Fried dough, sometimes called Greek-style pancakes, topped with honey
How fitting that we are posting this recipe for tiganites, sometimes referred to as Greek pancakes, in early November. Fitting, because November is when much of the olive harvesting in Greece is occurring. Our mother remembers that when the men of the village set out to begin their long and hard days of manually picking olives from the trees, they were sent off with their satchels loaded with tiganites. These disks of fried dough helped to sustain them and nourish them for the day. Tiganites, she explained, were a great option when options were limited as they are made from ingredients that even the poorest family likely had on hand.
A traditional Greek doughnut: large, light, and perfectly sweet
Do you know how excited we are to share this recipe with you? We’re not sure you can fully appreciate our glee; we are so proud that we are finally including this classic Greek dessert (and often breakfast), into our repertoire of Mia Kouppa recipes.
Large, light, and perfectly sprinkled with crunchy sugar, these are the classic Greek doughnut. Confused? Curious? Maybe, and we don’t blame you. It seems that often, when someone refers to Greek doughnuts they are talking about loukoumades, those fried balls of dough that are typically covered in honey. Loukoumades are delicious! But, just like pastitsio is not Greek lasagna (we’re practically begging you to get on board with that) we argue that referring to loukoumades as Greek doughnuts does a disservice to both. Loukoumades are loukoumades, and Greek sugar doughnuts, are these!
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.
A delicious and beautiful way to present blood oranges
One of us was fortunate enough to spend part of our honeymoon in Morocco, in what will soon be 20 years ago! We still remember that trip so well, the souks, the snake charmers, the welcoming and lovely people…and the food. The food in Morocco was nothing less than phenomenal. From the tagines, to the couscous, and the homemade nougat in the Jemaa el-Fnaa, we happily ate our way through weeks of North African adventure. Over the years we have often tried to recreate some of the delicious meals we had while in Morocco. After much trial and error we had some great success, like this lamb tagine, but other recreations allude us (we still haven’t mastered pastilla, although this recipe looks promising and we just might try that!)
When we first posted our parents’ rizogalo recipe we explained that this was a food which was so deeply connected to our childhoods that we couldn’t help but find comfort in a bowl of warm, creamy, simply delicious rice pudding. And that is still so true; rizogalo, the way our parents make it (and the way we now make it), is comfort in a bowl.
This recipe draws its inspiration from the classic French sandwich called croque madame, itself a variation of the croque monsieur. Their name is based on the French verb croquer, which means “to bite” or “to crunch”. And happy eaters have been biting and crunching for a long time; the croque monsieur was first served in Paris in 1910 and it’s earliest mention in literature is seemingly in volume two of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time in 1918.
An elegant cake that is perfect for breakfast, snacking or dessert
We love to bake with olive oil. In part this is because growing up, our parents very rarely used butter in their cooking or baked goods. This was not because butter is not delicious, but because of our mom’s dietary restrictions and the underlying philosophy that despite the fact that butter may makes things better, olive oil makes them best. The other reason that we love baking with olive oil is that sometimes we find ourselves out of butter, but we can’t remember a day when we looked around our kitchens and discovered we were all out of olive oil. Lucky, for sure.
Our daughters were really fortunate because when they were little, and we each had to return to work after our long (but not long enough) maternity leaves, they were cared for by our parents during the day. The love of grandparents is so special, and we are forever grateful that our girls had the opportunity to be coddled and cuddled by them, and chased around the house, and back yard, and park by them, yielding spoons and bowls of food. That’s love!
For years, when we thought about grilled cheese we thought only about two pieces of white toast slathered with butter, with a slice of processed cheese in between them. This would get fried in a non-stick pan and served, usually with a cold glass of milk. A thin, crispy, but at the same time kind of soggy, sandwich…and we loved it. It was one of the first things we learned to make ourselves when we were young, and we felt that we were teaching our parents a thing or two…grilled cheese was not something they grew up on. Now that we are older, and more culinary (we have a blog after all!), we still occasionally enjoy this classic…but we’ve also learned that there is more than one way to grill a cheese sandwich.
There are a few things we can always count on for Easter Monday, the day after Orthodox Pascha. The first is the realization that another year has gone by, and we are overcome with gratitude to have been able to celebrate our important holiday with our family and friends. The second is being reminded that an extensive fast and abstinence from meat, dairy and eggs, which ends with a day spent eating pretty much only meat, dairy and eggs, is rough. Delicious, but rough. And finally, we’ll note that regardless of how much we ate, there are leftovers for days!