These sesame bars known as pasteli in Greek are the original power bars. They actually go back to antiquity, the ancient Greeks had a similar recipe that included a variety of nuts and honey. Today you can pretty much find pasteli anywhere in Greece. When I’m out and am looking for something quick I’ll stop by a periptero (kiosks that are everywhere) and that is what I’ll get. It is basically honey and sesame seeds. You can also find other types of pasteli that include other nuts such as pistachios. Read more »
The fennel bulb is generally not very common in Greek cooking whereas the fennel leaves are part of a very popular Cretan dish fennel pies – marathopites. The greens are also used in fritters, cooked with beans and seafood. I have never used the fennel bulb apart from adding it raw to a salad, so roasting it seemed simple enough. Read more »
Now that Thanksgiving and the weekend is over, with all the meat and desserts, I crave vegetables even more. And this one hits the spot. This is the classic way Greeks cook cauliflower which we call kounoupithi. Surprisingly this is a comfort food for many of us. Yes, imagine that, cauliflower a comfort food. But we associate it with winter, it is a dish traditionally made in the cool months as this is when cauliflower is available. Read more »
Pomegranates have a special place in Greek culture, they represent good luck, fertility and prosperity. For the New Year it is very common to bring (and receive) a gift of a silver pomegranate for good luck throughout the year. At weddings it is common to smash and break a pomegranate so that the marriage is fertile. Curiously enough, the pomegranate is also associated with death as it is supposed to symbolize re-birth after death. Ok… Read more »
I have to admit, I like Thanksgiving even though here in Greece there is not much celebrating as it is not a holiday. Surprisingly though for me the holiday did not a have a special significance until I moved to Greece thirteen years ago. In the states we celebrated Thanksgiving but more likely with lamb or chicken and Greek style potatoes, rather than turkey and cranberry sauce. But in Greece things changed… Read more »
Sometimes Mediterranean inspired recipes appear in the least likely of places. We were visiting my in-laws and I found a cookbook from the 70’s called The Williamsburg Cookbook which includes recipes from Colonial Williamsburg’s taverns and restaurants. There are plenty of colonial recipes, but this recipe caught my eye: with the simple title Zucchini with Walnuts, the ingredients brought me straight to the Mediterranean. Read more »
The Mediterranean diet is back in the spotlight! This week we had new research published that once again confirms what hundreds of previous studies have shown: that the Mediterranean diet is good for you. In one study researchers have found that a Mediterranean style diet can protect kidney function, while a second study showed that it provides better blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
If you are not sure where to start, I have singled out 10 foods typically used in the Mediterranean-Greek diet that you should add to your diet now, along with some traditional and not so traditional ways of using them. These ingredients are all great sources of beneficial nutrients and will put you well on your way to adapting your current diet to a Mediterranean one. Read more »