These are the easiest appetizers you will ever make. We make these at least once a week, on a weekday! That’s how easy they are.
The filling is made with easy to find ingredients, and you can play with the amounts. You can also make the filling earlier and keep it in the fridge. I use barley bread crumbs, or you can use whole grain breadcrumbs as well. I used a Greek soft goat cheese (katiki), but you can also use cream cheese, and I’ll be trying yogurt in the future. I find that goat cheese adds more flavor though. These are pretty healthy, I use olive oil and plenty of herbs and feta for flavor. Read more »
It’s been a toughish winter. Athens actually had snow a few days (well not anything crazy, but still). The city can have a bit of a temperature difference as the north suburbs are next to or on a mountain, while the south suburbs are next to the sea. So some areas are icy and snowy, while others are not. This causes nice traffic jams and school closures everywhere. But what has made this winter a bit more difficult is everyone getting sick. Cold, flu, whatever it’s making everyone feel lousy.
And when we feel lousy (or even lazy) we want comfort food and easy food. These potatoes are exactly it. Yes, this is a traditional meal from the area of Arcadia in Pelponissos, where my parents are from. It is so simple and so cheap. The beauty of the real Greek diet, making something out of nothing. Read more »
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 »
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 »
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.
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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 »
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 »