Continuing with the pumpkin theme, I thought I would share a little known recipe for a super easy, vegan pumpkin cake from the beautiful Greek Aegean island of Sifnos.
I associate the island of Sifnos with my first summer vacation without my parents (but that’s another story), but apart from the wonderful beaches and the charming towns, Sifnos is known for its good food and even better sweets. One of those being Loli. Now Loli means crazy in Greek, that’s right, the crazy cake. Apparently some stories say that they called it that because of all the ingredients they basically threw in a bowl and just mixed them all together… crazily. And that’s exactly how you make this cake: you put all the ingredients in a bowl and then you mix it it, empty it in a pan and bake. Read more »
Well Thanksgiving is less than week away and while here in Greece it is not really celebrated apart from some hotels offering Thanksgiving dinner buffets, at our home we do celebrate it. Our Thanksgiving takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with turkey and a mix of traditional Thanksgiving dishes and Greek dishes as well.
One of my favorite ingredients is of course pumpkin. I like anything made with it. Pumpkin pie comes to mind, but if you would like to try something different this Greek savory pie won’t disappoint. The sweetness of the pumpkin with the spicy feta makes a perfect combination. While pumpkin is not typically associated with Greek cuisine, they do have several recipes for this versatile vegetable: obviously Greek pies, patties, preserves (gluko koutaliou) or they may marinate it in vinegar and use it in a salad. Just to clarify, Greeks call pumpkin glikia kolokitha (sweet pumpkin), but they also call zucchini kolokithaki. So kolokithopita may be a pie made with zucchini or pumpkin but today I’m sharing a traditional recipe made with “sweet” pumpkin, feta cheese and phyllo. Yes it is the same concept as spana-kopita (spinach pie) and tyro-pita (cheese pie). Pita means pie and can be sweet or savory, although they are usually savory. Read more »
In my last post I started discussing how certain aspects of the Greek lifestyle can help you live longer, in relation to a recent article in the New York Times about the people of the Greek island of Ikaria who are among the longest living people in the world. Continuing on this concept, among the many lifestyle factors is the diet. The “Ikarian” diet is actually the Greek diet 50 years ago. I have discussed most aspects of this diet on this blog, it’s the diet I followed growing up (thanks to my mom), the diet my grandparents followed, and the diet of most Greeks before 1970. So here are some aspects of the diet I remember experiencing (and still do).
I remember just eating vegetables as a main dish. Vegetables such as green beans, peas, eggplant, artichoke, and okra are cooked in olive oil, tomato and herbs and accompanied with bread and feta cheese. One of my favorite foods at some point was okra. What kid likes okra? But the way it was cooked with all the tomato it was really delicious.
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Today, my post will not focus as much on the Mediterranean diet but on certain aspects of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Recently the New York Times published an article about the Greek island of Ikaria and how people there live a long life. I was happy to see an article like this highlighting the habits of these Greek islanders and particularly their diet.
Upon reading it, I noticed that the habits and diet described in the article are the habits of most Greeks, 30-50 years ago, not only of the Ikarians. The Ikarian diet is described as a “variation of the Mediterranean diet”; it is in fact the Greek diet, 30-50 years ago. The secret of these islanders (more so the older ones) is that they continue to have this diet and lifestyle today, whereas unfortunately, many other Greeks especially those that live in cities and large towns, do not. Read more »
OK, I didn’t need another study to tell me this, although there have been plenty of studies that show that the Mediterranean diet even though high in fat, is good for the heart. According to Canadian researchers of this new study “A single junk food meal – composed mainly of saturated fat – is detrimental to the health of the arteries, while no damage occurs after consuming a Mediterranean meal rich in good fats such as mono-and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Mediterranean meal may even have a positive effect on the arteries.” Well yes of course. Read more »
We all know how great beans are. Yes, they are rich in fiber, antioxidants, protein and now a study published online last week in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that the consumption of beans improved glycemic control and reduced estimated heart disease risk.
The researchers from the University of Toronto had 2 groups of people either consume a low Glycemic Index (GI) bean diet by increasing bean intake by 1 cup a day or a low GI diet by increasing insoluble fiber through consumption of whole wheat products. Glycemic Index is a measure that shows how quickly blood sugar rises after we eat a certain food. At the end of the study both groups had a reduced HbA1C levels, a measurement of glucose usually from the past 1-3 months. The reduction in HbA1c with the bean diet was greater than with the wheat fiber diet. Also there was a greater heart disease risk reduction on the bean diet, which according to the researchers is due to a greater e reduction in blood pressure. Read more »
As promised in my post about my visit to the Food and Nutrition Conference, I’ll be sharing interesting, Mediterranean inspired recipe ideas that I found at the conference. Beans are always on top of the list of healthiest foods and a very important part of the Mediterranean diet. Here is a recipe that presents lentils wrapped up in phyllo dough, putting them in a nice attractive package to be served as an appetizer. A perfect idea if you are entertaining or for the holidays or…if you just want your kids to eat beans. Read more »