Recipes

Rakomelo: A Greek Traditional Warm and Sweet Alcoholic Drink

rakomelo

In other countries you have mulled wine or glogg, but in Greece we like our wine plain and cool. However, we do have rakomelo. The word is the combination of raki (Cretan distilled drink also known as tsikoudia-not to be confused with the Turkish raki)
and meli (honey). This is a drink that is usually served warm. You will find it in mountainous areas, even at ski resorts (yes Greece has them, 80% of Greece is mountainous). Read more »

LinkedInFacebook

Candied Greek Citron

Candied Citron

Last week we were invited to celebrate Tsiknopempti which is the equivalent to Fat Tuesday, but Greeks celebrate by tsiknisma which means barbecuing a piece of meat so you can literally smell it all over the neighborhood. It signifies the beginning of mardi gras but also the fact that lent will start and meat will not be eaten for 40 days.

Well our hosts had various trees in their backyard and one of them had this large, uneven fruit that kind of looked like an ugly lemon. So we took a few home. It turns out this is citron, a fruit that has a wonderful aroma but bitter. Read more »

LinkedInFacebook

Greek Style Roasted Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

Greek Chicken and potatoes

The holidays are over and getting back into our daily routine can be difficult. In Greece the holiday season stretches all the way to the 7th of January. After that, schools start, work starts and everyone is waiting for the next big holiday.

With that in mind, I try to ease into things slowly and that includes avoiding difficult recipes and meals that take too much time to prepare. So one of my favorites for times like these is roasted chicken and potatoes, it’s one of those dishes that you can make fairly quickly and can last you for a couple of days.

Read more »

LinkedInFacebook

Greek Feta-Phyllo Bites. Cheese Saragli

feta phyllo bites saragli

Saragli is basically a type of syrupy sweet that resembles baklava. The phyllo is rolled in a long tube and then cut in pieces and baked. Obviously this is not baklava but a savory version, called cheese saragli.

I first noticed them when my brother’s mother in law made them for parties and get-togethers. They were really tasty, they looked nice and everybody liked them. Crunchy phyllo with little chunks of feta and a bit of spiciness from the kefalograviera cheese (cheese used for saganaki), what’s not to like? She shared her recipe with me and here it is. Read more »

LinkedInFacebook

Pasteli: Greek Honey-Sesame Bars

Pasteli Greek Sesame honey bars

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 »

LinkedInFacebook

Roasted Fennel in Ouzo and Olive Oil

roasted fennel

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 »

LinkedInFacebook

Traditional Greek Cauliflower Recipe

Greek Cauliflower

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 »

LinkedInFacebook

Pomegranate Salad Dressing

pomegranate

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 »

LinkedInFacebook

Top 9 Greek-Mediterranean Inspired Appetizers

greekthanksgivingappetizers

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 »

LinkedInFacebook

Sautéed Zucchini with Walnuts

zucchiniwalnuts

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 »

LinkedInFacebook