Christmas koulourakia with yeast (Χριστουγεννιάτικα κουλουράκια με μαγιά)

Christmas koulourakia with yeast (Χριστουγεννιάτικα κουλουράκια με μαγιά)

Savoury Christmas koulourakia

Much of the beauty of Greek cuisine is that it varies from region to region.  In part this is due to agricultural possibilities (think mountainous landscapes versus islands surrounded by the sea), connections with other cultures, and local customs and traditions.  Every recipe tells a story, and offers a glimpse into the rich web of history, both cultural and culinary, that makes Greece and Greek food such an important and fascinating area of study.  Although many of these unique regional dishes are well known (think kalitsounia from Crete or lalagia from Messinia), others are so local that they are known only to isolated villages.  The recipe which we are sharing here is one such example.

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Bougatsa (Μπουγάτσα)

Bougatsa (Μπουγάτσα)

Bougatsa (Μπουγάτσα)

 

There are some pretty hefty debates which exist in the culinary world.  Should peanut butter be creamy, or chunky?  Is it best to eat your macaroni and cheese with a fork, or a spoon?  Is a hot dog a sandwich? And, is bougatsa just galaktoboureko, minus the syrup?  We’ll get to that last one in a minute, but first: peanut butter should be creamy, mac and cheese tastes best with a spoon, and a hot dog is barely food…let alone a sandwich (having said that…we love hot dogs).

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Black-eyed pea soup with kale (Σούπα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και κατσαρό λάχανο)

Black-eyed pea soup with kale (Σούπα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και κατσαρό λάχανο)

This nutritional powerhouse of a soup will have you feeling great, and full!

Black-eyed pea soup with kale (Σούπα με μαυρομάτικα φασόλια και κατσαρό λάχανο)

 

If you are a regular reader of Mia Kouppa, you may already be aware that we have a love affair with black-eyed peas.  We are actually fond of all things bean and legume, but the darling black-eyed pea holds a special place in our hearts…because it is so darn cute.  Take a good look at these beans, with their perfect small shape and perfectly situated black “eye” and we’re pretty sure you will agree, they are adorable!  Still, if you’re more mature than us and not that interested in appearances, we think we can convince you to love black-eyed peas anyways, because they are delicious, versatile and so, so good for you.

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Chicken with tomato sauce and peas (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με αρακά)

Chicken with tomato sauce and peas (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με αρακά)

A pot of goodness that will satisfy your whole family

Chicken with tomato sauce and peas (Κοτόπουλο κοκκινιστό με αρακά)

 

This may actually be one of our favourite meals. Not only does this dish of chicken, cooked alongside potatoes and peas in a rich tomato sauce satisfy all sorts of comfort cravings, it also comes together pretty easily.  Nothing too fancy in terms of technique or ingredients, this is humble, real Greek food.  This is the type of meal we grew up on, and this is the type of meal that we turn to today, when we want something that tastes like home.

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Spanakopasta

Spanakopasta

A deliciously quick and simple way to enjoy the flavours of spanakopita

Spanakopasta

 

Ask any non-Greek, or Greek, what one of their favourite Greek foods is, and you will often hear spanakopita.  There’s a very good reason for that!  Spanakopita, in all of its variations is a delicious treat; perfect as a meze, and at the same time substantial enough for a light meal.  The problem (if you are really trying hard to find one) is that spanakopita is encased in phyllo, which you either may not have on hand (if you are opting for the store bought variety) or which you may not have time to make (if you are going for the do-it-yourself variety).  Alas, every problem has a solution, and in this case the solution is pasta.

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Homemade pasta with meat sauce

Homemade pasta with meat sauce

Are you familiar with the expression, You don’t know what you’ve got, until it’s gone? Well, that might be true, but equally true is the following: You don’t know what you’ve been missing, until you have it.  For one glorious Saturday afternoon, we had ourselves a Nonna…and we’ve decided that she is exactly what we’ve been needing in our lives.

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Mia Kouppa Baking Workshops: Nov 24 and Dec 1, 2018

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Hello Montreal and Laval friends (and those willing to travel!),

Join us for our first series of Mia Kouppa Baking Workshops where we will teach you how to make classic Greek Christmas cookies. On November 24, we will be baking melomakarona and koulourakia. On December 1st we will be baking kourabiethes and koulourakia. There will be demonstrations, hands on learning, taste-testing, and each participant will be able to take a portion of dough home to test baking times in their own kitchen.

Your ticket also includes:
A light nistisimo (vegan) lunch

Please note:
SPACES ARE VERY LIMITED.
Recipes on both days contain nuts.
Your ticket is non-refundable, however it is transferable. Let us know if you pass your ticket on to someone else prior to the event.

Click on the link below to purchase tickets, and for more information.
Looking forward to baking with you!

https://e.sparxo.com/Mia-Kouppa-Baking-Workshops?fbclid=IwAR3y-VSF_wu663aLNm3tWl3ri-GlL11X7LeuirAgK1bq5j76P-mCxhDbe3E

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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Loukoumades (Λουκουμάδες)

Loukoumades (Λουκουμάδες)

Loukoumades: the original Greek doughnut hole 

Loukoumades (Λουκουμάδες)

 

Growing up there were a few things that we enjoyed watching our parents make almost as much as we enjoyed eating them.  The production of their homemade loukaniko (sausage) for example, was fascinating to watch.  We were captivated by the ways they found to stuff the sausage filling into the casings, manually and without any fancy kitchen gadgets.  Then for days afterwards we would walk into the kitchen to find loukaniko hanging on homemade racks, and we would see them dry as time passed.  Watching them make avgolemono soup was another treat;  listening for that famous air smooch at the end always had us giggle with delight. Making diples was another fun recipe to watch come alive; it was usually a production which involved several people and of course ended with one of our favourite desserts.  But perhaps one of the things we loved to watch most was the making of loukoumades.

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Hot toddy

Hot toddy

A warm delicious drink to soothe what ails you

Hot toddy

 

The lovely parts of autumn in Montreal include pumpkins and fall mums adorning front porches, watching children roll around in the pile of leaves their parents spent hours raking up, and the Garden of Lights exhibit at the Montreal Botanical Garden.  The less lovely parts include fall colds.  This seems to be a particularly popular time for getting sick, and not wanting to be left out, one of us just spent a week congested, achy, slightly feverish, and generally feeling crummy.

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