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 »
When attending large food and nutrition expos like FNCE, one thing you notice is that the expo floor is huge. Especially in the U.S. you have hundreds of booths that represent companies, national boards and commissions and since it’s an expo for nutritionists there is a lot of free food and samples. Yes, we nutritionists like to eat. Read more »
You know that delicious aroma that you get when you are sautéing or frying onions? Doesn’t it smell wonderful? Well this pie tastes like that! Only better.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, pites (pie for Greek) are a great vehicle to get a lot of vegetables in your diet, but it was also a way to make a meal out of nothing. Homemakers like my yiayia would make wonderful pies with just some dough and vegetables or wild greens they had in their garden. Read more »
A new study from English researchers published in the British Medical Journal Open, showed that people who consumed 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables experienced a higher level of mental well-being. According to researchers, high mental well-being is more than the absence of symptoms or illness; it is a state in which people feel good and function well. Optimism, happiness, self-esteem, resilience and good relationships with others are all part of this state. Read more »
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 »