Stin iyia sou! Greece is where the Olympics started. I feel like a sandwich for dinner while I am watching tonight. A Greek Gyro with chips is just the thing. Traditionally made with lamb I am going to use beef instead.
Greece has competed at every Summer Olympic Games, one of only four countries to have done so and the only one of them to compete under its national flag in Moscow, despite the Greek government’s support for an American-led boycott of the 1980 Games, and most Winter Olympic Games.
Greece has hosted the Games twice, both in Athens. As the home of the Ancient Olympic Games it was a natural choice as host nation for the revival of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, while Greece has also hosted the 2004 Summer Olympics. During the parade of nations at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Greece always enters first the stadium due to its status as the birthplace of the Olympics. Before the Games the Olympic Flame is lit in Olympia, the site of the Ancient Olympic Games, in a ceremony that reflects ancient Greek rituals and initiates the Olympic torch relay. The flag of Greece is always hoisted in the closing ceremony, along with the flags of the current and the next host country.
Greek athletes have won a total of 108 medals (143, including the 35 medals of the 1906 games) in 15 different sports. The country currently ranks 31st in the all-time Summer Olympics medal count and is one of the top nations globally, in the world rankings of medals per capita. Track and field and weightlifting have been the top medal-producing sports for the nation and in the latter Greece is placed among the top 10 countries overall. In the inaugural 1896 Olympics, Greece finished second in the medal counts.
God bless Alton Brown at FoodNetwork as the traditional purist for the recipe below. He is so good about explaining the why of cooking. The recipe for Gyros essentially starts off looking like greek spam. It is oh so tasty when done though.
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
- 1 pounds ground lamb or beef
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
- 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Tzatziki Sauce, recipe follows
Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.
Return the onion to the food processor and add the meat, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F.
Remove from the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.
- 16 ounces plain yogurt
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
- Pinch kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced
Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint. Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.
Can you believe the 2012 London Olympics? All the excitement and pride that is unfolding? What a tribute to the Brits for such a successful event. We have enjoyed bringing a little bit of the food from some of the countries this week. Be sure and check out our guest post from Juanita’s Cocina and see what country she will be highlighting on Thursday.