Grilled octopus

Grilled octopus

Grilled octopus

 

Here it is….our first entry in Our Kouppes, the space we have carved into Mia Kouppa to share our own recipes.  As we mentioned when we introduced Our Kouppes, many of the recipes you find here will be inspired by the food that we grew up with, and this grilled octopus is definitely that!  We have vivid memories of summers in Greece, where we would see freshly caught octopus drying in the sun by the port, and sun-kissed fishermen eager to sell their bounty to locals and local restaurants.

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Roast lamb with potatoes (Αρνί στο φούρνο με πατάτες)

Greek Roast lamb with potatoes

Roast lamb with potatoes (Αρνί στο φούρνο με πατάτες)

 

Most Greeks love lamb, and even those who don’t appreciate its unique, almost game-y flavour will appreciate that they are in the minority of Greeks.  Even people who abstain from eating meat will likely acknowledge that lamb is a staple in traditional Greek cooking.  Whether it is an entire lamb roasting for Easter, or a rack of lamb on the barbecue,  a lamb-based meal usually means that there is something to celebrate; maybe a birthday, a nameday, or a Friday…we should always try to celebrate Friday.

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Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

 

Some months ago, we posted a fasolatha recipe and some people questioned, “Where’s the tomato?”.  At the time, we explained that there are in fact, two broad categories of this traditional Greek bean soup; the one we originally posted, which has no tomato and has a light broth (λευκή), and this version, with a rich tomato base.  Both are delicious, nutritious and incredibly easy to put together.

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Eggs with potatoes and tomato (Αβγά με πατάτες και ντομάτα)

Eggs with potatoes and tomato (Αβγά με πατάτες και ντομάτα)

Eggs with potatoes and tomato . A delicious and easy lunch or dinner!

 

This recipe is great for those days when you don’t have the energy to even think about cooking.  Our parents never seem to be in this state, but still, would rely on this quick meal as a way to feed us an easy lunch, often when they were busy preparing an elaborate supper.  In fact, the last time they made this dish for us was a few weeks ago, while we were Mia Kouppa-ing (yup! that’s a verb).  We were busy cooking, note-taking, photographing, chasing after them with measuring spoons, and then, during a brief pause they decided that we must be hungry.  And just like that, the potatoes were being peeled, and the eggs were being cracked.  We didn’t actually feel hungry, but when our lunch was placed in front of us, we realized that we were starving.

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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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