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Greek Meals for Summertime

Maria Benardis, founder of the cooking school and blog, Greekalicious, and author of the book MY GREEK FAMILY TABLE: Fresh, Regional Recipes, joins the Clever Cookstr to talk about why this cuisine is perfect for summertime.

By
Kara Rota,
June 6, 2017
Episode #154

We’ve all heard about the Mediterranean diet, but My Greek Family Table goes even further in talking about the healing power of ingredients in Greek cuisine, from an abundance of fresh vegetables to healthy fats. Maria joins the Clever Cookstr in this week's episode to talk about:

* how Greek food contributes to overall well-being

* favorite seafood preparations for summertime

* lots of ways to use seasonal produce

* why there's plenty of room for sweets

* and much more!

 To hear the full interview with Maria, listen in the top right hand player, or on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.

The following recipe is excerpted with permission from My Greek Family Table, (c) 2017 by Maria Bernardis. All rights reserved.

Baked Asparagus with Oregano, Feta, and Lemon Zest
 
To the ancient Greeks, asparagus represented the spear of love. Here it is simply combined with
 
feta, garlic, and lemon. Eat it as a main meal or serve it as an accompaniment to meat or
 
poultry. When available, I like to mix the green, purple, and white varieties because they look
 
so beautiful together. Serves 4
 
2 bunches asparagus
Sea salt and cracked pepper
 
4 ounces feta, crumbled
 
4 tablespoons extra virgin
 
olive oil
 
2 cloves garlic, minced
 
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
 
1 teaspoon dried wild oregano
 
Juice of 1 lemon
 
1 tablespoon chopped dill (optional)
 
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
 
Wash the asparagus and place in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper, then scatter the crumbled feta over the top.
 
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet over low heat, add the garlic, lemon zest, and oregano and cook, stirring, until the garlic is lightly golden. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and pour over the asparagus and feta.
 
Bake for 15 minutes or until the asparagus is tender. Garnish with dill (if using) and serve.
 
ASPARAGUS
 
The early Greeks used asparagus for medicinal purposes and in herbal medicine, including for
 
the cure of toothaches and the prevention of bee stings. Second-century physician Galen
 
described asparagus as “cleansing and healing.” The ancient Greeks considered it very useful in
 
the treatment of internal illnesses. In particular Dioscorides informs us that “the small stalks of
 
which, boiled and eaten, soothe the intestines . . . the stalks pounded into small pieces with
 
white wine lessen disorders of the kidneys.”
 
Asparagus was held in high regard by the ancient Greeks as an aphrodisiac.
 
Asparagus provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C. It is also a rich source of potassium, important for the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves, and digestive system.

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