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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Bruschetta

Brushetta, a simple, easy, yet delicious appetizer

Bruschetta, an easy, delicious appetizer recipe

We know! We know!  You are all saying to yourselves, “…but bruschetta is Italian, not Greek!”  You may be right, but given that our parents make this appetizer, and they are Greek, we figure that this qualifies as a Greek recipe.  Besides, isn’t it true that Italians and Greeks have more commonalities between them than they do differences? So, grab some garden fresh tomatoes, some lovely bread and a few other delicious ingredients and make yourself some Greek-Italian bruschetta!  Kali orexi…and Buon appetito!

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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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Briam (Μπριάμ)

Briam! Greek roasted vegetable recipe

Briam! Greek roasted vegetables recipe

This is an incredible dish that we just know you are going to love.  Not only is briam a luxurious way to eat your vegetables, but it is an incredibly easy way to eat them too.  All the goodness is simply thrown into a roasting pan, mixed together, and baked; this makes clean-up a breeze, giving you more time to enjoy your family, your garden, or this blog.

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Grilled zucchini (Κολοκυθάκια στη σχάρα)

Grilled zucchini

Like many Greeks, we are a gardening family.  In our experience, it is rare to find a Greek who has access to even a little bit of land, who doesn’t then use it to plant some sort of vegetable or herb.  Even when all that is available is a balcony, eggplants and tomatoes find themselves growing in pots, next to the basil. Gardening is a lovely heritage, and although our parents are the master green thumbs, we do pretty well ourselves; we had wonderful mentors after all.

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Green beans with potatoes (Φασολάκια λαδερά με πατάτες)

Green Beans with Potatoes

Green beans with Potatoes

Some meal preparations lend themselves to teamwork.  Our mother would make this simple, wholesome and economical dish of green beans and potatoes about once every couple of weeks, and each time she would invite us to join her, as she prepared the beans for cooking.  We would sit with her at the kitchen table (which was, of course, covered in plastic) faced with a bowl full of green beans.  One by one, we would take the beans, and carefully snip off each end.  The trimmed ends would collect in a pile on the table, and the beans would be placed in a colander, to later be washed.

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Dolmades (Ντολμάδες)

Greek dolmades. A mixture of rice and herbs wrapped in vine or grape leaves. A traditional and delicious Greek recipe.

Greek dolmades. A mixture of rice and herbs wrapped in vine or grape leaves. A traditional and delicious Greek recipe.

We love things that are wrapped.  Presents, mummys (Come on!  They are fascinating!) and especially, dolmades, a mixture of rice and herbs wrapped in vine or grape leaves.  Greek dolmades are perfectly delightful treats often served as mezedes, but which can easily find their way onto a lunch or dinner plate.

When we were little, we remember sitting with our parents at the kitchen table,  watching them with fascination as they so deftly used the vine leaves they had picked, to wrap up the delicious filling.  They would encourage us to have a go and, regardless of how badly our inexperienced and clumsy little fingers wrapped the dolmades, we were told that they were perfect.  When the dolmades came out of the pot, and several of our poorly wrapped ones had opened, causing their filling to spill out, our parents would take complete ownership of them.  They would feign frustration and disappointment, and criticize themselves for not knowing how to wrap their dolmades as perfectly as we did.  As we got older, we realized that they were simply encouraging our efforts, but as young kids we ate our dolmades with a big helping of pride.

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