Our Kouppes

Mia Kouppa

So, we’ve been thinking.  This website was initially intended to be a place where we could preserve, and then share with all of you, our parents’ traditional Greek recipes.  Our goal, simple; to fill in the gaps, and answer the questions that most children of Greek immigrant parents (actually all immigrant parents) seem to have, including: “How much, really, is mia kouppa (one cup)  flour?” or “What do you mean, add as much water as it takes?”.  We set out to cook with our parents, document their recipes, measure out their ingredients, and take careful notes of each step and all directions.  At the same time, we have captured their kitchen wisdom, even that which is quite nonsensical, and we have been sharing that too.  Along with recipes, step by step photos, some videos, and helpful hints, we also share stories and memories which resonate with so many of our readers.  Mia Kouppa has been a true labour of love, that has received a lot of love!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your support and encouragement.

But along the way, a funny thing has happened.  Now that we are seasoned food bloggers (pun intended), we find ourselves eating meals using recipes that we have created, and thinking, “This is really good.  Too bad we can’t share this recipe on Mia Kouppa”.  A few delicious desserts, fancy appetizers and elegant entrées later, we realized…hold on a second! We can actually do whatever we want!  This is the beauty of being your own blogging boss!

And so, here we are.  The initial, and principal, purpose of Mia Kouppa remains the same; our parents’ kitchen will be our main source of inspiration and our parents remain the stars.  But, just as we have created space to share (and decipher) recipes from other Greek kitchens, through our feature of  More Kouppes, we will also begin sharing some of our own creations, using the heading Our Kouppes (cute, don’t you think?!).  Many of our recipes will be influenced by the food we grew up with. Others will be inspired by our love of various cuisines, our avid (and slightly obsessive) inquiry into all things edible and potable, and our city, which allows us to experience some of the best restaurant food out there.  We hope that you are as excited as we are to get to know us a little better, through Our Kouppes.

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Soutzoukakia with rice(Σουτζουκάκια με ρύζι)

Soutzoukakia with rice(Σουτζουκάκια με ρύζι)

Soutzoukakia with rice(Σουτζουκάκια με ρύζι)

 

For most of elementary school, we came home for lunch,  and were greeted by our mom who had a nice, warm meal waiting for us.  We would eat, sitting next to our mother, and we would watch the Flintstones together.  This was the only time we were allowed to watch television during meals, probably permitted because our mother loved to follow Fred and Barney’s antics as much as we did.  When she first arrived in Canada, it was partially by watching the Flintstones that our mother learned English.  To this day, she can recite most of the episodes, and can yaba-daba-doo with the best of them.

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Chunky tomato sauce

Chunky tomato sauce

Chunky tomato sauce

 

This sauce!  How could we begin to describe the wonder which is this sauce!?  How could we convince you that this sauce, is something that you absolutely have to make…like, today…before it becomes difficult to find sweet, vine ripened tomatoes.  Will it help if we tell you that this sauce, so basic, so simple, will elevate your dishes in ways you could barely imagine?!  It’s true! It’s so deliciously true!

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Tomato sauce (Σάλτσα τομάτα)

Making tomato sauce

How to can Fresh tomatoes

 

Thank you friends!  You have been really patient…and we have been somewhat of a tease (No!…not in that way!).  We realize that many of you have been waiting for the recipe to our parents’ homemade tomato sauce, which we reference frequently in other recipes.  We’ve told you that if you didn’t have your own homemade sauce, that you could use passata or some other sort of tomato product as a substitute in many meals, and you’ve been very understanding…but you still ask about our parents’ sauce.  And we’re happy you do!

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Olive oil and lemon sauce (Λαδολέμονο)

Olive oil and lemon sauce. An easy and delicious recipe of only 3 ingredients, to liven up your grilled meat or fish.

Olive oil and lemon sauce. An easy and delicious recipe of only 3 ingredients, to liven up your grilled meat or fish.

When Greeks grill meat or fish, any meat or fish, it typically receives the same treatment: cook until done, pile everything onto a platter, and dress immediately with a generous combination of olive oil, oregano and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  This sauce (for lack of a better word…Can you think of a better word?…Maybe dressing?) coats everything, and mixes together with the juices coming from the grilled goods to create something fantastic.

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Honey (Μέλι)

Greek honey

Some of you have said that you love to read the stories that go along with many of our recipes, and that really makes our hearts sing; we love sharing them.  What we love just as much are the stories that our parents share with us, particularly when we are having one of our Mia Kouppa cooking sessions.  Many are tales we have already heard, but with every re-telling, there are more details which our parents remember to add to the story.  An example of this came as we were putting the finishing touches on our melomakarona. We were licking spoons coated in delicious Greek honey as our mother watched on.  She then recounted how, as a little girl, she once ate so much honey that she got horribly sick and could not stand the sight of it for several months.  This was a problem, because honey was a mainstay of her diet.

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Host like a Greek

Greek meze

Several months ago we came across a video clip of an Italian-American comedian named Sebastien Maniscalco.  In this particular bit, entitled “Doorbell”, Chicago-born Maniscalco compares the reaction of families today versus those of twenty years ago, when the doorbell rings unexpectedly.  His portrayal of households faced with unanticipated company (which you should definitely watch by clicking here) is quite hilarious, and also, a little bit sad.  As with most things comedic, an element of truth runs through it. Why do people, as Maniscalco points out, cringe at the thought of company? Why does the idea of entertaining, especially at the last minute, stress us so?  We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to, and that with a change of perspective and some staples in the freezer, fridge and pantry, you can jump for joy when company comes calling.

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