Author: elenisaltas

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers with Feta

I’m a firm believer that everything tastes better with bacon. I’m also an extreme spice advocate—I love anything with a spicy bite. The more it burns my mouth the better. So, it was only a matter of time before I added these popular appetizers to my blog. These bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers are “Greekified” within the filling, by combining the deliciously salty feta cheese with thick Greek yogurt for a creamy texture. Once the jalapeño is stuffed, wrap a thin strip of bacon wraps around to seal the popper together and sent to the oven. While jalapeño peppers are what’s standard for this appetizer, you can also spice up or down the pepper to your liking. If you want a hotter bite, use habaneros. For a milder bite, use small poblanos or even mini bell peppers work well. Whatever type of pepper you choose to use, be cautioned that these poppers are addictive and will disappear once served. Save Print Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers with Feta Prep time:  5 mins Cook time:  35 mins Total time:  …

Greek Coffee Brownies

Brownies are my greatest weakness of all—especially the good old fashioned out of the box stuff. When I’m really craving a chocolatey fix, nothing beats the convenience of just dumping all the premixed ingredients into a bowl, stirring in some extra liquid, and sending them to the oven. They come out simple and scrumptious every single time. Because I’m satisfied with the boxed brownies, I hardly make them from scratch, or maybe didn’t care to recognize how easy they are to make on my own. But then one day when my brownie craving hit unusually early in the morning as I was making a cup of Greek coffee, I decided to make my own brownies—with Greek coffee. Coffee and chocolate is a classic combo so it just made sense. My recipe blends the grounds of Greek coffee with cocoa powder for a dark and decadent result that’s just as gooey as the boxed brownies I’ve adored for so many years. Now I don’t have to run to the store at random hours because all the …

“Greekified” French Onion Soup

Introducing: French onion soup with a Greek twist! I was inspired by a photo I saw on Peter Minaki’s aka “Kalofagas” page and decided to give it a try myself. For my version, I added Greek flavors I enjoy at home, like garlic and oregano, plus tested batches with both Kasseri and Halloumi cheeses. I preferred the Kasseri version, as it melted better, but the Halloumi also created a nice flavor. The result was excellent and just what you want from a typical French onion soup—caramelized onions, warm broth, a thick baguette, and gooey cheese. What a comforting meal that will certainly hold a favorable spot at my dinner table. Save Print “Greekified” French Onion Soup Recipe type: Soup/Greek Soup Serves: 4-6 bowls   French onion soup with a Greek twist! Ingredients 6 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 1 ½ lbs) ½ cup unsalted butter 1 Tablespoon oregano 2 bay leaves 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 6 cups beef broth ½ cup white wine salt and pepper, to taste ¼ cup …

Mizithra Pancakes

During the weekdays, my breakfasts consist of coffee or a protein shake. Sometimes, as I’m rushing out the door for work, I grab a muffin or a banana. Truly, I don’t care for breakfast, and have noticed I function better at work by putting off eating until lunch time. When the weekend comes around I’m ready for all the breakfast foods–eggs, bacon, cottage cheese, and toast. Pancakes are a special item I like to make at home, especially because I get to make them how I like them–stuffed with mizithra cheese. Mizithra pancakes have become an instant hit at my home. We love them so much we’ve even had them for dinner one night. Adding mizithra cheese to the batter ups the creaminess factor to the pancakes that you’ll notice with just one bite. These light and fluffy mizithra pancakes will certainly stand out for your next breakfast–or dinner–whenever you need a pancake fix. Can’t find soft mizithra cheese? Learn how to make your own here. You can also substitute mizithra for ricotta cheese. Save Print …

Fried Feta with Sesame Seeds

Fried feta with sesame seeds is combination of salty and sweet that creates maximum flavor. Save Print Sesame Coated Fried Feta Recipe type: Meze/Appetizer Serves: 2 pieces   Sesame coated fried feta is one of the easiest dishes, ready in minutes. Ingredients 8 ounce block of feta cheese 2 eggs ½ cup of flour ½ cup sesame seeds Olive oil, for frying Honey, for drizzling Instructions Cut the feta into squares or rectangles about ½ inch thick. Crack the eggs in a bowl wide enough to fit the feta and beat lightly with a fork. Add the flour on a plate. On a second plate, add the sesame seeds. Coat each piece of feta in the flour, and then the eggs, and then the sesame seeds. Be sure to coat well with each step, so all sides are covered. In a frying pan, heat olive oil (enough to shallow fry) over medium to high heat. Carefully add the feta and fry until nicely golden colored, and then flip and fry on the other side. Drain the feta …

5 Favorite Beaches in Crete

Greece’s largest island, Crete, provides hundreds of beautiful beaches that draws crowds in the summer months. Below are just five of my favorites, plus some extra suggestions for you to check out on your next visit to Crete. Do you have a favorite? Please comment and share 🙂 Falassarna Beach: I’ve taken some of my best photos on Falassarna, catching shots of the big waves and vibrant skies. My favorite beach in all of Crete, Falassarna stretches far along the coast and makes an especially nice spot for sunset lovers since the beach faces west. There’s no need for an Instagram filter or Photoshop, the natural beauty of Falassarna does all the work. Elafonisi: The early bird gets the worm, or better, a sunbed to lie on at the always-crowded Elafonisi beach. Don’t let the crowds deter you, though. Elafonisi is one of the most sought-out beaches in the world for good reason: the pretty pink sand contrasts brilliantly with the tranquil turquoise water. Talk about paradise! Do visit, but be diligent in picking up …

5 Things to do in Crete

Of the thousands of Greek islands, one holds a very special place in my heart—Crete. With sandy shores, rugged terrain, bustling nightlife, ancient treasures, and world-renowned gastronomy, Crete is a feast for the senses. Everyone agrees Greek hospitality rates a ten on a scale of ten. However, Cretan hospitality rates a 20. Cretans robustly share their traditions with friends and strangers over endless drinks and abundant food, providing an experience like nowhere else in the world. But that’s only half of it. My Greek roots span much of mainland Greece, but my Cretan roots are what I am most proud of. My yiayia and other Cretan women have taught me the most about cooking, and I’ve danced in Cretan groups my whole life. Whenever I step foot on Cretan soil, a feeling of pride and excitement rushes through me. Crete is the largest and most populated island in Greece, making it impossible to get the full feel of Crete in anything less than one week or just one trip. But let’s try. Let’s pack our …

Helen’s Oatmeal Cookies

I recently browsed through my late Yiayia Helen Metos’ recipe book, filled with her recipes plus clippings from recipes she found from the paper or given to her by friends. I was told from my mom that her oatmeal cookies were everyone’s favorites, so I had to test for myself. Results: these cookies are amazing–so wonderfully soft and chewy that I just had to share her timeless cookies. Enjoy! Save Print Helen’s Oatmeal Cookies Recipe type: Dessert/Cookie Serves: ~40 cookies   Ingredients ¾ cup shortening, softened to room temperature 1 cup brown sugar ½ cup granulated sugar 1 egg ¼ cup water 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup flour 1 tsp salt ½ teaspoon baking soda 3 cups oats, uncooked Instructions Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Place shortening, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat thoroughly. Sift flout, salt and soda; add to shortening mixture, and mix well. Blend in oats. Drop teaspoons of dough onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes. Notes For variation, add ½ tsp cinnamon and ¼ …

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m all for simple recipes, especially when it comes to baking. That’s why I love these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies: they only require three ingredients and are ready in 25 minutes. I first tried these cookies years ago at a party, and my friend Lexi gave me the recipe. I’ve been making them ever since and they’ve become favorites at parties I take them to as well. Enjoy these soft and flavorful cookies! Save Print Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe type: Dessert/Cookie Serves: ~   Soft and gooey easy to make pumpkin cookies. Ingredients 1 box spice cake mix 3 cups pumpkin puree (~24 oz) 1 cup chocolate chips Instructions Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. In a large bowl, add the spice cake mix and pumpkin puree and mix together until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips until combined. Drop round spoonfuls of the cookie mix onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minute, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 3.5.3229

Baklava

Everyone knows BAKLAVA. Layers of flaky phyllo pastry blanketed with ground nuts plus plenty of spice (and everything nice), soaked in a sweet honey syrup. Many consider baklava as the gold standard of Greek desserts. I’m not sure if this constitutes a mortal sin against Greek culture but I will say it anyway: I’m not the biggest fan of baklava. I do like lamb though, so hopefully that admission keeps my credibility up. At one point, I honestly considered not including a recipe for baklava on my blog. But then Zeus and his immortal pals conspired to change my mind. Two things happened in one week. I told my Yiayia Saltas, quite casually, that one of my clients wanted to learn how to make baklava. The next day she shows up with her own baklava recipe, handwritten just for me. That same day, I scanned through my late Yiayia Metos’ recipe book for a dinner recipe. Her recipe book is a treasure trove my mom and I hold onto. Many of her recipes, from desserts to main …