Loukoumades (Λουκουμάδες)

Loukoumades (Λουκουμάδες)

Loukoumades: the original Greek doughnut hole 

Loukoumades (Λουκουμάδες)

 

Growing up there were a few things that we enjoyed watching our parents make almost as much as we enjoyed eating them.  The production of their homemade loukaniko (sausage) for example, was fascinating to watch.  We were captivated by the ways they found to stuff the sausage filling into the casings, manually and without any fancy kitchen gadgets.  Then for days afterwards we would walk into the kitchen to find loukaniko hanging on homemade racks, and we would see them dry as time passed.  Watching them make avgolemono soup was another treat;  listening for that famous air smooch at the end always had us giggle with delight. Making diples was another fun recipe to watch come alive; it was usually a production which involved several people and of course ended with one of our favourite desserts.  But perhaps one of the things we loved to watch most was the making of loukoumades.

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Hot toddy

Hot toddy

A warm delicious drink to soothe what ails you

Hot toddy

 

The lovely parts of autumn in Montreal include pumpkins and fall mums adorning front porches, watching children roll around in the pile of leaves their parents spent hours raking up, and the Garden of Lights exhibit at the Montreal Botanical Garden.  The less lovely parts include fall colds.  This seems to be a particularly popular time for getting sick, and not wanting to be left out, one of us just spent a week congested, achy, slightly feverish, and generally feeling crummy.

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Cod with eggplant and potatoes (Μπακαλιάρος με μελιτζάνες και πατάτες)

Cod with eggplant and potatoes (Μπακαλιάρος με μελιτζάνες και πατάτες)

Greek style fish and chips…with eggplant

There is something to be said for the thrill that comes with anticipation.  Like looking under the Christmas tree and seeing all of the gifts waiting to be opened.  Or carrying home the latest best-selling novel, imagining crawling into bed and cracking the spine.  Or marking “X”‘s on the calendar as you count down the days to your holiday.  Or opening up your refrigerator and seeing your fish soaking in cold water.  What joy!

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Pumpkin or winter squash pita (Πίτα με γλυκοκολοκύθα)

Pumpkin or winter squash pita (Πίτα με γλυκοκολοκύθα)

A winter squash pita to rival any pumpkin pie

Fall in Canada brings so much wonder.  Leaves change into the most beautiful colours, the air is brisk and fresh,  and sweater season makes even the grumpiest of humans appear snuggle-worthy.  But sometimes we think that all these wonderful things get usurped by pumpkin spice; we actually think that pumpkin spice might take over the world…and we are intrigued.

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Eggplant BLT Sandwich

Eggplant BLT Sandwich

Eggplant steps up to create a meat-free way to enjoy a BLT 

Eggplant BLT Sandwich

 

We love bacon.  Like, we love bacon, a lot.  We grew up in a home where bacon was not really something that was featured prominently.  Breakfast was usually an egg fried in olive oil with a side of feta, some Greek yogourt (before it was all the rage), or toast topped with tomato and feta.  Bacon, when we had it, was usually enjoyed at a friend’s house, or after begging our parents to buy some when we tagged along at the grocery store.  Our love of bacon has allowed up to come up with neat ways to incorporate it into our own cooking, like when we used it to wrap up dates and feta.  These bite-sized mezes are so great they even had our parents wondering why they never thought to cook with bacon themselves.  Really!?

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Okra with cauliflower (Μπάμιες με κουνουπίδι)

Okra with cauliflower (Μπάμιες με κουνουπίδι)

A totally delightful way to prepare okra with cauliflower 

Okra with cauliflower (Μπάμιες με κουνουπίδι)

 

Oh, we’re gluttons for punishment.  Here we go again, posting a recipe that is sure to receive its fair share of hate, or at least, negative comments.  Like spanakorizo, fried liver, and sour trahana, okra is a divisive vegetable.  There tend to be two types of people in the okra world; those who love it, and those who believe that those who love it must suffer from a taste disorder (called ageusia if you want to be fancy).  But that’s a little simplistic.

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Cream of tomato soup (Ντοµατόσουπα βελουτέ)

Cream of tomato soup (Ντοµατόσουπα βελουτέ)

Smooth, creamy and packed with flavour 

Cream of tomato soup (Ντοµατόσουπα βελουτέ)

 

We each have vivid memories of returning home after spending time at a non-Greek friend’s house and telling our parents about the unusual and often delicious foods we had eaten there.  We were both pretty adventurous and rarely refused anything which was offered to us.  We were especially intrigued by food which came from a can…because this was not something you ever saw in our childhood kitchen.  We were amazed at the convenience, the variety, the flavour, and the colourful labels and whimsical names that were stacked high in our friends’ pantries.  When we went grocery shopping with our parents we would search for these cans in the aisles and try to convince them to buy them for us.  It rarely worked.  Instead, our parents would read the labels, (often asking us to translate what was written) and say Θα το κάνουμε καλύτερα (We’ll make it better).  This was how we ended up with Greek-style beef ravioli, home-made alphabet noodle pasta, and this cream of tomato soup.

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Pasta with Swiss chard and tomatoes

Pasta with Swiss chard and tomatoes

Summer flavours in a bowl of pasta

Pasta with Swiss chard and tomatoes

Pasta is our hero.  When we think the pantry is bare and there is nothing for supper, pasta is there.  When we find ourselves rushed and harried, pasta is there.  When we’ve had a difficult day and want to eat our comfort, pasta is there.  Whether it is a long slender spaghetti, a perfectly plump penne or a fancy farfalle, pasta has saved many a meals.

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