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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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Bougatsa

How to impress a foodie: serve them BOUGATSA creaminess. How to impress a history buff: serve them bougatsa knowledge. Both the history buff and the foodie will wonder where bougatsa have been their whole lives. They say bougatsa originated in Serres, a city north of Thessalonaki where many Greeks immigrated during the Greco-Turkish war that ended in 1922. Making phyllo-wrapped pies and desserts was nothing particularly new, but the sweet pies in this region—filled with thick, rich cream—became a hit. The immigrants in Thessaloniki couldn’t get enough of the affordable, tasty treats. So, what makes bougatsa so delicious? Creamy semolina custard or soft mizithra cheese, topped with cinnamon and sugar. To taste the best mizithra cheese version, go to Crete. Visit Chania, if you can, sit in the historic limani (port) area, order one or two or three bougatsa and thank me later. And send me one while you’re at it. At home, I make my bougatsa with the semolina filling because quality mizithra is hard to find. Plus, it’s easy to make, not too …

Talking Greek Food and Festival on KUTV

I am excited to share I was asked to talk about the upcoming Salt Lake City Greek Festival on KUTV2 while cooking one of my favorite Greek dishes, Bouyiordi. I was interviewed by KUTV’s Fresh Living Hosts, and later cooked alongside Chef Bryan Woolley, an American celebrity chef. Find more of his wonderful recipes at: http://cookingwithchefbryan.com/ Find the video of us cooking here: https://kutv.com/features/food/recipes/cooking-with-chef-bryan-bouyiourdi-spiced-baked-feta For those in Utah, stop by the Greek Festival happening Sept. 7-9. Info here: http://saltlakegreekfestival.com/

Maroulosalata (romaine lettuce salad)

Say maroulosalata out loud ten times fast and you’re sure to chuckle to yourself into a wide smile as you stumble on the word begging to come out of your mouth. If you can’t get past the pronunciation, dig into the salad itself and let your taste buds do the talking. Maroulosalata is comprised of marouli (lettuce), green onions, and dill. Traditional maroulosalata calls for Romaine lettuce, but you are welcome to use any other curly lettuce. Using fresh dill adds zest to every bite and marries perfectly to the classic olive oil and vinegar dressing that’s drizzled throughout. It’s a light and easy to make salad that’s served year-round but is more common in the warmth of spring and summer months. Maroulosalata pairs well with halibut or any other fish seasoned with dill, or can be served as a main or side salad alongside other vegetable dishes. Save Print Maroulosalata (romaine lettuce salad) Recipe type: Salad/Meze   Ingredients 1 head of romaine lettuce, shredded or cut in ¼ inch ribbons 2 bunches of green onions, …

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 …

Festive Blue & White Cookies

Every March 25th my friends and I celebrate Greek Independence Day with a festive get together. We eat a delicious Greek meal that includes all of the favorites from salads to dessert and everything in between. And, when we can find good salt cod, we make bakaliaros skordalia (fried cod and garlic sauce), which is traditionally eaten on March 25th in Greece. We all sport obnoxious amounts of blue and white clothing from head to toe to display our Greek pride. Recently we’ve even added a blue and white theme to our menu. An example are these blue and white cookies. The cookies are made with blue velvet cake mix, some butter and cream cheese for a gooey texture, and finished with white chocolate chips. They are so simple to make that you can task your kids to whip them up—and so they can be the ones stuck with the blue hands when rolling the dough together. Take a break from the traditional recipes and give these fun and festive cookies a try, they’re truly …