Appetizers

Greek Spicy Feta Cheese Dip – Tirokafteri

spicy feta dip Greek

According to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes eating full fat cheese is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes by 23%… I like this study.

I often get this question about the amount of cheese consumed in the Mediterranean Greek diet: is it healthy? Don’t Greeks eat a lot of cheese?
Well yes, they do. In fact, depending on the source Greeks consume the most cheese per person in the world. Feta is probably responsible for this, as we eat it with almost every meal. Cheese is in essence the main source of protein in the traditional Greek diet, since the main course was usually vegetables or legumes. Read more »

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Olive Oil and Wine Greek Savory Cookies

EVOO cookies

During vacation we would spend hours on the beach, swimming, sleeping, playing or just doing nothing. For all those hours we would eat fairly lightly, eating fruit we brought with, a small meze with an ouzo and something salty to munch on. I found at our local bakery these simple savory koulourakia that were basically made from flour, olive oil and wine. 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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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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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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Greek Tomato Patties from Santorini-Tomatokeftedes

Tomato Patties from Greece SantoriniThese are probably my favorite vegetable based patties (tomatokeftethes). I don’t exactly know why, but I think it has to do with the fact that they have tomatoes and are an island summer dish. I especially like them because they are so simple: tomatoes mixed with  a few herbs and that’s it!

These are a so tasty, they are a meze on their own. Although I’ll gladly eat these for lunch, accompanied by a dollop of nice creamy strained yogurt (also known as “Greek” yogurt outside of Greece). They are also perfect for vegans since they are nistisima, meaning that they contain no animal products (the yogurt is optional). And this is the beauty of Greek food: out of almost nothing (tomatoes and a few herbs) they make these wonderful delectable dishes that satisfy your taste buds, hunger and nutritional needs. Read more »

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Greek Style Bruschettas with Sardines, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Greek sardines appetizer

I love mini things when it comes to food. Honestly I would rather just eat appetizers rather than a whole meal. When I have time, some evenings we just eat a bunch of little bites along with some wine for our dinner. It’s like having cocktail hour. It doesn’t have to be fancy or fattening, it can be as simple as some cheese and tomato on a toothpick, some olives, cucumber, carrots etc. etc. In other words a pikilia as we say here in Greece. Pikilia is a bunch of little bites on one plate, it means “variety”. It can also be called a meze, which means a small amount of food to accompany a drink, check here if you want to make your own.

A few posts ago, I discussed how canned fish can be equally healthy and there were a lot of requests for more recipes using canned fish. So here is another one that looks pretty fancy and impressive. This is a quite a transformation for the humble and snubbed canned sardine. Read more »

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Yiayias Greek Fried Pitas Filled with Feta Cheese – Tiropitaria

tiropitari

One year I remember we stayed for a whole month at my father’s village in Ahladokambos with my grandma (yiayia) and grandpa (pappou), we were in the process of moving and my parents were looking for a place so they thought our time would be better spent at the horio (village) rather than crowded Athens.

I remember that time fondly now, but back then those were long days. At that time the village was not very accessible, and my grandparents did not drive so we had to be creative with how we spent our time. We walked all over the village every day acting like explorers. The villagers who would meet us would ask us: “tinous eise esy?” which translates whose are you? Meaning who are your parents. So we would explain, and then they would get all excited: “Oh from America?” and they would tell us all their memories of my dad when he was young. We went shopping at the little grocery store, which was fun to get there, but than you had climb up the steep hill to get to our house which was at the upper village. Other activities included reenactments of Jesus Christ Superstar with my then teen sister, visiting the yard next door which included lamb, goats, chickens and a donkey, helping my grandma make hilopites (Greek pasta) and of course eating. Read more »

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