All posts tagged: greekcook

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 …

Yemista (Stuffed Vegetables)

Yemista (or Gemista) is a Greek word meaning “to be stuffed with.” You may have grown up just calling it stuffed tomatoes or peppers, or zucchini. Many chefs and amateur cooks have created their own take on this traditional Greek dish, finding that most of the variety will come from the filling. Yemista is typically served by hollowing out vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and sometimes potatoes, and then filled rice, herbs, cheese, and ground meats. This is a dish you can let your imagination run wild with, creating stuffing flavors of your choosing to fill your favorite vegetables. I have two versions of yemista: this classic recipe made with rice and herbs, and another that combines cheese and sour Trahana (a Greek pasta made of wheat flour kneaded with milk that you can find in Greek specialty markets or by ordering online). It’s a tasty dish however you choose to prepare it. Plus,  your guests are guaranteed to leave both satisfied and…stuffed. Save Print Yemista (Stuffed Vegetables) Author: Eleni Saltas Recipe type: Vegetarian Serves: 6-8   Ingredients 5 …

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. …

Kourabiedes (Greek butter cookies)

Kourabiedes are popular Greek butter cookies topped with heaps of powdered sugar and made for special occasions like weddings, Christmas, name days, and any day that ends in “y”. My earliest memories of kourabiedes aren’t the sweet taste of the cookie. In fact, I don’t even remember taking a bite out of one when I was younger. Instead, my favorite memories come from turning wide-eyed at the wonderful white mounds of kourabiedes on display at both my Yiayia Metos and Yiayia Saltas’ homes. Yiayia Stella Saltas has a habit of doing everything earlier than most people. She arrives early when she goes out. Whenever she hosts a party, she preps and bakes before you’re even invited to whatever event it is. When it comes to kourabiedes, you can bet she is always ready to serve them at a moment’s notice. No matter the occasion or how many cookies are needed, there are always enough. Her basement was always so full of Tupperware-stuffed kourabiedes, I thought she was one of Santa’s elves. Whenever we visited yiayia’s …

Fava (Yellow Split Pea Puree)

Santorini is known as the beautiful Greek island with white-washed homes, marbled streets, blue domes and dazzling views. Situated perfectly in the Aegean Sea, it boasts some of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world. Santorini is a must visit. Besides the stunning beauty, Santorini is famous for producing the best yellow split peas in Greece. Tavernas all over the island use those split peas to create an island favorite—FAVA. Do not confuse this dish with fava beans. However fava (FAH-va) got its name, it’s a simple puree of yellow split peas, onions, olive oil and herbs, and is a well-known Greek meze. You can serve this filling dip creamy (by using a blender) or chunky (served directly from the pot) depending on your liking. To give extra flair and flavor, serve your fava with a variety of side garnishes, such as diced red onions, feta cheese, capers, chopped parsley, Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, or anchovies. Fava goes great when dipped with crusty bread, or when eaten plain as a side dish. Smooth, warm, delicious, …