Salted sardines and anchovies (Σαρδέλες)

Salted sardines and anchovies

Salt preserved sardines and anchovies prepared for meze

Salted sardines and anchovies

 

We are grateful to our parents for so many things.  They supported us, financially, emotionally and nutritionally, throughout all of our schooling.  They showered us with love, attention and encouragement every day, and they balanced their praise with enough well-deserved disapproval to keep us humble and in check.  This of course does not mean that we are perfect, but as parents, they kind of are.

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Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

A healthy, quick snack to satisfy any sweet craving

Dates stuffed with almond butter and coconut

 

Sometimes the craving for something sweet hits so quickly, and so aggressively that you find yourself scrambling in the kitchen, looking for something that was already baked, or a candy bar, or a bag of chocolate chips that you spontaneously decide are not necessary for the chocolate chip cookies you were planning to make.  If you don’t have access to these options, you dip into the sugary cereal you know you shouldn’t be feeding your kids, or you make some cinnamon toast, with more brown sugar than cinnamon, or toast.  Or, you pause, remember your health and waistline and choose a piece of nature’s candy instead.   You know, a bowl of grapes or a ripe peach.  Bah! Who are we kidding?? When that urge for sweetness hits, fruit just isn’t going to cut it unless its been morphed into a pie, or unless that fruit is a date.

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Grilled vegetables (Λαχανικά στη σχάρα)

Grilled vegetables

A medley of marinated and grilled vegetables 

Eat your vegetables!  Who hasn’t heard this, or uttered it, over and over again.  Sometimes getting your kids, your spouse, yourself to eat vegetables seems like an uphill battle.  Let’s face it, not everyone goes crazy for luscious greens like vlita or okra, or is satisfied with a meal whose main star is cauliflower. In fact, today we crave vegetables but there was a time when we would plan covert operations to stealthily dispose of the grossness that our parents put before us; our spanakorizo disposal tactics were legendary.  Still, even in the throes of our vegetable-hating youths, we never rejected vegetables that were marinated and grilled, and which usually happened to be served along with grilled souvlaki or steak.

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Zucchini bread (Κέικ με κολοκύθι)

Zucchini bread

A wonderful, sweet way to enjoy summer squash

Zucchini bread

 

If you’ve been following Mia Kouppa since the beginning you’ll know that most of our recipes are inspired by our parents and their humble, authentic, and delicious traditional Greek cooking.  Of course, our parents don’t use actual recipes and so our job has been to painstakingly and with great attention to detail,  measure, document, photograph, video and share their wonderful way with food.  We know that we owe much, if not most, of our success to them and we are so grateful.

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Spinach salad with peaches and dates

Spinach salad with peaches and dates

A fresh summer salad with fruit sweetness and walnut crunch

Summer is salad season, and we love that!  When it is too hot to turn on the oven, or when we would much rather be frolicking in the sun or strolling around our beautiful city, a no-nonsense salad which ticks off so many boxes is just the answer.  Delicious. Check.  Nutritious. Check.  Quick and easy. Check. Inexpensive.  Check.  Too good not to share…check!

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Pasta topped with fried egg

Pasta topped with fried egg

Egg noodles topped with an egg fried in olive oil

Whenever we’re in a rush and need to get a meal on the table quick, we tend to turn to either a pasta dish like spaghetti with olive oil and mizithra, or an egg dish, like an omelette full of Greek flavour.  Pasta and eggs are the start of so many quick, nutritious and easy meals.  In this recipe these two go-to staples are combined to create a recipe that was a regular in our home growing up.

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Sauteed green peppers (Πράσινες πιπεριές τηγανιτές)

Sauteed green peppers

A simple side full of green bell peppers, red onion and a few herbs

If you’re a gardener, you might be like our family who feels that there are some basic vegetables without which a garden could never be complete.  Oh sure, we like to experiment and occasionally try to grow watermelons, asparagus, and brussel sprouts, with varying degrees of success, but some things are non-negotiable.  Bell peppers are included in that category of must-grows.

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Grilled steak (Στέικ)

Grilled steak

A deliciously seasoned steak, perfect for barbecue season

Grilled steak

 

There are two types of people in the world, those who gravitate towards the ease and convenience of a gas grill, and those who believe that grilling must be done with charcoal, smoking chips, and some extra time.  There are certainly advantages to both, and truth be told, we wouldn’t deny a meal cooked on either type of barbecue.

Growing up our father had a large round charcoal grill with a green lid  which was kept ready and waiting in the backyard of our apartment building.  This was used when he had many things to cook, either because we were having company, or because it just made sense to prepare several meals in advance given that the charcoal was already burning.  Common sense at all times.

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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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