Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Christine Presents: Sunset In Athens

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Sunset Lycabettus

The top of the world when in Athens is Lykavittos Hill. We walked through Syntagma square past the Parliament Building and toward the sky. A tram took us the steepest way to the top of the hill. One can walk all the way, but it's steep and takes about twenty minutes. We elected the more leisurely form of travel.

Looking North

The sunset was magnificent. We could see the clouds rolling in from the Aegan Sea. Forecast for the next day: Rain. At the top we were welcomed to a three hundred sixty degree view of Athens. Panoramic does not describe what we witnessed.

Monastiraki Square Athens: Significance of the bells.


The travelers hotel sat between Plakka and Monastiraki square. Monastiraki is the site of one of the largest in Athens. If you look to the right, the columns are part of Hadrian's Library. It stands in the south corner of the Monastiraki Square. It was built in the eighteenth century during the Ottoman occupation by the local governor Tzistarkis as a mosque. In 1759 during construction Tzistarakis overstepped his authority by demolishing one of the columns of theTemple of the Olympian Zeus for use as building material.

Today the building is home to a ceramics museum, an annex of the Museum of Greek Folk Art.

According to most sources the use of bells in the Catholic church dates back to the 5th century. Here by
Monastiaki Square we heard bells many times during the day. Sometimes the bells rang to announce the hour as well as the half hour. Today the bells are rung for various reasons. At times they alert the people it is time for mass and other times to announce marriages and funerals.

Early use of bells were for both civil and religious purposes. The different bell tolls have significant meanings. Spending the better part of the week listening to the bells, I heard the different sounds and sometimes they seemed to come from different bells they were so different. Some were loud and booming while others were softer and higher pitched.

Bells have been used to tell time, announce prayer times, proclaim special celebrations, deliver messages about deaths and weddings, inform the public of emergencies and more.

Recipe of the Day: Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffed Green Pepper and Stuffed Tomato
Served with Lemon Potato

Tomatoes With Rice & Herbs (serves 4-6)

12-14 medium-sized ripe Greek tomatoes

 2 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 to 1 cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil, depending on taste.

2 cups long grain rice, rinsed

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 cup chopped fresh dill

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

2-3 tsp. sea salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

hot water

Pre-heated 375F oven

Wash your tomatoes and remove the stems. Slice the top of each tomato (but leave a bit attached to act as a hinge) and use a pairing knife to cut the inner membranes. Now carefully spoon out (use a grapefruit spoon) the flesh of each tomato and place each in a deep baking dish/roasting pan that will tightly fit all the tomatoes and sprinkle salt in the inside of each tomato. Puree the tomato pulp and reserve.

Pour 1/4-1/2 cup of olive oil in a skillet and add your scallions and garlic. Stir and sweat for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Now add your tomato puree and simmer for another five minutes. Add the rice, the herbs (dill, parsley, mint) and stir in, then take off the heat. Add your salt and pepper, stir in, and allow to cool.

Using a spoon, stuff your tomatoes (push the filling down with your fingers if need be) and cover with the tops. Repeat and stuff your remaining tomatoes.

Pour the remaining olive oil over all the tomatoes plus enough hot water to come halfway up the tomatoes. Sprinkle coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper and place in your pre-heated oven (uncovered) for 60-70 minutes or until the tomatoes are golden-brown on top.

Serve with some good crusty bread, a slab of Greek Feta and a glass of Greek wine. Also good served with fries and tzatziki sauce.

roguephoenixpress's Lycabettus Hill album on Photobucket


Rosemary Indra said...

Chris, you have some beautiful pictures. I didn't realize Athens was such a large city.

Susan Bernhardt said...

I always wanted to go to Greece. What a beautiful country and the recipe you included, yummy! Enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks.

Susan Bernhardt
The Ginseng Conspiracy coming 1/14

Christine Young said...

Thanks for the comment. The food here is great. I'm in Albania for two days then back to Greece.