Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I have posted the recipes below for my new Greek cooking converts that I met in Switzerland this last month. We did spent nine amazing days under the leadership of wise Christian women learning so much about ourselves as well as how to allow God's word to flow through us in real way like never before.

As I tried to remember what we cooked on "The Greek Night" I thought to myself ...did we really cook all this food? I guess we did ...I have this problem when I start making a Greek menu I want to include every possible Greek if I did forget to include any of the recipes pls let me know and I will post it.

You can find the hummus recipe at

Please let me know how the Greek cooking turns out...I would love to hear from you all.
(Garlic roasted bread with tomato and cheese filling)
This is a very classic snack or sometimes all you got to eat in earlier years on the island of Mykonos and most of the dry Cycladic islands. Up until mid 50’s Mykonos was a very poor island and did not produce very much. Of course even today Mykonians honor the dry bread with cheese and tomatoes and you can find it in some of the most expensive restaurants menus.
Slices of dry paximadi or country bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil, Topped with either plain cut up tomatoes and cheese or a tomato mix. see down below.
My husband’s home island is Mykonos. Mykonos belongs to the Cycladic group of the Aegean Sea islands. Dry islands with not much vegetation to offer. On the other hand there are villages lost in the Greek country and mountains that could only be discovered by parachutists, rural areas out in the country, at one time or other came up and put their signature on certain foods. The reason for this as you probably guess is that they did the best they could with what their land offered and produced. One of these small culinary miracles is savory pies, as we have talked earlier about the innovation of pies. A poverty dish is a dish made of leftovers put in between good home made dough. Something like Italian pizza. However the one I want to bring to your attention and introduce you to would be the equivalent of Italian bruschetta. I choose to start by this name, since bruschetta is a name that could ring some bells where the Greek name for similar delicacy would not.
In every different area in Greece the combination of the best sourdough bread grilled slightly on charcoal, rubbed with garlic and topped with whatever that land produces has a different name. For instance in Mykonos is called “mostra”, in Grete is called “paximadi” and so forth. So all this discussion is about experiencing good bread which certainly does not mean soft and fluffy, drizzled with “liquid gold” - good olive oil. Allow this slice of bread to be the “stage” on which local good cheese, olives, anchovies, oven dried tomatoes, chick pea caviar, grilled mouth watering red peppers, home grown red juicy tomatoes and basil transport you to a different aroma, place and time.
I am against shortcuts, cheaper editions, knock offs of something precious. You cannot replace a real thing that God had the idea and made with a thousand imitations and “light” products. It will always be a substitute of “God’s food”…and why to go that direction if you could choose to moderately eat what the wise God has planned and created. So we either do and experience some recipes as they are meant to be and enjoyed or let’s have a piece of candy! In the following recipe you neeed real bread with body and texture not the kind that sticks on the roof of your mouth. You need good real cheese and not any cheese product that food industry has burdened into our stores, homes, mouths. You will also need a good cured ham if cannot get prochiouto…and please do not tell me it is expensive to eat in this fashion. Let’s Just open some of our kitchen cupboards and check on the variety of junk and unnecessary foods that reside there. Better less and good and fresh and healthy and God made than processed, fake and dangerous for your body.
Here is a traditional gourmet idea for accompanying good sourdough bread with garlic and olive oil …
1 loaf country bread cut into 8-10 slices
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 garlic clove
two tomatoes cut up in cubes
1 small onion finely cut
1 Tbs capers
kalamata olives
2 tbs finely cut sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup Greek olive oil
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs pine nuts
Sea salt
Take the garlic and run it through the bread slices. Drizzle with olive oil and place under the grill so to toast.
Mix all topping ingredients besides the feta cheese. Spoon over the toasted bread and add crumbled feta.
Now drizzle some more liquid gold, olive oil, add salt and please tell me, if this better than a frozen or micro waved snack or not. I now you can not find me at the moment but please tell your self and your friends. Snacking can be a healthy between meals occasion which will nourish you and give you good and healthy energy. Processed or high sugar snacks might boost your energy level for the moment and quench your hunger but the result is really fake and not good for your body or your mood.

I love this one!!

Ok basically use your imagination…and create something that will make a very sensible and conservative friend say to you…if anything ever happens to your husband…I will marry you…question is what would he do with his wife?

Shredded white cabbage ( 2 cups)
Roughly chopped arugula (1 cup)
Thinly sliced green apple
Thinly sliced avocado
Walnuts or pistachios
Pomegranate seeds

Dressing…basically ½ cup olive oil, my olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp honey, 2 tsp mustard, sea salt and pepper. First whisk lemon, vinegar and salt. Add pressed garlic, honey and mustard. Finally drizzle while you are whisking the olive oil.
Let me know what comments you get…just curious

1 package filo dough (1 pound)
3 cups finely ground English walnuts
3 sticks unsalted butter

Defrost filo the night before in the fridge. Do not open box. You will need a cookie sheet size baking pan. The baking pan should be the heavy kind so the baklava, since it cooks for a while, not to burn but to slow bake.

Open the filo package and decide which way, according to the shape of your pan, you will layer the dough. If you have not worked with this specific dough before it is good to cover it,while you are working with it, with a dumb tea towel, so not to loose the moisture and let it dry out. It will if you do not work fast enough.

So first you melt the butter and ground the walnuts in a food proccessor. Start layering the dough while you are brushing it with the melted butter. You will need a clean pastry brush. So you layer about 8 buttered sheets of dough and then spread ½ of the walnut filling. Add one more sheet brushed with butter and spread the rest of the filling. If you have followed directions you are almost done. All you have to do now is to continue brushing the rest of the dough until you run out of it. If you have left over butter just pour it on top.

Now the most important part is to cut the baklava in small diagonal pieces, otherwise it will crumble if you try to cut it after it is cooked. So you bake it now in a 330 preheated oven in the lower middle. Bake it until it has a nice golden cold color for about 1 hour.

While the baklava is cooking prepare the syrup.


In a heavy saucepan mix 3 cups of sugar, 1 1/2 cups water and optional ½ cup corn syrup, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional) and 1 tsp vanilla. Allow syrup to cook and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. When baklava comes out of the oven, pour warm syrup over the dessert and allow to stay for 1 hour before you serve it. Baklava can keep after it is room temperature in an airtight container for at least 4 weeks. Enjoy!


The following suggestion to prepare rice with eggplant is truly a surprise. One of my favorite ways to serve rice in the Spring with roasted lamb. This is traditionally they way Armenians cook and prefer to eat rice which is completely different preparation. The next rice recipe will give more light into the “mystery of rice cooking”.

1 medium eggplant cut into ½ inch cubes
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves
¼ cup cup raisins or dried cranberries
pinch of cardamon
1 large tomato, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
¼ cup chopped pistachios
Persian rice with pistachios and dill

The very special thing about this way of cooking rice is that you end up with a rice crust on the bottom of the pan that enhances the entire meal. The crunch crust called Tah-dig in Farsi language, is considered by many the prize of gifted cook. In this specific recipe it revealed by the surprise of pistachios, whose natural sweetness is brought out by the fresh dill.

First prepare the rice and allow it to wait while you prepare the eggplant

2 cups basmati rice
5 cups water
3 tsp salt
3 tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cups chopped fresh dill
½ cup coarsely chopped pistachios
Rinse rice in cold water. Bring water and salt to a boil in a heavy pot and barboil rice for about 9-12 minutes. Rice should be almost cooked, al dente. Drain very well in sieve and rinse with cold water. Melt butter in bottom of a heavy set non stiking pan and place an Arabic flat pita. Spoon rice over it, alternating if you choose with part of the pistachios and dill. End with rice. Make 5-6 holes in rice with handle of a wooden spoon, cover with a clean kitchen towel and a heavy lid. Fold edges of towel up over lid and cook rice over low low heat for another
30 minutes or until you can smell almonds toasting. Spoon lose rice onto a platter and dip bottom of pan in a large bowl of cold

Another variation is to omit the layers of pistachios and add them on top along with safran, pine nuts and tart berries or dried barberries.
Remove the crust and brake on top of the mounted rice.

Now prepare the eggplant. In a heavy sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Add the eggplant cubes and continue sautéing until tender, yet not cooked all the way through. Turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and allow the eggplant to steam for 10 more minutes. Uncover and add the cardamom, salt and pepper.
Another variation is to add on top, chopped tomatoes, parsley, green onions.

Now you are ready to assemble this simple, but most delicious dish. By now the rice should have a beautiful blonde crust on the bottom and smell like toasted almonds. Spoon the rice in a large platter and arrange some of the crusty on top. Then add the eggplant in a lengthwise fashion. Add the chopped tomatoes, dill, and pistachios on top.
Kali orexi (bon appétit)

1 pound pasta (screw shape)
1-pound ground meat.
1/4 c. olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup of plain cut up tomatoes
1/8-cup red cooking wine
Salt, pepper
White béchamel sauce
(recipe follows).

1. First cook the pasta a little bit past al dente. Not too soft or crunchy as well. Drain the pasta and put it in an olive oil brushed lasagna pan.
2.Proceed by making the ground meat sauce. Start by browning the onion, garlic and continue with the ground meat, put out with cooking wine. Then add tomatoes and let cook for about 20-30 min. Add salt and pepper. When sauce is ready spoon it evenly over the pasta.
3. Prepare the bechamel cream sauce for the top of your dish

Proceed by making your cream sauce by putting 6 cups of milk (whole milk) in a saucepan and while it is still cold add ½ cup of cornstarch, ½ cup flour and 4 egg yolks. Whisk until is all mixed and turn on the heat. As you slowly and continuously stir with a large whisk, the cream will start getting thick then add 4 TBS butter and 7 TBS grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg. When it is thick and the cheese is melted pour over the ground meat layer and bake in a 375 oven for one hour to one and fifteen minutes or until cream has a golden color, Let rest for half an hour before you serve, so the juices can be absorbed and easy to serve.


1 pound (1/2 kg) phylo dough
1 ½ pound (750 gr) feta cheese
A few leaves of fresh mint
4 eggs
1 ½ cups soda water
½ cup olive oil and ¼ cup melted butter

You will need a 9X13 pyrex pan. First brush the pan with melted butter. On a clean surface lay out one sheet of phylo dough. Sprinkle about ¼ cup of feta cheese all over the surface of the dough. Gather the dough together from the furthest end in a pleated fashion for the end of the dough to meet the closest end to you. Place in the short side of a heavy baking pan. Continue until you have about 15-17 pleated pieces. In a large mixing bowl beat the eggs and add the oil and soda water. Pour over the phylo dough and bake in a 350 F or 180 C preheated oven for 45 – 60 minutes or until the pie is light golden color. You allow it to sit for a 10 minutes and then slice it in about 15 pieces.


1 whole chicken cut up in six pieces
6-8 large potatoes
1 lemon cut in chunks
3/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves
3 Tbs finely cut fresh rosemarysalt and pepper
Prepare the chicken pieces. In a small food processor add the garlic cloves, the rosemary, lemon,olive oil, salt and pepper. Process to a paste. Cover the chicken pieces with the paste on all sides. Best to allow chicken to sit in the fridge covered for a few hours or the night before.

Now prepare the potatoes. Peel and wash the potatoes and cut them in bite size chunks. Arrange the potatoes around the chicken and pour some more olive oil, salt and pepper. Oregano is also a tasty option.

Bake for at least 1 ½ hours at the lower rack of your oven. Temperature should be 360F. When the potatoes and chicken have a nice golden color and they are tender to the fork you are done. Make a Greek salad, you will find the recipe on, tzatziki dip and fresh country bread will place a big smile on everyone's face. Enjoy!


2 large eggplants
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 green onion, chopped
5-6 Tbs. chopped parsley
1 Tbs. chopped green pepper
1 small tomato, diced

Wash eggplants and fork them in a couple of spots. Bake in 375 degree oven or cook over an open fire on hot grill or charcoal and cook on all sides until very soft. This procedure will take about 20-30 minutes. Peel skin off and immediately squeeze on lemon juice to keep them from turning dark. Rough chop and mix with the remaining ingredients. Pretty good!! Serve as appetizer with sourdough toasted bread slices or on top of some warm basmati rice….I do have in mind another 100 ways to enjoy this delicacy but for now here are more two!!

More serving suggestions
1.Serve cold, sprinkled with 2 Tbs. ground pistachios and finely chopped parsley, drizzled with more olive oil

2.When eggplants are very soft to the touch, allow them to cool. Cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the inside of the eggplant. Mix the pulp with the original filling ingredients and stuff the empty eggplant shells. Prepare a béarnaise sauce and pour it on the platter. Serve the eggplants on top of sauce.