Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

 

We grew up in a home where certain times, certain events, and certain foods needed to be accompanied by certain special things.  So, when guests came over, we put out special bathroom towels.  When our parents’ made vegetable speckled rice, it was served in a special soup tureen (don’t judge).  During the holidays, the furniture and appliances were covered with festive doilies and cloths (versus the rest of the time, when they were covered with everyday doilies and cloths).  And when spoon sweets were served, it was always on little glass plates.

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Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

 

Some months ago, we posted a fasolatha recipe and some people questioned, “Where’s the tomato?”.  At the time, we explained that there are in fact, two broad categories of this traditional Greek bean soup; the one we originally posted, which has no tomato and has a light broth (λευκή), and this version, with a rich tomato base.  Both are delicious, nutritious and incredibly easy to put together.

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Sour trahana soup with tomato (Σούπα με ξινό τραχανά και ντομάτα)

Sour trahana soup with tomato (Σούπα με ξινό τραχανά και ντομάτα)

Sour trahana soup with tomato (Σούπα με ξινό τραχανά και ντομάτα)

 

So here’s a recipe you will either love, or hate; we don’t think there is any in-between  (although we suppose you can also love to hate it).  Trahana is an ancient food, whose origins are somewhat disputed; some argue that it originated in Greece, while others claim that Turkey or Persia introduced trahana to the world.  Regardless of who ate it first, today trahana is eaten in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.  In fact, many consider trahana to be the traditional soup of Cyprus.  Versions of this meal are also very popular in Crete (where it is called xinohondros).  Our parents are neither Cypriot nor Cretan, and still we were  subjected to served this soup often growing up.

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Walnut cake (Karydopita – Καρυδόπιτα)

Karydopita, Walnut cake (Καρυδόπιτα)

Walnut cake (Karydopita - Καρυδόπιτα)

 

We almost faked it here.  We were tempted to change this recipe, in order to reflect what we know to be the correct way to bake.  One of us is a pretty avid baker, and has spent years perusing pastry books, taking classes, and working towards making the perfect croquembouche and pastry dough.  That same one of us is also scientist, and acknowledges that baking…is a science.  And then, we bake with our parents.  Although you very graciously accepted our parents’ milopita recipe, posted exactly as it was baked (meaning…illogically), would you accept another hodgepodge dessert?  We were worried.  So instead, we thought we should tell you that our parents sifted the flour, baking powder and ground spices together, and that the wet ingredients were well combined using a stand mixer, before the wet and dry components were combined.  You know, to reflect what actual baking books tell you to do. But, we thought against it.  Mia Kouppa is all about keeping it real folks!  Besides, their almost nonsensical way of baking works beautifully – their desserts, including this karydopita, are always delectable, and perfectly composed.

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Eggplant dip (Μελιτζανοσαλάτα)

Eggplant dip (Μελιτζανοσαλάτα)

Eggplant dip (Μελιτζανοσαλάτα)

 

We don’t know about you, but in our homes, melitzanosalata often plays second and third fiddle to some of the other, more popular Greek dips like tzatziki and taramosalata.  This is a shame, and every time we do have melitzanosalata, we vow to make it again very soon; it is so good, so easy, and pretty good for you too.  It is also a great way to use up any eggplant surplus from the garden when you don’t feel like eggplant chips (actually…we always feel like eggplant chips), or you don’t have the time to invest in making moussaka.

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Soutzoukakia with rice(Σουτζουκάκια με ρύζι)

Soutzoukakia with rice(Σουτζουκάκια με ρύζι)

Soutzoukakia with rice(Σουτζουκάκια με ρύζι)

 

For most of elementary school, we came home for lunch,  and were greeted by our mom who had a nice, warm meal waiting for us.  We would eat, sitting next to our mother, and we would watch the Flintstones together.  This was the only time we were allowed to watch television during meals, probably permitted because our mother loved to follow Fred and Barney’s antics as much as we did.  When she first arrived in Canada, it was partially by watching the Flintstones that our mother learned English.  To this day, she can recite most of the episodes, and can yaba-daba-doo with the best of them.

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Eggs with potatoes and tomato (Αβγά με πατάτες και ντομάτα)

Eggs with potatoes and tomato (Αβγά με πατάτες και ντομάτα)

Eggs with potatoes and tomato . A delicious and easy lunch or dinner!

 

This recipe is great for those days when you don’t have the energy to even think about cooking.  Our parents never seem to be in this state, but still, would rely on this quick meal as a way to feed us an easy lunch, often when they were busy preparing an elaborate supper.  In fact, the last time they made this dish for us was a few weeks ago, while we were Mia Kouppa-ing (yup! that’s a verb).  We were busy cooking, note-taking, photographing, chasing after them with measuring spoons, and then, during a brief pause they decided that we must be hungry.  And just like that, the potatoes were being peeled, and the eggs were being cracked.  We didn’t actually feel hungry, but when our lunch was placed in front of us, we realized that we were starving.

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