Fried fish (Ψαράκια τηγανητά)

Fried fish

Tiny fried fish that you can eat from head to tail

Fried fish

 

Summers in Greece mean hours spent in outdoor tavernas, with a clear view of the ocean and the warm sun embracing you.  The heat, the pace of vacation life, the hours before or right after the afternoon siesta all contribute to a feeling that time is endless, and life is best lived unhurried.  But all that relaxation sure works up an appetite, so that taverna table is usually most often filled with mezes and frosty glasses of ouzo or frappé.  Given the scene, some of the best mezes are those that came from the sea you are looking onto.  Octopus, shrimp, calamari are always welcome, as are these tiny fried fish.

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Broccoli with olive oil and lemon (Μπρόκολο με ελαιόλαδο και λεμόνι)

Broccoli with olive oil and lemon

Steamed broccoli served with olive oil and a dash of lemon juice

Broccoli was never a hated vegetable in our house.  No one cringed when it was served.  No one pushed it around on their plate until they could slip it to the dog (not that we had a dog).  We simply ate it, because we loved it.  Seriously.  And our parents only ever served it one way.

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Tiganopsomo with feta (Τηγανόψωμο με φέτα)

Tiganopsomo with feta

Crispy and thin fried bread stuffed with feta

Tiganopsomo with feta

 

We suppose that there is a sub-set of the population, those who shun carbs and avoid bread-y things like the plague, who really won’t appreciate a recipe which not only stars dough, but fried dough at that! But we think that the rest of you (which includes us), will welcome this recipe for crispy, fried bread stuffed with feta and will thank us for every lovely calorie.

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Tsoureki inspired shortbread

Tsoureki inspired shortbread

Buttery shortbread cookies flavoured with mastiha and mahlepi

Tsoureki inspired shortbread

 

Our relationship with leftovers is complicated.  Well, not complicated exactly…just different.  One of us has a tendency to treat leftovers like a scourge occupying every limited fridge space, while the other one of us experiences physical pangs of guilt if every last bit of food isn’t used up, somehow.  This duality makes for some pretty interesting cooking moments. For instance, any recipe which only uses egg yolks means that one of us is pouring egg whites into the compost, while the other decides that it’s egg white omelets for breakfast the next morning.  A bit of dough remaining after all of the tyropites have been made means dough being tossed in the bin for one, and fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar for the other.  You get the picture.

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Apple baklava (Μπακλαβάς με μήλο)

Apple baklava

An apple dessert inspired by baklava!

Apple baklava

 

So sorry if you’ve been planning on starting a diet, or are working hard at eliminating sweets and other reasons to live from your life.  If you’re committed to this, and have little to no will power, then we suggest you stop reading now, and head on over here. Quickly.  If you’re pretty sure that you can keep reading, for interests sake, and yet remain committed to your new ways, then we suggest you skim this post and try to avoid the photos.  If you feel yourself weakening, hurry on over here.  If however, you have decided that diets are for duds, and that life is too short to avoid deliciousness, have we got a treat for you!

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Herbed orzo with chickpeas (Κριθαράκι με βότανα και ρεβίθια)

Herbed orzo with chickpeas

A delicious meal of fresh herbs, orzo and chickpeas

If you’re looking for a dish to remind you that spring is here, and that the cold winter months are behind you, then this is it.  A simple recipe using orzo and loads of fresh herbs, the colour,  smell and the flavour of this herbed orzo make it clear that sunny days are here…or at least, coming soon.

The fresh taste of this herbed orzo dish is enough to entice you to make it over and over again.  But, an added bonus is that it is quick, easy, economical (super economical if you happen to have your own herb garden) and vegan, making it perfect for meatless Mondays, period of Orthodox lent, and any other time you want a plant-based meal.  The addition of chickpeas ensures that the dish is full of protein and that it is satisfying.

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Potatoes yahni (Πατάτες γιαχνί )

Potatoes yahni

A traditional Greek potato stew

Potatoes yahni

 

Raise your hand if you love pototoes! You there, in the back, holding a fist-full of french fries, we see you!  And we love you!  And, we too love potatoes.  Whether they are roasted in the oven, bathed in all sorts of beautiful Greek flavours, or boiled and mashed and then transformed into the very distinctive Greek garlic spread called skordalia, we adore them.  Potatoes are so versatile, so available, so economical, that it’s no wonder that the rustic cuisine of Greece has taken this commonplace vegetable and made it the star of a stew which we know will find a happy place in your hearts and stomachs.

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Vegan rizogalo / Vegan rice pudding (Νηστίσιμο ρυζόγαλο)

Vegan rice pudding

A simply perfect non-dairy rice pudding

When we first posted our parents’ rizogalo recipe we explained that this was a food which was so deeply connected to our childhoods that we couldn’t help but find comfort in a bowl of warm, creamy, simply delicious rice pudding.  And that is still so true; rizogalo, the way our parents make it (and the way we now make it), is comfort in a bowl.

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Calamari and rice (Καλαμάρι με ρύζι)

Calamari with rice

A one skillet meal which is so easy and flavourful that you’ll find yourself making it over and over again.

Calamari and rice

 

Any meal that can come together in one pot, one pan or one baking tray is a winner in our books.  When that meal happens to be delicious, and also requires little to no culinary skill, you know it’s going to be on the menu pretty often.  This one skillet meal of calamari and rice also happens to be perfect for periods of Orthodox fasting, when dairy, eggs and meat are usually avoided, but seafood like calamari is perfectly appropriate.

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Marinated olives

Marinated olives

Olives warmed up with herbs and spices!

We have a difficult time understanding people who don’t care for olives; a challenge because one of us is married to one of those people.  It’s hard to wrap our head around why anyone would turn their nose on fruit (yes, olives are fruit!) that comes in so many wonderful varieties, colours and flavours.  We’ve come to accept that perhaps the tartness, bitterness and occasional spiciness of olives is an acquired taste, and growing up in a Greek household, it was a taste that we acquired quite young.

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