Rabbit stew (Κουνέλι στιφάδο)

Rabbit stew (Κουνέλι στιφάδο)

Rabbit stew (Κουνέλι στιφάδο)

 

Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat.  We know we will never convince those of who object to eating cute animals that this is a recipe you should try.  If this is you, no need to read further.  And we get it.  Rabbit is not the most popular of meats; in fact, most members of our family refuse to even try it.  However, if you are interested, or curious, about learning how to create a delicious, and very traditional Greek meal using rabbit meat…you’ve come to the right place.

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A post on toast

A post on toast

We were raised in a very traditional Greek home, with a large Greek extended family and many Greek friends.  Our neighborhood and primary school were full of Greeks, and we happily lived and learned alongside a smorgasbord of other nationalities.  As we grew up and ventured off to high school, college, and then university, as we got jobs and got involved in extra-curricular activities (that went beyond Greek folk dancing), our exposure to the people of the world grew and grew.  How enriching!  How wonderful!

It’s no real surprise then that we both grew up to marry Xeni.  For those of you who are not Greek, and who do not understand what “Xeni” are…well, that’s you.  Xeni, (the plural form of xenos (masculine) or xeni (feminine)) is essentially anyone who is not Greek.  This is not meant to be an insult or a derogatory categorization; it’s just a fact. So, our Anglo-Canadian husbands are Xeni.  So is our West Indian neighbour, our Japanese co-worker, and the Cameroonian cashier at our local grocery store.  All Xeni.  The Italian barber at the local salon is also a Xeno…but a little less so, because Italians and Greeks are the same-same…sort of.

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Trahana and feta (Τραχανάς σούπα με φέτα)

Trahana and feta (Τραχανάς σούπα με φέτα)

Trahana and feta (Τραχανάς σούπα με φέτα)

 

Some days we wish we could serve our families cold cereal for supper…maybe with a banana and spoonfuls of peanut butter on the side, to have the whole thing feel more balanced.  Ugh…who are we kidding! Frankly, some days, this is exactly what we do, and we refuse to be ashamed!  We will not deny it!  Unless our mother calls, in which case we will tell her that we are having roasted chicken and potatoes, or makaronia with kima .

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Melomakarona cheesecake (Μελομακάρονα τσιζκέικ)

Melomakarona cheesecake (Μελομακάρονα τσιζκέικ)

Melomakarona cheesecake (Μελομακάρονα τσιζκέικ)

 

Today was officially the end of the holidays for us.  Kids back at school, parents all back to work, and the merriment of Christmas and New Year’s gone for another year.  One of us has succeeded in taking down the Christmas tree and packing away the decorations, while the other is still wondering if the tree should stay up until Easter, decorated for every holiday between now and then, the way it did last year.  Despite our home décor differences, both of us agree that it might be time to do away with any leftover sweets and treats.  After all, it’s a new year, and for a few weeks at least, we should focus on joining countless others who vow that this is the year that we eat well, and exercise more.  But then again, life is short, and dessert is good.

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Kalitsounia (Kαλιτσούνια)

Kalitsounia (Kαλιτσούνια)

Kalitsounia (Kαλιτσούνια)

 

We’re not exactly sure when our parents starting making these delightful little cheese pies, but we are pretty sure we know their inspiration.  We are blessed to have close, long time friends who are originally from the island of Crete.  So throughout the years, we have frequently been privileged guests in Cretan homes, enjoying not only our friends’ wonderful company, but also their delicious food.

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Vasilopita (Βασιλόπιτα)

Vasilopita

Vasilopita (Βασιλόπιτα)

 

Ever wonder why, in most Greek families, names seem to be on repeat? At any given family function you are likely to find 4 Marias, 3 Costas and about 7 Georges.  That’s because Greek parents have traditionally always named their children after their own parents.  So, two siblings who each have daughters, may very well name their girls after their common mother, for example.  Many Greek names are also names of Saints, making the Nameday (the day during which we commemorate the life of a given Saint) a much bigger deal amongst many Greeks than birthdays could ever be.  Each of us is named after one of our grandmothers, and one of our Greek names (Vasiliki) is also associated with Saint Basil the Great, who is commemorated on January 1st, the day of his death.

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