It’s All Greek To Me

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Greek It's all Greek to Me cover

I love ethnic cookbooks, especially from places that I have yet to visit.  I have not been to Greece, but love Greek food.  Since I have not enjoyed the country, I appreciate recipes from someone who knows what they are talking about and what their culture has to offer in the way of food.  Before I even read the recipes, I was impressed with the fact that Debbie Matenopoulos grew up in a traditional Greek household and the first member of her family born in America.  Debbie learned to cook from her mother, aunts, cousins, and sister.  I can’t think of better teachers!  She says, to Greeks, food is not just food.  It represents love and family, and sitting down at the table together.  Those are the kind of recipes I am interested to make, and Debbie didn’t let me down.

Healthy Mediterranean food is non-processed using the bounty of land and sea.  Debbie’s recipes are flavorful and heart-healthy, and have been passed down in her family for generations.  The cookbook is also filled with Greek culture through her stories and the beautiful photos.   There is a Greek concept known as “philotimo” which is a way of being in the world and relating to others.  It is about doing what is right, sharing, showing the world your character, and enveloping  the unconditional love of family and friends.  Philotimo is about expressing total gratitude for life.   In this spirit, Debbie shares her family with us through her recipes.  I couldn’t wait to begin cooking from the book.  (You can, too!  Keep reading to see how you can enter to win this cookbook for yourself)

Greek patties 2

One of my favorite Greek dishes is tzatziki, which is a garlic yogurt cucumber sauce.  It’s like the Greek version of putting ketchup on a hamburger, but instead is served traditional with a gyro.  It can also be a sauce for fish, or even used as a dip for vegetables.  However, you really have to like garlic!  And I do.  I have loved tzatziki for a long time, but Debbie’s version is one of the best I have ever tasted.  I made it to pair with her Greek hamburger patties made with onion, oregano, lemon juice, and fresh mint.  Delicious.

Another dish we enjoyed was the pork in white wine sauce, and I served it with the carrot-parsley rice pilaf which bakes in the oven.  It smelled heavenly while baking, along with the pork simmering on the stove top.

Greek pilaf 4

Greek partial book and pork dish

My book is filled with post-its, ready to try more recipes.  The intriguing chapters include appetizers, sauces, salads, phyllo pastries, soups, stews, seafood, vegetarian, meat, poultry, rice, and of course, some delectable sweets.  I was able to communicate some questions with Debbie herself via email, and she said her favorite dish to be served at family gatherings is pastichio, which is basically a Greek version of lasagne, but using ground lamb, feta cheese, and a touch of cinnamon. It’s on my list to make.   I asked Debbie what was her favorite kitchen gadget and she replied that is it her hand mixer because of the memories of cooking with her mom when she was a young girl.

What I was most curious about was whether or not Debbie would be open to having a Greek cooking show.  Here was her enthusiastic answer:

“Hosting a Greek/Mediterranean cooking show would be a dream come true.  I’d love to travel back to Greece to shoot it there and take the viewer on a tour of Greece while doing so.  I’d be able to show you the real Greece, not just  the touristy Greece, but the real deal.  That’s what I also tried to accomplish with my cookbook.  I hope you enjoy reading it and using it as much as I did making it.”

Okay, are you listening Food Network/Cooking Channel/Travel Network, etc?  Someone would have a hit on their hands!  And I bet Debbie would bring along some pastichio to share.

And now for the cookbook giveaway!  Wouldn’t you love to own Debbie’s cookbook?  All you have to do is comment here on my blog what your favorite Greek food is, or maybe what you would like to learn.  I will randomly select a winner and have the cookbook mailed to you.  The contest starts now and will close at 11:59 pm this Friday night, July 18th, and I will notify the winner over the weekend.  Good luck everyone!

Don’t forget to follow Debbie Matenopoulos on social media:


Twitter:    @iamdebbiem


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34 Responses to It’s All Greek To Me

  1. July 14, 2014 at 8:09 am #


  2. July 14, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    I love a good Greek Salad with feta, black olives and cucumber. Also stuffed grape leaves.

  3. July 14, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    It’s a tie between a real (not Americanized) gyro with tzatziki or szouvlaki. YUM!

  4. July 14, 2014 at 8:25 am #

    Moussaka! My mom used to make it when I was a kid and I still love it today.

  5. July 14, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    DIPLES – a deliciously simple sweet treat from the Peloponnese region of Greece. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. July 14, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    Love Spinach Pie-Greek Version. Greek cookies and many other foods of Greece.

  7. July 14, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    While living in CT I loved going to the annual Greek festival sponsored by a local church on Mother’s Day…I most looked forward to a lamb gyro served in warm pita with the yogurt sauce and cucumbers

  8. July 14, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    Grecian Porkchops, grilled and delicious. Jameson’s in Bloomingdale Il makes them perfectly! My home made version is a good substitute. 🙂

  9. July 14, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    Beef or lamb souvlaki! Delicious!

  10. July 14, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    I’m obsessed with feta, and I’ve been adding more Greek seasonings and feta to some of my old standards, giving them a touch of Greek flair. I’d love to experiment with some real Greek recipes!

  11. July 14, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    Not sure what it’s called, but a dish of shrimp baked with garlic, tomatoes, and feta cheese. It’s simple and very delicious. I also love mousakka, especially when my garden is overflowing with eggplant.

  12. July 14, 2014 at 9:46 am #

    Anything eggplant…lamb…greek olives…ah…all of it!

  13. July 14, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    I would like to learn how to make Loukoumades.

    As for a favourite Grrek food, I can’t currently think of one, because I like most all of it!

  14. July 14, 2014 at 11:46 am #

    Anything with feta is fine with me…and summer is filled with Greek salads. I also love the simple but delicious way Greek cooking does fish….

  15. July 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    I love it all…especially anything with olives and feta~

  16. July 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    Moussaka is my absolute favorite, and yes I do wish I could make it at home!

  17. July 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    I would love to learn to make a really good pita bread!

  18. July 15, 2014 at 1:55 am #

    Grape leaves and flaming cheese!!! Yum yum yum

  19. July 15, 2014 at 6:15 am #

    We love Greek dishes, especially with lamb. My husband has perfected a season rub for the lamb roasts and the lamb/beef meat I bake for creating delicious gyros and Greek salads. The only problem is that I am still purchasing the tzatziki from a deli because I have not found a tzatziki recipe that we all like. I am intrigued that you think that Debbie Matenopoulos has the best tzatziki recipe. I would love to learn how to whip up some fantastic tzatziki!

  20. July 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Love, love, love Greek food. Lived in a Greek neighborhood in Chicago–and got to eat so many great dishes. I think one of my favorites is spanakopeta.

  21. July 16, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Tiropetis and/or spanakopetas (small appetizers tho I often make in large pans so we can have with/as a meal … as its what the family requests when they all come to visit.
    Melitzanes salata – the Greek version of baba ghanoush — no tahini in it — I think our crew would eat it every day!
    Lamb – usually grilled boned leg of lamb (every Easter) – sometimes served with avgolemeno sauce and orzo. Tho its great as kabobs or grill chops

  22. July 17, 2014 at 5:17 am #

    I love Greek salad with cucumbers and feta cheese.

  23. July 17, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

    I love avgolemono and good gyros and homemade tzatziki! 🙂

  24. July 18, 2014 at 5:48 am #

    I made galaktoboureko, but in a big dish. I’d like to try making it in the little rolls. That is an upcoming project. PLUS I’d like to get a good recipe for peasant bread – a recipe from Cyprus is ideal.

  25. July 18, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    I can’t say my favorite – it’s all so good! It’s a good day when the salad dressing comes out perfect, over fresh cucumbers. We always make our own. I can say that the galaktobaureko is my favorite – but I had a lemon chicken in Detroit that was so good. Tender on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside, floating on a lake of lemon goodness. Oh, me!

  26. July 18, 2014 at 6:15 am #

    Baklava! So delicious!

  27. July 18, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    I’ve always wanted to see Greece, but since we can’t right now, I’d love to learn how to bring those flavors into my kitchen!! Travel through the palate. 🙂 Plus, I love lamb and fresh seafood. I imagine they have plenty of great recipes for both!

  28. July 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Souvlaki and Gyros!

  29. July 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    I cannot live without tzatziki sauce! I was diagnosed with diabetes years ago and had to change my eating habits and lifestyle and lose weight. I used tzatziki to liven up all my dishes, replacing butter and fat with tzatziki sauce, It is also my go to for salad dressing. 10 years later and 117 pounds lighter!…. it is still my go to favorite. Opa!!!!

  30. July 18, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    I love avgolemeno soup

  31. July 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

    I love avgolemeno soup so comforting.

  32. July 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    I love a good Greek salad…here where I live in Florida they add potato salad..yum!!!

  33. July 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    I want to learn how to make the Greek version of the baklava and the fasolada.

  34. July 21, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    Thank you to all who entered the drawing! A name was randomly selected and the winner is KimR! Kim, I have emailed you to get your address and then the company will send the book to you directly.

    Everyone, please watch for future drawings for some great cookbooks, both old and new. (Sneak hint: I have a Julia Child one coming up that is simply amazing!)

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