When discussing ingredients, one must begin with an essential ingredient of Greek cuisine, olive oil.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have a mother who cooked primarily with olive oil. As such, it was second nature to include it in my own cooking. However, becoming part of a Greek family took my appreciation for and use of olive oil to a whole new level! How did it change? Well, in the beginning, I joked that when in doubt as to how much oil one should use, pour until you think you've poured too much and then some! During the first few years, I would watch in awe as my mother-in-law would go through an entire pitcher of olive oil in a week's time. Aside from the obvious quantity used, it seemed odd to see an oil pitcher on the counter versus my dainty little dripper. Oh, how things have changed. Now, I chuckle whenever I see the dripper shoved in the far back corner of my pantry.
There seems to be little debate around the health benefits of olive oil. It is one of the few fats that we are encouraged to eat without reserve. If you're interested to read more about these specific benefits, the site HowStuffWorks.com has a good article that covers the health benefits of olive oil.
While only a few recipes on this blog will call for bread crumbs, this ingredient deserves special attention. More specifically, have you ever read the detailed ingredients that make up your store bought bread crumbs? Well, I hadn't until last year and when I did, I was taken aback to discover that the second main ingredient in my bread crumbs was high fructose corn syrup. In bread crumbs??!! For those of you not familiar with this ingredient, it is a corn derived sweetener and is subject to much debate. Whether or not you believe that high fructose corn syrup is bad for you, hopefully we can all agree that it is wise to eat sweeteners in moderation. Unfortunately, this becomes difficult when it is unnecessarily added to our store bought foods.