone is not an indication of doneness since burger thickness and uneven heat from the grill can affect the cooking time. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes after removing from the grill. Serve on your favorite hamburger bun, Greek bread, or a toasted pita. Top with your favorite hamburger toppings, perhaps some ketchup, mustard, red onion, tomatoes, pickles, and feta Dodonis for added Greek flavor.

 

Greek Corn on the Cob

Fresh corn on the cob

Water

Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

Greek extra virgin olive oil or butter, if preferred

Feta Dodonis, crumbled

 

Shuck the corn on the cob by cutting the stalk and then removing the husks and the silks. Rinse the corn and set aside. If cooking more than 4 to 6 pieces of corn on the cob, it might be easier to work in batches. Bring a large deep pot of water, enough to cover the corn, to a boil over medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of salt and the corn on the cob. Cook for five minutes. Remove from the cooked corn on the cob from the pot and set aside to cool slightly before eating. You can enjoy them simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or butter if preferred, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, or top with crumbled feta.

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