All posts tagged: foodblogger

Helen’s Oatmeal Cookies

I recently browsed through my late Yiayia Helen Metos’ recipe book, filled with her recipes plus clippings from recipes she found from the paper or given to her by friends. I was told from my mom that her oatmeal cookies were everyone’s favorites, so I had to test for myself. Results: these cookies are amazing–so wonderfully soft and chewy that I just had to share her timeless cookies. Enjoy! Save Print Helen’s Oatmeal Cookies Recipe type: Dessert/Cookie Serves: ~40 cookies   Ingredients ¾ cup shortening, softened to room temperature 1 cup brown sugar ½ cup granulated sugar 1 egg ¼ cup water 1 tsp vanilla 1 cup flour 1 tsp salt ½ teaspoon baking soda 3 cups oats, uncooked Instructions Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Place shortening, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat thoroughly. Sift flout, salt and soda; add to shortening mixture, and mix well. Blend in oats. Drop teaspoons of dough onto greased cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes. Notes For variation, add ½ tsp cinnamon and ¼ …

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

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 …

Cabbage and Jalapeno Salad

Wanting to experiment with new combinations, I recently invited a few friends over for a salad tasting party. Surprisingly, the fan favorite turned out to be one with shredded cabbage as the base. Mid-meal, a friend who dislikes cabbage said, “I usually hate cabbage but this is the best salad here.” I agreed and we both quickly reached for second helpings. Ever since that gathering, I get requests to bring my cabbage salad to barbeques and dinner parties. This salad is equal parts juicy and refreshing. Using crunchy and finely shredded cabbage as a base, freshly diced jalapenos are added for a kick. Leeks and lime juice give it zest and tartness. The salad is finished with cilantro on top. Customize your level of heat with more or fewer jalapenos. Serve as a side salad with the grilled lime chicken or stuff it into tacos and wow any dinner guest. Save Print Cabbage and Jalapeno Salad Recipe type: Salad Serves: 6-8   Refreshing cabbage salad Ingredients 1 head of cabbage, finely shredded 3 medium leeks 2 jalapenos, …

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 …

Avgolemono Soup (Egg Lemon Soup)

Greeks have a fix for every ailment. And no, it’s not Windex as seen in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But if you do have an itch to spray some Windex on something, feel free to aim your spray bottle towards the direction of my windows because half the time I can’t even see out. What Greeks actually use for home remedies and cures are lots of herbs, vegetables, and juices. For example, to fight the common cold, they brew a hot cup of tsai tou vounou (Greek mountain tea). Sprigs of mint are used to prevent an unsettled stomach or used as an aromatherapy for migraine relief. In the frigid winter months, a big bowl of avgolemono soup is a popular cure all. Avgolemono soup is like the Michael Jordan of Greek food—definitely in the starting five of all-star Greek dishes. Lucky for you, it’s not hard to find. You probably know someone who makes this traditional Greek soup, and if not, you can drop in to a nearby Greek restaurant to sample their …

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. …

Melomakarona (Greek Christmas Cookies)

There are two things that are always on my Christmas to-do list. First, I have to watch Kevin McCallister thwart the “Sticky Bandits” in Home Alone and Home Alone 2. My brothers and I never tire of watching bricks being thrown at the heads of Marv and Harry and other torturous, yet hilarious schemes devised by Kevin. It’s too bad uncontrollable laughter doesn’t burn more calories because the second thing on my list is gorging on Greek treats. Step into any Greek home at Christmas time, especially my yiayia’s, and you can’t miss the sweet scents of baklava, kourabiedes, and melomakarona baking in the oven. Those desserts are made year-round, but yiayia doubles down on them for Christmas. Especially melomakarona. We call them melos at our house, and Christmas is not the same without them. Melos are aromatic cookies spiced with orange and cinnamon and spiked with whiskey. What makes melos really shine is the chopped walnut topping and the warm honey syrup the cookies soak in. Like with all cookies, melos are delicious fresh …

Greek Chicken and Potatoes (Kota me Patates)

Motherhood: A lifetime of answering the question “what’s for dinner?” Or at least that’s my mom’s definition. I never realized how often my mom was questioned about what we would be eating until I started getting into cooking myself. Then, those same texts and calls came at me: “what’s for dinner?” In my house, the answer to that question more often than not is Greek chicken and potatoes (kota me patates). It’s a great fall back meal of ours and should be yours too. For starters, it’s a one-pot dish with easy prep work and cooking time is not unbearable. Second, it’s a filling meal that goes a long way, so you only need to add a Greek salad or any other favorite side dish of yours to go along with it. And finally (which should be reason enough to make this dish) is the satisfaction of seeing the faces of loved ones when you serve those perfect golden potatoes and crispy seasoned chicken. So what are you waiting for? There’s no reason to get …