All posts tagged: greekcooking

Talking Greek Food and Festival on KUTV

I am excited to share I was asked to talk about the upcoming Salt Lake City Greek Festival on KUTV2 while cooking one of my favorite Greek dishes, Bouyiordi. I was interviewed by KUTV’s Fresh Living Hosts, and later cooked alongside Chef Bryan Woolley, an American celebrity chef. Find more of his wonderful recipes at: http://cookingwithchefbryan.com/ Find the video of us cooking here: https://kutv.com/features/food/recipes/cooking-with-chef-bryan-bouyiourdi-spiced-baked-feta For those in Utah, stop by the Greek Festival happening Sept. 7-9. Info here: http://saltlakegreekfestival.com/

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 …

Greek Spaghetti

Twirling long strands of spaghetti around a fork is one of my guilty pleasures. Every time I eat a plate of spaghetti, no matter where or why, I get some sweet “guilt” satisfaction. It’s an added bonus when the spaghetti has been prepared with a guilt inducing creamy garlic butter sauce and covered with two of my favorite types of cheese, grated mizithra and crumbled feta. Freshly diced tomatoes—my super secret guilty pleasure—round out the flavor of this simple dish, and the twirling begins. It doesn’t take much to create your own GREEK SPAGHETTI, the only difficult part comes from trying to figure out the correct amount of spaghetti to boil. Do you boil eight ounces or maybe you count out 157 strands of spaghetti? Sometimes the best answer is to boil an entire package of your favorite pasta—fettuccine, linguine, angel hair, whatever—just boil it all. No matter your measuring method, there always seems to be too much as a result. But that’s what friends with appetites are for. Invite your buddies over and indulge …

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 …

Fakes (Greek Lentil Soup)

As a nutritionist (I minor in nutrition and master in googling information), I recommend FAKES SOUPA or simply FAKES (pronounced fah-kess). This Greek staple is definitely a favorite in my diet because I know just how incredibly healthy lentils are. If I woke up tomorrow and suddenly stopped liking fakes (not possible), I would still eat the soup for the health benefits alone. Lentils may seem small but they are a massive nutritional powerhouse. They’re packed with protein and fiber and are low in fat. They’re rich with vitamins and minerals. They can reduce LDL cholesterol and can cut the risk of heart disease. They provide a great energy boost. It’s a nice bonus that lentils taste really, really good. Add vegetables like onions, celery and carrots, and you have a healthy bang for your buck. You can fuel up on fakes any time of year. A big bowl of fakes will comfort you when it’s cold and will keep you full during days that are meant for fasting from meat. Fakes require little effort …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

Lamb Vrasto and Pilafi

My Greek DNA stretches across Greece from the ancient city of Olympia (Yiayia Helen Patsuris Metos) to the high mountain village of Stromi in the Roumeli region (Papou Chris Metos), through Megara in Attiki (Papou Pete Saltas)  and across the sea to Gavalahori, Crete (Yiayia Stella Nepolis Saltas). Greek blood runs hot, but it’s my Cretan blood line (originally Nebavlakis but shortened to Nepolis) that proudly boils hottest of all. This Cretan recipe is all about vrasto (vra-STO), meaning boiled. I have been dancing to traditional Cretan music since the second grade, joining hands with thousands of fellow Utah Cretans—one of the oldest and largest Cretan communities in the USA—all dedicated to preserving and celebrating Crete’s rich heritage. From long tradition, Cretan weddings feature ARNI VRASTO, typically served late into the wedding party night—hours after the wedding reception meal was served and with plenty of drinks and dancing in between. We Utah Cretans also serve this time honored meal at our horoesperithas (dance parties) twice a year. Dancing builds appetites. After working up a sweat …