Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

So many incredible things happen in the world, by accident.  Fortuitous accidents in medicine have led to the discovery of quinine, the small pox vaccination and x-rays.  Artists like Da Vinci and Cozens searched for inspiration in the dirt on walls and streaks on stones; deliberate use of accidental imperfections which helped shape an entire art movement and created masterpieces.  In fashion, Calvin Klein got his start because a coat buyer got off the elevator on the wrong floor and stepped into Klein’s workroom.  He then proceeded to place a $50,000 order for coats.  Seriously!

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Kourabiethes (Kουραμπιέδες)

Kourabiethes (Kουραμπιέδες)

Kourabiethes (Kουραμπιέδες)

 

Who doesn’t dream about a white Christmas? We certainly do! Thankfully, living in Canada means that most years, our dream comes true.  It is rare that December 25th rolls around without a blanket of beautiful, white, fluffy snow blanketing everything!  If you have never made snow angels on Christmas morning, we really hope that you get to one day!  Our parents grew up in Greece however, a country not known for frosty winters and snow storms.  So, in their villages, the whitest and fluffiest thing they could hope for at Christmas time, were kourabiethes.

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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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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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Sesame coated fried feta with honey and walnuts

Sesame coated fried feta with honey and walnuts

Sesame coated fried feta with honey and walnuts

This dish looks so impressive, so fancy, that it is hard to believe that it can easily be whipped together in a moment’s notice.  The sweetness of the honey, paired with the saltiness of the feta and the crunch of the sesame seeds and nuts, creates a dish which is rich in both flavour and texture.  Pretty impressive for a recipe which has only a few basic ingredients and can be ready in under 10 minutes.  We wish everything in life was this easy, and this tasty!

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Apple cake (Κέικ μήλου ή μηλόπιτα)

Apple cake (Κέικ μήλου ή μηλόπιτα)

Apple cake (Κέικ μήλου ή μηλόπιτα)

 

There are so many things that are wrong with this recipe, starting with the name.  This is an apple cake, which our parents have forever referred to as a milopita (μηλόπιτα).  Now technically, a milopita is an apple pie…which, this is not.  It’s a cake, and many Greeks might call it just that, an apple cake or keik milou (Κέικ μήλου).  If you are one of those people, please don’t send us emails and well meaning comments informing us that this is not a pie.  We know it’s not, but the reality is, this recipe has bigger problems.

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Cheesecake (Τσεισκέικ)

Cheesecake topped with strawberries and cherries

Cheesecake topped with strawberries and cherries

 

We are so excited to introduce you to our mom’s sister, Θεία Βούλα (Thea Voula).  The second oldest in a family of four (our mom is the eldest), our Θεία Βούλα is currently the only one of our mother’s siblings living in Canada; luckily only about a ten minute drive from where we all live. Θεία Βούλα is a powerhouse who certainly knows how to command a room.  Her laughter is infectious and is rooted deep in her belly.  She wears her heart on her sleeve and her hugs are epic, enveloping you in an embrace which is at once fiercely tight and, at the same time, gently protective.  Like our mom, and many other women of their generation, Θεία Βούλα epitomizes strength.  Life was not always easy; she worked hard and long hours to make ends meet while raising her family, all while integrating into a new society and country.  This is a brave, inspiring woman.

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