All posts filed under: main courses

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). …

Roka (Arugula Salad)

Roka (arugula) is one of the most underestimated leafy greens, despite packing lots of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It’s numerous health benefits are well known. Arugula is native to the Mediterranean and is definitely a green that should be added to more plates worldwide. The Greeks eat plenty of arugula as a “Roka Salata” and is traditionally served as just roka, topped with thin slices of local cheese and dressing. To add more essence to the salad, it is common to add walnuts, pine nuts and sundried or fresh tomatoes to the mixing bowl. This is a common salad throughout Greece. Because the strong peppery taste of arugula can be a turn off to some, simply add romaine lettuce to the salad to temper the arugula. I make mine solely with arugula, and just add extra toppings like walnuts for extra crunch, and tomatoes for a juicy bite. The best thing about the Roka Salad is that it takes no time at all to put together, and still stands out on a dinner table. The …

Psari Plaki (Baked Fish)

Seafood rules the tables of Greece. With so many islands and close mainland coastal waters, the Greeks have a bounty of choices to bake, fry, grill, or boil. It’s understandable, in a country of such passionate cooks, that everyone has a preference, and the different types of seafood often require different types of preparation. Sardines are best fried, octopus tastes great off the grill, and a boiled fish soup always hits the spot when cool winds blow in off the Aegean. Lucky for us, seafood reigns as all important in the Mediterranean diet all over the world. My personal favorite at home, when I have fresh cod or any other firm white fish: PSARI PLAKI. Baked fish never had it so good. Before taking a further bite out of this recipe, let’s break down the name. Psari simply means fish, while plaki refers to a dish baked in the oven with olive oil and vegetables. Onions, garlic, leeks, and celery are sliced and sautéed, then diced tomatoes are added to round out the flavors, creating …

Pastitsio

Aside from public speaking and swimming in the ocean, there aren’t many things that intimidate me. I will talk to any stranger who will listen to me on a subway in New York City. I will kill a spider for my arachnophobic big brother. I will fall, scrape my knees, and get back up just to fall again a dozen times. But attempting to bake PASTITSIO, one of the most beloved meals in Greek homes? Forget about it. Assembling layers of creamy pasta, juicy minced meat, and a thick béchamel sauce sent shivers down my spine just like the movie Jaws. But after watching in the wings for 20 something-odd years, I found my courage. All it took was one step-by-step lesson with a my yiayia. Then a few attempts on my own. And, of course, eating many variations and flavors of pastitsio around the globe to help create a recipe all my own. Now I have the confidence to serve pastitsio to the world’s toughest food critic. Pastitsio chefs have their preferences. They may …

Greek Spaghetti

Twirling long strands of spaghetti around a fork is one of my guilty pleasures. Every time I eat a plate of spaghetti, no matter where or why, I get some sweet “guilt” satisfaction. It’s an added bonus when the spaghetti has been prepared with a guilt inducing creamy garlic butter sauce and covered with two of my favorite types of cheese, grated mizithra and crumbled feta. Freshly diced tomatoes—my super secret guilty pleasure—round out the flavor of this simple dish, and the twirling begins. It doesn’t take much to create your own GREEK SPAGHETTI, the only difficult part comes from trying to figure out the correct amount of spaghetti to boil. Do you boil eight ounces or maybe you count out 157 strands of spaghetti? Sometimes the best answer is to boil an entire package of your favorite pasta—fettuccine, linguine, angel hair, whatever—just boil it all. No matter your measuring method, there always seems to be too much as a result. But that’s what friends with appetites are for. Invite your buddies over and indulge …

Yemista (Stuffed Vegetables)

Yemista (or Gemista) is a Greek word meaning “to be stuffed with.” You may have grown up just calling it stuffed tomatoes or peppers, or zucchini. Many chefs and amateur cooks have created their own take on this traditional Greek dish, finding that most of the variety will come from the filling. Yemista is typically served by hollowing out vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and sometimes potatoes, and then filled rice, herbs, cheese, and ground meats. This is a dish you can let your imagination run wild with, creating stuffing flavors of your choosing to fill your favorite vegetables. I have two versions of yemista: this classic recipe made with rice and herbs, and another that combines cheese and sour Trahana (a Greek pasta made of wheat flour kneaded with milk that you can find in Greek specialty markets or by ordering online). It’s a tasty dish however you choose to prepare it. Plus,  your guests are guaranteed to leave both satisfied and…stuffed. Save Print Yemista (Stuffed Vegetables) Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Vegetarian Serves: 6-8   Ingredients 5 …

Bakaliaros Skordalia (Cod & Garlic Dip)

My entire house has smelled like a McDonald’s deep fryer for an entire week. Fried oil has seeped into the carpets and walls, and has stubbornly clung to mine and my family’s clothes. It’s actually been a pleasant change of pace from the typical scent of a wet dog. The culprit behind the oil stench is my mistake of opening up any windows to get some fresh air while frying up a traditional dish. March 25th is a double national holiday of Greece, marking a special day of both religious and political events. It’s a spiritual day dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Annunciation of the Theotokos, when the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a child. It’s also a day that marks the start of the War of Greek Independence when the Greeks demanded their independence after living in centuries under the Ottoman Empire. It’s a day of joyous gatherings and celebration. On March 25th, Greeks will fill the streets for parades to celebrate the historic day and blue …

Fakes (Greek Lentil Soup)

As a nutritionist (I minor in nutrition and master in googling information), I recommend FAKES SOUPA or simply FAKES (pronounced fah-kess). This Greek staple is definitely a favorite in my diet because I know just how incredibly healthy lentils are. If I woke up tomorrow and suddenly stopped liking fakes (not possible), I would still eat the soup for the health benefits alone. Lentils may seem small but they are a massive nutritional powerhouse. They’re packed with protein and fiber and are low in fat. They’re rich with vitamins and minerals. They can reduce LDL cholesterol and can cut the risk of heart disease. They provide a great energy boost. It’s a nice bonus that lentils taste really, really good. Add vegetables like onions, celery and carrots, and you have a healthy bang for your buck. You can fuel up on fakes any time of year. A big bowl of fakes will comfort you when it’s cold and will keep you full during days that are meant for fasting from meat. Fakes require little effort …

Pork Celery Avgolemono

I can’t seem to get enough of pork celery avgolemono. Literally, I can’t get enough of it. (Hint: Mom, when you read this please feel free to make a batch). A chunky stew, pork celery avgolemono consists of bites of tender pork and celery, plus leeks and seasonings, finished with a bright egg lemon sauce. My mom makes it often throughout the year, and more often when it turns cold. But somehow often is never enough for me. The dish can be made two ways. If you choose stovetop, you’ll add and cook the ingredients in a large pot slowly as you would any stew. My busy-bee mom prefers the second method, via Crockpot, leaving the main ingredients to slow cook together for the day. With both methods, you add the avgolemono sauce as the final touch, mixed in with the pork and celery just before serving. Stovetop or Crockpot—the choice is yours. I include both recipes below. Both produce the same gratifying result. And both require a fresh loaf of bread to soak up …