Eggplant, zucchini and potato bake

Eggplant, zucchini and potato bake

Eggplant, zucchini and potato bake

 

Have you noticed that we have a fondness for eggplant?  They are so versatile, and so very delicious.  This fruit (yes!  eggplant is a fruit, and botanically a species of nightshade, a family of flowering plants) can be treated in all sorts of ways, including being fried for eggplant chips, stuffed in yemista, and even used as a substitute for crostini!  It also plays well with others, and in this baked vegetable dish, it is combined with zucchini and potato to make one of our families most favourite dishes.  We are so excited to share it!

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Pork and celery with egg lemon sauce (Χοιρινό με σέλινο αυγολέμονο)

Pork and celery with egg lemon sauce (Χοιρινό με σέλινο αυγολέμονο)

Pork and celery with egg lemon sauce (Χοιρινό με σέλινο αυγολέμονο)

It’s not often that a two-bit character actor is cast in a leading role.  It’s rare for a back-up singer to move center stage, and win a Grammy.  It’s unusual for a second-string quarterback to somehow lead the league in touchdown passes.  And it’s surprising that a plain Jane vegetable, which is usually part of a basic trio (think: saute onion, garlic and celery…), becomes the focus of an entire, decadent meal.  But this is a celery Cinderella story, and we’re here to tell it.

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Stuffed zucchini flowers ( Λουλουδάκια γεμιστά)

Greek stuffed zucchini flowers

Greek stuffed zucchini flowers

Our gardens grow an abundance of zucchini.  This is not necessarily the result of amazing gardening skills (although our parents can grow pretty much anything that can be planted), but is simply a testament to the un-finickiness of zucchini plants.  And so, around this time of year, zucchini takes over our fridges and counters.  Thankfully, we have many delicious ways of using them up, like making zucchini chips, or cooking them on the grill.

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Briam (Μπριάμ)

Briam! Greek roasted vegetable recipe

Briam! Greek roasted vegetables recipe

This is an incredible dish that we just know you are going to love.  Not only is briam a luxurious way to eat your vegetables, but it is an incredibly easy way to eat them too.  All the goodness is simply thrown into a roasting pan, mixed together, and baked; this makes clean-up a breeze, giving you more time to enjoy your family, your garden, or this blog.

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Green beans with potatoes (Φασολάκια λαδερά με πατάτες)

Green Beans with Potatoes

Green beans with Potatoes

Some meal preparations lend themselves to teamwork.  Our mother would make this simple, wholesome and economical dish of green beans and potatoes about once every couple of weeks, and each time she would invite us to join her, as she prepared the beans for cooking.  We would sit with her at the kitchen table (which was, of course, covered in plastic) faced with a bowl full of green beans.  One by one, we would take the beans, and carefully snip off each end.  The trimmed ends would collect in a pile on the table, and the beans would be placed in a colander, to later be washed.

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Tsik tsik (Summer vegetables with egg – Τσικ τσικ)

Tsik Tsik Summer vegetables with egg

Tsik Tsik Summer Vegetables with Egg

Some things just don’t translate well from Greek to English, and τσικ τσικ (which phonetically translates to Tsik Tsik) is one of those things.  We don’t know where this term originated; in fact, for the longest time we thought that this was our paternal grandmother’s own inventive way of referring to a dish which is a medley of whatever vegetables you have lying around, and some eggs.  But we were wrong; it seems that around Messinia (which is where our parents are from), many people refer to this easy, summer meal as tsik tsik.

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Rack of lamb (Ράφι αρνιών)

Greek rack of lamb recipe

Greek rack of lamb recipe

Greeks love lamb…usually.  It is certainly an acquired taste, which some people find too strong or game-y.  If you are someone who likes lamb however, then you are probably going to love this recipe.  Here, our parents take a special cut of meat, treat it with simplicity and ease, and create a dish which is quick enough for a weeknight dinner, yet fancy enough for company or a special occasion.

Although this lamb is so delicious that it can stand on it’s own, you will likely need to offer your family or friends something along with the meat. Consider serving your lamb with a salad, such as a pasta salad or the traditional Greek maroulosalata.  Add some french fries to your table, a bit of tzatziki, and a nice hunk of fresh bread, and raise a glass to good health, good times and good food.  Eva!

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