A simple salad of boiled summer squash dressed with olive oil and red wine vinegar
We love everything about fall. The colours, the warm knit sweaters, the cool crisp air, the fact that you can call it fall or autumn. We love that everyone is busy pumpkin-spicing everything, and baking all manner of apple wonderfulness. But, we love summer too and despite the fact that it’s October and Canadian Thanksgiving is right around the corner, we’ll hang on to summer just a little while longer if you don’t mind.
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.
The Cobbopoulos; a delicious, Greek-inspired, Cobb salad
This salad is satisfying in so many ways. First, it delivers in flavour, with simple and fresh ingredients that come together in a delicious way. Second, it manages to put a Greek spin on a classic salad making it, in our opinion at least, even better; feta and Kalamata olives tend to do that. Finally, the presentation speaks to each of us, at different moments. The initial plating, ordered and with each ingredient clearly in its place, satisfies the need for organization that one of us has. When the salad gets tossed together to coat every little bit with the delicious dressing…well that’s organized chaos in a bowl, and hits home with the other one of us.
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.
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.
Our parents have a lovely marriage. They have been married for over 50 years and are still wonderful partners in love, family and of course, the kitchen. Sure, they argue once in a while (usually because our father has left the house without, what our mother deems to be, a warm enough jacket) but they are respectful, kind and considerate of one another. It is really heart-warming to see, and throughout our lives, they have served as great role-models for love.
Great unions such as theirs bring to mind other partnerships, like this citrus salad with fried halloumi. Growing up, our parents often served fried halloumi for breakfast, with a couple of fried eggs and some toast. They would also cook some up when we had guests over for a quick visit. Along with olives, nuts and bread, the fried cheese was great for impromptu visitors or to tide everyone over until dinner. Here, we’ve taken the fried halloumi, introduced to us by our parents, and married it with a lovely, fresh citrusy salad in a Mia Kouppa meets Our Kouppes creation. We hope you enjoy every part of it :).
They say you are what you eat. If that’s the case, then in the summer months we are villagers. When garden tomatoes have ripened, we use them to make, and eat, delicious Greek salad, also called a horiatiki salata (horio means village in Greek). We eat this salad every day. Not almost every day…but every, single, day. And we never tire of it.
It would be next to impossible to tire of a salad so full of flavour and amazing texture. For us, Greek salad or horiatiki salata is a gift of summer; easy to prepare, filling, deliciously fragrant and healthy. In fact, the only down side is that we live in a country where local, vine-ripened tomatoes are not readily available year round.
The world is big, and when our mom emigrated from Greece in search of a better life, she could have ended up in several places; in particular, the United States and Australia already had a significant number of Greek immigrants that she could have joined. Circumstance however, had her dock in Nova Scotia. From there she travelled to Montreal, where she settled, worked, and raised enough money to travel back to Greece to marry our dad, and to then return back to Canada with him. In those early years, our parents sponsored several of their siblings and they too made their way across the ocean. It was in Montreal that most of their children were born and their families raised.
We love our city. It has a rich history (some of it controversial) and in fact, Montreal is currently in the midst of celebrating it’s 375th anniversary. It is an energetic place, with a European influence evident in the architecture, art, food, and people. Although it is officially a bilingual city, with French and English being the two official languages of our province of Quebec, that description is a little simplistic. In fact, Montreal is a great multicultural and multilingual metropolis, with waves of new immigrants from all corners of the world arriving and enriching our city. There are so many obvious reasons to love Montreal (you should come visit!) and yet, there is one great reason which is often overlooked, or cursed. The weather. That’s right…the weather! It can be horrible, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world.