I fell under the spell of Tessa Kiros with her theatrical take on Venezia (Andrews McMeel, 2008, in the U.S).
I could not wait to receive her newest food and travel adventure, Food from Many Greek Kitchens (also Andrews McMeel in the U.S, June 2011)
Don't expect a touristy take on Greece.
Tessa serves us Greece of the common man and woman, rugged at times, simple and flavorful.
Why not start with some street food?
Here's her Bread Rings Recipe:
KOULOURIA, SESAME BREAD RINGS
1 ounce fresh yeast, or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
6 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
cup olive oil
3 teaspoons bread flour
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sesame seeds
Koulouri means 'coil' in Greece.
I adore these for breakfast. Or with tarama or tirokafteri later on. They sometimes differ in size but generally are round, a bit flattened and slightly irregular in shape. These are sold on the streets by koulourades. The nice thing is that when you get them in a package, many sesame seeds fall to the bottom, then you can pour them out and eat them off your hand.
Crumble the fresh yeast or sprinkle the dried into a bowl. Add the sugar, 10½ ounces lukewarm water and a handful of flour. Whisk to smooth any lumps. Leave until it starts to activate and bubble, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the flour, the salt and oil and mix with a wooden spoon until a loose dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 7 to 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and spongy. Wipe out the bowl with an oiled paper towel and put the dough in. Cover with plastic wrap, then a dish cloth, and leave in a warm spot for about 2 hours, until puffed and doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400°and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. For the flour paste, mix the flour and water in a bowl until smooth. Knead the dough briefly, then divide it into equal parts. Roll, stretch and coax each piece into a thin rope about 16 inches long. Make the first 6 and while baking, prepare the next batch. Brush each rope lightly with the paste, and sprinkle sesame seeds all over, then roll through the seeds that have dropped on your work surface so that they’re covered all over. Turn each rope on itself, forming a ring, pressing the ends together to seal. Place on the baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Sesame seeds that have fallen onto the trays can be used elsewhere.
(* Recipe from Food From Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros/Andrews McMeel Publishing, Reproduced by permission of U.S publisher, Andrews McMeel, all rights reserved)