Cretan dakos (Κρητικός ντάκος)

Cretan dakos

A traditional Cretan salad of tomatoes, feta and herbs on top of a barley rusk

Cretan dakos

 

Oh Crete, how we love you!  We’ve both had the great pleasure of visiting this largest and southernmost island of Greece,  spending weeks exploring the cities, beaches, gorges and of course, the tavernas and restaurants.  Cretan cuisine, like all Greek cooking, is based on fresh, local ingredients and the regional specialties often showcase food items you can only find there.  Fortunately however, much of what is loved and devoured in Crete can be replicated off the island, and this dakos salad is a perfect example of that.

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Frappé float (Φραπέ με παγωτό)

Frappé float (Φραπέ με παγωτό)

Cold coffee the Greek way, with the addition of vanilla ice cream.

This post is sponsored by Ice Frappe.  All opinions on this post are ours.

Frappé float (Φραπέ με παγωτό)

 

We were recently gifted a beast of a machine; a powerhouse of froth-making which produces the most extraordinary frappé we have ever had.  Add to that the addition of amazing Nektar coffee, and you’ve got yourself a very happy situation.

Our Kalko Frappe machine was something we didn’t realize we were missing, until we used it.  Not only does it make an amazing frappe, it can also be used to mix other cold drinks, and cocktails! Are you as thirsty as we are?  Thank you Ice Frappe for the gifts!

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Vegan stuffed eggplant (Παπουτσάκια νηστίσιμα)

Vegan stuffed eggplant (Παπουτσάκια νηστίσιμα)

A vegan version of a classic Greek dish made with eggplant, lentils and olive oil mashed potatoes.

We wish you could all read Greek! Because if you did, you would realize that the name for this recipe is so much more wonderful in Greek.  The literal translation for παπουτσάκια (pronounced pa-poo-tsa-kia) is little shoes. How utterly adorable and perfect is that! And how much more charming than stuffed eggplant.

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Honeydew ouzo cocktail

Honeydew ouzo cocktail

Frozen honeydew, mint, lime juice and just the right splash of ouzo for your drinking pleasure

Our daughters are smoothie lovers.  Breakfasts, snacks, and late night hunger pangs are often addressed with a medley of frozen fruit blended together with either milk or juice.  So easy, they’ve been in charge of their own smoothie-making for years.  Our job is to ensure that there is enough frozen fruit available, and to supply a lovely, colourful variety to keep things interesting.

Although we purchase bags of frozen fruit there are some choices that you just can’t find easily. And so, we cut up things like papaya, cantaloupe, passion fruit (yes, we are exotic over here), and freeze the chunks on baking sheets before transferring them to a freezer bag.  One afternoon, feeling inspired and thirsty, and needing to free up some freezer space for the spanakopita we had made for another day, we decided to make some adult smoothies.

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Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

A healthy, quick snack to satisfy any sweet craving

Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

 

Sometimes the craving for something sweet hits so quickly, and so aggressively that you find yourself scrambling in the kitchen, looking for something that was already baked, or a candy bar, or a bag of chocolate chips that you spontaneously decide are not necessary for the chocolate chip cookies you were planning to make.  If you don’t have access to these options, you dip into the sugary cereal you know you shouldn’t be feeding your kids, or you make some cinnamon toast, with more brown sugar than cinnamon, or toast.  Or, you pause, remember your health and waistline and choose a piece of nature’s candy instead.   You know, a bowl of grapes or a ripe peach.  Bah! Who are we kidding?? When that urge for sweetness hits, fruit just isn’t going to cut it unless its been morphed into a pie, or unless that fruit is a date.

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Beans and rice

rice and beans edited-2

This post, and recipe for beans and rice is sponsored by Purolator Tackle Hunger.  We were compensated for our time, and all opinions in this post are our own.

Beans and rice

 

How wonderful is it when the stars align? That’s exactly what happened when we were asked to participate in the Purolator Tackle Hunger game day food drive, which partners with the Canadian Football League to help raise hunger awareness and collect non-perishable food items and cash donations for food banks across the country.  Since its beginning in 2003 the Purolator Tackle Hunger® program has helped deliver the equivalent of more than 13 million pounds of food to food banks across Canada.

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Greek marinated chicken thighs

Greek marinated chicken thighs

Chicken thighs infused with Greek flavours!  So delicious!

Thighs.  For many of us, the mention of thighs immediately causes us to think of swimwear shop changing rooms, gaps that are unattainable and hot wax followed by searing pain.  Well, we’re here to redirect your attention, because some thighs are better than others.

Chicken thighs are a good and generally accessible source of lean protein; although they do have more calories and fat than white chicken meat,  they tend to be more tender and flavourful.  Still, because of the caloric and fat content, you may not want to be eating chicken thighs every day.  So, when you do decide to enjoy them, a great recipe is important.  We’ve got you covered with this recipe for Greek marinated chicken thighs.

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Grilled vegetables (Λαχανικά στη σχάρα)

Grilled vegetables

A medley of marinated and grilled vegetables 

Eat your vegetables!  Who hasn’t heard this, or uttered it, over and over again.  Sometimes getting your kids, your spouse, yourself to eat vegetables seems like an uphill battle.  Let’s face it, not everyone goes crazy for luscious greens like vlita or okra, or is satisfied with a meal whose main star is cauliflower. In fact, today we crave vegetables but there was a time when we would plan covert operations to stealthily dispose of the grossness that our parents put before us; our spanakorizo disposal tactics were legendary.  Still, even in the throes of our vegetable-hating youths, we never rejected vegetables that were marinated and grilled, and which usually happened to be served along with grilled souvlaki or steak.

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Zucchini bread (Κέικ με κολοκύθι)

Zucchini bread

A wonderful, sweet way to enjoy summer squash

Zucchini bread

 

If you’ve been following Mia Kouppa since the beginning you’ll know that most of our recipes are inspired by our parents and their humble, authentic, and delicious traditional Greek cooking.  Of course, our parents don’t use actual recipes and so our job has been to painstakingly and with great attention to detail,  measure, document, photograph, video and share their wonderful way with food.  We know that we owe much, if not most, of our success to them and we are so grateful.

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Spinach salad with peaches and dates

Spinach salad with peaches and dates

A fresh summer salad with fruit sweetness and walnut crunch

Summer is salad season, and we love that!  When it is too hot to turn on the oven, or when we would much rather be frolicking in the sun or strolling around our beautiful city, a no-nonsense salad which ticks off so many boxes is just the answer.  Delicious. Check.  Nutritious. Check.  Quick and easy. Check. Inexpensive.  Check.  Too good not to share…check!

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