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Which recipes (and ingredients) are, in your opinion, over hyped?

Duck fat is so much more interesting and flavorful, but hard for me to come by.

Healthy foods you crave

Love this thread! Mine:

- Berries with fat free Cool Whip
- Spinach salads with whatever's freshest at the moment
- Fresh fish in general, cooked simply and cleanly
- Mango salsa
- Steel cut oatmeal
- Tea
- Dark chocolate in moderation
- Braised greens, especially rainbow chard
- Garlic, garlic, garlic. Always garlic!
- Fresh herbs in and on EVERYTHING. Tarragon, basil, oregano, chives, mint, parsley.
- Brown rice. I'm the only one in my house who enjoys it, so I rarely get it and am therefore craving it on the regular. I
- Steamed white rice. I hate fried and only get steamed at Asian places.
- Red bell peppers, cooked any way.
- Green beans
- Pistachios without salt
- Greek yogurt
- Egg whites and turkey sausage for a hearty but low cal, high protein meal.

What else is your go to breakfast besides eggs?

I love oatmeal with dried fruit and brown sugar. But my favorite quick, go-to breakfast is Greek yogurt with honey - delicious!

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

This will sound so gross, but I was in a snacky mood the other day, and was eating a piece of mozzarella string cheese. I saw an open bag of Guitard semisweet chocolate chips on the counter, and popped a few in my mouth. With the salty cheese, it was just delicious!

What discontinued products do you miss?

Costco used to have these yummy teriyaki chicken skewers that were great with sticky Chinese rice and a fresh salad. I know we could make our own, but these were really yummy and convenient! I haven't seen them in years, unfortunately.

What are you a stubborn purist about?

As a Californian, and as a lucky girl whose parents always loved to eat out, as well as experiment in the kitchen, I have grown accustomed to eating 'impure' versions of classics. I enjoy Asian fusion, gourmet, fancied up Mexican, California-style pizza, and everything in between. I live in a town with a LOT of Chinese and Mexican food, and have liked both the authentic and Americanized/California-ized (is that a word? It is now!) versions of both.

But the one thing I'm a purist about is Greek food. My father is a full-blooded Greek man, and my mother learned to cook some of the classics from his grandmothers when they were first dating. There's a few 'Greek' and 'Mediterranean' restaurants in town that my friends always ask me about. "Is this real? Is this like your grandmother's? Is this how your church makes it at the food festival?"

The answer is always a huge, resounding, "NO, this is Americanized, tasty fare that doesn't come close to the real thing!" Out of all the Greek restaurants I've tried in my area, there's only one I'll eat at, and that's only because the food is always loaded with gorgeous produce and perfectly prepared meat. But at the end of the night, I still crave my yiayia's version of everything instead!

Greek food, much like Italian cuisine, is more about showing off the beauty, freshness, and natural flavors of simple ingredients blended together to form a symphony of flavor. It's easy, actually, to make honest-to-goodness, delicious Greek meals, and it's twice as easy to mess them up and destroy the integrity of the originals.

So, in particular, I will not eat a 'Greek' salad on any menu. (Horiatiki, in Greek.) Something always goes wrong. The olive oil is terrible, or they replace the kalamatas with regular black, canned, shiny ones, or worse, there's no oregano.

I also find that spanikopita is always, always disappointing unless I'm eating it at a church function or a relative's house. These measly triangles filled with bland green glop are ususally under or overdone. In fact, I avoid most things with phyllo in general - is it really that hard to handle?

Finally, the big one is LAMB. I adore lamb; sometimes I think I enjoy it more than a ribeye steak. When it's prepared properly, it's completely out of this world.

Lamb. Does not. Need. MINT. JELLY. !!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't believe I STILL see or hear about it in this day and age - who's eating that??? Who orders that? That's so disgusting. And I have had rack of lamb at many upscale restaurants, and it can be impeccable. But it seems like most people cannot prepare it Greek style without making it taste gamey or dry. Unless I'm at a very fine restaurant, I will not order lamb, Greek or not. I wait to eat it at Pascha (Greek Easter) or whenever my family and I can marinate and grill our own.

Oh, and don't even talk to me about store-bought baklava. I'll rage! LOL. Honestly, it seems so daunting, but homemade baklava is quite simple, and if you work quickly and carefully, you can have a gorgeous pan every time.