What I Love About Greece: Baklava, Yogurt, and Korres

View from my desk today: Korres' Spring Lip Collection and Oak Collection, launching mid-February.

Its economy might be tanking, and, sure the country’s been experiencing what might be euphemistically called a bit of social unrest. But from a total American outsider’s perspective, Greece still has these three things going for it: baklava, yogurt, and Korres.

Food-lovers will no doubt be familiar with the first two on my Greek favorites list—the sticky, honey-drenched, filo-dough dessert and its deliciously healthy antithesis of creamy goodness. So, I’ll move straight to Korres, my current beauty obsession.

I first spotted this brand several years ago when I traveled to Greece on vacation with my husband and saw Korres skincare products in a pharmacy in Paros, one of  the many gorgeous Cyclades islands.

The packaging was clean and chic, and the products smelled fresh and deliciously fruity, but never in that overly cloying way. Everything about it evoked the healthy lifestyles, clean whitewashed walls, fresh breezes, and deep blue seas of Greece.

I didn’t actually try the full collection until later when I ecstatically saw the brand selling at Sephora. And now, whenever given the chance to restock my beauty closet, I reminisce about my Mediterranean getaway and pick up a new Korres product.

My favorites from the line are:

–          Lip Butter Glaze (in any of the four offered shades): The brand’s newest offering, a cross between its classic lip butters in a pot and a gloss,  in a convenient tube.

–          Cherry Oil Lipgloss in Rose- Sheer, shimmery, moisturizing, just the right shade of sheer pink, and formulated with a light scent of sweet cherry.

–          Face Primer – Silicone-free, super-moisturizing and light, and the perfect canvas before applying your makeup. Plus, it doesn’t make my sensitive skin break out.

Look out for the two collections of spring value sets  for the lips and face (pictured top) to launch in mid-February.

Baklava. Courtesy of ifood.com

…For those of you itching to bake something sweet this weekend, here’s a baklava recipe courtesy of Alton Brown on the Food Network!

Baklava

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008

Prep Time:
1 hr 0 min
Inactive Prep Time:
8 hr 0 min
Cook Time:
1 hr 0 min

Level:
Intermediate

Serves:
about 28 pieces

Ingredients
For the filling:

* 1 (5-inch piece) cinnamon stick, broken into 2 to 3 pieces or 2 teaspoons ground
* 15 to 20 whole allspice berries
* 6 ounces blanched almonds
* 6 ounces raw or roasted walnuts
* 6 ounces raw or roasted pistachio
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 1 teaspoon rose water
* 1 pound phyllo dough, thawed
* 8 ounces clarified unsalted butter, melted

For the syrup:

* 1 1/4 cups honey
* 1 1/4 cups water
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 1 (2-inch) piece fresh orange peel

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the cinnamon stick and whole allspice into a spice grinder and grind.

Place the almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sugar and freshly ground spices into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not pasty or powdery, approximately 15 quick pulses. Set aside.

Combine the water and rose water in a small spritz bottle and set aside.

Trim the sheets of phyllo to fit the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch metal pan. Brush the bottom and sides of the pan with butter; lay down a sheet of phyllo and brush with butter. Repeat this step 9 more times for a total of 10 sheets of phyllo. Top with 1/3 of the nut mixture and spread thinly. Spritz thoroughly with the rose water. Layer 6 more sheets of phyllo with butter in between each of them, followed by another third of the nuts and spritz with rose water. Repeat with another 6 sheets of phyllo, butter, remaining nuts, and rose water. Top with 8 sheets of phyllo brushing with butter in between each sheet. Brush the top generously with butter. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and cut into 28 squares. Return pan to the oven and continue to bake for another 30 minutes. Remove pan from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and cool for 2 hours before adding the syrup.

Make the syrup during the last 30 minutes of cooling. Combine the honey, water, sugar, cinnamon stick and orange peel in a 4-quart saucepan and set over high heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Once boiling, boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and discard the orange peel and cinnamon stick.

After the baklava has cooled for 2 hours, re-cut the entire pan following the same lines as before. Pour the hot syrup evenly over the top of the baklava, allowing it to run into the cuts and around the edges of the pan. Allow the pan to sit, uncovered until completely cool. Cover and store at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to overnight before serving. Store, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Printed from FoodNetwork.com on Fri Jan 21 2011

© 2011 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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