GREEK POTATOES with FETA & KALAMATA OLIVES

6 medium Idaho potatoes, unpeeled
1 ¼ cups crumbled Feta cheese (goat cheese)
4 to 5 oz. pitted Kalamata olives, drain and reserve olive brine (juice), then slice olives
1 T. olive brine (juice)
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup milk
2 T. butter or margarine, melted
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. garlic salt
Salt, if needed

Garnish (optional):
½ medium green pepper, cut into strips
½ medium sweet red pepper, cut into strips


Cook the unpeeled and uncut potatoes the lazy way, in boiling salted water until done.
Pour off the water and then peel the potatoes.  Skins come off easily in long “sheets”.
Cut peeled potatoes into ½-inch size cubes.  In a mixing bowl, combine all other ingredients except the garnish ingredients with the cubed potatoes, and gently toss to mix all ingredients.  Taste for salt and add, if needed.   Put the potatoes into a spray-greased baking dish and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  While Greek Potatoes are baking, spray-oil a small non-stick skillet.     Stir-fry the green and red pepper strips allowing each side of the strips to get a little “seared” look.  When the Greek Potatoes are finished cooking, place the pepper strips around the outside edge of the dish, alternating the green and red colors of the pepper strips.

 



I’ve never had the pleasure of going to Greece, but hopefully I will sometime.  The Greek flag that you see in the background of the food photos came from Tarpon Springs, Florida.  One March, Joe and I were there, purely by happenstance, during the Greek Independence Celebration Festival.  We had sooo much fun!  We watched the native dress parade of whole families of Greek descendants representing Greek Orthodox Churches from all over the state of Florida and other states. They gave everyone Greek flags - we listened to speeches in Greek - we watched wonderful Greek dances with fabulous costumes – we ate marvelous Greek foods and Greek pastries that were “to die for!”

Later, we took-in the sponge diving boats at the docks.  The sponge diving industry in Tarpon Springs accounts for the large Greek population.  An occupation brought over to America from the “old country” along with the wonderful Greek foods and traditions.  Joe and I both aren’t too wild about Retsina or Ouzo, but managed to politely sip a little before moving on to other Greek wines.  If you should have the opportunity, don’t pass up this festival.  It will truly transport you to the Greek Isles via Florida.

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