Summer flavours in a bowl of pasta
Pasta is our hero. When we think the pantry is bare and there is nothing for supper, pasta is there. When we find ourselves rushed and harried, pasta is there. When we’ve had a difficult day and want to eat our comfort, pasta is there. Whether it is a long slender spaghetti, a perfectly plump penne or a fancy farfalle, pasta has saved many a meals.
A grilled vegetable salad with a fresh herb dressing
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.
Students of Greek literary classics and philosophy may remember that Homer, Aristotle and Aristophanes all refer to feasts of skewered meat in various texts and documents. Fascinating! Or, true scholars of ancient Greek things may read this and laugh, in which case it probably isn’t true, and Wikipedia lied to us. You really can’t believe everything you read on the internet!
Regardless of whether or not the characters in the Iliad fortified their bellies with souvlakia before battling in the Trojan war, this Greek staple is definitely worth fighting for. But, there actually is no struggle here; these pork souvlakia are incredibly easy and simple to prepare, and will likely satisfy every mouth you are feeding. The only fight may be deciding who gets the last one.
There are some things which are simply, quintessentially, Greek. Your mother insisting that you not leave the house with wet hair, to avoid pneumonia, is one. Having several members of your family with the same first name, sometimes paired with the same last name, is another. Calling anyone who is even remotely related to you, your cousin, is yet another. And horta-picking…well, that is one, perfect, Greek thing.
When our parents host a party, they often fill a soup tureen (we know, a bit weird) with this rice. Bejewelled with little bits of vegetables, it is a perfect accompaniment to grilled meats, pitas, and pretty much anything else which might be on the table. If you happen to have some tzatziki on hand, place a dollop of it on your plate, next to the rice. Something truly magical happens when the two combine.
This rice is very simple to make, and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen. The added beauty is that you can easily substitute the vegetables to accommodate your personal tastes and the produce you have available.
This post might look a little different, since we first posted it. We gave it a little bit of a facelift with new pictures. All text and recipe remain the same.
You know how sometimes things sound much more complicated than they actually are? This may be the case with this recipe. We tried our best, but making this phyllo-encased, custard-filled, syrup-soaked dessert may read as though it would be very difficult, but fear not! In reality it is super easy….and oh, so worth it! We have added some extra pictures and videos to help illustrate the technique in case the words alone were too unclear.
Greek mountain tea (τσάι του βουνού) is made with a genus of flowering plants called Sideritis (which literally translates into “he who is made of, or has, iron”). It is sometimes referred to as ironwort or shepherd’s tea. It’s a pretty tea, with little yellow flowers, silver tinged leaves, and light green buds and it is usually sold, in Greek markets or on-line, in dried branches or stems. This is a plant which is resilient and stubborn, producing flowering shrubs which are capable of growing at high altitudes with little soil, or even on the surface of rocks.
Mountain tea is made using a method called decoction (that’s right…this blog will also make you smarter). Decoction is a way of extracting chemicals and other goodies from plants by boiling them. What you end up with, in this case the mountain tea which results from this process, is also called a decoction. It has a very unique earthy taste, and a floral scent, particularly if you use the flowers (which you should).