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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Spanakopita (Σπανακόπιτα)

Spanakopita (Σπανακόπιτα)

The quintessential Greek pie: Spanakopita with homemade phyllo 

Spanakopita (Σπανακόπιτα)

Spanakopita; the King (or Queen) of Greek cuisine.  We doubt that there is a food more loved than this.  Regardless of culinary and cultural background, and whether or not you grew up in a Greek household, you have probably heard of spanakopita.  The lucky amongst us will have also tasted it, and the most fortunate know how to make it on their own, so that it can be enjoyed whenever the craving hits.   Spanakopita is the reason Greek parents can’t relate to other parents when they say “You know how kids are!  We have to puree and sneak vegetables into everything…Jack and Jill won’t touch anything green!  Kids, right?!”  Wrong.  We think Jack and Jill just need to be offered a piece of spanakopita.

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Olive oil dip

Olive oil dip with balsamic

In Partnership with GeoEvoo Inc.

Olive oil dip

 

We were never a bread and butter family.  If bread was going to be served with lunch or dinner (and let’s face it, it usually was), it was used to sop up all of the delicious sauces and juices which came with our great meals, like green beans with potatoes, stewed green peas and horiatiki salad.  No butter required.  And even if the meal was not bathed in rich delicious sauces, butter was unnecessary because our parents would either drizzle our pieces of bread with olive oil, or create an aromatic olive oil and vinegar combination that we could then dip our bread into.

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Grilled fennel (Μάραθο στην σχάρα)

Grilled fennel (Μάραθο στην σχάρα)

Grilled fennel (Μάραθο στην σχάρα)

 

If you have been following Mia Kouppa even a little bit, you’ll know that we get most of our inspiration from our parents; they are, after all, the reason behind this little blog of ours.  However, we also get inspired by other great Greek home cooks, the culinary world around us in our great city of Montreal, and the varied and rich ethnic and cultural food influences we are presented with every day.  So much inspiration…so much great stuff to eat!  But it doesn’t stop there.  We are also influenced and inspired by the friends we may never meet in person; the food bloggers, Instagrammers, Pinners and Facebookers we follow, admire, and wish we could share a meal with.  This grilled fennel is a direct result of that admiration.

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Cucumber salad (Αγγουροσαλάτα)

Cucumber salad (Αγγουροσαλάτα)

Cucumber salad (Αγγουροσαλάτα)

 

Cucumbers! Who doesn’t love a fruit (yup, a fruit!) that can be used as a vegetable, which is a good source of Vitamins A, C and folic acid, and that can reduce eye puffiness.  That’s right!  Did you know that you can place cucumber slices on your eyes, lay back for about 5 minutes, and then  look 10 years younger.  It’s true! Now, that last little bit could be credited to the fact that during your do-it-yourself spa treatment, cucumber juice seeps into your eyes, blurring your vision temporarily…but whatever.

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Chickpea salad (Σαλάτα με ρεβίθια)

Chickpea salad (Σαλάτα με ρεβίθια)

Chickpea salad (Σαλάτα με ρεβίθια)

 

If you have been following Mia Kouppa for a while, or even for a little bit of time (Welcome!), you may have realized a few things.  Feta should always be Greek (as should olive oil), fresh bread usually goes beautifully with just about any meal, and if you have a well stocked Greek pantry, you can make thousands of recipes (this is only a slight exaggeration) .  You may have also noticed that we are firm believers that beans should never come from a can.  But never is a really big word.

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