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Greek Pita Bread

Greek pita bread perfection!

Simple and quick with just a 30 min rise, you’ll love making your own pita bread! Once you do, store-bought will never taste the same 🙂

This recipe makes 8 pitas about 6-8″ in diameter so a good size.  They can easily be rolled out smaller or larger to fit your purposes.  Just make sure your pan fits your pita!

Remember, in case you’re not familiar with Greek pita bread, these do not open into a pocket like Middle Eastern or Syrian bread. These pita are meant to be wrapped around a filling or, and probably my favorite way, Continue Reading →

Roasted Garlic Skillet Bread

traditional, no-knead, Greek skillet bread

One bowl, one pan, four ingredients and no kneading – no joke! This scrumptious traditional Greek bread recipe will make a home baker out of every one of you 🙂

The roasted garlicky-goodness, perfectly distributed in each bite of this beautiful loaf of bread, is perfection. And baking it in the wrap-around heat of a cast iron pan? Well, that makes it just that much more amazing.  Yes, I am a fan! Continue Reading →

Lalagia / Λαλάγγια

lalagia - traditional donuts of the Peleponnese

lalagia – traditional donuts of the Peleponnese

Lalagia (Λαλάγγια) are the donuts of the Peloponnese! You can grab a bag of these ridiculously addictive authentic fried dough snacks in probably every bakery in all of Messinia and in many Greek markets in the US/Canada too. Whether you enjoy them as a savory or sweet treat, warm from the stove or days later, you’ll soon understand why they’re so popular!

What sets lalagia apart from other Greek fried dough  like loukoumades or fried bread (ladopsomo/tiganopsimo) is that the recipe uses olive oil in the dough.  Adding this one ingredient makes all the difference and produces the most wonderfully light, crunchy sticks  that can be formed into all sorts of shapes.  Lalagia are traditionally a Christmas-eve treat and children are often told the rather odd shapes scare off any evil spirits working up mischief on the night before

Continue Reading →

Apple Spoon Sweet

apple spoon sweet

traditional apple spoon sweet / milo glyko

Apple glyko or spoon sweet is one of the most delicate and flavorful of spoon sweets in Greek cooking. Something about vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks with tart sweet apples just works – and works really well! These authentic preserves are simple to make, a fantastic treat to eat and ready in just 30 minutes.

Bonus for this authentic recipe: apples are easy to find most everywhere and certainly easier to find in the US than quinces or sour cherries, two of the most traditional spoon sweets. The apples most often used in Greece for this dish are small, tart apples called firikia. Not having access to firikia here in the Northeast US, I most often use jonagold or granny smith apples.  A nice tart apple with just a bit of sweetness is ideal so feel free to use whichever local varieties fit that bill!  Continue Reading →

Skordalia

traditional skordalia with beautiful beet salad

traditional skordalia with beautiful beet salad

Skordalia is one of the most traditional dishes in all of Greece. It’s so so simple to make with a just few everyday ingredients and remarkably delicious – if you haven’t already, this one is a must-try!

Often described as Greek garlic mashed potatoes, traditional skordalia is much more than that. Creamy, ‘buttery’ potato goodness with the pop of mashed raw garlic folded in – it’s indescribable really. And skordalia is in no way overwhelmingly garlicky, just almost peppery with that bite of raw garlic coming through the velvety potato.

Have only 1 russet potato and a few cloves of garlic in the house? Then you’re about 15 minutes away from crazy amazing skordalia! Spread it on EVERYTHING or pair it with it’s bestie, a simple beet salad / pantzaria salata. However you choose to enjoy it, you’ll love every Continue Reading →

5 Fantastic Greek Cocktails

Tears of Chios Mastiha Cocktail

Tears of Chios Mastiha Cocktail, Adapted from GB Rooftop Garden in Athens, Greece  and Jules Catering by Jacqueline Anderson

Summer is just the time to kick back and sip cool cocktails with friends. In that spirit, we’ve gathered together five of our favorite Greek cocktail recipes to share with you! Continue Reading →

Top 5 Greek Olive Oils for 2015

ny inter olive oil competition image

The New York International Olive Oil Competition just named its 2015 picks for best Greek olive oils!

The prestigious and intensely competitive playing field consisted of  700 different olive oils from 25 countries. Entries were evaluated by a jury of international experts and of these 700,  35 olive oil brands entered by Greece were judged “world’s best” with 19 Gold and 16 Silver awards!

This global recognition just goes to prove what you and I have known all along – Greek olive oil is top shelf and deserving of its place on the world stage.

We’ve listed the top five organically produced, Gold award winners for you Continue Reading →

Pomegranates

a ruby, ripe pomegranate

a ruby, ripe pomegranate

Pomegranates are so unique and so sweet/tart delicious – I just love them! Cracking one open, its always a bit of a wonderful surprise to discover the gorgeous glistening ruby red seeds hiding just beneath their hard, leathery skin.

For many people, the pleasure of enjoying these beauties is tempered by the often times messy affair that peeling and seeding a pomegranate can be. I’m here to tell you, there’s no need to fear – The Greek Vegan is here! This post will quickly tell you how to know when a pomegranate is ripe and show you the quickest/cleanest way to peel and seed this fantastic fruit. You can do it, I promise!, and you’ll never be intimidated by a Continue Reading →

Grilled Bread / λαδοβρεχτό

warm grilled bread with olive oil, sea salt and Greek oregano

warm grilled bread with olive oil, sea salt and Greek oregano

Grilled bread  or λαδοβρεχτό is probably one of the most wonderful and simplest ways to enjoy a loaf of good bread. I make it right on the grill in summer and early fall and use a grill pan on the stovetop when its too cold to grill. Nice, thick slices are my favorite and just the thing to soak up the few but delicious flavors here. They also hold up well piled high with endless topping options (see list below!)

While the bread is still warm, preferably right off of the heat, generously brush each piece with good Greek olive oil and sprinkle with a coarse sea salt and crushed dried Greek oregano. Could it be any easier? Enjoy just as is, as a side to your favorite soup/stew or topped with Continue Reading →

Roasted Grapes

Roasted red grapes with coarse black pepper, brandy, olive oil, sea salt and thyme

Roasted red grapes with coarse black pepper, brandy, olive oil, sea salt and thyme

An insanely good snack on their own and a beautiful topping to a platter of steaming rice pilaf or salads – roasted grapes aim to please! Grape season in Greece comes all at once and hot and heavy, grapes are everywhere in August. Traditionally the first harvest of grapes was blessed on the feast of the Holy Transfiguration and from there the race was on to find ways to enjoy and preserve this native abundance.

Roasted red grapes – simply a handful of ingredients and a quick blast of hot oven – are one very lovely and very delicious such way. I found this dish on my mother’s island of Evvia. In front of me at lunch was a steaming platter of rice pilaf topped with this huge, gorgeous, bright pink and purple mound of sticky sweet savory red grapes. I was mesmerized! Around me people started, quickly so as not to be noticed, picking off a roasted grape or two from the platter. Our host stirred them into the pilaf right before serving and the entire Continue Reading →

Melitzanosalata / Eggplant Dip

melitzanosalata drizzled with olive oil on grilled bread

melitzanosalata drizzled with olive oil on grilled bread

There couldn’t be a simpler or more delicious way to eat eggplant!  Not a fan of eggplant?  Melitzanosalata will knock your sox off and have you waiting for eggplant season to roll around next! This very traditional Greek summer dish is authentically vegan and is so incredibly flavorful you will be so surprised by how few ingredients you’ll need and how easy it is to make.

A couple of medium eggplants, an open flame (a grill ideally but a broiler will do!), roasted garlic cloves, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper – thats it! Slather this yummy goodness over grilled bread, scoop it up with homemade pita chips or put as a side to just about any dish and you will not be disappointed, I Continue Reading →

Baklava for Beginners

baklava for beginners

baklava for beginners

This amazing baklava recipe is for all of you who’ve written in asking for a beginner’s guide to baklava. Anyone, regardless of their Greek cooking experience, can make these perfectly every time – no unwieldy sheets of filo, an infinitely scalable recipe, just a few flavor packed ingredients and all ready in just 30 minutes or less – win, win, win, win (you get the idea!)

The oh-so-delicious authentic filling is one my Yiayia (and her mom before her) used when they wanted to make a special treat for someone during fasting periods of the year.  Warmed tahini is used in place of melted butter to bind the nut filling and is just the perfect complement to the traditional flavors of cinnamon and toasted walnuts. A bit of lemon zest and a squeeze of Continue Reading →

Ladopsomo / Fried Bread

ladopsomo / fried bread

ladopsomo / fried bread

A seamstress who worked for my father many years ago would bring me ladopsomo when she knew I was coming in to the store. Wrapped in aluminum foil and sprinkled with white sugar, I would be licking my lips the minute I spied that small silver packet next to her sewing machine!

Ladopsomo is simply fried bread and a more delicious result of a handful of plain ingredients there never will be.  Most countries have a version of fried bread or fried dough.  In Greece, it can be served as a side to savory or sweet dishes or stand on its own as the perfect snack. Ladopsomo is light, fluffy Continue Reading →

Traditional Greek Digestive Remedy

lemon water - traditional Greek digestive aid

lemon water – traditional Greek digestive aid

Ever eat way too much at a family dinner or night out? That bloated, slightly queasy, yucky feeling the next day isn’t fun!

Try this traditional Greek digestive aid. Quick, super simple and it works EVERY time!

Just squeeze the juice of one fresh lemon into 8-10 ounces of room temperature water (not cold!) and add fresh mint if you have on hand. Take sips and try to drink it over at least 10-15 minutes.

We love this lemon water detox and know you will too!

Greek Dinner Around the World

GD blog coverOn January 15th, Greek food lovers from all over the world gathered together to share and enjoy a delicious Greek dinner over one virtual table. Organized by Keri Douglas and Katie Aliferis, this historic and hugely successful virtual event included tables, food and friends from over 50 cities, in 14 countries, on 4 continents for 1 amazing dinner.

Dinner began with wine and spirits including  a blood orange and fennel ouzo shot from California Greek Girl, a traditional Greek tsipouro from Marjory McGinn and a gorgeous Continue Reading →

Pickled Red Cabbage

red cab coverI first tasted (and loved!) pickled red cabbage on the island of Chios. Piled high next to a basket of crusty bread, I was hooked from the first forkful. The simple, delicious dish comes from Smyrna (now in Turkey). It was brought over to Chios and the Dodecanese islands by refugees of the Smyra fire after 1922. The spices definitely have that Asia Minor flair and pickled red cabbage was a favorite during the lenten period leading up to Christmas. It’s definitely a festive looking dish!

Red cabbage pickles up super quickly – no waiting a month or more before eating, just a week and you’re ready to enjoy. This traditional recipe is a great Continue Reading →

Fried Giant Beans

fried giant beans

fried giant beans

Buttery, creamy inside, crispy, salty outside – you will never look at an unassuming lima bean the same way again.  The layers of flavors and textures make fried giant lima beans absolutely addictive!

The secret to making these meaty morsels so tasty? Just add your spices to the  Continue Reading →

Lagana Bread (λαγάνα)

lagana with rosemary olive oil

lagana with rosemary olive oil

There’s nothing like the aroma of fresh baking bread as it fills the house.  My great uncle would always tell us that during times of famine you could fill half of your hunger with the smell of baking bread even before eating it.

Lagana is a traditional flatbread usually baked for Clean Monday (Καθαρά Δευτέρα) or Kathara Defthera, the first day of Great Lent before Easter. For those fasting most strictly, lagana is made without oil.  For those less strict, olive oil is used and never any dairy products.  Sesame seeds are the most common topping and often fresh or dried herbs are added for Continue Reading →

Pickled Green Tomatoes

pickled green tomatoes

pickled green tomatoes

At the end of every growing season, there are always a bunch of tomatoes that never got the chance to ripen and are hard and green.  I used to relegate these late bloomers to the compost pile but a few years ago, a friend gave me her Yiayia’s family pickling recipe for green tomatoes and not one has gone to the compost heap since!

This is such a quick and easy way to enjoy a vegetable often forgotten.  I love making relish from the pickled green tomatoes and the best part is they pickle very quickly so you can start enjoying them about 2 weeks after putting them up. If you don’t have a garden, you probably know someone who does and is more than happy to share Continue Reading →

Koulourakia / Wine Cookies

koulourakia / wine cookies

These cookies will never last more than a few minutes in any cookie jar. They’re crunchy outside, soft inside and the perfect partner to coffee or tea. Our Yiayia, my father’s mom, started her day with these almost every morning. I can still see her at the kitchen table as we came down the stairs for breakfast, dipping a koulouraki into her coffee cup. I can see her there as if it were yesterday.

Koulourakia are simple and quick to bake up and so much fun to make!  The dough rolls out easily into a variety of shapes and it’s a job even little hands can do well. Cardamom, cinnamon and orange zest make these cookies so aromatic and full of flavor, they’ll become your favorites in no time! Mix up a big batch and refrigerate Continue Reading →

Hosafi (Apricot Compote)

Hosafi is a sweet, delicious treat brought to mainland Greece by refugees from Pontos in what is now Turkey. The flavors of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom seeds together with peachy, juicy apricots are an amazing combination.

This dish was often made in winter as a way to use dried fruits like apricots and raisins that were harvested in summer and hosafi is still a popular New Year’s treat today for Greeks hailing from Cappadocia.  Summer sun in every Continue Reading →

Potato Salad with Leeks and Dill

the perfect summer afternoon lunch!

the perfect lunch or light dinner!

Just four ingredients in this quick, simple, full of flavor summer salad – sautéed leek,  fresh dill, olive oil and potato.  A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a turn of fresh ground black pepper and I’m in heaven!

Leeks are used everywhere in Greek cooking and you’ll find them in everything from pies to soups to salads. In this recipe, the mild, gently sautéed leeks complement the potatoes without overwhelming them as onions sometimes do in potato salad. You’ll notice the difference immediately. Leeks can be Continue Reading →

Tahini Lemon Sauce

stuffed grape leaves in tahini lemon sauce

stuffed grape leaves in tahini lemon sauce

Get ready to put this sauce on, well, just about everything! I love it with stuffed grape leaves. Try it on salads, as a veggie dip, on sandwiches – perfect with felafel! Quick, easy, nutritious and delicious. Whip up a batch and you’ll see,  the possibilities are endless.

Tahini lemon sauce is traditionally made during lenten periods as a dairy-free version of avgolemono or egg-lemon sauce. My father added his own twist to this recipe many years ago that I’ll share with you now. By adding Continue Reading →

Pita Chips

pita chips with humus and Boukovo chili oil

pita chips with humus and Boukovo chili oil

Once you taste these, you will never buy a store brand bag of pita chips again! They’re  quick and easy to make and are packed with spicy, salty taste-bud popping good Greek flavors.

Perfect for dips of fava  or humus, I have to admit eating them just as they are – seriously addictive stuff! This is a great recipe to make with children too. Try Continue Reading →

Roasted Red Pepper Dressing

cucumber salad with red pepper dressing

cucumber salad with red pepper dressing

Roasted red pepper dressing will have you licking your fingers to get every last drop.  The slightly chunky texture of this dressing makes every salad a meal and every bite a tantalizing, tangy taste surprise.

It’s bright color dresses up any dish and the recipe takes only a few minutes to put together. You’ll use it on so much more than salad, just let your tastebuds Continue Reading →

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