Cream of tomato soup (Ντοµατόσουπα βελουτέ)

Cream of tomato soup (Ντοµατόσουπα βελουτέ)

Smooth, creamy and packed with flavour 

Cream of tomato soup (Ντοµατόσουπα βελουτέ)

 

We each have vivid memories of returning home after spending time at a non-Greek friend’s house and telling our parents about the unusual and often delicious foods we had eaten there.  We were both pretty adventurous and rarely refused anything which was offered to us.  We were especially intrigued by food which came from a can…because this was not something you ever saw in our childhood kitchen.  We were amazed at the convenience, the variety, the flavour, and the colourful labels and whimsical names that were stacked high in our friends’ pantries.  When we went grocery shopping with our parents we would search for these cans in the aisles and try to convince them to buy them for us.  It rarely worked.  Instead, our parents would read the labels, (often asking us to translate what was written) and say Θα το κάνουμε καλύτερα (We’ll make it better).  This was how we ended up with Greek-style beef ravioli, home-made alphabet noodle pasta, and this cream of tomato soup.

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Pita bread

Pita bread

Soft and kind of fluffy pita bread

Pita bread

 

The French have the baguette, Mexican cuisine has the tortilla, Indian aloo gobi gets sopped up with soft, pillowy naan bread, and if you’ve every treated your palate to Ethiopian food you’ll likely remember using the pancake-like bread called injera to scoop up every bite you took.  Every culture, every cuisine seems to have a variation of some cereal or grain based bread that is quintessentially their own.  For Greeks, that is the pita.

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Mia Kouppa Workshop – Sept. 8, 2018

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Hello Montreal and Laval friends (and those willing to travel!),
We are so excited to announce our first Mia Kouppa workshop; an evening of delicious food and fun. During this event you will learn how to make pork souvlaki, tzatziki, Greek salad, and baklava… and then get to eat it all!
There will be demonstrations, opportunities for hands-on learning and interaction, lots of eating and we’re pretty sure, a lot of laughs (there may even be some dancing going on!)

If you are going to be in Montreal or Laval on Saturday September 8th, we would love to meet you, and cook with you.

Your ticket includes:
– Cocktails and mezes prior to the active part of the workshop
– Dinner and dessert
– Wine
– Thank you token
– Lots of fun 😉

We look forward to seeing you there!

—————IMPORTANT—————

– Space is limited, don’t delay! 🙂 Click on the link to secure your spot: https://e.sparxo.com/Mia-Kouppa-Workshop-September-2018
– Please note that this menu includes nuts, gluten and dairy
– Please inform us on the members of your party (miakouppa@gmail.com) in order for us to arrange seating as best as possible
– Your ticket is non refundable. However, it is transferable! Please inform us on the name swaps

Oatmeal and chocolate chunk ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream sandwiches

Oatmeal and chocolate chunk ice cream sandwiches: summer held in your hands

Oatmeal and chocolate chunk ice cream sandwiches

 

During the summer, the internet spaces occupied by Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are replete with images of perfect, refreshing ice cream sandwiches.  All manner of cookie seem to be sandwiching all manner of creamy, cold filling, and they all look pretty darn delicious.  And so, we figured that we should feature our own take on ice cream sandwiches on Our Kouppes; after all, we love baking cookies, we enjoy ice cream, and we hate being left out of the loop.

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Grilled corn, cucumber and feta salad

Grilled corn, cucumber and feta salad

Corn salad bursting with summer freshness.

Grilled corn, cucumber and feta salad

 

We were raised in an apartment building comprised of 10 apartments, in a neighbourhood that was filled, for blocks and blocks, with buildings similar to ours.  Our parents purchased this building with our aunt and uncle, shortly after arriving in Canada.  It may not have been the most picturesque area to grow up in; there were no white picket fences and carefully manicured lawns, but it was magical.  Our neighbourhood was bustling, with adults tending to their balcony plants, heading off to work, or walking to the corner fruit shop.  And children were everywhere.  Almost as soon as the sun came up you would find some kid outside, kicking around a pebble, waiting to be joined by the rest of us, knowing full well that she soon would be.

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Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with feta (Τυλιχτοί χουρμάδες σε μπέικον και φέτα)

Dates stuffed with feta

A bite-sized sweet party in your mouth… wrapped in bacon

Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with feta (Τυλιχτοί χουρμάδες σε μπέικον και φέτα)

 

Greeks love mezes, little bite-sized (usually) appetizers that you can serve before a meal, or in place of a meal.  It is not unusual to be served several platters of mezes, along with a lovely glass of ouzo or ouzo-infused cocktail, and be fully satisfied.  The mezes are usually plenty, and they are so delicious that you are never wanting for a complete and formal meal.  Common on the meze table are spanakopita, tyropita, meatballs (keftedes) and dips or spreads.  Less common would be something like these dates, stuffed with feta enhanced with orange zest and mint, wrapped in bacon.  These bite-size morsels of sweet, salt, savoury and awesomeness will definitely make you smile.

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Grilled watermelon and feta salad

Grilled watermelon and feta salad

A salty and sweet salad perfect for summer eating!

Grilled watermelon and feta salad

 

This recipe proves (to us at least) that our parents have always been ahead of the game, trendsetters and taste-masters, flavour fanatics.  What appears to be a warm-weather craze these days has been a staple in our parents’ kitchen for as long as we can remember; watermelon and feta salads are incredibly popular, and with good reason.  People are in love with the salty, sweet, fresh and bright combination that is created when a ripe, juicy watermelon is tossed together with some great Greek feta.  Although ingenious and surprising to many, we grew up on this stuff.  As kids we loved watermelon, as did our girls, and our parents discovered that combining other foods with this favourite fruit was a sure-fire way to maximize nutritional intake (giagia and pappou goals!).  Feta and watermelon was always a winner combination and it was therefore on constant repeat. Other combinations were less popular (for the record, don’t try to feed anyone you love watermelon mixed with spanakorizo…it’s gross).

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Revani with coconut (Ρεβανί (ή Ραβανί) με ινδοκάρυδο)

Revani with coconut (Ρεβανί (ή Ραβανί) με ινδοκάρυδο)

Revani with coconut (Ρεβανί (ή Ραβανί) με ινδοκάρυδο)

You may have noticed that Greeks love syrup.  We’ll take a perfectly delicious walnut cake, a delightful phyllo and custard dessert or a simply yummy pear shaped cookie and make them better with syrup.  Sticky, and now even more perfectly delicious, syrup soaked cakes are a particular favourite around here (and by here we mean our family, not the internet…although, we’re working on it!).

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Biftekia with french fries (Μπιφτέκια με τηγανιτές πατάτες)

Biftekia with french fries (Μπιφτέκια με τηγανιτές πατάτες)

Biftekia with french fries (Μπιφτέκια με τηγανιτές πατάτες)

 

Our neighbourhood growing up was filled with a lot of kids our age.  We lived in an apartment complex, which was one of many on several blocks, and everyone seemed to know everyone else, at least a little bit.  Our free time was spent meeting friends on the street, hanging out in the large back yards and driveways of these apartment buildings, playing catch, dodge ball, hide-and-seek, or just hanging around riding our bikes to the corner store to buy popsicles and sip-sacs.  On days where there was no school, we would be outdoors all day, coming in only for lunch and bathroom breaks.  Reluctant to fully stop all friend-related activities, we would often have friends over to share a quick lunch before heading back out.  Knowing this, our parents would usually have some quick and kid-friendly meals at the ready.  Included in this were lots of hamburgers and meatballs (called keftedes), and these were well loved, and understood, even by our non-Greek friends.  They would ask for ketchup (they were usually given tzatziki instead) and they ate, happily.

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Kouloures (Κουλούρες)

Kouloures (Κουλούρες)

Kouloures (Κουλούρες)

 

Every once in a while our parents would take us to a local Greek bakery to help select a dessert to bring to a dinner party or gathering.  Usually they would make and bring along their own galaktoboureko, baklava or melomakarona, but occasionally our parents would be too busy (because they were also bringing along some homemade spanakopita or keftedes) to do so.  We would walk into the bakery with them and be overwhelmed with the sights and smells of all the delicious Greek desserts, breads and snacks.  Our parents would typically ask us to choose a variety of small, individual serving size cakes (glyka or γλυκά), often 8 – 12 in a box.  This was so exciting…shopping for sweets!  We were sure to select vanilla cakes, kok, cream-filled pastries, chocolate mousses and anything else that made our box of cakes a sight to behold.  The only thing better than selecting the pastries was receiving these boxes of glyka when we had company over.  Well before dessert was served, all the kids would sneak into the kitchen, snip the ribbon which tied the box closed, lift the lid with great anticipation, excited to see what joy lay within the box, and then quickly call dibs on the particular piece of dessert that we wanted.

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