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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Stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta (Σέσκουλα γιαχνί με λαχανικά και φέτα)

Stewed Swiss chard with vegetables and feta (Σέσκουλα γιαχνί με λαχανικά και φέτα)

A perfect mess of vegetables that tastes better than you could hope

Feeling somewhat bloated and heavy after the holidays?  Resolved to eating healthier, including more vegetables in your diet, and to limiting processed foods?  Committed to cutting out all sweets, and eating only food which serves a vitamin and mineral fuelled purpose?  Well, we’re here to help!  And to remind you that we have a whole category of dessert recipes like galaktoboureko, baklava and koulourakia, because cutting out all sweets is dumb (unless your doctor tells you to cut out all sweets, in which case it’s very, very smart).

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Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce that is not from a can…. you can do it!

We believe that there are three types of cranberry sauce people in the world. The first are those who like to open up a can and plop the contents onto a dish to be sliced and served.  We are not those people, although we 100% respect and adore that many canned cranberry sauce friends tell us that the sight of the unmolded can of sauce, complete with rings from the can, reminds them of home and their childhoods.  You know, we are all for that! The second class of cranberry sauce people are those who realize that making fresh cranberry sauce may be the easiest culinary feat possible, and so they do.  We have become those people, but the truth is, for most of our lives, we fell into category three.  This last group of sad, deprived folks are those who never knew of cranberry sauce growing up, because holiday turkey was lamb and it was served with tzatziki.

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Maniatiki Salad (Potato salad with oranges and fennel) (Μανιάτικη σαλάτα)

Maniatiki Salad (Potato salad with oranges and fennel) (Μανιάτικη σαλάτα)

Perhaps your new favourite potato salad!

Maniatiki Salad (Potato salad with oranges and fennel) (Μανιάτικη σαλάτα)

 

Our parents are from the Peloponnese region of Messinia, the western-most peninsula of the part of Greece that looks a little like a hand which is missing a finger. Messinia is where our heart lies in Greece, and where many of the recipes which we share originate.  However, the Peloponnese is rich with variety and this potato and orange salad is named for the middle finger of the Peloponnese, the Mani peninsula.

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Pumpkin or winter squash pita (Πίτα με γλυκοκολοκύθα)

Pumpkin or winter squash pita (Πίτα με γλυκοκολοκύθα)

A winter squash pita to rival any pumpkin pie

Fall in Canada brings so much wonder.  Leaves change into the most beautiful colours, the air is brisk and fresh,  and sweater season makes even the grumpiest of humans appear snuggle-worthy.  But sometimes we think that all these wonderful things get usurped by pumpkin spice; we actually think that pumpkin spice might take over the world…and we are intrigued.

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Okra with cauliflower (Μπάμιες με κουνουπίδι)

Okra with cauliflower (Μπάμιες με κουνουπίδι)

A totally delightful way to prepare okra with cauliflower 

Okra with cauliflower (Μπάμιες με κουνουπίδι)

 

Oh, we’re gluttons for punishment.  Here we go again, posting a recipe that is sure to receive its fair share of hate, or at least, negative comments.  Like spanakorizo, fried liver, and sour trahana, okra is a divisive vegetable.  There tend to be two types of people in the okra world; those who love it, and those who believe that those who love it must suffer from a taste disorder (called ageusia if you want to be fancy).  But that’s a little simplistic.

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Grilled zucchini and bell pepper salad

Grilled zucchini and bell pepper salad

A grilled vegetable salad with a fresh herb dressing 

Grilled zucchini and bell pepper salad

 

Once again, zucchini feature prominently in this recipe.  We just can’t get enough of this summer squash staple, whether we are turning them into chips, fritters or mixing them with other summer vegetables to make a quick meal.   In this recipe, we use both green zucchini and yellow squash (which is often called yellow zucchini).  Although both of these vegetables have very similar flavours, the difference in their colour makes this salad more interesting visually.  Add to that the colourful bell peppers and the fresh green herbs and before you know it you will have a bowl of coloured goodness to serve.

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Zucchini fritters (Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες)

Zucchini fritters (Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες)

Zucchini, herb and feta fritters!

Zucchini fritters (Κολοκυθοκεφτέδες)

 

Ever wonder what summer tastes like?  You might think it’s cool like ice cream, or bursting with citrus zing, but we’re pretty sure that if you could sample the essence of summer on your tongue it would taste like zucchini. Seriously!

Every summer, for as long as we can remember, when our parents plant their garden there is a special section devoted for zucchini and other squash.  In their current home, where they have been for several years, they actually have what we refer to as an annex to their garden.  The back fence bordering their tomatoes and peppers and spinach has been jimmied so that it opens up just wide enough for someone (our dad) to squeeze through.  On the other side, at a width of several feet, our parents plant their squash.  Here they grow pumpkins, butternut squash, zucchini and all sorts of other colourful and bizarre looking gourds, free and uninhibited; the only other things you will find here are some grape leaf vines and wild flowers.  Talk about a secret garden!

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Vlita (Βλήτα ή βλίτα)

Vlita (Βλήτα ή βλίτα)

Vibrant vlita! Quick, easy and so very good!

Vlita (Βλήτα ή βλίτα)

 

When is the last time you had boiled spinach for supper? Or a plate piled high with steamed collard greens?  Not as a side to anything, but as the actual meal.  Like, that was the only thing on your plate.  Well, if you’re Greek, then the answer might be, earlier this afternoon.  And if you’re not Greek, then this type of pauper, bland meal might seem a little strange, and sad.  But trust us…it’s not!

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