Showing posts with label Greek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greek. Show all posts

Traditional stuffed peppers and tomatoes - Gemista

Stuffed peppers and tomatoes is a very traditional and popular summer dish in Greece while the vegetables are in season. This is also one of my favorite Greek dishes. The tomatoes are medium size, firm, ripe and juicy. The peppers are small and so tender that you don’t need to peel the skin when cooked. I have experimented with different type of peppers. There are only two types that can be stuffed; bell peppers and cubanelle peppers. Cubanelle peppers have thinner skin than the regular bell peppers. I find them the closest to the peppers I find in Greece.

My mother used to make mainly peppers and tomatoes, but the peppers were the only ones I would eat. Sometimes she’d stuff eggplants too. The eggplants in Greece are also small; what we call here in the US baby eggplant. When my mother made this dish during the summer, she made it mainly vegetarian. On occasion she’d use ground beef. The vegetarian version is with rice and different vegetables. When I make the vegetarian version, I use chopped carrots, and if I stuff zucchini or eggplant, I will incorporate the flesh in the stuffing along with herbs like parsley and dill.

There are many different versions of gemista – or yemista. My mother in law used raisins and pine nuts in the vegetarian version. The raisins give them a sweeter taste and the pine nuts some crunch.

I often make this delectable stuffed peppers, tomatoes and eggplant dish. Living in the US we can find these vegetables year round, (they are being shipped here from warmer climates). Sometimes I will make them vegetarian style, and other times I will use ground turkey. I usually make enough so that I can give some to my daughters. They also freeze well, especially the peppers. Tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini are best eaten first if you are planning in freezing some. You can place the uncooked stuffed peppers in a separate dish, cover them tightly with saran wrap and aluminum foil and freeze them. When you need them you can take them out, pour some olive oil, a little bit of tomato sauce, season and bake them in the oven. They will taste as good as the day you made them. Another option is to cook all of them, and freeze the stuffed peppers in an airtight container. When you need them, you can take them out of the freezer early in the morning, then warm them up in the oven for about ½ hour till heated through. Now you have dinner ready in minutes.

These will take an hour to prepare and about two hours to cook in the oven. But it’s worth all the effort. Enjoy them with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a slice of feta and some fresh crusty bread on the side. A glass of red wine will also go nicely.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Peppers, Tomatoes and Baby Eggplant

Makes 13 servings about 15 oz each serving

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 lbs ground turkey
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped dill
1 cup chopped eggplant (the flesh)
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (the flesh)
½ cup rice
3 large tomatoes
5 cubanelle peppers
5 baby eggplants
¼ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
14 oz diced tomatoes

Directions
Wash, clean and peel the baby eggplant (as you see in the picture).   Hollow out the eggplant and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the tomatoes. Hollow out the tomatoes and chop the flesh. Set aside. Wash the cubanelle peppers, cut the top, and remove the seeds. Set aside. Wash, peel and chop the onion. Set aside. Wash, peel and shred the carrots. Set aside. Wash and chop the parsley and the dill. Set aside.

In a large skillet add the 1/2 cup olive oil, and the chopped onions. Sauté till lightly browned. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till cooked through. Add the carrots and the flesh from the eggplant and sauté. Add 1 cup of the diced tomato flesh. Add the 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup water and cook till the rice is slightly cooked. Add the salt and pepper. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large oven proof pan, 13x10 assemble the vegetables. Take one by one and fill with the mixture. When the pan is full and all the vegetables are stuffed, drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, the remaining cup of the chopped tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes. Add 1 can (14 oz) of water. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours, uncovered, till the vegetable are tender and slightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 15.708 oz (445.3g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272
Calories from Fat 124
Total Fat 13.8g
Saturated Fat 2.1g
Cholesterol 26mg
Sodium 139mg
Total Carbohydrates 27.8g
Dietary Fiber 10.5g
Sugars 9.8g
Protein 13.8g







Greek Style Oven Fried Chicken

I was craving some fried chicken the other day. So I decided to make it with my usual Greek twist in it. The oregano, the cumin and the lemon juice shouts Greek. This dish can easily be made gluten free. Use gluten free all purpose flour (like King Arthur's) and gluten free breadcrumbs.

Makes 8 servings (approximately 6.2 oz each serving)

2 ¼ lbs chicken pieces
½ cup flour
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
2 eggs
1 tsp water
2 cups bread crumbs
2 tsp oregano

Wash and skin the chicken pieces or you can buy them skinless and boneless. I used a whole chicken that I cut up into pieces. Whatever chicken I had leftover I boiled it for my little shih tzu and kept the chicken stock in the freezer for future use.

In a bowl, mix together the flour with the ground pepper, salt and cumin. Set aside. Beat the 2 eggs with the water in another bowl and set aside. Mix the breadcrumbs with the oregano into a third bowl and set aside.

Coat the chicken pieces with the flour mixture first. Then dip them into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Place them on a cookie sheet, lined with aluminum foil, into a single layer. Bake at 400°F preheated oven for about 1 hour. Turn once. Remove from the oven, place the chicken in a platter and squeeze some fresh lemon juice. Serve and Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 6.173 oz (175g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 395
Calories from Fat 109
Total Fat 12.1g
Saturated Fat 3.3g
Cholesterol 154mg
Sodium 471mg
Total Carbohydrates 25.9g
Dietary Fiber 1.6g
Sugars 1.8g
Protein 42.8g


Before it goes into the oven

Ready to eat! Enjoy!

Ground turkey spaghetti sauce or Makaronia me kima

Per my daughter’s request, I’m posting my Greek style Bolognese sauce or Makaronia me kima (pronounced ma ka ro nia me kee mah) , which approximately translates to “Spaghetti with meat sauce”, or as I have always called it “spaghetti sauce”. My daughter happened to walk in as soon as I finished making this sauce. She commented that the house smelled wonderfully from all the herbs and spices, and asked if I could make some and freeze it for her to have on hand, when she is on her own. Of course, I granted her request.

Bolognese sauce originated from Bologna, Italy, and while this style of meat sauce incorporates vegetables in it, like carrots and celery, the Greek style spaghetti sauce, like my mother used to make, omits these vegetables. I have tried it with shredded carrots and diced green peppers, when I have the time; but most likely, I will make it the way it is made below. The Greek version is quick and quite easy. No long hours of cooking so that the wine will evaporate like the Italian version. Within an hour, you have a sauce that you can serve either on whole-wheat pasta, gluten free pasta or over spaghetti. You can substitute the ground turkey with ground beef, as the actual Greek translation of “kima”(kee mah) means ground beef (my mother always made it with ground beef). Sprinkle some shredded romano cheese, or like my mother used to shred kefalotyri (pronounced ke fa lo ty reh) similar to romano cheese, or kasseri (pronounced ka se reh) cheese which is similar to provolone or muenster cheese but a bit harder when it’s aged. Enjoy!

Ground turkey spaghetti sauce or Makaronia me kima 

Makes 10 servings

½ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tsps chopped garlic
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
15 oz tomato sauce
15 oz diced tomatoes
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp chopped basil
1-1 ½ cans of water

Dice the onion and garlic. Chop the basil and parsley. Set aside. In a deep saucepan sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Add the ground turkey. Sauté till browned. Continue stirring and add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add one–one and a half cans of water; let it come to a boil and then simmer for about an hour till most of the liquid is absorbed.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (183.5 g)
Amount per Serving
Calories 274
Calories from Fat 174
Total Fat 19.3g
Saturated Fat 3.8g
Cholesterol 69mg
Sodium 534mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.0g
Dietary Fiber 1.8g
Sugars 3.5g
Protein 20.0g




Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce)


Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) is a traditional Greek winter food.  When I was working full time I would make this dish, on weekends – usually on a Sunday - and have left overs the next day.  It’s a dish that I avoided making often because of the time it consumed.  Of course, you are not going to make this dish every week, or you will get tired of it, like any other type of food that you eat often.  There is a less consuming type of cabbage rolls that you can make; and that is without preparing the filling on the stove; but instead mixing all the ingredients together raw.  The only thing you will need to do is boil the cabbage leaves.  I found that type of preparation though, a bit heavy on the stomach.  My mother will always cook the filling on the stove (as per recipe below).  In the past I used to mix it raw, but when I quit work, I decided to make it the way my mother used to make it.  And Dah! No heartburn, no acid reflux, no heaviness on the stomach (this is on individual preference; it does not affect some people like others).  So from then on, I decided, since I love this dish so much, to cook the filling. 

There is also another way of cooking the cabbage rolls, and that is baking them in the oven in tomato sauce.  Instead of cooking them on the stove, you layer the cabbage rolls in an ovenproof pan, in a single layer, pour a 14 oz can of tomato sauce on top, mixed with 1 cup of water, add the ½-cup olive oil, and bake at 350° for about one hour to an hour and a half.   This way is also very delicious.  But for now enjoy this wonderful dish in the Avgolemono sauce. 

Cabbage rolls in Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) 

Ingredients (Makes 46 servings)

46 cabbage leaves

To boil the cabbage:

8 quarts of water for 1 large cabbage
2 large cabbages about 3lbs each

For the filling:

1 ½ lbs ground turkey
1 cup rice
½  cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
1 tsp salt or according to taste
½ tsp ground pepper
1 ½ cups water

For cooking:

2 1/2 cups water – enough to cover the cabbage rolls
½ cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

Avgolemono - Egg and lemon sauce:

1 egg
½ cup lemon juice

Directions:

Wash and remove the outer leaves of the cabbage.  Place it in a large pot with water and boil.  As the cabbage leaves soften, remove the leaves by cutting them at the core.  Place them in a colander to strain.  When all the leaves are cooked, leave them in the colander to strain and cool.  Make sure that you don’t over boil the leaves, otherwise when you try to roll them, they will tear.  

In a large frying pan, add the olive oil, and saute the onions and the ground turkey.  Add the rice, salt, parsley, dill, pepper, and water and let it cook for 5-10 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  The rice will not be fully cooked.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 

At the bottom of a dutch oven, place the small cabbage leaves, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. 
Take one large cabbage leaf, cut the core, and place a teaspoon of the filling on it.  Roll once covering the filling, then fold the sides and continue to roll till you make a nice oblong shape (see picture below).  Place it in the dutch oven and repeat, till done.  These will make about 2 rows of cabbage rolls – 46 pieces total.  Cover the cabbage rolls with the rest of the small cabbage leaves that you have leftover. 

Place the pot on the stove and pour the ½ cup olive oil, ½ tsp salt and 2 ½ cups water and let it simmer for 1 hour till cooked.  When slightly cooled, prepare the egg and lemon sauce. 

Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce):

Separate the egg yolk from the egg white.  Place the egg white in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon, about ½ cup.  Beat the egg white till frothy.  Add the egg yolk and continue beating.  Add the lemon juice while still beating and slowly pour the mixture into the cabbage rolls.  Swish the pan around so that the egg and lemon sauce will distribute evenly.  Serve. 

 Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 serving (55.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 97Calories from Fat 60
Total Fat 6.7g
Saturated Fat 1.2g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 71mg
Total Carbohydrates 4.5g
Dietary Fiber 0.5g
Sugars 0.6g
Protein 4.6g
The raw cabbage

The filling

Layering the bottom of the pan with the small cabbage leaves

Assembling the cabbage rolls

Adding the filling

Rolling the cabbage 

Folding the cabbage

The cabbage roll in the final folding stage

Layering the pot with the cabbage rolls - tightly together

Layering with the remaining cabbage leaves on top

The cooked cabbage rolls with Avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) 

The finished product.  Delicious!




Greek Chicken Lemon Rice Soup


This is the traditional way of making Greek Chicken Lemon Rice Soup.  I’ve seen recipes that will add cornstarch or a can of cream of chicken soup to make it thick, but this is the original recipe, more natural and very authentic.  You can omit the chicken altogether and have the plain version of Lemon Rice Soup, by using chicken stock.  I often make this soup with a whole chicken and I don’t add the chicken stock at all.  The whole chicken adds more flavor to the soup.  On this version, I added the chicken stock since chicken breasts don’t have much flavor.  You can also use chicken legs and thighs instead of breasts for more flavor.   

Greek Chicken Lemon Rice soup                

10 servings (approximately 2 cups = 16 oz each serving)

1.25 lbs chicken breast (2 large chicken breasts)
2 quarts water (about 8 cups)
4 cups chicken stock
6 cups additional water
1 cup rice (not parboiled rice but regular long grain rice)
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or the juice of two (2) lemons)

Wash the chicken breast and place them in a pot with the water.  Let it cook for ½ hour to 45 minutes.  Make sure it doesn’t boil over.  Skim the froth that collects on the surface of the water till it’s clear. 

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot.  Add the chicken stock to the pot, the rice, the additional water, and the salt.  Let the rice cook completely to the point where each grain is almost split in half.  This will release extra starches thus making the soup thick. 

In the meantime, cut the chicken breast into pieces and add to the soup.  Let it heat through and remove the soup from the heat.   

Egg and Lemon Sauce:

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.  Set the egg yolks aside.  Squeeze the juice of two lemons.  Set that aside.  In a bowl whisk the egg whites till frothy.  Add the egg yolks while you continue beating.  Add the lemon juice while still beating.  Slowly ladle some of the soup into the egg/lemon mixture while continue beating.  Add more of the soup to bring the egg/lemon mixture to the soup temperature.  (The soup should not be too hot or the eggs will curdle).  Then slowly pour the egg/lemon mixture into the pot.  Stir and serve.  The soup will be thick and creamy.  Enjoy!

Note 1: The soup freezes well without the egg/lemon sauce.  You can freeze it, and when you are ready to use it, heat it through and then add the egg/lemon sauce.

Note 2:  When heating up the soup, heat it in medium-low heat.  Otherwise, the egg/lemon mixture will curdle the soup. 

Note 3:  If you are using a whole chicken, when the chicken is cooked pour the stock into a fat separator container.  The container will separate the chicken fat from the actual chicken stock.  Then pour the chicken stock without the fat into a pot and continue making the soup. 

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (476.4 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 192
Calories from Fat 32
Total Fat 3.6g
Saturated Fat 1.0g
Cholesterol 81mg
Sodium 369mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.3g
Dietary Fiber 0.3g
Sugars 0.7g
Protein 22.0g


 If you try this recipe and like it please comment below.  If you like what you see on this blog, feel free to follow it.   If you have any questions post them in the comments box.  

Kourabiedes or Greek Almond Cookies in Icing sugar

During the Christmas holidays in Greece, my mother used to make these traditional Greek cookies called Kourabiedes drenched in icing sugar. I used to love these cookies growing up. The only problem was that you had to have a plate to eat them otherwise the icing sugar will be all over your clothes or on the floor. I used to sneak in the dining room where my mother kept the kourabiedes on a glass tray to just sample one, but I had to make sure that I didn’t drop any of the icing sugar on the floor or I’d be in trouble. Kourabiedes are very customary cookies to make during Christmas in Greece. Over the years I began making these icing sugar drenched delights for my own family traditions.  Enjoy!

Kourabiedes Greek Almond Cookies in Icing sugar      

Makes 64 cookies (approximately 1oz each)

1 lbs unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup icing sugar
1 cup ground almonds, toasted
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
3.5 - 4 cups flours (keep the 1/4  -1/2 cups separate)
4 cups icing sugar or as much or less as it takes


In a nonstick frying pan toast the ground almonds with ¼ tsp. of the icing sugar. Toast it for about 5 minutes but do not let it brown. Remove from heat and let it cool.

With an electric mixer beat the butter till soft. Add the icing sugar while continue beating. Add the egg yolks, the vanilla, the baking powder, the whiskey and the cooled ground almonds, while beating continuously. Gradually add the flour and beat well. Turn the mixer off. With your hands knead the dough lightly. Pour a little bit of the 1/4 cup flour on your hands so the dough won’t stick to your hands. Keep kneading the dough by adding the 1/4 cup flour over your hands, till done. Add more flour as needed. When the dough pulls away from the bowl stop kneading.   The dough will be sticky.  If it's too sticky, place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes so it will be easy to form the cookies.

Take about a spoonful of the dough and roll it between your hands into 1'' ball. Shape them into 1/2 moons or ovals or rounds. Place them in an ungreased cookie sheet and bake them in a preheated 350° oven for 18-20 minutes. The cookies shouldn't brown. They should be almost white on top. When the edges become lightly browned take them out of the oven. 

While still warm, place them in a bowl that’s filled with the icing sugar. Coat them well with the icing sugar and place them in a platter. Shift the remaining icing sugar on top. You will have extra icing sugar left over. You can use it as you serve the cookies to freshen them up.  You can drench them in icing sugar or dip them in melted chocolate. Either tastes equally good. The Greek way is with icing sugar.

Nutrition Facts 
Serving Size 0.878 oz (24.9g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 119
Calories from Fat 60
Total Fat 6.7g
 Saturated Fat 3.8g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 22mg
Sodium 41mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.7g
Dietary Fiber 0.4g
Sugars 8.4g
Protein 1.1g



Right out of the oven


 
Drenched in icing sugar


  
Or half dipped in chocolate!




Merry Christmas! Enjoy!


Greek Pumpkin Pie - Kolokythopita

Here is a slight variation of the traditional pumpkin pie with a Greek twist. Instead of using pie dough I made it with phyllo dough. Just in time for Thanksgiving.  Enjoy!

Makes 32 pieces – approximately 2.5 oz each

Filling1 can (29 oz) pure puréed pumpkin (about 4 cups)
1.5 cups sugar
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 tbsp semolina
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp nutmeg

Crust
¾ cup melted butter
8 oz of phyllo dough (about 30 sheets)
1 tsp sugar
Water

Beat together the pureed pumpkin, sugar, semolina, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, evaporated milk, till smooth. Set aside.
Melt the butter and keep it warm.
Butter a 13x9 baking dish. Open up the phyllo dough package, and use just the one out of the two separate packages inside. Cover the phyllo dough sheets with a towel. Layer the phytllo dough one by one, by buttering each layer. Like the Spinach Cheese pie (Spanakotyropita) . Use half the package of phyllo dough, about 12 sheets. Pour the filling and fold the edges of the phyllo dough inwards. Layer with the remaining phyllo dough, by buttering each layer. When done, wet your hand and sprinkle the top with water, then with the sugar. Bake at 350° oven for 1 hour or until golden brown.  

When done, remove from the oven and let it cool. When cooled cut it into triangles and sprinkle with some cinnamon and icing sugar. Serve.

Note: the semolina will slightly thicken the pumpkin mixture without it being too runny
Note: by sprinkling the top phyllo sheet with water, will bake it into a crisper crust.

Nutrition Facts  Serving Size 
1 serving (67.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 135
Calories from Fat 58
Total Fat 6.5g
Saturated Fat 3.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 32mg
Sodium 89mg
Total Carbohydrates 17.9g
Dietary Fiber 1.0g
Sugars 12.2g
Protein 2.3g
Right out of the oven
 
 Enjoy!
 
 
If you like this post or any recipes that you see here, please share it with your friends.  If you try any of these recipes,  any comments below are most welcome. 

Salmon with Lemon Artichoke and Capers Sauce

Salmon is such a great fish which is a shame to actually cover it with any type of sauces.  But I got tired of eating grilled salmon all the time so I thought I'd try it with this lemon caper sauce that I sort of came up with a few years ago.  Back then, I used flour.  More like a basic white sauce but with lemon juice.  Over the years, I experimented making it with cornstarch, which takes a lot less time for the sauce to thicken than making it with flour.  It's a great sauce to pour over grilled chicken or any other type of fish.  Another time I baked some tilapia fillets in the same sauce in the oven, but without the cornstarch.  That recipe  in another Greek Fusion Cuisine Blog post.  This is a quick and easy recipe to make if you are crunched for time, or to make on a weekday after work.  Within an hour I had dinner on the table. 


Makes approximately 6-8 servings depending on how big you want your serving. 6 servings are approximately 8 oz each. The Nutritional information below is for 6 servings at approximately 8oz each.

1.5 lbs salmon fillet
 2 tbsp olive oil
4-5 lemon slices

Preheat oven to 500° F. (Broil) Put a grill pan – big enough to fit the salmon fillet- in the oven to get hot. When hot remove from the oven and brush with the one-tablespoon olive oil. 



 In the meantime, wash and pat dry the salmon. Put the salmon, skin side down on the pan and brush with the remaining olive oil.  Top the salmon with the lemon slices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the pan back in the oven and broil for 8-10 minutes.  

Lemon Caper sauce with Artichoke hearts
¾ cup chicken stock
¼ cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
2 cups artichoke hearts quartered (from a jar will do fine)
1 tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup water
1.5 tbsp butter
2 tsp capers
Salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce-pan add the chicken stock, lemon juice and artichoke hearts. Heat through. Dilute the cornstarch in the ¼ cup water and add to the sauce stirring till slightly thickened. Turn the heat off. Add the butter and stir till the butter is melted.  Add the capers.   Remove the salmon from the grill pan and place in a serving platter.  Pour the lemon-artichoke-caper sauce on top.  Serve over hot rice   


 Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (255.1 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 345
Total Fat 21.8g
Saturated Fat 5.4g
Cholesterol 79mg
Sodium 285mg
Total Carbohydrates 10.6g
Dietary Fiber 4.3g
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 27.8g

Traditional Greek dishes for March 25th Celebration



This past Sunday, March 25, Greece and Greeks all over the world celebrated Greek Independence Day. March 25th 1821 marks the day when Greeks declared their independence from the Ottoman Turks after being under their rule for 400 years. On this day, Greece and the Greek communities all over the world also celebrate the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. On March 25th, Greek students parade in their traditional Greek costumes (the boys dressed in the skirt outfits with the 400 pleats that symbolize the 400 years under the Ottoman rule, and the girls dressed in traditional folklore costumes). This is a big celebration in Greece and on this day every Greek is very proud to be called Greek.

This time of the year, in Greece, is also a very nice time. With the flowers and the almond trees blooming, everyone is in their celebratory spirit. As with any Greek holiday, Greeks are very much into good food and drink. On this day there are a couple of special dishes that Greeks prepare. As you will see on my post I, too, made the traditional dishes that are expected to be eaten on March 25th.

Greek Garlic and Bread Dip - Skordalia

Served with Fried Cod

On this dip I went a little bit too far with the garlic. I love garlic and the amount I put in the recipe, that’s what you should use. But I had an extra clove peeled and couldn’t resist but put it in there. When my husband walked in the house from outside, the smell of garlic overwhelmed him. But despite all that the dip came out to taste delicious.

Greek Fried Potato Salad


The Greek potato salad is always prepared with boiled potatoes that you let cool and then add the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped parsley and chopped green onions. I went a bit far this time and wanted to fry the potatoes after I boiled them. The crispness on the outside and the tender, mushiness of the boiled potato inside, gave it a bit of texture and more taste.

Fried Cod in Beer Batter

Batter for cod

Thanks to my sister in law, in Greece, who told me to put beer in the batter. She also suggested that I put a bit ouzo in there too, to give it an extra flavor. But I decided against it. I didn’t want to be drunk after dinner. It’s enough I had to finish the rest of the beer, that I didn’t use in the batter.

Cooking these dishes

These dishes make quite a mess in the kitchen. Be prepared to wash down your stove, back splash and maybe your floors. It’s much easier to go out and buy fish and chips or even go to a restaurant and enjoy them there. But where is the fun in dirting so many pots and pans and having to clean them up after? (I’m joking here). All joking aside, and besides all the mess I a made, and the fact that oil splattered on my clothes, my hands, and I needed to take a shower after, because I smelled like I came out of the kitchen of a greasy greek restaurant joint, where you hear the waiters shouting "cheeburger, cheeburger" (remember John Belushi on Saturday Night Live), these dishes came out delicious. My husband would have been happy with just spaghetti and plain marinara sauce from a jar. But I had to go all the way and make these dishes. After all they did turn out to be delicious tasting. And if you ask me if I would do it again, yes I would, next year this time or on Greek Palm Sunday when Greeks eat this type of meal again.

Enjoy!!!



Greek Fried Potato Salad


Makes about six servings (about ½ cup each serving)

4 cups boiled potatoes cut in quarters

¼ cup canola oil for frying

2 tbs chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped green onions

3 tbs olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste (about ¼ tsp each – all according to taste)

Boil the potatoes in the microwave or over the stove. For this dish I used about six potatoes, mixed sizes. I peel them, wash them, quarter them, and boil them in the microwave for about 20-30 minutes. The potatoes should be firm to the touch, not mushy but also not undercooked.

When the potatoes are boiled, drain them in a strainer and let them cool, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a frying pan, add the ¼-cup canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, piece by piece, but do not overcrowd the pan. Let them fry until they are golden brown on all sides. Remove from the frying pan and place them in a bowl lined with a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. When all the potatoes are fried, let them cool in the bowl.

When the potatoes are cool to the touch, transfer them in another bowl without the paper towel. Add the chopped parsley, green onions, the 3 tbs olive oil, and the lemon juice, along with salt and pepper. Toss and cover, or serve immediately.





Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 serving (121.9 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 173
Calories from Fat 103
Total Fat 11.5g
Saturated Fat 1.3g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 8mg
Total Carbohydrates 16.5g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Sugars 1.4g
Protein 1.8g

Eggplant and Penne with Bechamel Sauce - Greek Style

This is my version of moussaka.  Instead of layering the eggplant with the meat sauce, I decided to do a vegetarian version.  I took the eggplant and made a tomato base sauce with it.  Instead of the eggplant as the base of this dish (the layering), I used penne pasta.  Covered it with the bechamel sauce and mozzarella cheese and baked it in the oven.  It came out delicious.  

This could be quite an intimidating dish to make for the novice cook.  It's not that difficult, but one needs to be organized.  You can start by having all the ingredients on hand, before you even begin to make this dish.  Once all the ingredients are ready, you start making it without any difficulty following the instructions.  This dish takes me about two hours to make from start to finish.  An hour to prepare the sauce and assemble and an hour in the oven.  But I do have a couple of the elements on my stove burning at the same time.  While the sauce is simmering I boil the pasta.  Once the pasta is done and the sauce is almost there, I drain the pasta and begin on the bechamel sauce.  I pay full attention to the bechamel sauce.  I want it to be perfect without any lumps.  In the meantime, the sauce is off the hot stove and the pasta has drained well.  When the bechamel sauce is done, I begin the assembly.  And from there it's just baking it in the oven... and the one thing that all of us don't like to do, is washing and cleaning up all the pots and pans.  In the end, though, you have a wonderfully tasting good dish.  Serve it with a romaine lettuce salad, or a spinach salad.  it actually tastes good the next day too and packs well as lunch for work or school.  Just reheat in the microwave.    


Enjoy!!!   


Eggplant and Penne with Bechamel Sauce Greek Style         

Eight (8) servings (approximately 13 oz/per serving)

½ cup olive oil + 1/3 cup olive oil for the tomato sauce
½ cup chopped onion
1 tsp chopped garlic
4 cups diced eggplant
½ cup parsley
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 14.5 oz box of multi grain penne

Peel the eggplant, in stripes (1).  Rinse under cold water, pat it dry and dice it.  In a heavy saucepan, over high heat, add the ½ cup of olive oil.  Add the chopped onion and chopped garlic.  Sauté, until transparent.  Add the diced eggplant.  The eggplant will absorb all the oil.  Sauté until the eggplant is moistened with the oil (look at the picture below)  



Add the fresh-diced tomatoes, the chopped parsley, the canned diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce, and the extra 1/3 cup of olive oil.  Add the salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer until the eggplant is tender but not mushy (approximately 30-40 minutes) (See picture below).  Remove from heat. 



In the meantime, bring a big pot of water to a boil.  Add salt, if you prefer in the water (2), and then add the pasta (penne).  Cook according to the package directions.  When cooked, remove from heat, drain and rinse under cold water, if you added salt.  The rinsing will rinse the extra salt off the pasta but without leaving it bland.  Set aside.

Bechamel Sauce (White Sauce)
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (I buy the part skim milk/low moisture mozzarella)

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, melt the 4 tbsp. butter.  Add the 4 tbsp. flour stirring constantly.  Gradually add the 2 cups of milk stirring constantly with a whisk.  Lower the heat to low and continue cooking and stirring to avoid any lumps (3).  Continue cooking over low heat until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.  While still hot, add the 1 cup shredded mozzarella, and continue stirring with the whisk until the mozzarella melts and the sauce becomes velvety smooth.  Set aside. 
The Bechamel Sauce

The assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
In a 13x9 (4) pan, layer half the pasta, then the eggplant/tomato sauce and then the rest of the pasta.  
The penne pasta layered with the eggplant tomato sauce

Pour the béchamel sauce on top, covering all the pasta. 


Bake in the oven for about one hour and a half or until it’s bubbly and the top golden brown.  Wait to cool a bit before serving. 
 Baked, out of the oven.  


Serve when cool.

Notes:

(1) When I peel an eggplant I don’t peel all the skin away.  I will peel it in stripes.  I will cut the stem first, then I will peel it lengthwise; leaving about half an inch of skin, peel another half inch, and so on.   
(2) Adding salt when boiling pasta.  I usually add 1 tsp of salt when I boil the pasta.  This way there is some flavor in the pasta.  Afterwards I rinse it in cold water.  Some of the salt will rinse off, but the flavor of the salt will stay with the pasta.  If you try to add salt after the pasta is cooked, it will not flavor it.  This is on individual tastes.
(3) If by any chance you get any lumps on the béchamel sauce, take a fine mesh strainer and pour the sauce through it, to another pot, while the strainer holds back any lumps.  Return to heat, and continue cooking and stirring, till it’s velvety smooth.  
(4)  The pan measurements are inside the pan.
(5) The nutrition facts below include the béchamel sauce.

Nutrition Facts (5)
Serving Size                                         1serving (355.9 g-approximately 13 oz)
Amount Per Serving
            Calories                                               563
Calories from Fat                                              307                              % Daily Value
Total Fat                                                           34.1g                           52%
Saturated Fat                                                   9.4g                             47%
Trans Fat                                                          0.0g
Cholesterol                                                       28mg                           9%
Sodium                                                             1009mg                       42%
Total Carbohydrates                                         58.1g                           19%
Dietary Fiber                                                     6.4g                             26%
Sugars                                                             9.1g
Protein                                                             12.8g

Ravani - Greek Semolina Cake


I have been craving this cake for quite some time now.  So today, I decided to make it.  My mother used to make it often, while I was young.  The semolina gives it a different texture than any typical flour cake.  The lemony syrup (you actually don’t taste it a bit), gives it that extra flavor.  It’s not too sweet but it goes well with coffee, or as an afternoon snack. 

Enjoy!!!

Ravani – Greek Semolina Cake with Lemon Syrup 

32 pieces (approximately 2.5oz each)

For the cake

1 cup unsalted butter melted, or at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs separated
1 cup milk
1 cup semolina flour (durum wheat)
1 and ½ cups flour
4 tsps baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
Rind of one lemon

For the syrup

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Juice of ½ a lemon

The cake

Heat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a 9x13 ovenproof glass pan.

Preparation ingredients

Prepare the flour mixture by mixing the flour, semolina, and baking powder together.  Set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugar till creamy.  Add the egg yolks one at time, beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla extract and the rind of one lemon.  Add the flour mixture alternating with the cup of milk.  Beat well.  Set aside.

Beat together the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Fold the egg whites into the batter mixture until blended.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until it is lightly golden brown.  Or, if a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  (The cake will rise while baking). 
The batter and the greased pan

The batter in the oven proof pan, before it goes in the oven


The syrup

While the cake is baking prepare the syrup.  Pour the sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Lower the heat to medium and let it cook for 10-15 minutes while stirring.  The syrup should be clear by the time you are done, and very slightly reduced.  Remove from heat.  Add the lemon juice and stir until dissolved. 

When the cake is done, let it cool for a while.  Cut into diamond shape pieces or squares and while it is still warm pour the syrup on top.  The cake will absorb all the syrup.  Serve with some icing sugar sprinkled on top, or just plain.

Out of the oven, cooled with the syrup and with some sprinkled icing sugar on top. 


Nutrition Facts*
Serving Size                                         1 serving(66.7 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories                                              176
Calories from Fat                                  59                                % Daily Value
Total Fat                                               6.6g                             10%
Saturated Fat                                       3.9g                             20%
Cholesterol                                           39mg                           13%
Sodium                                                 53mg                           2%
Total Carbohydrates                             27.8g                           9%
Dietary Fiber                                         0.4g                             2%
Sugars                                                 19.2g
Protein                                                 2.3g

*The nutrition facts include the syrup.