All posts tagged: appetizer

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 …

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:  …

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 …

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 …

Pastourma Rollups

The first time I prepared a dish for a large crowd, I had the jitters. The Taste of Greece, a fun, food fundraiser for our Greek Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, annually draws nearly 500 attendees who are ready and willing to sample common Greek fare, all made by home cooks. My dad, an experimental cook who owns every Greek cookbook imaginable—twice over—always shows up with unusual dishes that people had never tried. When I was 16 and only knew how to pour the perfect amount of milk in my cereal and how to butter toast, my dad tasked me to make something simple but different—PASTOURMA ROLLUPS—that he’d found in one of his cookbooks. They’ve been a hit at Taste of Greece ever since, but my dad also loans out all of his cookbooks, so I’m not sure who to thank. Diane Kochilas? Aglaia Kremezi? Vefa Alexiadou? Susanna Hoffman? Cat Cora? Michael Psilakis? Thank you all, and every other wonderful Greek cookbook author, for opening my eyes, to this and all things Greek …

Skordalia (Garlic Dip)

Nothing will keep your friends, family, and even strangers at an arms length away (or further) from you than taking just one bite of skordalia (garlic dip). Any bites after that and you can guarantee to be quarantined. No wonder it’s my favorite dip. I’m a people person, but a no touchy-touchy in my personal space type of people person. So, I like to keep some skordalia handy. Skordalia is a dip defined by the skorda (garlic). And we’re talking lots of garlic. Traditionally, skordalia is puréed with potatoes as the base, but it can also be made with bread, nuts, or both to add a little more texture. The potato version has a smooth consistency and is basically like super garlicky mashed potatoes. My version of skordalia foregoes the potatoes and uses bread and walnuts as the base. It’s a method I’ve always preferred. For one, you cut the cooking time it takes to boil and mash the potatoes. And two, it’s all about the garlic anyway. Did I mention there’s a lot of …

Vegetarian Dolmades

Dolmades are a bite-sized Greek dish made from either grape or cabbage leaves and stuffed with an assortment of mixtures. What makes dolmades so wonderful is their versatility. Stuff dolmades with ground meat (lamb, beef or pork), or go the vegetarian route and create a flavorful rice and herb combination for the filling. Top dolmades with a tomato sauce or avgolemono (egg-lemon sauce), leave them plain, or serve alongside tzatziki (Greek yogurt dip) for dunking. Save Print Vegetarian Dolmades Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Appetizer/Vegetarian Serves: 50-60 dolmades   Vegetarian dolmades with delicious rice and herb mixture. Ingredients 1 (16-ounce) jar of grape leaves 1 cup uncooked long grain rice 5 ripe tomatoes, grated 1 yellow onion, finely chopped ½ cup fresh mint, chopped ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Salt, pepper and dried oregano to taste For cooking: ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil ½ cup lemon juice Water Instructions Rinse the grape leaves and remove the stems. Place in a colander to drain. In a large bowl, …

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)

Ah, SPANAKOPITA (spanaki meaning spinach, and pita meaning pie)—the quintessential rustic Greek pie, a spinach and phyllo masterpiece. Until I was 20, the only green vegetable I ate was spinach, and only then because my yiayia filled her spanakopita to the brim with it. Her recipe calls for feta (and lots of it), which is probably why I loved this pie so much. But over the years, my many trips to Greece have changed this cook’s palate. I’ve become more daring with my food choices because Greek tradition has won my heart. Traditional spinach pie uses far less cheese than my yiayia’s (if any at all). This allows the spinach flavor to really shine along with the other greens that are sometimes mixed in for a pleasing earthy bite. The spanakopita I now make is a cross between my yiayia’s and those I tasted in Greece. My filling emphasizes the spinach and greens (plus green onions and dill) but adds feta and cottage cheese in the style of my yiayia. The filling blends together between …

Pan-fried olives

Olives are among the oldest foodstuffs in the world and Greeks have cherished this giving fruit on their dinner tables for centuries. A simple drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of oregano on top of a bowlful of green or black olives make for easy table finger food. Olives of nearly every variety, especially the famous Kalamata olive, always compliment the horiatiki salata (Greek village salad) and are a great addition to pasta salads or cooked into baked chicken dishes. Simple can be so beautiful. In my Greek home, a warm plate of PAN-FRIED OLIVES is often resembles a work of art. My dad discovered this appetizer years ago in one of his many cookbooks, and since then he has modified it to his own liking, mostly by just adding different olive and onion types. You can prepare it with any combination of the olives you see here, by adding your own favorites, or by just using a single olive variety. My favorite are the wrinkled Moroccan or Greek thrombes olives and I often use them alone. …

Bouyiourdi (Spicy Baked Feta)

These are a few of my favorite things: Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens. In fact, while I’m actually not much of kitten or mitten enthusiast, I do enjoy simple pleasures like peeling an orange in one long piece, finding a missing match to my favorite socks, and receiving snail mail while simultaneously clicking “unsubscribe” from annoying email lists. But perhaps my very favorite thing is eating scrumptious dishes that are easy to create. BOUYIOURDI puts the E in easy and will stand out in any dinner spread. This popular Greek meze comes from Thessaloniki, a cosmopolitan seaside city in Northern Greece, and gives me yet another reason to visit one of my favorite Greek cities. Thessaloniki lies where Europe meets Asia, and where, as a result, many taste influences converge, dating back to the time of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s half-sister, Thessalonike, gave the city its name. It is not known if they ate bouyiourdi. The best thing about bouyiourdi (boo-your-THEE) is that it hardly even …