Posts Tagged ‘Greek’


spanakopitakia 2 Spanakopitakia

Now that is a fun word to say: spanakopitakia, spanakopitakia, SPANAOPITAKIA!!!These are wonderful little treats to have around the house or to make for a party, just grab and go! They are just a little more work than making a big spanakopita, but the extra step of folding each one individually makes for a nice change (and sometimes of a less mess when eating too).You will follow the same recipe as Spanakopita but instead of layering in a dish, you will roll into individual triangles. Easy Peasy.

Greek Soutzoukakia

I am sure you are wondering what the heck soutzoukakia is if you aren’t Greek, and the first time I heard someone mention it I replied, “Gazoontight” (Gesundheit)!

Although this dish has a ridiculously funny name, it has a seriously delicious taste. This particular version of the recipe comes from a part of Turkey called, Smyrni. This used to be a heavily inhabited by Greeks before the population exchange in 1922. It is basically a Greek meatball but instead of round it is egg shaped or like a sausage link.

Greek Meatball Soup

aka “Giouvarlakia” in Greek, pronounced yiou-var-LAkia

I remember tasting this soup last Easter for the first time. It is not the typical Easter soup, that would be called “mageiritsa”. But once this American girl found out what the ingredients of THAT soup were, she politely maybe snobbishly refused to eat it. There is just something about using the inner parts of an animal to make a soup. But the tradition of this soup does make sense, it is supposed to help gently break the fast of no meats or dairy for the previous 40 days. Parts like the liver and intestines are apparently more easily digested.

Greek Oven Potatoes

Something I don’t like or understand in Greece are strikes. Today is a big striking day. Almost all public services (including schools, all means of transportation, military, church officials, government offices, ect) are closed because the people want a change and striking is a desperate attempt to get some change. Unfortunately, at least from where I am standing, this is just a lose – lose situation. You see, the government has AGAIN made salary decreases. For us this means about 300 euros less each month, basically a whole month’s rent to put it into perspective. But it doesn’t stop there. We are also awaiting an emergency property “tax” that will be around 200 euros each and the worst thing of all, it makes no sense, it is simply the government reaching into our pockets yet again. And on top of that, the government is suspending 30,000 public servants, some of which may be teachers. So, people are striking, not show up for work. And if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Unfortunately though,  the actual chances of the government changing its mind because you missed work are slim to none. A total lose – lose situation!

Keftedakia (Greek Meatballs)

Greek food is very memorable. Whether it is the first time you taste your first gyro sandwich or maybe you are just a sucker for homemade baklava, but regardless of which recipe exactly it is, you definitely remember its origins! The first time I tasted keftedes (Greek for meatballs) or keftedakia (Greek for small meatballs) was kind of an unusual experience. We had just been visiting the in-laws for a couple of weeks and were leaving that morning to drive to Athens, about a 5-6 hour drive from north Greece. Being the wonderful mother-in-law that she is, she made us a picnic for the road.


So, I must admit that cooking Greek food in the US (especially where there isn’t a Greek community or available authentic Greek products) is much more complicated and interesting than I expected. I am not sure how many of you have been facing similar issues when trying to recreate any of my (or other) Greek recipes. I have found that there are some quite huge differences in a few Greek products here compared to there, especially the yogurt and feta quality and consistency. But there are also big differences in the vegetables, specifically cucumbers – American cucumbers are freaking huge; I recommend using the British or mini cucumbers for your tzatziki or Greek salads. The tomatoes, eggplants, and even zucchinis are extraordinarily large too (Texas sized, maybe?)and not as flavorful as the garden grown variety.

On the other hand though, I have thoroughly enjoyed the oversized kitchen with granite countertops, a kitchen island, convection oven, dishwasher, and outdoor grill! I guess the grass is always greener on the other side!!!

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Chicken Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade

One of the most popular street foods in Greece (maybe after gyros) is called souvlaki. Souvlaki is simply meat on a stick, the most common meat being pork or chicken. It is marinaded usually all night or at least all morning and then grilled to perfection and served either in a pita sandwich or just with homemade french fries and of course, tzatziki.  Souvlaki is also a simple Greek food that can be made at home with only a few ingredients! I love my souvlaki grilled out in the summer time and served with an ice cold glass of beer and homemade fries.
souvlaki 02 Chicken Souvlaki with a Lemon Oregano Marinade

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

Stuffed Zucchini

Dear readers and faithful followers of Seemingly Greek, 

I need to ask for a little grace in the coming weeks. I have many new recipes to share and I had this perfect “plan” of having all of the images uploaded with the typed out recipes – but, that dream isn’t a reality. It is actually furtherest from the truth… I should be uploading a picture of my living room in an utter mess as I try to get ready to leave tomorrow for the States.

The Greek Frappe

Now that it is practically summer here in Greece, everywhere you look there are frappes. Whether you are passing by a coffee shop, there you will find many Greeks enjoying the sun and their frappes; whether shopping in a store or two, you are sure to find the workers sipping their frappes; or relaxing on the beach and savoring each sip. This is by FAR the most popular drink in Greece and I have yet to meet a Greek (besides my husband) that does not drink at least 2-5 PER DAY!!!  They are still too strong for me to this day despite how obsessed otherseveryone else seems to be with them!
frappe square+9 The Greek Frappe
I must admit though, that it is one of the easiest drinks to make: coffee, water, and a cup with a lid… plus sugar and milk if you are fancy! It is uniquely characterized by its thick, creamy foam that you get by either shaking or using an electric wand. They are so easy to make and so popular, that they can even be bought at corner kiosks and made simply on the go by adding a little water, shaking until you have a foam and adding the remaining water.

In addition to a recipe (below), you must also know how to order a frappe when coming to Greece. Whether you take a lot or a little sugar with your coffee or even prefer it plain, it is all said in one simple word:

A Twist on Galaktobureko

Well, summer weather here in Lesvos was in full force this weekend and instead of being home and writing the updated blog post that I needed to be, I was swimming in the sea and eating ice cream with my husband. The sea was cold, really cold, at first but after a few minutes my body adjusted and it was spectacular!!! Summer is really one of the best times to be in Greece, and I only have 10 more days of my Greek summer because I am heading to the USA in exactly 10 days! I will (unfortunately) be flying solo, my hubby will still have school and will not be able to join until (maybe) July – I am NOT too excited about that part though. Thank God for skype!!!

Presvitera’s Dolmades

I must admit first that although I took the pictures, the dolmades below belong to my mother-in-law, “the expert dolmades maker”, hence the name! Her name is not Presvitera, rather this is a respectful and endearing name to call a priest’s wife. My father in law is a Greek Orthodox priest and I had the honor of him baptizing me (My Christian name is Styliani) and marrying us – actually we had a very blessed wedding with 6 priests, our marriage is bound to last until the end of time icon smile Presviteras Dolmades  

The (one) time that I tried to make dolmades, the taste was good but the aesthetics were terrible, so you did not get to see my first attempt. Over Easter break, I got to learn first hand the secrets to making perfect dolmades, do not overstuff them! Apparently, I was a little too eager and generous with my rice stuffing. Lesson learned! So, now I share with you the simple, yet delicious, vegetarian stuffed grape vine leaves recipe that many Greek families consider as a staple on their tables.
Presvitera’s Dolmades Recipe: 

Printable Recipe
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.

Walnut Syrup Cake with Vanilla Creme Filling

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, and although Greeks don’t really celebrate birthdays, THIS American girl surely does!!! V requested strawberry cake but there were no strawberries to be found yet on the island, maybe in a couple of weeks. Instead, I made a double layer walnut cake and filled it with his favorite vanilla creme (instant and hassle free)!

Homemade Οrange Spoon Sweets

There is a (mostly) wonderful custom here in Greece that anytime you visit someone’s house, you should “arrive with your hands full and leave with your hands empty”! Basically, you should always bring something when visiting anyone, even if they are family. The exception to this is rule is only if you have already been to visit before in the previous days and took something with you then. Typical gifts are a box of delicious sweets, a bottle of wine, some flowers, or maybe even something you have prepared yourself.

Vegetarian Pastitsio

Don’t exit just quite yet if you don’t like the word, “Vegetarian”. This wonderful alternative to the classic dish, Traditional Pastitsio, is made with mushrooms and zucchini instead of ground meat, but trust me that it is still full of flavor and maybe even more addictive. If you don’t believe me, believe my Greek husband, he approved it and has already requested it again soon!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!
pastitsio mushroom Vegetarian Pastitsio
Vegetarian Pastitsio “Greek Lasagna” Recipe: Serves 6-8
1/2 kilo (~1 lbs.) variety of brown and white mushrooms*
1-2 medium zucchini, chopped*
1-2 medium white onions, chopped
1/8 cup EVOO
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp. Greek oregano
salt and pepper
1/2 T. tomato paste
1/2 – 1 can crushed tomatoes
 a little less than a 1/4 cup dry white wine
1 all-spice berry
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 – 1 pkg. pastitsio or bucantini noodles (substitute just penne would work too) 
1/2 – 3/4 cup Kefalotyri (Ramano or another hard cheese)
Saute onions and zucchini in the olive oil on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, add the garlic and bay leaves and cook another 3-5 minutes, until fragrant. Add the chopped mushrooms and clove(s) and raise the heat to medium high, add the wine and tomato paste. Cook until almost all the wine has cooked off, then add the can of tomatoes, salt and pepper, cinnamon, and oregano, lower to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest.
*You can easily replace your veggies with anything of your choice: mixed spinach greens, eggplant, or anything you’d like, don’t hesitate to make it your own! 
Cook your noodles in a large pot of salted water until al dente, with a slight bite or firmness remaining (about 10-12 minutes).
Béchamel Sauce Recipe:
1/2 stick butter (~50-75g.)
1/2 cup AP flour
5 cups warm whole milk
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 – 1 cup grated hard cheese (vlahotyri, romano, parmesan, ect)
salt and pepper
1/2 – 3/4 tsp. nutmeg
More hard cheese to grate on top
Add butter to a medium large saucepan and melt on medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until turns a warm golden brown, about 5-7 minutes depending on your heat. Continue whisking briskly while you steadily stream in your warm milk making a nice roux. Make sure you do not have any lumps, if you start to see them forming, simply whisk faster (you can use a mixer if you have a whisking beater). Now, bring to a slight boil while stirring with a wooden spoon. You want your roux to thicken but not turn into a batter. Remove from heat and cool slightly for 5 minutes. Whisk all of your eggs together and slowly stream them into your roux, mixing quickly to avoid scrambling. Now, add your cheese and seasonings.
Once everything is ready, you can preheat your oven to 190°/375° and assemble your dish. Lightly oil your small – medium baking dish and mix 1 ladle of your béchamel sauce into your veggie mix and 2 ladles into your drained pasta. Lightly oil and add enough veggie/tomato sauce (not béchamel) to coat the bottom of your dish. Then, add 1/2 of your noodles. Follow with your veggie sauce and then repeat with remaining noodles. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce and grated cheese. Bake in a hot oven for 30-45 minutes. You want your edges to be bubbly and the cheese to be golden brown. Rest at least 30 minutes before serving to help set-up and make easier to dish out and hold form!
This time, I only had less than half a package of pastitsio noodles, but I didn’t realize it until I had already started cooking. I substituted the bottom noodles for regular, flat lasagna noodles, it worked perfect; minus the bountiful pasta difference in the pictures. 
veg pastitsio Vegetarian Pastitsio

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!

Cream Bougatsa

Another popular breakfast on-the-go or make at home here in Greece is called Bougatsa. Now, bougatsa comes in both cream filled and cheese filled. I think both are mouth watering delicious, but when I buy them from the bakery or bougatsa shop I tend to feel a little greasy and heavy afterwards. I said they were delicious, I didn’t say they were healthy! It is true that they are not fried but they are layered with kilos lots of butter or oil. My version is definitely healthier, and that is solely due to the fact that I could not consciously keep drenching the butter on each phyllo sheet like I imagine you are supposed to do for the ultimate bougatsa experience! I made the cream filled and cinnamon and sugar topped version, it. was. scrumptious. 
bougatsa bite Cream Bougatsa
Bougatsa comes from Northern Greece, probably debated between Serres and Thessaloniki. I did learn though that Serres holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest bougatsa… ha! Most shops today order frozen bougatsa from the factories and simply cook it and serve it. It is also good to know that if you live in Greece, it is available in your supermaket’s freezer section, but the best bougatsa is undoubtably from a homemade store or with a little experience, yourself. I have not even come close to mastering making homemade phyllo, but here is a log of some videos that are definitely worth some of your time if you find bougatsa interesting! 
Videos of making bougatsa from scratch, HERE!
bougatsa large Cream Bougatsa
Whether you are more of a cheesy person or you have more of a sweet tooth, at some point in your lifetime you should try both kinds of bougatsa! I like being married because one of the perks is that we buy one cheese, one cream and just share . . . that is the best of both worlds!
Yiayia’s Homemade Cream Bougatsa Recipe
Serves four to six
2 c. milk
1 lemon peel
¾ c. butter
¼ c. fine semolina
½ c. sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla
10 sheets phyllo pastry
½ tsp. kanela (cinnamon)
Powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Warm milk and lemon peel in a saucepan. Melt butter in a separate pan (save ¼ c. for later). Add hot milk to butter, continuously stirring. Stir in semolina with a wooden spoon, then remove from stove, stirring continuously until thickened (make sure the top does not crust). In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, eggs, yolks, and vanilla. Slowly add mixture to semolina, stirring until it resembles custard. Remove lemon peel; cover the pan and set aside to cool. If you want to make it in a pan, brush a baking pan with leftover butter. Line the pan with six phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Spread custard over phyllo. Fold over excess phyllo, then top with four leftover sheets, making sure to butter each sheet. If you prefer folded, individual bougatsa, then simply butter the phyllo, fill with 1-2 spoonfuls and fold up. Bake the pan for 30-35 minutes and the individual ones for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into bite size pieces. Sprinkle generously with kanela (cinnamon in Greek) and powdered sugar. Serve warm with coffee, milk, or chocolate, it also goes great if served with fresh berries!
cinn sugar Cream Bougatsa
Kali Orexi. 

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Hi! My name is Jacquline. Welcome to my blog. I hope you will find some delicious Greek food recipes and enjoy the read along the way! Kali Orexi :)


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