All posts tagged: blog

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 …

Georgiann’s Koulourakia

Koulourakia comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Some bakers turn their dough into playful circles, braids, or serpentines, and some twist their koulourakia so precisely it looks like a machine pumped them out. Depending on the baker or family recipe, koulourakia is infused with anise, vanilla, orange or lemon zest. And some are left plain with simply the mixings of flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. No matter how they’re prepared, koulourakia makes a perfect companion with a cup of coffee. My cousin, Georgiann Pino Petrogeorge has mastered the art of koulourakia. She and I share the same great-grandmother, Anastasia (Tasia) Patsuris. Our yiayia’s (grandmother’s) were sisters with phenomenal cooking skills. You name it—they could make it. Georgiann spent a lot of kitchen time with her yiayia, Georgia Patsuris Sargetakis, and together the two would bake, cook, and share many laughs. Koulourakia, a Greek Easter cookie is one of those treats that sends Georgian back to her yiayia’s kitchen. Over time, Georgiann has modified her yiayia’s recipe to her own favorite tastes, like using vanilla …

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 …

Garbanzo Bean Greek Salad

Well composed and packed with flavorful ingredients, Greek salads can’t be beat. Those flavors, however, do have room to be elevated. Simply use all the Greek salad mixings (tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, olives, feta) as a base and add ingredients you enjoy. For me, the addition of garbanzo beans and avocados takes this classic to new heights and greater textures. Plus, both garbanzo beans and avocados are heart healthy and nutrient rich. This garbanzo bean Greek salad is especially perfect for those fasting from meat or dairy during Lent. Save Print Greek Garbanzo Bean Salad Recipe type: Vegetarian/Salad Serves: 2-4   Garbanzo bean salad: Loaded with vegetables, packed with nutrients, and tossed in a bright Greek dressing. Ingredients For the salad: 15 oz can garbanzo beans 1 English cucumber, optionally peeled and sliced in half 3 cups cherry and golden tomatoes, halved (or 4 diced tomatoes) 2 avocados, diced 1 green bell pepper, diced ½ red onion, diced ½ cup pitted Kalamata olives 8 oz of feta cheese (optional-serve on the side or mix in) For the …

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 …

“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 …

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 …

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m all for simple recipes, especially when it comes to baking. That’s why I love these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies: they only require three ingredients and are ready in 25 minutes. I first tried these cookies years ago at a party, and my friend Lexi gave me the recipe. I’ve been making them ever since and they’ve become favorites at parties I take them to as well. Enjoy these soft and flavorful cookies! Save Print Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe type: Dessert/Cookie Serves: ~   Soft and gooey easy to make pumpkin cookies. Ingredients 1 box spice cake mix 3 cups pumpkin puree (~24 oz) 1 cup chocolate chips Instructions Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. In a large bowl, add the spice cake mix and pumpkin puree and mix together until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips until combined. Drop round spoonfuls of the cookie mix onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minute, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 3.5.3229

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 …