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Traditional Greek Marzipan / Amigthalota

Amigthalota are the traditional Greek version of marzipan. These delicate almond sweets are often served at weddings and baptisms with their perfect pear shapes and snowy cover of powdered sugar – as beautiful as they are delicious!

Five ingredients and twenty minutes are all you need to whip up a batch of your own. Almond extract and rose water give the marzipan center the most wonderful fragrance and a whole clove tops each pearl white pear making this an aromatic as well as incredibly tasty treat. One bite through the just ever so lightly crisp outside into the dense, chewy, almondy amazing center and you’ll be hooked – they’re just that good! Continue Reading →

Sfakian Sweet Rusks

Sfakian Sweet Rusks – paximadia

My aunt would make this sweet bread (artos) for Great Vespers services when we were young. Five loaves would go to church and one small loaf stayed at home for us.  She would slice up the small home loaf and toast the slices in the oven until dried through and super crunchy.  Then we’d slather them with Merenda (Greek hazelnut spread similar to Nutella) and very happily munch through every slice!

You can enjoy these sweet rusks today, store bought and straight from Greece, or make your own – a wonderful rainy Saturday recipe! These sweet rusks are delicious on their own with a hot cup of coffee or topped with your favorite jam or Greek honey and the perfect afternoon snack. Traditionally from region of Sfakia on the island of Crete but enjoyed throughout Greece and the Greek diaspora, you will fall in love with this authentic, simple Continue Reading →

Halva Pudding

individual halva puddings with chopped pistachios and dried apricots

Halva is a delicious, traditional dessert made in a many different variations across Greece and throughout the Middle East. To be honest, halva is wonderful in all forms and flavors. We’ve shared our favorite family recipe below. Fine ground semolina flour, chopped nuts and sweet syrup make this the perfect pudding with it’s charmingly delicate texture flavored with aromatic cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. A very special way to end any meal!

The recipe is a simple one, using only a handful of ingredients, and is a dish that’s fun for children to help with too. You can mold it into all kinds of shapes using individual molds or even a large bundt or fluted cake pan. Halva pudding is quick to set up and can be dressed in an endless number of ways. I love topping halva with chopped pistachios and dried apricots or you can sprinkle a little cinnamon or powdered sugar over the top. Its easy to make this dish to suit your particular tastes – you can even drizzle melted chocolate over the top!

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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 →

Marathopites / Fennel Pies

marathopites / fennel frond pies

marathopites / fennel frond pies

Fresh wild greens, aromatic fresh herbs and olive oil all wrapped in a simple dough = handheld heaven! Pites (or singular, pita) are a general word to describe hand held pies of all sorts. The variety of fillings is endless, many many of which are traditionally meat/dairy free. This particular pita, marathopita, comes from the island of Crete where wild fennel runs, well, wild!

The perfect lunch, snack or even breakfast and very child friendly – marathopites (μαραθόπιτες) use only the leaves or frilly fronds that grow on thin stalks above the fennel bulb. Here in the Northeast US its often difficult to find fennel bulbs with a beautiful bushy bunch of fronds attached as they’re usually trimmed for supermarket shelves.  They can, truth be told, get a bit unruly. Then comes July at the farmers market and fennel is at every stall, displayed in all her leafy glory. This is the time to make, eat and freeze for non-fennel seasons, marathopites! Continue Reading →

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