All posts tagged: greek

Vegan Paximadia

Nistisima Paximadia (Vegan Biscotti) is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth during Orthodox Lent. Made by substituting bananas in lieu of dairy products, this treat is arguably better than the real thing. Save Print Vegan Paximadia Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Vegan/Dessert Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  40 mins Total time:  50 mins Serves: 4 loaves   Ingredients 1 cup vegetable oil ¾ cup orange juice 1 ½ cups sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 small overripe banana 1 teaspoon baking soda 3 teaspoons baking powder 5-5 ½ cups sifted flour 1 cup dark chocolate chips or sliced almonds (if preferred) Instructions Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside. Peel the banana and mash well into a large mixing bowl. Add vegetable oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla to the bowl and beat well with a whisk or an electric hand mixer. Beat well until smooth. Sift dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder) and add slowly fold into mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Make sure the ingredients are combined …

Vegetable Soup

This vegetable soup uses a little this and a little of that. My papou (grandfather) Pete Saltas would make it using whatever vegetables he found in the kitchen. Some call this the “kitchen-sink soup” because everything and anything goes in (except the kitchen sink). To make this soup, start by giving the base vegetables a quick sauté, then just keep adding veggies to create layers of flavors. Don’t put everything in the pot at once and try to let each vegetable or vegetable combos cook alone for awhile before adding the next one. And as you should always do with soups or stews, the trick is to simmer your meal low and slow so flavors blend together. A Greek cook might call this process pantremeni, which means “to be married.” Start with tougher vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and cabbage, and then add those that take less time to cook such as mushrooms, tomatoes, and zucchini. For the broth, use a combination of vegetable stock, tomato sauce, olive oil and water. Depending on your own tastes, you …

Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions

When you’re short on time and don’t want to sacrifice flavor or nutrition, quickly whip up sautéed mushrooms and onions. With the versatility of mushrooms, you can serve this dish in almost any way you can imagine–eaten plain, on toast, atop steaks, in pasta–sautéed mushrooms and onions is a winner every time. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 pound mushrooms ½ yellow onion, thinly sliced 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon Oregano 1 sprig fresh thyme ½ cup vegetable oil or white wine Salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped Directions: 1. Thoroughly wash and drain the mushrooms. 2. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add the olive oil. Once warm, add mushrooms and thyme. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook in pan for 3-5 minutes. 3. Add onions and garlic and allow to cook together for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4. Add the vegetable oil, give the pan a stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Allow to cook on low to medium heat for 8-10 …

Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce

Here’s another dish brought to you by Yiayia Saltas: Lahanodolmades (cabbage rolls). Traditionally made with an avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce on top), my yiayia has always served hers with a rich tomato sauce that brightens up the rolls and creates depths of flavor. They are a perfect comfort dish that can be a stand alone meal, or served alongside a leafy salad or your favorite soup. These rolls are great warm or cold. Ingredients: For the stuffing: 2 medium heads of cabbage 1 ½ lb ground beef 1 cup rice (or more rice if you prefer) 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced 4 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon dried oregano, or to taste 1 teaspoon dried mint Salt and pepper, to taste For the sauce: 15 oz tomato sauce 15 oz petite diced tomatoes 8 oz ketchup 1 teaspoon oregano ¼ cup olive oil water or beef broth, if needed for extra liquid Directions: 1. Bring a large pot of water to boil (enough to submerge cabbage). Wash the cabbage, cut the stem …

Vasilopita (New Year’s Cake)

When the clock strikes 12:01 into the New Year or any time on New Year’s Day, many Greeks will slice into a vasilopita, a New Year’s cake made with the typical fixings of a cake (flour, sugar, eggs), and spiced with orange juice or the baker’s choice of add ins (raisins, walnuts, mastiha are all common). A layer of powdered sugar dusts the top of the cake once cooled. Traditionally, a coin is inserted into the cake either before or after baking. When it comes time to serve, the fortunate individual who finds a coin in their slice (careful when eating!), will have luck for the rest of the year. Happy New Year! καλή χρόνια Ingredients: ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature ½ cup canola oil or vegetable oil 1 ½ cups sugar 3 eggs 1 ½ cups orange juice (preferably fresh if available) 1 orange zest 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon nutmeg Powdered sugar, for dusting Directions: 1. Preheat oven …

Zucchini Bread

You can always tell it’s the end of the summer by the amount of zucchini bread being made or gifted. The motivation to utilize zucchini in different ways is much higher towards the beginning of the summer, and then suddenly it seems like the zucchini production has tripled and we’re all juggling zucchini. That’s when zucchini bread comes into play. Packed with shredded zucchini, chopped walnuts, and all the right spices, zucchini bread is a delicious and quick way to use up any garden zucchini. Plus, this bread freezes well so you can enjoy zucchini the tastes of summer all year long. Ingredients: 3 cups zucchini, grated (skins on) 3 large eggs 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar (compacted) 1 cup vegetable oil 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon vanilla 3 cups flour 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 3 teaspoons cinnamon 1 cup chopped walnuts *1 cup chocolate chips (optional) Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour loaf pans (batter should make two 8×4 inch pans). 2. Beat …

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 …

Patatas Bravas, Greek Style

I freely admit I don’t have the greatest memory in the world. Recalling what I did a year or even a day ago proves to be a challenge at times. The main prompt that helps me recount an occasion is food. I have this otherwise useless power to remember who I ate with, what I ate, when I ate it, where I ate, and why. Here’s an example: On a trip to Spain in 2017 with three of my friends, Amy, Ali, and Elefteria, the very first thing we ate was patatas bravas atop a Madrid rooftop bar. I remember what we drank too—sangria, a pitcher or two to be exact. Why? Because Spain. Patatas bravas is a traditional Spanish tapa made with crispy potatoes and topped with a spicy tomato sauce that hasn’t left my memory taste bank since that very first bite. So much so that I immediately wanted to turn this Spanish tapa into a Greek style meze. How to make them “Greeky” you may wonder? Simply parboil, then bake the potatoes …

“Sloppy Tzo” -Greek Sloppy Joe’s

Sloppy Joe is an American classic consisting of ground beef or pork and a tomato sauce sandwiched between toasted hamburger buns. It’s such an easy meal that comes together in just one skillet, and so we have enjoyed plenty a sloppy joe’s in my house—some sloppier than others depending on the maker. I like mine extra sloppy, and being a Greek blogger, I like mine extra Greek. How do you make a sloppy joe Greek, you ask? You start with using ground lamb (or pork) instead of ground beef, and incorporate seasonings like cinnamon and oregano and fresh garlic to the mix. Later, Kalamata olives and crumble feta round out the dish for that extra Greek twist. Oh, and we are not done there. A name change is also necessary so get your best Greek accent ready and instead of “Joe” say “Tzo.” There you have it—a Greek Sloppy Tzo. And remember, a sloppy tzo is intended to be messy, so there should be no clean hands when eating one. Save Print “Sloppy Tzo” -Greek …