Traditional Greek spoon sweet made with pears or Ahladi glyko tou koutaliou
Αχλάδι γλυκό του κουταλιού. If you think you might enjoy this recipe, you can thank our dad. Truth be told, he loves his sweets, and he loves to tinker in the kitchen especially when he gets to use the bounty of his garden. This is the man who makes herbed and dried tomatoes from the Roma tomatoes he has grown, which he then gifts to anyone that he feels would enjoy them. He’s also the one who spends hours and hours harvesting, washing, blanching, portioning and freezing all manner of greens like celery, amaranth greens, and spinach for use throughout the colder months. He helps our mom hollow out tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant so that they can make as-good-as-in-the-summer yemista in the dead of winter.
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Healthy vegan borlotti bean soup made with fresh beans
Σούπα από φρέσκα φασόλια. Greeks who immigrated from Greece in search of a better life, the way our parents did, worked hard to learn the language of their new country. Most did this without formal schooling or structured classes. Many, like our mom, learned to communicate by watching television and by listening to co-workers or people on the bus or the salespeople in shops. This, while also learning to adapt to a new climate, new social contexts and expectations, and the newness of no longer living under the protective wing of family. When we think about it, and we think about it often, we are so impressed and so proud of our parents, and the countless others like them who leave a life they know behind and come to a new land to enrich it, and themselves. These are brave and inspiring stories.
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A traditional Greek side dish or main meal of okra stewed in tomato sauce, bamies latheres me domata
Μπαμιές λαδέρες με σάλτσα ντομάτα. Yes, there are people out there (and here) that love okra. We are of those people, and we think you might be too, even if you don’t know it yet! Once you embrace the idea of trying okra, and you make our recipe for Greek okra stewed in tomato sauce, we think that it will become your new favourite side dish. In fact, this recipe is so good, we often make it as the main meal – we just eat more of it! Serve with some bread and some feta and olives and you have a meal fit for a King or Queen (also, speaking of Queen, check out this heirloom variety of okra called Silver Queen).
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Ladenia, a Greek vegan tomato and onion flatbread
Λαδένια. We are so happy to introduce you to what is probably one of our favourite summer meals. Ladenia (pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable) is a recipe that brings us way, way back, and very far away. This was a recipe that our grandmother often made during our summer stays in Greece, and it was always such fun to sit around her wooden, rickety kitchen table and watch as she cut it into slices. Our eager hands and hungry bellies eyed each piece, carefully assessing them to see which was the largest, and which had slightly more toppings.
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Slow cooked zucchini sauce for pasta
Zucchini pasta sauce. Easy doesn’t begin to describe this slow cooked zucchini pasta sauce, inspired by the one made famous by Meghan Markle. Regardless of whether you are Team Meghan, Team Kate, or Team Couldn’t-Care-Less-Either-Way, this recipe is absolutely going to make you Team Zucchini.
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Our healthy brownie baked oatmeal is vegan and has no refined sugar.
It can be quite easy to eat well, if you know where to turn! If you are concerned about making healthy food choices, finding recipes that satisfy the less-than-good-for-you-cravings, while still being wholesome, is so important. It’s easy to stick to a healthy diet if you focus on vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins all the time, but let’s face it, sometimes you want ooey, gooey chocolate.
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A delicious sweet and tart compote made from fresh strawberry and rhubarb
Last year we planted rhubarb in the garden for the first time. We were drawn by the idea that rhubarb comes back, year after year. We like that sort of low maintenance growing. We were also excited about using the tart vegetable (more on that later!) in recipes, including desserts and jams. What we didn’t expect was just how much we would love it!
Rhubarb is a funny little thing. Its stalks kind of look like celery, except that they are red, or reddish. Each stalk is topped with a large, flat green leaf that is pretty, but inedible. Rhubarb sold in the market will never have the leaves attached because they are toxic. And although rhubarb is part of so many delicious recipes, don’t plan on having it au naturel. Rhubarb is tart, sour and inedible on its own, but combine it with sugar and strawberries like we do here in our strawberry rhubarb compote and the tartness is a sweet surprise!
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A lovely loaf of bread made with roasted red peppers and flavoured with garlic and chives
Baking bread is one of the purest joys of life. Nothing, not a delicious cake or an intricate meal, comes close to eliciting the sense of pride that baking your own bread does. This is funny, because bread making, with the right recipe and attitude, is actually a very simple thing.
Our parents have been baking their own bread for as long as we could remember. At least once a week they will make several loaves of a rustic village bread that they then have for breakfast, with meals (especially delicious with lathera dishes like green beans and potatoes), and which they snack on. They also tend to send a few loaves our way, which is always a welcome surprise.
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A Greek potato salad made with fresh herbs and a light lemon vinaigrette.
We were well into our teenage years before we realized that North American potato salads were typically rich with mayonnaise. Our parents used mayonnaise quite sparingly in their cooking, and in fact one of the only recipes we remember which used lots of mayo was the classic Russian salad. Beyond that, mayonnaise was something we saw spread on pieces of white toast sandwiching a slice or two of bologna at our non-Greek friends’ homes.
We grew up with potato salads, like this Greek potato salad with herbs, which were fresh tasting, light, mayonnaise-less and easy to bring along to a picnic. With the warmer weather fast approaching and our herb gardens growing, now is the perfect time to make this family favourite.
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Vegan and healthy peanut butter date bars made with all natural ingredients.
We love peanut butter. One of our favourite snacks growing up was saltine crackers smeared with a thin layer of peanut butter. When Reese’s peanut butter cups became a thing, they opened up a whole new world of amazing. Sure, we would get our hands on Reese’s whenever we could, but we would also dip plain chocolate into a jar of peanut butter. We would spread peanut butter on toast and then add a rich chocolate hazelnut layer. We would take a spoonful of peanut butter, top it with some chocolate chips and enjoy it just like that.
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