When is the last time you had boiled spinach for supper? Or a plate piled high with steamed collard greens? Not as a side to anything, but as the actual meal. Like, that was the only thing on your plate. Well, if you’re Greek, then the answer might be, earlier this afternoon. And if you’re not Greek, then this type of pauper, bland meal might seem a little strange, and sad. But trust us…it’s not!
We are gloriously exhausted! Preparations for Christmas are intense…but coming along. Our homes may be a bit of a mess, with shopping bags and wrapping paper everywhere, but they smell pretty fantastic because our kitchens have been baking warehouses these past few weeks. Life is good, and delicious.
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.
Have you noticed that we have a fondness for eggplant? They are so versatile, and so very delicious. This fruit (yes! eggplant is a fruit, and botanically a species of nightshade, a family of flowering plants) can be treated in all sorts of ways, including being fried for eggplant chips, stuffed in yemista, and even used as a substitute for crostini! It also plays well with others, and in this baked vegetable dish, it is combined with zucchini and potato to make one of our families most favourite dishes. We are so excited to share it!
This sauce! How could we begin to describe the wonder which is this sauce!? How could we convince you that this sauce, is something that you absolutely have to make…like, today…before it becomes difficult to find sweet, vine ripened tomatoes. Will it help if we tell you that this sauce, so basic, so simple, will elevate your dishes in ways you could barely imagine?! It’s true! It’s so deliciously true!
Gardening is a joy, and it really is a blessing to be able to walk into your backyard and pick supper. Sometimes however, everything seems to ripen at once, and you find yourself with a surplus of vegetables. This is never really a problem, as the non-gardeners in our lives very appreciatively relieve us of our excess. But we have learned that some veggies are less popular than others; eggplant seems to be one of those vegetables. No one has ever turned their nose at a bag of vine-ripened garden tomatoes. Cucumbers are welcomed with a smile, and zucchini are greeted with glee…but eggplant? Eggplant often gets a “it’s not you, it’s me” reaction.
We love food; we love to eat food, write about food and talk about food. It must run in the family, because we have recently (like right now) been enjoying a visit from our Australian cousin. Along with showing off our beautiful city, hanging out with all of our cousins, and hearing about the perils of living down under (we have decided that Aussies are much braver than us Canadians!), we have found ourselves constantly talking about food…possibly because we are always eating. We have been having a truly beautiful time.
This is an incredible dish that we just know you are going to love. Not only is briam a luxurious way to eat your vegetables, but it is an incredibly easy way to eat them too. All the goodness is simply thrown into a roasting pan, mixed together, and baked; this makes clean-up a breeze, giving you more time to enjoy your family, your garden, or this blog.