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Tasty Brunch Dishes and Cocktails with a Greek Twist

The National Herald

Orange and Walnut Pancakes. (Photo by by Eleni Sakellis)

Brunch, a portmanteau word, combining breakfast and lunch, is thought to have begun in England in the 19th century and spread to the United States where it became popular in the 1930's, according to the Joy of Cooking: All about Breakfast and Brunch by Ethan Becker, Irma S. Rombauer, and Marion Rombauer Becker. The meal is often served as a buffet including typical breakfast foods, eggs served in various ways, bacon, sausages, ham, pancakes, waffles, croissants, scones, fruits, as well as salads and even soups and main courses more associated with lunch. Coffee, tea and champagne are also served at brunch.

Though brunch is not perhaps the most Greek of meals, it has in recent years become quite popular in Greece whether served at fine hotels or trendy restaurants. Try the following brunch dishes and cocktails with a Greek twist.

Orange and Walnut Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

A pinch of Greek sea salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and orange zest. Make a well in the center, add the orange juice, olive oil, and the egg, mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Heat a nonstick griddle or frying pan until hot. Pour batter onto hot, lightly greased griddle, about two tablespoons at a time for small pancakes or up to 1/4 cup for large pancakes. When bubbly and edges look dry, flip and continue cooking until golden brown. Serve immediately with syrup and your choice of fresh berries, if preferred.

The National Herald

Watermelon, Arugula, and Feta Salad. (Photo by by Eleni Sakellis)

Watermelon, Arugula, and Feta Salad

1/4 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

3 cups cubed watermelon

2 cups baby arugula

1 cup crumbled Feta Dodonis

1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the watermelon cubes, arugula, feta, mint and walnuts and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Greek Brunch Cocktails

Ouzo with Lemon and Mint

2 ounces ouzo

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

3 mint leaves

1 teaspoon Greek honey

3 ounces ice water or more as preferred

Pour the ouzo into a glass and add fresh lemon juice and the mint. Muddle to release the mint flavor. Add honey and stir to combine completely. Add as much or as little water as preferred and enjoy.

Greek Sangria: Agiorgitiko with Fruit

12 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice

12 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice

8 ounces dark rum

8 ounces orange liqueur

2 liters Agiorgitiko red wine

6 ounces mixed fruits, your choice of lemon, lime, oranges, apple, strawberries, figs, peaches, or pineapple

To prepare, mix in a large glass pitcher or punch bowl and serve over ice.