All posts filed under: Eleni’s Recipes

Vasilopita (New Year’s Cake)

When the clock strikes 12:01 into the New Year or any time on New Year’s Day, many Greeks will slice into a vasilopita, a New Year’s cake made with the typical fixings of a cake (flour, sugar, eggs), and spiced with orange juice or the baker’s choice of add ins (raisins, walnuts, mastiha are all common). A layer of powdered sugar dusts the top of the cake once cooled. Traditionally, a coin is inserted into the cake either before or after baking. When it comes time to serve, the fortunate individual who finds a coin in their slice (careful when eating!), will have luck for the rest of the year. Happy New Year! καλή χρόνια Ingredients: ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature ½ cup canola oil or vegetable oil 1 ½ cups sugar 3 eggs 1 ½ cups orange juice (preferably fresh if available) 1 orange zest 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon nutmeg Powdered sugar, for dusting Directions: 1. Preheat oven …

Tirokroketes (Fried Cheese Balls)

Gooey on the inside, crunchy on the outside, tirokroketes (fried cheese balls) is an  irresistible appetizer that will leave guests wanting more. For this dish, I use three different types of cheese: feta, graviera, and gouda. The three types play well together and creates great flavor. Eat plain, dunk in your favorite dipping sauce, or squeeze a lemon on top before serving and enjoy! Save Print Tirokroketes (Fried Cheese Balls) Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Meze/Appetizer Serves: 14-16 balls   Ingredients 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled 3 oz graviera cheese, grated* 3 oz gouda, grated 1 egg and 1 egg white ¼ cup milk ½ teaspoon paprika pepper, to taste all-purpose flour, for dredging vegetable oil, for frying Instructions In a mixing bowl, add the feta, graviera, gouda, eggs, and milk. Combine mixture well and season with pepper and paprika. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, to allow the mixture to firm up. When the cheese mixture is ready, add some flour to a bowl or plate. Form the mixture and …

Zucchini Bread

You can always tell it’s the end of the summer by the amount of zucchini bread being made or gifted. The motivation to utilize zucchini in different ways is much higher towards the beginning of the summer, and then suddenly it seems like the zucchini production has tripled and we’re all juggling zucchini. That’s when zucchini bread comes into play. Packed with shredded zucchini, chopped walnuts, and all the right spices, zucchini bread is a delicious and quick way to use up any garden zucchini. Plus, this bread freezes well so you can enjoy zucchini the tastes of summer all year long. Ingredients: 3 cups zucchini, grated (skins on) 3 large eggs 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar (compacted) 1 cup vegetable oil 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon vanilla 3 cups flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 3 teaspoons cinnamon 1 cup chopped walnuts *1 cup chocolate chips (optional) Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour loaf pans (batter should make two 8×4 inch pans). 2. Beat …

Greek Bruschetta

Sunday dinners are my favorite. Sundays mean I have more time to carefully prepare a dinner for my family, rather than rushing after work to whip something up. I like to thoughtfully put a meal together. Sunday also means my yiayia is usually over at our house. One night, not even ten minutes before dinner was to be served, my yiayia asked me if we were having dakos (an appetizer with a rusk bread, tomatoes, and soft mizithra cheese). I shook my head no, and the playful smile left my yiayias face. That look of disappointment is something I never want to see again—I had to do something about it—and fast. Though dakos is easy to make, I didn’t have the ingredients for the dish on hand. As I frantically combed through my kitchen I found pita bread, tomatoes and feta cheese—basic staples in a Greek kitchen. Plus, out of luck, a coworker had sent me home with fresh basil that day. That was all I needed to make a Greek style bruschetta. Bruschetta is like …

Calamari Stew

Living in landlocked Utah, I don’t get my seafood fix as often as I would like to. But when I do, I like the dishes that can be enjoyed year round and are easy to create, like this calamari stew. In the summer, calamari stew is superb served plain with a glass of ouzo. In the winter it’s equally superb served over a bed of rice. I serve it in the spring and fall, too. It’s a winner no matter when it’s served it, as my dad and I recently did at Salt Lake City’s annual Taste of Greece fundraiser. We literally cooked a vat of calamari stew, nearly 20 pounds of calamari alone. No matter the batch size, this dish is made the same, cooked slowly in a rich tomato sauce and given the final touch of olives and capers. If you’ve ever prepared calamari you know the simple rule for tenderness—cook it fast (such as on a grill) or cook it slow (as in a stew like this one). Never in between unless …

Patatas Bravas, Greek Style

I freely admit I don’t have the greatest memory in the world. Recalling what I did a year or even a day ago proves to be a challenge at times. The main prompt that helps me recount an occasion is food. I have this otherwise useless power to remember who I ate with, what I ate, when I ate it, where I ate, and why. Here’s an example: On a trip to Spain in 2017 with three of my friends, Amy, Ali, and Elefteria, the very first thing we ate was patatas bravas atop a Madrid rooftop bar. I remember what we drank too—sangria, a pitcher or two to be exact. Why? Because Spain. Patatas bravas is a traditional Spanish tapa made with crispy potatoes and topped with a spicy tomato sauce that hasn’t left my memory taste bank since that very first bite. So much so that I immediately wanted to turn this Spanish tapa into a Greek style meze. How to make them “Greeky” you may wonder? Simply parboil, then bake the potatoes …

“Sloppy Tzo” -Greek Sloppy Joe’s

Sloppy Joe is an American classic consisting of ground beef or pork and a tomato sauce sandwiched between toasted hamburger buns. It’s such an easy meal that comes together in just one skillet, and so we have enjoyed plenty a sloppy joe’s in my house—some sloppier than others depending on the maker. I like mine extra sloppy, and being a Greek blogger, I like mine extra Greek. How do you make a sloppy joe Greek, you ask? You start with using ground lamb (or pork) instead of ground beef, and incorporate seasonings like cinnamon and oregano and fresh garlic to the mix. Later, Kalamata olives and crumble feta round out the dish for that extra Greek twist. Oh, and we are not done there. A name change is also necessary so get your best Greek accent ready and instead of “Joe” say “Tzo.” There you have it—a Greek Sloppy Tzo. And remember, a sloppy tzo is intended to be messy, so there should be no clean hands when eating one. Save Print “Sloppy Tzo” -Greek …

Mom’s Snickerdoodle Cookies

In no particular order, the three best cookies of all time are melomakrona, chocolate chip cookies (still on the hunt for a soft and gooey go to recipe), and my mom’s Snickerdoodle’s. My mom says she has had this recipe for “over 100 years” and although Snickerdoodle recipes are all so similar with just a few variations, my mom’s recipe has always been may favorite and is dangerously addicting. They are easy to make, and come out soft and chewy every single time. If you need to store the cookies, my mom suggests putting them in a storage container with a slice of bread on top to keep the cookies nice and soft. Somehow, it works–science! Enjoy. Save Print Mom’s Snickerdoodle Cookies Recipe type: Sweets/Dessert Serves: 100 cookies   Ingredients 1 ½ cups sugar ½ cup margarine, softened ½ cup shortening 2 eggs 2 ¾ cup flour 2 teaspoon cream of tartar 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt For the topping: 2 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoon cinnamon Instructions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing …

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 …