All posts filed under: main courses

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 …

“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 …

Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)

Considered a national dish of Greece, fasolada represents the country’s frugal and healthy style of cuisine all in one bowl. Made with a hearty combination of white beans, chopped vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, a handful of herbs, and a robust sauce, fasolada is a meal meant to last for days. Though fasolada is traditionally a thick soup, I like more sauce to mine, as I do with most soups and stews, because that equals more opportunity for bread dunking. And who doesn’t love carbs soaked in sauce? Complement fasolada with a salty side dish, such as anchovies, feta cheese or your favorite olive type. Save Print Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup) Recipe type: Vegetarian/Lenten Serves: 6-8 bowls   Fasolada, the national dish of Greece. Ingredients 16 oz white navy beans (I prefer medium or large sized) ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 2 yellow onions, diced 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds 4 celery stalks plus their leaves, chopped 5 garlic cloves, minced 16 oz tomato sauce (or tomato passata) 2 tablespoon tomato paste 6 …

“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 …

Lamb Kleftiko

DISCLOSURE: I don’t condone stealing. There is just one instance, however, where I do pardon a certain group of thieves because their act of stealing eventually gave the world a glorious gift. The thieves I’m speaking of are the klephts, an indigenous population that descended from the Greeks who fled into the mountains to escape—and from which to fight—the Turkish occupiers of Ottoman Greece. The klephts snuck from the mountains to steal grazing lambs or goats, then retreated back to the mountains to cook their stolen goods. The meat was seasoned with oregano and thyme or even wild garlic, placed in an underground pit and covered with soil and branches on top to trap the aromas and the smoke while cooking. Doing so helped to avoid detection from their adversaries. This sneaky style of cooking later became known as kleftiko—the food of the “klephts” or thieves. Over time, the method moved from underground pits to outdoor wood-fired ovens. These days, we make LAMB KLEFTIKO indoors, baked in any conventional oven. The lamb is either assembled …

Stifado (Beef Stew)

At the Salt Lake City Greek festival, almost every family plays a role, often with specialties they claim as their own and which they work on for months before the festival. My good friend John Timothy and his entire Pappas family are always on tyropites (cheese pie) duty. Another friend, Jeff Chipian and his family are the ones to thank for the loukoumades (honey donuts) that are promised to leave your hands sticky and stomach begging for more. My big brother, Pete and his crew, somehow keep their composure cool all weekend long while working nonstop in the ovens, popping out warm pastitsio and spanakopita on order. By the way, it would be wrong not to mention the sweet Philoptochos women who bake and cook the pastitsio and spanakopita all summer long. For as long as I can remember, the Saltas family and our cousins, the Kastanis’ have made the stifado (beef stew). Stifado is a Greek stew teeming with flavors of garlic, onion, cinnamon, wine, bay leaf, and other spices. In the United States, the …

Strapatsada (Eggs with tomatoes)

Whenever I spent the night at my grandparents’ home, breakfast was always an egg sandwich with a cold glass of milk. My Yiayia Saltas would toast two slices of bread, spread some ketchup on the toast, and then put a fried egg in the middle. As a final touch, she would cut the sandwich into four squares for my tiny hands to handle. It’s the best egg sandwich I’ve ever devoured. Now that I have graduated to cooking for myself, I like to make STRAPATSADA (also known as kagianas). Strapatsada sounds fancy but it’s a dish you may already have made. It’s merely scrambled eggs with diced tomatoes, olive oil, and any seasonings you prefer. Simple, yes, but my yiayia tells me this was one of my papou’s most beloved dishes. Maybe he loved strapatsada because the ingredients were low cost, or maybe because in the hands of my yiayia, anything turns into a five-star meal. Strapatsada tastes best with fresh tomatoes, though you can use canned tomatoes if need be. Serve it for breakfast …

Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Fritters)

Crispy on the outside, light and gooey on the inside–that’s what makes kolokithokeftedes (zucchini fritters) one of the finer ways to utilize zucchini. Although these fritters can be time consuming, it’s worth the wait as they are my favorite way to enjoy zucchini. They are made with a similar filling that goes into a kolokithopita, so if you plan on making both the pie and the fritters—plan ahead and make a big batch of the filling. When making the fritters, add flour or bread crumbs to hold the mixture together. Make a statement with your dining guests with these kolokithokeftedes. Save Print Kolokithokeftedes (Zucchini Fritters) Recipe type: Meze/Vegetarian   Aromatic zucchini fritters. Ingredients 2 medium zucchinis, grated (about 1 pound) 3 green onions, thinly sliced ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped 1 teaspoon of chili flakes Salt and pepper, to taste 1 cup crumbled feta cheese ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 3 eggs ¾ cup all-purpose flour Olive oil, for frying Instructions Wash and grate the zucchini (skins on and …

Fried Zucchini Chips

One of the easiest ways to use up zucchini is to slice and fry, plus it’s a tasty way to get your servings of vegetables in for the day. Kolokithakia tiganita (fried zucchini) is a delicious appetizer that’s coated in a spiced beer batter and deep fried to a golden crisp. The trick to these is to make sure the zucchini is thinly sliced, dried well, and dipped lightly in the batter. The result is a crisp treat that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. My little brother gave them high praise by saying they are “the bomb dot com.” Try them and see for yourself. And when you do, be warned that they will certainly disappear from the table in no time. Serve with skordalia (garlic sauce) or the light yogurt sauce I paired with this dish. Save Print Fried Zucchini Chips Recipe type: Meze/Vegetarian   Fried zucchini chips Ingredients 3 medium zucchini 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour Pinch of salt and pepper 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon baking powder 8 ounces of your beer of …

Kolokithopita (Zucchini Pie)

KOLOKITHOPITA (ko-lo-kee-THO-pee-tah) is similar to the popular spanakopita (spinach pie) and basically just substitutes zucchini for spinach. My own recipe calls for the addition of more herbs and a sassy combination of cheese to make it stand out. Just combine zucchini, onions and three different herbs for this aromatic and savory pie. What a fantastic method of using in-season vegetables and herbs! Adding feta and Parmesan puts the icing on the cake—or should I say, the filling in the kolokithopita pie. Save Print Kolokithopita (Zucchini Pie) Recipe type: Main/Side/Vegetarian Serves: 9×13 pie   Greek zucchini pie Ingredients 4-5 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 pounds) 6 green onions, finely chopped ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped ½ cup fresh dill, chopped 1 cup fresh mint, chopped 2 cups feta cheese, crumbled ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 4 eggs, beaten Salt and pepper, to taste 1 package of phyllo dough (I use store bought) ½ cup olive oil, for oiling the pan and phyllo sheets Instructions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and grate the zucchini (skins on, stem discarded). …