Greek Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade Recipe:
4 T. Fresh lemon juice
3 – 4 T. EVOO Oil
1 T. red wine vinegar (or just wine)
1 tsp. Greek oregano
1 tsp. Greek thyme, optional
2 – 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 onion, sliced or cubed
salt and pepper
Summer is the perfect time for this Greek treat, try it and let me know what you think? I always love hearing from you in the comments section or a personal email.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a great week!
Stuffed Zucchini Recipe with Avgolemono Sauce:
4-6 medium-large zucchinis*, tops removed and carefully cored
Avgolemono Sauce Recipe: Egg Lemon Sauce
1 large or 2 small lemons
1/2 cube bullion (or homemade stock)
1 – 1/2 cup hot water
1-2 tsp. cornstarch or flour
Beat eggs in a medium bowl or pot with a whisk on high for 30 seconds, add juice of 1 lemon and continue to mix well. Melt bullion cube in hot water and slowly drizzle while continuing to beat for another minute or so. Sift the cornstarch over the pot and stir well until fully incorporated. Let simmer on low for a few minutes until it begins to set up and then remove from heat. Keep in mind that as it continues to cool, it will continue to thicken. Serve the zucchinis and/or tomatoes with some potatoes on a plate and top with some avgolemono sauce, the combination of flavors are sure to knock you out of your seat!!!
*Sorry this recipe took so long to post, but I hope you enjoy it with your family or friends and let me know how it turns out for you!
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2-3 T. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 medium white onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 large lemons, juiced
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, heated
30 grape leaves, rinsed and drained (from jar or use fresh but boil until tender)
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the onion in 2 T. EVOO for a few minutes, then add the rice and herbs and continue stirring until the onion has softened. Slowly, pour in half the heated stock and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until rice is almost cooked but still very al dente. You do not want to overcook your rice, but you do want it started! Stir in half the lemon juice and remove from heat, cool until easy enough to handle.
Line the bottom of your pot with a few extra vine leaves you have so the dolmades will not burn while cooking, I try to choose the broken or unusable ones from the jar. Take one leaf, place shiny side down, and spoon 1 teaspoon (only 1 tsp. or they will burst open and not be pretty at all) or more/less according to the size of the leaf itself, but you want to easily be able to tightly fold; remember that the rice will still expand more while cooking. Fold over both sides of the leaf towards the center, and begin to snuggly roll up from the bottom to top. You may have to slightly fold the top sides even more inwards (think slight triangle) to get a “prettier” roll. It is all in the practice, so just find what works best for you! Once you have finished rolling one, place it seam side down in the pot. Repeat placing the dolmades together so as to not leave any gaps and allowing the leaves to split open. Try to stack the first layer all facing the same direction and when you begin the 2nd layer, switch the direction for a kind of criss-cross pattern; repeat until finished. Sprinkle the top with remaining lemon juice and olive oil.
Gently, pour the remaining stock just enough to cover the top layer. Place a flat weight – like a small, upside down plate – on top of the vine leaves, cover the pot, and simmer for 45-60 minutes – making sure not to boil, because this will make the stuffing overflow from the leaves. When close to the time, check one to confirm that the rice is tender, take into account that they will also slightly cook a little more while cooling down. Remove from heat, remove cover, and let cool for another half hour. Transfer to a plate/dish and serve with lemon slices and greek yogurt if you choose! It is also very “Greek” to top them with a little white vinegar and some extra salt if needed. Try it all and decide for yourself!
There are many different versions of the stuffing for dolmades, the usual contains ground beef and sometimes even fish. There are also vegetable varieties, but the simplicity of fresh herbs and rice, in my opinion, is the perfect balance of flavor and lightness!
With a slightly healthier spin, this dish is still very Greek. The sauce still has a hit of cinnamon and the béchamel still has a hint of nutmeg. In this recipe, the amounts are more slight so if you prefer a bolder taste then use a little extra spice!
Although this dish takes a little effort and a lot of cleaning pots and pans, it is totally worth it. Make it once or twice and you will get the hang of it in no time!
It is officially Holy Week here and this is the beginning of the biggest 2 weeks of the year. Stay tuned for more info on how Greeks celebrate Easter! This is one holiday that is definitely more special in Greece.
This is the Greek version of a popular roasted eggplant dip, but it is also very common in Turkey and other middle eastern countries, sometimes called Baba Ganoush. Regardless of the name, the basic recipes are very similar; the only difference being that ganoush also contains some tahini, more similar to hummus! Both recipes are very nutritious and a great way to add some extra vegetables to your diet!
2 large eggplants
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 medium-sized cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup quality olive oil
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 400° F or if you have a grill available, preheat your grill. Wash your eggplants and then use a fork to prick the eggplants evenly all over. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, turning about every 15 minutes or so; if you are grilling, they will naturally cook faster. You want your eggplants very soft to the touch and somewhat wilted, the longer you roast them, the smokier the taste will become. Remove and drain on a paper towel if needed. Let cool until they can be handled. Cut them in half and scoop all the insides out or remove the skin with a sharp knife, then add the soft, roasted inside into a food processor or roughly chop if you prefer chunky dip. Add minced garlic and lemon juice. Pulse a few times to combine. Continue to pulse while adding a steady stream of olive oil. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper. This is a simple recipe that should be altered to your taste, simple add more lemon or salt as desired.
Serve with fresh homemade wheat pitas or lightly fry them for a crunchy chip like pita. Can also serve on fresh or toasted bread!
The alternative that you see on the right is melizanosalata with added fresh tomoato and onion, this is also very delicious and gives more of a salsa flavor! If you are interested in a Baba Ganoush recipe instead, try this or this or this recipe from some other bloggers that I like!
1/2 cup long grain rice*
2-3 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper
* I use brown rice and I increase the water and cook time.
Thoroughly wash the spinach until completely clean and free from grit. Drain and remove as much water as possible. Slowly saute the onion in the oil until translucent and soft. Add the rice and mix to coat with the oil, cooking for a few minutes. Add the hot water and cover for another 5 or so minutes (8-10 minutes if using brown rice), add the spinach and toss mixing in all of the rice. Add more water now if needed to cook rice longer, but be careful to not add so much it turns into a soup. Cook another 10 minutes until the rice and spinach are cooked and tender. Remove from heat, add salt, pepper, and fresh dill. Pour some fresh lemon and serve warm. If you are not fasting, this dish is wonderfully complimented by feta and a wholegrain crusty bread!
Other than that, I decided to make lentils. They are a delicious, healthy, and quick soup to throw all together for a very satisfying meal.
Lentil Soup with Tomatoes Recipe:
1 1/4 cups green, brown lentils (the small variety)
4 cups of hot water
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 T. EVOO
3-4 carrots, cleaned and sliced
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 T. tomato puree
1 tsp. Greek oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 – 1 tsp. cumin
1/2 – 1 tsp. hot paprika
salt and pepper
Saute the onion in the oil on medium heat until translucent, then add the garlic, stirring until aromatic. While the onion is cooking, wash and soak the lentils in hot water, rise then add to the pot with the carrots and tomatoes. Stir a few times and then add the tomato paste/puree and the herbs. Pour over the hot water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for another 25-30 minutes. Serve with a splash of vinegar and some good crusty bread, maybe even a few olives and tomato slices.
Clean Monday is a very fun and celebrated day. When there is good weather, families spend time all together enjoying a picnic and flying kites. This year for us the weather was cold and almost raining, so we just enjoyed our family time and wonderful day off inside. The Saturday before Pure Monday, and sometimes Sunday too, there are also lots of Carnival parties. “Carnival” comes from the Latin meaning, without meat. This should be a time in preparation for the coming of Easter, but throughout tradition it has become custom for people to get all dressed up in costumes and indulge in life, mostly meaning food and alcohol I think. The last days of school all the kids show up in costumes and there is a huge party, I would say that it is very similar Halloween. In celebration of the last day before Lent, my wonderful husband took me out to a traditional taverna and we enjoyed the entire restaurant to ourselves with AMAZING food. I promise you that every bite we took was a pleasure to chew, and we left so full that it was borderline sinful :)
Enjoy some hearty lentils next time you don’t know what to cook for dinner, your body will thank you for all of its nutrients. And if you are fasting from something, whether it be food or something else, I pray strength and patience for you each and every step of the way. Remember, you are not alone!!!
PS. The hardest thing is not going to be skipping my morning lattes, but it will be looking and gawking at all the amazing other food bloggers that I follow! Luckily for you guys, I have saved some really great non-Lent recipes for you to share over the next 40 days!!!
I would say that gyros (pronounced yee-ros) are Greece’s number one fast food item, pizza, crepes, and club sandwiches following. These quick, filing, and very reasonably priced pita wraps are quite tasty too, especially when you find a busy store that makes them fresh. A typical gyro can be made with pork, chicken, or even lamb that is slowly cooked by rotating in circles (“γύρω“ in Greek means to go around, hence the name!). The meat is cooked until crispy and then is shaved off and loaded into a pita with your choice of toppings. A Thessaloniki gyro is filled with meat, fries, onion, tomatoes, ketchup and mustard, and a common addition is tzatziki, spicy cheese, or a paprika sauce for a more intense flavor. If you do not like the crispy meat, a very common alternative is to order a souvlaki gyro. Souvlaki is pork or chicken that is skewered and grilled on an open charcoal fire. Both options are really great for an occasional on-the-go meal, but I want to share a much healthier homemade lamb gyro recipe.
As far as the rest of the ingredients go, I made the fries in the oven, you can find the fries recipe here, and the tzatziki recipe here. Other ingredients include chopped onions (preferably purple), chopped tomatoes, and mustard and ketchup, if you want to try it the Salonica way. I also added lettuce because I love it and it adds a little extra fiber. For now, the pita recipe is soon to follow, and I must say that, the homemade wheat pitas turned out truly amazing!!! Definitely a recipe you will want to come back for. I would describe them as soft, slightly chewy, with a wonderful wheat almost nutty flavor — perfect compliment in a gyro or any other kind of wrap. Perhaps, even a great alternative to a tortilla.
With the combination of homemade wheat pitas + skillet cooked meat + oven baked potatoes + veggies + tzatziki = you really can’t go wrong with this much healthier alternative to a typically unhealthy yet adored Greek favorite. Besides, you will want to use all those saved calories on eating another one and drinking an ice cold beer along with it, perfect combo trust me.
Let me know how your gyros turn out next time you want to experience a little Greece from the comfort of your own kitchen!
Greek Oven Potatoes Recipe:
1-2 lbs. potatoes, cleaned, peeled, sliced
3-4 T. EVOO
1/8 – 1/4 cup broth, of choice or 1/2seasoning cube
1/2 T. garlic, minced
1 T. Greek oregano
1-2 T. yellow mustard
1-2 lemons, juiced
Heat oven to 175°/350° and prepare potatoes. Add the oil, seasonings, mustard, and juice to a large bowl and mix well. Coat the potatoes until covered and then place in a baking dish. Carefully pour the broth into the bottom of the dish, without pouring over the potatoes and rinsing the seasonings off. Begin baking the potatoes and prepare the beefteki. Let the potatoes cook for a good 20-25 minutes while you make the meat, stir the potatoes before placing the meat on top, they should be slightly tender. Continue to cook another 20ish minutes until the beefteki is cooked all the way through. Serve together immediately with purple onion, tsatziki, and fresh lemon. Amazingly delicious!