Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

Vegan banana bread (Νηστίσιμο κέικ με μπανάνες)

So many incredible things happen in the world, by accident.  Fortuitous accidents in medicine have led to the discovery of quinine, the small pox vaccination and x-rays.  Artists like Da Vinci and Cozens searched for inspiration in the dirt on walls and streaks on stones; deliberate use of accidental imperfections which helped shape an entire art movement and created masterpieces.  In fashion, Calvin Klein got his start because a coat buyer got off the elevator on the wrong floor and stepped into Klein’s workroom.  He then proceeded to place a $50,000 order for coats.  Seriously!

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Hilopites soup (Χυλοπίτες σούπα)

Hilopites soup (Χυλοπίτες σούπα)

Hilopites soup (Χυλοπίτες σούπα)

 

December is so busy!  The kids are gearing up for mid-year exams, and the Christmas holidays are certainly keeping us on our no-time-for-a-pedicure toes.  Between work parties, Christmas decorating, holiday shopping, and of course, baking melomakarona, kourabiethes and koulourakia, there is hardly enough time in the day.  Regular life does not end; work, school, feeding our families don’t take a break for Christmas. It may sound as though we are complaining…but we’re really not.  We are simply realists, and we accept that sometimes, something’s gotta give.  That’s when super simple recipes, like this hilopites soup, come in to save the day!

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Chickpea soup (Ρεβιθόσουπα)

Chickpea soup (Ρεβιθόσουπα)

Chickpea soup (Ρεβιθόσουπα)

 

Most of the recipes we have shared thus far come from our childhood, but our parents’ cooking has evolved.  As years rolled by they would introduce new meals into their repertoire and onto our family table.  This chickpea soup for example, despite being a staple in many Greek homes, was not something that we had as little children.  In fact, we think we were both teenagers when our parents first served us a bowlful of this delicious meal.  This led to a pretty significant “Huh?!” moment.

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Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

Quince spoon sweet (Κυδώνι γλυκό του κουταλιού)

 

We grew up in a home where certain times, certain events, and certain foods needed to be accompanied by certain special things.  So, when guests came over, we put out special bathroom towels.  When our parents’ made vegetable speckled rice, it was served in a special soup tureen (don’t judge).  During the holidays, the furniture and appliances were covered with festive doilies and cloths (versus the rest of the time, when they were covered with everyday doilies and cloths).  And when spoon sweets were served, it was always on little glass plates.

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Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

Fasolatha with tomato (Φασολάδα με ντομάτα)

 

Some months ago, we posted a fasolatha recipe and some people questioned, “Where’s the tomato?”.  At the time, we explained that there are in fact, two broad categories of this traditional Greek bean soup; the one we originally posted, which has no tomato and has a light broth (λευκή), and this version, with a rich tomato base.  Both are delicious, nutritious and incredibly easy to put together.

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Sour trahana soup with tomato (Σούπα με ξινό τραχανά και ντομάτα)

Sour trahana soup with tomato (Σούπα με ξινό τραχανά και ντομάτα)

Sour trahana soup with tomato (Σούπα με ξινό τραχανά και ντομάτα)

 

So here’s a recipe you will either love, or hate; we don’t think there is any in-between  (although we suppose you can also love to hate it).  Trahana is an ancient food, whose origins are somewhat disputed; some argue that it originated in Greece, while others claim that Turkey or Persia introduced trahana to the world.  Regardless of who ate it first, today trahana is eaten in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.  In fact, many consider trahana to be the traditional soup of Cyprus.  Versions of this meal are also very popular in Crete (where it is called xinohondros).  Our parents are neither Cypriot nor Cretan, and still we were  subjected to served this soup often growing up.

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Eggplant dip (Μελιτζανοσαλάτα)

Eggplant dip (Μελιτζανοσαλάτα)

Eggplant dip (Μελιτζανοσαλάτα)

 

We don’t know about you, but in our homes, melitzanosalata often plays second and third fiddle to some of the other, more popular Greek dips like tzatziki and taramosalata.  This is a shame, and every time we do have melitzanosalata, we vow to make it again very soon; it is so good, so easy, and pretty good for you too.  It is also a great way to use up any eggplant surplus from the garden when you don’t feel like eggplant chips (actually…we always feel like eggplant chips), or you don’t have the time to invest in making moussaka.

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