Zucchini salad (Κολοκυθοσαλάτα)

Zucchini salad

A simple salad of boiled summer squash dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar

We love everything about fall. The colours, the warm knit sweaters, the cool crisp air, the fact that you can call it fall or autumn. We love that everyone is busy pumpkin-spicing everything, and baking all manner of apple wonderfulness. But, we love summer too and despite the fact that it’s October and Canadian Thanksgiving is right around the corner, we’ll hang on to summer just a little while longer if you don’t mind.

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Spanakopita no. 2 (Σπανακόπιτα no. 2)

Spanakopita no. 2

Home made phyllo dough filled with spinach, herbs and feta

Spanakopita no. 2

 

Summer is almost over! How can that be?! As always, the months when school is out, the days are at their longest, and the sun smiles down warmly, pass all too quickly.  We try to hold on to the season by enjoying every moment left and by looking back at our June picnics, July getaways and August pool parties and barbecues, recognizing that although quick, our summer was blessedly full.

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Salted sardines and anchovies (Σαρδέλες)

Salted sardines and anchovies

Salt preserved sardines and anchovies prepared for meze

Salted sardines and anchovies

 

We are grateful to our parents for so many things.  They supported us, financially, emotionally and nutritionally, throughout all of our schooling.  They showered us with love, attention and encouragement every day, and they balanced their praise with enough well-deserved disapproval to keep us humble and in check.  This of course does not mean that we are perfect, but as parents, they kind of are.

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Cretan dakos (Κρητικός ντάκος)

Cretan dakos

A traditional Cretan salad of tomatoes, feta and herbs on top of a barley rusk

Cretan dakos

 

Oh Crete, how we love you!  We’ve both had the great pleasure of visiting this largest and southernmost island of Greece,  spending weeks exploring the cities, beaches, gorges and of course, the tavernas and restaurants.  Cretan cuisine, like all Greek cooking, is based on fresh, local ingredients and the regional specialties often showcase food items you can only find there.  Fortunately however, much of what is loved and devoured in Crete can be replicated off the island, and this dakos salad is a perfect example of that.

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Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

A healthy, quick snack to satisfy any sweet craving

Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

 

Sometimes the craving for something sweet hits so quickly, and so aggressively that you find yourself scrambling in the kitchen, looking for something that was already baked, or a candy bar, or a bag of chocolate chips that you spontaneously decide are not necessary for the chocolate chip cookies you were planning to make.  If you don’t have access to these options, you dip into the sugary cereal you know you shouldn’t be feeding your kids, or you make some cinnamon toast, with more brown sugar than cinnamon, or toast.  Or, you pause, remember your health and waistline and choose a piece of nature’s candy instead.   You know, a bowl of grapes or a ripe peach.  Bah! Who are we kidding?? When that urge for sweetness hits, fruit just isn’t going to cut it unless its been morphed into a pie, or unless that fruit is a date.

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Greek nachos

Greek nachos

All your favourite nacho elements, with a kick of Greek

Greek nachos

A vice that we both share is our love for chips.  Potato chips, corn chips, nacho chips, we devour them all.  When we were young one of our favourite junk food snacks was taking a bowl of regular potato chips (Humpty Dumpty brand was preferred) and dousing them with white vinegar.  Home made salt and vinegar chips! We were clearly meant for recipe developing.  As our taste buds matured and we became more refined, we moved on to other things…like nacho chips, bottled salsa and creamy, is-it-really-cheese?, jarred nacho cheese sauce.  Glorious!

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Spanakopatata (Σπανακοπατάτα)

Spanakopatata

A baked potato loaded with the amazing flavours of spanakopita!

Spanakopatata

 

As you may know, although our primary focus here at Mia Kouppa is our parents’ traditional Greek recipes, we have branched out a bit in order to include other Greek recipes from family and friends, non-Greek family recipes, and our own creations.  This latter grouping of recipes is quite important for us, as it gives us the opportunity to share some of our meals and desserts with you, and gives us an opportunity to get creative.

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Citrus platter with pomegranate

Citrus platter with pomegranate

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!)

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Vegan spanakopita (Νηστίσιμη σπανακόπιτα)

Vegan spanakopita

Homemade phyllo and spinach filling, perfect for Lent, and anytime

Vegan spanakopita

 

Growing up we lived close to our grade school, and so lunches were eaten at home after a short walk down one street and one lane.  Our mother, who worked at different periods either at home, or in the evenings, was available to meet us at the school and walk the short distance home with us. Once there we would very occasionally be treated to our parents’ newly discovered convenience food; the TV dinner.  We loved those surprise lunches, from the compartmentalized courses to the odd looking sauces and vegetables which were less than vibrant.  We especially loved returning to school and, on those days only, asking our friends “what did you have for lunch?”, knowing that they would probably ask us the same.  Then, we could nonchalantly, but with a quiet glee, say, “Oh, you know, a TV dinner”.  Our non-Greek friends would nod their heads with approval and understanding. Our Greek friends would look bewildered.

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