Greece Meets Santa Barbara

I am exhausted!  In every sense of the word… physically, mentally; well not at all emotionally.  So maybe not in “every” sense of the word, exhausted.  But I did wake up this morning smelling, breathing, and feeling the garlic and olive oil oozing from my pores.

Last night we invited a few people over for my attempt at a Greek dinner based on the absolutely lovely dishes we tried in Sifnos and Milos on our trip.  Although some of the recipes are traditional, I put my little Santa Barbara spin on them.

A friend of mine saw my pictures from last night and asked if I was planning on blogging about it.  I didn’t even think about it (I’m a touch absent minded) but I promised her I would.  So this is my Greek menu with iPhone pictures rather than my amateur photographs using Paul’s Christmas gift camera.  But you get the point.

Here we go…

Greek Dinner

Greek Appetizers

Tzatziki Recipe (recipe care of

INGREDIENTS:  3/4 English cucumber (partially peeled (striped) and sliced), 1 tsp kosher salt (divided), 1/2 medium head garlic (about 5 garlic cloves, peeled), 1 tsp white vinegar, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 cups whole milk or 2 % Greek yogurt, 1/4 tsp ground white pepper, Warm pita bread for serving, Sliced vegetables for serving


Prep the cucumber. In a food processor, grate the cucumbers. Toss with 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer over a deep bowl to drain. Spoon the grated cucumber into a cheese cloth or a double thickness napkin and squeeze dry. Set aside briefly.

Make the garlic paste. Clean and dry the food processor. Place the garlic cloves in the food processor. Add the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and the vinegar. Turn the machine on and stream the olive oil in through the feed tube, and let the machine run until it pushes the garlic to one side. Stop the machine, and scrape down the sides then run the processor again. Do this for five times or so until the garlic turns into a wet, mushy paste.

Combine and chill. Add the cucumber and garlic paste to a large bowl. Stir in the yogurt and white pepper. Combine thoroughly, sweeping the sides and the bottom of the bowl so the garlic paste gets evenly incorporated. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, stir the tzatziki sauce to refresh and transfer to serving bowls and drizzle a a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil on top. Add a side of warm pita bread and your favorite sliced vegetables. Enjoy!

Greek Baked Feta Cheese in Phyllo Dough and Honey (recipe care of

YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS! It is the Greek Gods’ blessings upon us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

INGREDIENTS:  3 ounces feta cheese (ideally you want the feta to be in the shape of a rectangle or square about 3 X 4 inches, so you can fold it easily), 1 phyllo sheet, 1-2 teaspoons honey,  1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of olive oil for brushing

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).  Toast the sesame seeds. Heat them on the stove to on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes, shaking the pan.  Spread the phyllo sheet and brush with olive oil (make sure you have covered the whole sheet with the olive oil.  Place the feta in the bottom of the phyllo and fold the sides over and then fold the cheese over until you have reached the end of the phyllo. Brush the outside with olive oil and place with folded sided on the bottom on a pan.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven drizzle with honey and sprinkle the sesame seeds over it.

Chicken and Shrimp Skewers (recipe care of me)

Marinade for chicken and/or seafood:

INGEDIENTS:  cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup or so white wine, 3 or so tablespoons lemon juice, LOTS of garlic (3-4 cloves) minced, 1 or so tsp dried oregano, salt

DIRECTIONS:  Mix everything together and pour over chicken or seafood.  Preferably marinate meat for a few hours.

Greek Salad (recipe care of

INGREDIENTS:  4 Medium juicy tomatoes (preferably organic tomatoes), 1 Cucumber or 3/4 English (hot house) cucumber preferred (partially peeled making a striped pattern), 1 green bell pepper (cored), 1 medium red onion, Greek pitted Kalamata olives, Salt (a pinch), 4 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil, 1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 8 oz or more creamy Greek feta cheese in blocks (do not crumble), 1/2 tbsp quality dried oregano

DIRECTONS:  Cut the tomatoes into wedges or large chunks (I sliced some and cut the rest in wedges).  Cut the partially peeled cucumber in half length-wise, then slice into thick halves (at least 1/2″ in thickness).  Thinly slice the bell pepper into rings.  Cut the red onion in half and thinly slice into half moons.  Place everything in a large salad dish. Add a good handful of the pitted kalamata olives.  Season very lightly with salt (just a pinch). Pour the olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Give everything a very gentle toss to mix; do NOT over mix, this salad is not meant to be handled too much.  Now add the the feta blocks on top. Sprinkle the dried oregano.  Serve with crusty bread!

Chickpea Salad (care of me and the waiter of the lovely restaurant in Milos where we dined on this fabulousness)

INGREDIENTS:  1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), olive oil, 1 clove garlic (no more, I am heavy handed with garlic but this is one recipe not to overdo it), ground pepper to taste (supposed to be oven pepper but I have no clue what that is),  4 sun-dried tomatoes (nicely chopped), diced mint (not too heavy handed with this either, mint is a strong herb), tiny bit of chopped parsley, lemon juice (maybe one thick slice), really good feta block in brine, salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:  Slowly and gently sauté the garlic in olive oil (I add a touch of olive oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes for flavor) over very low heat, then add the chickpeas with no heat.  Stir and let the garlic and olive oil soak into the chickpeas.  Stir in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and continue to let soak.  Place in bowl and stir in mint, parsley, pepper, lemon juice, and salt.  Crumble feta (amount to taste but better to be light handed – the star of the show are the other ingredients and feta tries to take over everything, very bossy).  Serve warm.

Baklava (see previous post and so worth it!)




2 thoughts on “Greece Meets Santa Barbara

  1. These all look delish! I was inspired to make the tzatziki tonight. Thank you! I have to check out your baklava recipe next! 😁


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