All posts tagged: recipes

Tyrokafteri (Spicy cheese dip)

It doesn’t matter where I eat, my eyes always race down the menu for any mention of something spicy. Spicy curry? Yes please, with a side of naan. Buffalo chicken wings? My hands and face will definitely be a hot mess after but I’ll take a basket full of those. Bahn mi sandwich and a bowl of pho? Neither typically packs enough heat for my liking—until a side of jalapenos and hot sauce fix my dilemma. Whatever the menu offers, if it says spicy or has the potential for spice, nine times out of ten I’ll order it. Finding something spicy to eat at a Greek taverna isn’t easy. The decision is pretty much made for you because there are few items on a standard Greek menu that have my kind of kick. One is spetzofai a delicious pepper and sausage dish. Another is TYROKAFTERI (tee-roh-kaf-teh-REE) basically meaning “hot cheese.” And no, it’s not literal hot cheese like the popular saganaki, the pan-seared cheese that is brought to tableside all aflame. This hot cheese makes …

Spetzofai

Greek cuisine is a lot of things—healthy, fresh, flavorful, and unforgettable. Basically, the only thing Greek cuisine typically isn’t is spicy. Well, all except for my beloved Spetzofai. Spetzofai shouts with flavor, the colorful peppers and thick sausage making nice with the sausage. The spicy meter level depends on you and the peppers you choose. My personal spetzofai spicy meter is a solid ten, while my family’s is a five on a good day. So we settle on keeping this dish at a mild seven. Spetzofai includes a variety of red, yellow, green, and orange bell peppers for color, making it one of the prettiest dishes in all of Greek cooking. I add jalapeños (or even habaneros) for extra heat. You can leave out the spicy peppers if hot isn’t your thing, or add more if you dare. As for the sausage, just pick the variety you like. Stick to a single favorite or try a variety of sausages mixed together so that each bite offers a new surprise. Make sure to use one giant pan …

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, …

Stifado me Manitaria (Mushroom Stifado)

My whole life, I’ve randomly craved a specific food or cuisine that eventually led to weeks of indulgence in it. A couple of years ago I went complete left field of Greek cuisine and made stir-fry every other day. Another time it was protein pancakes. Now it’s mushroom everything. Whenever I dine I order a mushroom omelet or mushroom burger, and at least once a week I’ll whip up a quick dinner of mushrooms, onions, garlic, olive oil and wine. It’s simple, tasty, and any leftover wine is always put to good use for drinking. Being mushroom obsessed, I began searching for different ways to cook the fleshy fungus, with a Greek style. That’s when I found a great recipe on “The Greek Vegan,” a blog by Kiki Vagianos that’s dedicated to sharing healthy Greek vegan recipes. Her MUSHROOM STIFADO it inspired me to make my own version. I couldn’t believe I had never thought to substitute mushrooms for the meat. Now those long days of fasting from meat will be much easier. My recipe …

Yiayia’s Lamb Stew

Growing up, a winter snowfall meant braving the weather to make snow angels, build snow forts, and endure intense snowball fights with my brothers. But now, when the temperature drops lower than 40 degrees and the weatherman even mentions an approaching snowstorm, all I want to do is bundle up indoors with blankets and put something warm in my belly. My yiayia’s lamb stew always does the trick. My yiayia is probably a lot like yours. They love with their whole hearts, constantly nag us to get married, and would never let us leave their house hungry or empty handed. Yiayia Saltas makes me an egg sandwich whenever I visit, sends me home with a large bowl of orzo, brings spanakopita to all of our family parties, and still has time to play bingo twice a week while hitting “like” on all of my Facebook posts. My yiayia seems to be cooking all year round but it’s her winter dishes that keep me warm and stir my deepest memories. Her lamb stew, so hearty and healthy that it’s perfect on a cold winter day, ranks …