0 comments on “Food of the Gods: Greek Ingredients
 

Food of the Gods: Greek Ingredients
 

By Restaurant Manager Georgios Korakianitis

With influences from Turkey to Italy, Greece has a vast and unique culinary landscape that has captivated a global audience. In Greece, bread, olives and olive oil are the pillars of the Greek table wherever you travel, from an upscale restaurant in Athens to a farmhouse on Crete. You’ll have a hard time finding a family gathered around a table without this trio, not to mention a
fresh bottle of wine.

 

What many travelers do not realize is that Greek cuisine not only features many typical Middle
Eastern foods, but is also strongly influenced by Rome, tracing back to when the Romans
conquered Greece in the 2nd century. So you’ll see plenty of pasta and sauces alongside yogurt, rice
and rich sweets made from nuts, honey and sesame seeds. Arab influences have also left their mark on the southern region of Greece, which means you’ll see spices such as cumin, cinnamon, allspice and cloves in the dishes. Greek coffee, of course, traces its roots to Turkey, while potatoes
and tomatoes were brought from the New World after European explorers landed in the Americas.

In Greece using local ingredients isn’t a trend, it’s simply how we cook – using what is in season
and what is available in our region. Every Greek meal is fresh and inviting, but it also takes you on a journey through Greece’s history and thousands of years of growing, cooking and eating. As you
will discover once you sit down to eat in Greece, no meal is ever “just a meal” – our celebration of life and dining is one in the same. So I invite you to discover more about just a few of the many Greek ingredients featured on board that capture the essence of our joyful and timeless cuisine.

 

Feta Cheese
The national cheese of Greece, feta, can only be produced in Greece – and only in specific regions such as the Peloponnese, Lesvos and mainland Greece – due to its Protected Designation of Origin. By law, feta is produced from either 100% sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It’s the crowning centerpiece on any Greek salad and is a key ingredient in traditional dishes such as spanakopita and feta saganaki – a delicious filo-wrapped feta drenched in honey and coated in sesame.

Caper Leaves
Very difficult to find outside of Greece, caper leaves are typically pickled or boiled and then preserved in jars with brine, similar to caper berries. In fact, when our ships leave Greece, we purchase enough caper leaves to last until the ship is planning to return. Our chefs like to use them
in fish dishes and salads, such as the heirloom tomato salad.

Capers
A bold and briny ingredient, capers are picked, cured and sorted according to size. Harvesting
capers is an arduous process since they can only be picked by hand every spring. They are ideal
for garnishing and add a punch of flavor to sauces, salads, pasta dishes, fish and lamb. We
use them most often on board in our featured Greek fish at the Chef ’s Greek Market Dinner, as well as in a variety of pasta dishes and salads.

 

Kalamata Olives
This king of Greek table olives is favored around the world. The almond-shaped, deep purple
olive is noted for its rich tangy flavor that is often smoky or has hints of wine. Kalamata olives are typically left on the tree to mature a bit longer and are only harvested once their color begins to turn dark. They are usually stored in olive oil or vinegar, and are typical in Greek salads and make a great tapenade.

Filo Dough
Filo dough is an unleavened tissue-thin dough that is stretched or rolled so thin you can see through it. This type of dough is very versatile since it can be layered, filled, folded, rolled and even turned into cups, flowers or spirals. On board, we use filo in various Greek recipes such as baklava and spanakopita, as well as dishes like strudel, pastilla and tartlets. Filo-based pastries are made by layering many sheets of filo brushed with olive oil or butter, filling them and then baking.

Come live the Greek life with us in the Mediterranean this summer!

0 comments on “Our Sommelier’s Picks Down Under
 

Our Sommelier’s Picks Down Under
 

With more than 60 recognized regions, Australia is in a thriving Southern Hemisphere location for winemaking. Whether you’re planning a cruise Down Under or looking for a fresh bottle for dinner tonight, Australia has so much to offer wine lovers. Without a doubt, shiraz is one of Australia’s best-known and most loved varietals. Two of our Sommelier’s favorite picks are below – and you can enjoy them on board by the bottle.

Two Hands Lily’s Garden Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia
Two Hands has earned a place in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines for ten years in a row, the only winery in the world to ever achieve this feat. Two Hands Lily’s Garden Shiraz comes from the estate’s Garden Series, which is their premium range of shiraz from the finest shiraz growing regions in Australia. In fact, Lily’s Garden Shiraz is the pick of the bunch, sourced from Two Hands McLaren Vale vineyards.

Tasting Notes: This generous wine is characterized by cascading blue fruits and a rich long palate. It’s a deep, intense red with a purple hue and notes of blueberry, plum and mulberry. Hints of French lavender, white pepper and warm granite add complexity.

Peter Lehmann Barossa Portrait Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia
Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest regions for fine wine and is a fairly warm region renowned for its robust Shiraz. Peter Lehmann shiraz is true to the varietal style, embodying a balanced and full-bodied character.

Tasting Notes: This full-bodied Barossa shiraz reveals a deep color and bouquet of dark forest fruits with a hint of chocolate and vanilla. Soft, velvety tannins with a lingering mocha finish make it a perfect companion to roast meats and strong cheeses.

Cheers!

0 comments on “Recipe: Caribbean Macadamia-Crusted Fish with Banana Chutney”

Recipe: Caribbean Macadamia-Crusted Fish with Banana Chutney

By Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment Kathryn Kelly

There is something magical about the turquoise waters of the tropics and the luscious, abundant ingredients that suggest casual, soulful food. That’s the inspiration behind our culinary classes during the Caribbean season. The tropical fish, herbs, fruits, and spices in the Caribbean are the perfect combination to create seasonal, sustainable farm-to-table cuisine. And there’s nothing like the fresh, distinct and complex cuisine of the tropics for summer gatherings and balmy evenings on the patio. I hope you enjoy this deliciously aromatic Caribbean-style fish!

SERVES 4

CHUTNEY
2 ripe bananas
½ cup sultana raisins, plumped in 1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Pinch of allspice

SAUCE
1 cup heavy coconut cream
1 to 2 teaspoons red curry paste

FISH
2 cups pulverized macadamia nuts
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup rice flour
2 egg whites, beaten
4 (6-ounce) fish fillets (such as snapper, grouper, cod or halibut), room temperature
Clarified butter or peanut oil, for frying

MAKE THE CHUTNEY
In a medium bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Stir in the raisins, lime juice and allspice. Cover and reserve.

PREPARE THE SAUCE
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the coconut cream and red curry paste, adjusting the curry to taste. Warm through and then remove from the heat.

PAN FRY THE FISH
Prepare a sheet pan with an elevated wire rack. In a small bowl, combine the macadamia nuts, breadcrumbs and coconut flakes and mix well. Set up a breading station with 3 shallow bowls – one each for the flour, egg and nut mix. Pat the fish fillets dry and dip each in flour, then egg and then nut mix, fully coating them. Place on the prepared pan and let rest for 10 to 30 minutes.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add enough butter or oil to reach half the height of the fish. Heat the fat until a breadcrumb sizzles when added to the pan. Using tongs, carefully place each fillet in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer onto paper towels to drain.

TO SERVE
Divide the chutney between 4 plates. Top each with a fish fillet and serve the red curry sauce on the side.

0 comments on “Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)
 

Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)
 

Tom Kha Gai Soup

This quintessential Thai chicken coconut soup is a deliciously aromatic accompaniment to any meal with an Asian flair or a complete meal on its own. This soup is served in Red Ginger, our Asian restaurant on board, and you can learn this recipe and other Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese favorites from this restaurant during our “Most Requested Red Ginger” class at The Culinary Center on Marina and Riviera.

According to Chef Kathryn Kelly, Executive Chef & Director of Culinary Enrichment, Thai cuisine is best characterized as complex, balanced, fresh and spicy – and this classic chicken and coconut soup brings that description to life with fresh lemongrass, lime juice, coconut milk, Thai chilies and galangal – which is also known as Thai ginger and is in the ginger family, but the flavor is markedly more citrusy and earthy.

Tom Khai Gai Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Serves 6

16 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass, mashed
1 cup coarsely chopped galangal
8 kaffir lime leaves
2 Thai chilies
6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 cups straw mushroom pieces
18 cherry tomatoes, halved
Juice of 3 to 5 limes
18 cilantro leaves

In a large stockpot over medium heat, combine the chicken stock, lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and chilies and simmer until the stock reduces by half, about 1½ to 2 hours. Decrease the heat to low, add the chicken and poach to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C. Remove the chicken, let cool and shred. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Return the stock to the stockpot over medium heat, reheat the stock and add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Divide the shredded chicken, mushroom pieces and cherry tomatoes among 6 bowls. Just before serving, stir the lime juice into the stock, adjusting the amount to taste. Divide the stock among the bowls, garnish each with cilantro leaves and enjoy!

0 comments on “A Chef’s Guide: Mapping Culinary Greece
 

A Chef’s Guide: Mapping Culinary Greece
 

Olives_from_Crete

By Director of Culinary Enrichment & Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly

Lindos Bay, Rhodes, Greece

 

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to explore many places in Greece, meet the locals and be invited into their homes and restaurants to share a meal. When most think of Greek food, they immediately think of gyros and spinach pies – both of which are delicious – but there’s so much more to the cuisine of this country, which is one of the most diverse and ancient in the world.

In Greece, it’s difficult to separate cuisine from lifestyle, which is why traveling here is a must for anyone who considers themselves a culinary explorer. Below, I share a glimpse of what makes the various island regions so distinctive and special.

THE DODECANESE | Considered the heart of Greece’s gastronomic history, these islands are home to a traditional cuisine that reflects the meeting of cultures that occurred here long ago. The proximity of the islands to Constantinople and Spice Road means the cuisine has been influenced by the Levant, so the dishes feature a rich variety of spices and worldly influences. You’ll taste notes of coriander, allspice, anise and cinnamon in everything from meat dishes and bread to tarts and cookies on islands such as Patmos and Rhodes.

Baklava

 

Dish not to miss: Baklava

IONION ISLANDS | Due to the strategic seafaring location of these islands, they have been occupied by the Romans, Venetians and Sicilians over the centuries, so you’ll notice a strong Italian influence on these decidedly Greek islands. One of our guests’ favorite dishes from Corfu is pastitsio, a baked pasta covered with ragù and béchamel sauce.

Dish not to miss: Sofrito, a typical Corfiot dish of beef or veal cooked in a garlic wine sauce

THE CYCLADES | Here the elements have clearly influenced what will grow. For example, Santorini is in the crater of a volcano so the soil has a very high mineral concentration. Likewise, the island not only produces some of the best wines, they also grow delicious tomatoes. Cycladic islands such as Mykonos are also famed for their sausages and preserved meats, along with capers and sundried tomatoes.

Dish not to miss: Tomatokeftedes, or tomato fritters

THE PELOPONNESE | In these lands, olives and citrus are in great abundance and the landscape is dotted with vegetable gardens and orchards. Locals often add oranges to their sausage and lemons to their tomato stew. The fresh grilled fish with lemon and herbs that you’ll find at neighborhood restaurants and taverns in destinations such as Gythion and Monemvasia is divine.

Dish not to miss: The catch of the day

CRETE | As the southernmost island, Crete is the birthplace of the Mediterranean diet and is a true culinary mecca. To this day, the island has maintained a very traditional cuisine. In fact, one of the most typical foods, paximadia, or barley rusks, was once kept in shepherds’ pockets for long mountain journeys with their sheep and then later dipped in water and eaten with feta.

Dakos – Barley rusks topped w/ tomatoes, oregano, and olives.

 

Dish not to miss: Dakos, which are rusks topped with fresh tomatoes, local oregano and olives

The best way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the culinary traditions of these famed islands? With one of our Culinary Discovery Tours™, of course. I hope to see you at the markets this summer!