A recipe for a plant-based, soy-free version of the classic Greek moussaka.
Νηστίσιμος Μουσακάς. Settle in guys, this is going to be a long one. No, not the post…don’t worry about that. If you’re here only for the recipes, you’ll be happy to know that this particular blog entry doesn’t come with any nostalgia, no family stories, and no personal anecdotes that some people seem to find annoying on food blogs. Also, some people love them and if you happen to be in that group of people, head on over to posts like Horta and How to dye really cool Easter eggs…and Thea Voula’s cheesecake. Heck, most of our posts come with a healthy dose of, well, US!.
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A traditional Greek potato salad with smoked herring from Messinia
Σαλάτα με πατάτες και καπνιστή ρέγγα. Our parents are from Messinia, a region found in the south western part of the Peloponnese. The capital is Kalamata and it is a marvelous part of the country. Soaring mountain ranges, fertile flatlands and forests, picturesque villages, citadels, vineyards and orchards are some of what make Messenia such a rich and glorious land.
Visitors have learned that there is much that this area has to offer and tourism plays an increasingly large role in the economy. Still, this fertile area is an agricultural wonderland and crops remain the most important industry for the region. Some of the main products are olive oil, Kalamata olives, oranges, sultana raisins and figs.
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A wholesome apple cake which is vegan, fat-free, and sweetened with maple syrup.
Νηστίσιμη μηλόπιτα. A classic Greek dessert is milopita, a cake loaded with apples that is perfect with a nice Greek coffee, or a tall glass of cold milk. We could have milopita every day of the week, it’s that good! Although our original recipe is great, we do like to have options and so we have come up with an apple cake that can be enjoyed anytime, by almost anyone!
During periods of Orthodox lent, or when we are baking for vegans we love, this vegan apple cake is a sure winner. And its got even more going for it! This vegan cake is full of apples, uses both regular all-purpose and whole wheat flour, it’s sweetened with pure maple syrup and it contains no fat. We often joke that some desserts are healthy because they contain a vegetable (carrot cake anyone?) or a fruit (strawberry shortcake friends?) , but in this case, it’s actually true!
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Very simple shortbread cookies that are perfect for Orthodox lent.
With these vegan shortbread cookies, what you see is what you get! We have lived the disappointment of using cookie cutters to shape cookies just the way we want them only to find that they have flattened, spread, or risen while baking. Cut out flowers, kittens and firetrucks end up looking like blobs. Still delicious, but blobs. Not these cookies! These cookies come out of the oven looking pretty much the way that they went in. No surprises!
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Baked squid stuffed with rice and herbs and baked in a tomato sauce.
Καλαμάρια γεμιστά με ρύζι. Greek stuffed calamari is a spectacular meal. If you have never had stuffed calamari we strongly encourage you to give this recipe a try. Calamari were made for stuffing. With their long, hollow (once cleaned) and supple body (which is technically called a mantle), you can easily fill them with an assortment of good stuff. In this Greek stuffed calamari recipe we use rice, some vegetables and herbs to create a wonderful lenten meal.
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A vegan chocolate and orange cake served with an orange glaze
Νηστίσιμο κέικ σοκολάτας με πορτοκάλι. Do you sometimes feel that baking is for weekends, when you have more time to scoop, measure, mix and bake? That’s probably true if you’re thinking about making a samali which has a significant resting time. It may also be true if you’re planning to make bougatsa, given the phyllo folding that’s involved. But if you’re craving something sweet mid-week (which is frankly when we need it most) then pull out your apron, because we’ve got the cake for you.
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Greek recipe for octopus in a tomato sauce and small shaped pasta, baked in the oven.
Χταπόδι με κοφτό μακαρονάκι.. There are certain scenes which are immediately recognizable as being part of the landscape and story of Greece. The white washed walls and bright blue roofs of homes in Santorini is one. The expansive aqua-blue sea and pink sand of Elafonisi is another. Donkeys carrying satchels of whatever the mountainous village has to offer. The Acropolis at night. The sunset in Meteora . The dozens of octopus hanging and drying in the sun as if they were freshly laundered button-downs, while the fishermen look on and nearby psarotaverna (fish tavern) patrons rest assured that the menu is certainly fresh.
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The easiest and best vegetable minestrone recipe with beans and pasta.
Σούπα μινεστρόνε. Minestrone soup is one of those things that can quickly become a disappointment. We’ve had many in our day and although none have been horrid, the vast majority have been kind of blah. A little bland, a little uninspired, a little too unremarkable. The best minestrone soup that we’ve had, one that is full of flavour and pretty remarkable, has come out of our parents’ kitchen.
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A maple, brown sugar and Dijon glazed ham served with a pineapple salsa
If you’ve been with us for a while then you know that both of us are married to men who are not Greek. Although they have both embraced our Greek culture, religion, heritage, customs, language and traditions, they are xeni (the Greek way of say not Greek). Both men are a beautiful medley of English, Irish and Scottish descent and with a Canadian lineage that goes back a few generations at least.
John is Billie’s husband, and he is a gem. As a child he spent a lot of his time with his maternal grandparents, Viola and Eldon, surrounded by love, kindness and food that his grandma served with pride. This was a very traditional home where the man of the house worked and the woman kept the home pristine and comfortable, and every night dinner was a committed affair. The table was always set perfectly, manners were paramount, and meals began with a prayer and thanks. John relished the time he spent with his grandparents and thrived under their care. Sleepovers with grandpa and grandma were the highlight of young John’s week. It’s no wonder that when John and Billie were married, Viola and Eldon were the two people who walked him down the aisle. They were so proud.
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A vegan cake rich with chocolate flavour, blueberries and a chocolate glaze
Κέικ σοκολάτας με μύρτιλα. If you were raised in a traditional Greek home then there are a few things that you know to be true. Family is more important than anything. Family is also a term used generously; obviously your parents, your siblings and your grandparents are family, but so is your cousin’s cousin on their father’s side to whom you have no blood relation. You also know that food is almost as important as family – what you eat, how you eat it, and who you eat it with are questions which inform who you are as a person, and they are full of meaning and significance.
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