Cucumber salad (Αγγουροσαλάτα)

Cucumber salad (Αγγουροσαλάτα)

Cucumber salad (Αγγουροσαλάτα)

 

Cucumbers! Who doesn’t love a fruit (yup, a fruit!) that can be used as a vegetable, which is a good source of Vitamins A, C and folic acid, and that can reduce eye puffiness.  That’s right!  Did you know that you can place cucumber slices on your eyes, lay back for about 5 minutes, and then  look 10 years younger.  It’s true! Now, that last little bit could be credited to the fact that during your do-it-yourself spa treatment, cucumber juice seeps into your eyes, blurring your vision temporarily…but whatever.

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Chickpea salad (Σαλάτα με ρεβίθια)

Chickpea salad (Σαλάτα με ρεβίθια)

Chickpea salad (Σαλάτα με ρεβίθια)

 

If you have been following Mia Kouppa for a while, or even for a little bit of time (Welcome!), you may have realized a few things.  Feta should always be Greek (as should olive oil), fresh bread usually goes beautifully with just about any meal, and if you have a well stocked Greek pantry, you can make thousands of recipes (this is only a slight exaggeration) .  You may have also noticed that we are firm believers that beans should never come from a can.  But never is a really big word.

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Grated carrot salad (Σαλάτα με καρότα)

Grated carrot salad (Σαλάτα με καρότα)

Grated carrot salad (Σαλάτα με καρότα)

 

One of us loves orange!  One of the brightest and most vibrant of colours, it just screams happiness, don’t you think?  That’s part of the reason this carrot salad is so loved.  How could you be sad, or stressed, or frustrated when you’re eating a salad that is joyful, refreshing and so, so easy to put together?

Carrots have long been a staple in our family meals.  Our parents always tried to find ways to incorporate this versatile root veggie, super rich in beta-carotene and other vitamins and minerals, into our diet.  They add carrots to their fakes and fasolatha, they add a few to the roasting pan when they make roasted lemon potatoes and to the chicken stock when they make avgolemono soup.  When we were young, as we would head out to play, our parents would often pass us raw, peeled carrots that seemed to appear out of nowhere, to have as a snack.  These were never chopped up into rounds or carrot sticks and placed neatly into a plastic bag; they didn’t have time for that.  These were whole carrots, meant to be chomped on as Bugs Bunny would.

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Fennel salad (Σαλάτα με μάραθο)

Fennel salad (Σαλάτα με μάραθο)

Fennel salad (Σαλάτα με μάραθο)

 

This summer we were so fortunate to have our cousin visit us from Australia. His mother and our mother are first cousins, but if you ask our mom, they were actually as close as sisters.  Raised in the same house, they grew up sleeping in the same room (actually, the same bed), eating at the same table, and living similar experiences, from schooling to household chores, to family joys and struggles.  When our mom left Greece to come to Canada she fully expected that her sister-cousins (there were 2) would soon follow her, as would her own siblings.  Unfortunately, Canadian immigration laws at the time prevented her cousins from coming to Canada as they were too young; they instead immigrated to Australia.  Although the cousins speak often, they have not seen each other since they were young women.

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Orzo with shrimp (Κριθαράκι με γαρίδες)

Orzo with shrimp (Κριθαράκι με γαρίδες)

Orzo with shrimp (Κριθαράκι με γαρίδες)

 

There are some foods which were always considered somewhat of a treat when we were growing up.  Shrimp was one of those foods.  Maybe because it was often a little pricier than our usual fare, or maybe because our parents tried to reserve seafood dishes for periods of lent, when they would be appreciated even more.  Whatever the reason, when shrimp made its way to the table, it was a good thing.

The great thing about cooking with seafood like shrimp, is how easily a delicious meal can come together; shrimp literally cooks in minutes.  It’s also incredibly versatile and is delicious grilled, fried, steamed, boiled and baked.  There is no shortage of ways to prepare shrimp (did you see what we did there?) 🙂

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Citrus salad with fried halloumi

Citrus salad with fried halloumi

Citrus salad with fried halloumi

 

Our parents have a lovely marriage.  They have been married for over 50 years and are still wonderful partners in love, family and of course, the kitchen.  Sure, they argue once in a while (usually because our father has left the house without, what our mother deems to be, a warm enough jacket) but they are respectful, kind and considerate of one another.  It is really heart-warming to see, and throughout our lives, they have served as great role-models for love.

Great unions such as theirs bring to mind other partnerships, like this citrus salad with fried halloumi.  Growing up, our parents often served fried halloumi for breakfast, with a couple of fried eggs and some toast.  They would also cook some up when we had guests over for a quick visit.  Along with olives, nuts and bread, the fried cheese was great for impromptu visitors or to tide everyone over until dinner.  Here, we’ve taken the fried halloumi, introduced to us by our parents, and married it with a lovely, fresh citrusy salad in a Mia Kouppa meets Our Kouppes creation.  We hope you enjoy every part of it :).

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Greek salad (or Horiatiki salata) (Χωριάτικη Σαλάτα)

Greek Salad

Greek Salad, Horiatiki salata, 2 ways

They say you are what you eat.  If that’s the case, then in the summer months we are villagers. When garden tomatoes have ripened, we use them to make, and eat, delicious Greek salad, also called a horiatiki salata (horio means village in Greek).  We eat this salad every day.  Not almost every day…but every, single, day.  And we never tire of it.

It would be next to impossible to tire of a salad so full of flavour and amazing texture. For us, Greek salad or horiatiki salata is a gift of summer; easy to prepare, filling, deliciously fragrant and healthy.  In fact, the only down side is that we live in a country where local, vine-ripened tomatoes are not readily available year round.

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Maroulosalata (Μαρουλοσαλάτα)

Maroulosalata, a deliciously, simple, easy lettuce salad where the lettuce is the star!

Maroulosalata, a deliciously, simple, easy lettuce salad where the lettuce is the star!

When we were teenagers, and decided that we knew everything, we would get into heated discussions with our parents over this salad.  We had heard that when a knife is used to cut lettuce, as was the case in our parents’ kitchen, there is a chance that lettuce cell boundaries will be damaged.  For reasons we never really understood, this resulted in sub-par lettuce leaves.  Because of this, we explained to our parents that lettuce had to be torn, by hand, into large, bite-sized pieces; this was necessary to preserve its integrity.  It was also the way most of our non-Greek friends ate their salad, and frankly, we wanted to be a little like them.  Our parents gave the hand-torn lettuce a try (once), and quickly deemed the non-uniform, large-ish  pieces of green, to be too cumbersome to eat.  Back to the cutting board.

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Black-eyed pea salad (Σαλάτα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια)

Black-eyed pea salad (Σαλάτα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια)

Black-eyed pea salad

Perhaps you remember reading that black-eyed peas with spinach is one of our absolute favourite meals.  It’s true, and that, of course, meant that our parents would make it often; they still do, and now we do too!  Over the years, being the efficient cooks that they are, they learned that if they soaked and boiled extra black-eyed peas (more beans = same amount of time and effort as fewer beans), they could use them in different recipes.  It was black-eyed pea surplus that led them to whip together this salad.

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