Recipes

Mama’s Greek Cheesy Spaghetti

spaghetti greek

Spaghetti, also known as makaronia in Greek is a bit different in Greece than it is from our neighbor Italy. Here, traditionally pasta is not cooked al dente, but rather cooked longer along with beef, chicken or even seafood.

A popular way it is cooked at home is with olive oil (or butter) and cheese.

By looking at the picture you may not see more than some pasta sprinkled with cheese, but there is a little secret here that makes this pasta addictive. Read more »

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Stewed Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

eggplant and tomato sauce

My posts have been fewer as I have been on vacation, but to be honest, I probably would have been online more often if I had better internet access. But I do not- which might be a good thing actually when you are on vacation…. Although I admit I do post on my instagram profile whenever I get a signal on my phone.

Now many times vacations are associated with plenty of food or eating out all the time, but for us, this year we are staying in a coastal town in Peloponnesus where I spent many summers when I was a child. The place is a pretty town, with a long child-friendly beach and several restaurants with the typical Greek summer foods and plenty of fresh fish. Read more »

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Cantaloupe – Feta Bites

melonfeta

It is really hot in Athens these days, it reminds me of the vacations we would take every summer in Greece. My first memories of Athens is when we stepped out of that plane, you could feel the heat hitting your skin. We were so happy to be there that we didn’t mind the heat or the smog, we were in Greece! And in those days there really wasn’t air conditioning either, so you experienced a real summer not a sheltered one. In the evenings we would sleep with the balcony doors open and some people would even sleep out on their balconies, yes even in Athens. And with this heat fruit is the only thing you want to eat … and yes maybe a little cheese. Which is what we are eating today. Read more »

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Greek Style Beans with Tomato Sauce and Feta Cheese-Fasolia Yiahni

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Beans, not the green kind but the ones also known as pulses or legumes are such an important part of the Greek diet. Whether they are used in soups. patties, roasted or stewed, the flavor is something that is highlighted along with the other ingredients. Greeks don’t hide their beans in pasta sauce nor do they mix them in salads. Beans take center stage in the Greek cuisine. Read more »

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Feta Cheese and Herb Stuffed Zucchini

zucchini appetizer
Zucchini is a vegetable I associate with the summer, so we have a constant supply the whole season. We’ll typically use them in briami, or add them to lathera, or bake or fry them. As I mentioned Greeks love using zucchini in many ways. Here is a simple (and not so common)recipe that works very well as an appetizer or even as a side dish: cheese filled zucchini. Read more »

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The Cretan Dakos: This is What The Mediterranean Diet is All About

Kritikos dakos

I don’t know where to start with the dakos. It is delicious, it is healthy, it is the ultimate representation of the Mediterranean diet, straight from Crete.

First of all it’s been described as a Greek bruschetta, but it isn’t, it is a bit different. Here’s what it is: Dakos specifically refers to a recipe that uses the famous Cretan barley rusks. These rusks are made with whole grain barley flour, water and salt. They are super hard and super healthy. Also dakos includes olive oil, tomato, and crumbled cheese, traditionally this cheese is Cretan mitzithra but you often see it (outside of Crete) made with feta. Read more »

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Classic Tabbouleh-A Favorite Mediterranean Salad

tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is such a great salad. It combines all the classic ingredients of the Mediterranean: tomatoes, cucumbers. herbs (parsley, mint), olive oil and lemon. While it is not a Greek dish, it definitely combines ingredients common in the Greek cuisine and I love it!

So there are many different versions, I tend to like the one with more parsley and less bulgur, although in the photo it seems like I added less parsley (I ran out). Also the original recipe uses bulgur (in Greek we call it pligouri) a cereal made from the kernels of wheat, which maintains much of its bran and therefore is a good source of fiber. When I decided to make this over the weekend to photograph it, I did not have bulgur on hand and just used couscous instead hence the photo, although I much more prefer it with bulgur- healthier and tastier. Read more »

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Greek Baked Feta Cheese in Phyllo and Honey

feta with honey

So as you may have noticed cheese is really important in our home, but also in the Greek diet. Since traditionally Greeks did not eat much meat, cheese played the role of protein to go along with all those vegetable dishes. In fact, according to the USDA and other sources, Greece has the highest consumption of cheese per person in the world (yes more than the French), at 71 pounds a year which corresponds to 3 ounces a day (which isn’t that much really). That’s because it is actually an important component to the meal, especially feta which makes up most of the cheese consumed in Greece. Read more »

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Greek Zucchini and Feta Pie – Kolokithopita

kolokithopita zucchini pie Greek

Pites are what Greeks call their pies that are made with vegetables or cheese surrounded by layers of phyllo. Phyllo can mean the thin sheets of phyllo you find in the frozen section of the super market, or homemade phyllo (dough) which most women in Greece would roll out when they made a pita. It is just one layer of dough, kind of like a pie crust but thinner and more tender. It is sturdier than the thin is phyllo sheets and is better for pites that may be a bit more liquidy. It usually requires flour, olive oil, salt and kneading. Being short of time, I generally do not roll out my own dough and instead use the phyllo from the super market. The good thing about the phyllo that I find in Greece is that it contains no fat and just flour and salt. That is what you should be looking for as well. Read more »

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Quick and Easy Sweet Tomato Jam with Black Pepper

Tomato Jam

Since I am in a summer tomato mode, I thought I would share a second tomato recipe this week: and that is tomato jam. At an expo a few years ago there was a presentation of the Greek breakfast and a version of it from several parts of Greece. Everything was delicious and one of the dishes was Greek yogurt with tomato preserves. It tasted wonderful.

Tomato preserves require more time and uses the smaller cherry tomatoes, but I had some larger tomatoes and opted for an easy tomato jam recipe. Read more »

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