Spanakopita (technically spanakotiropita)

Appetizer, Greek, Main Course, Snack, Spinach, Vegetarian

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Greek Salad Madness: Lemon Zippy Laxanosalata

Appetizer, Gluten-free, Greek, Main Course, Salad, Vegetarian

Chu-chu-ca-chuuuu! (I love finding new nicknames for you as we blog along! haha)

A couple of weeks ago you posted about your phenomenal coleslaw salad, which I tried and it turned out AMAZING! Thank you so much for sharing it!! I used the purple cabbage, instead and … check out my rainbow salad.

A few years ago, our friend and #1 Feta & Arepa fan, Fah, suggested for me to read this book:¬†“French Women Don’t Get Fat“. And I am really glad she did. It is a great book about the author’s journey to eating better, by mimicking French women, and what their secrets were to keeping slim despite being constantly surrounded by delicious food. Yes, of course, a big part of her plan was originally set on portion-control, however, the more important message for me was how to make everything you eat look stunning and taste of bold flavors, so that you can feel completely and totally satisfied. This has really stuck with me since I read that book, and has affected my cooking in a couple of ways:

  1. I love looking at really bright colorful plate of food when I sit to eat
  2. I love lots of variation of texture in all my meals
  3. I LOVE SPICES! (or delightfully contrasting flavors in each bite)

For this reason, I have taken one of the most basic dishes in the Greek winter repertoire and turned it into a truly fabulous dish! (Or, at least it looks that way!) This salad is served in every restaurant and every taverna, especially in the winter; due to the fact that tomatoes, cucumber and peppers are not in season, and the glory of Xoriatiki is lost. This salad is made with white cabbage and carrot, basically always served undressed, only accompanied by a piece of lemon. Once I swapped the traditional white cabbage for beautiful purple cabbage and let it marinate a bit before serving, that is when I realized the genius of this Greek creation! This is the recipe you mentioned in your coleslaw post. It is really lemony, with splashes of salty, freshly crunchy, and naturally carroty-sweet.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 head of purple cabbage shredded (not too thin)
  • 2 large carrots finely julienned (or shredded)
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lemons’ juice
  • splash vinegar
  • 1 tbsp craisins (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. (It will look like you have too much cabbage to carrots, but cabbage has a whole lot more water than carrots.)
  2. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to let the flavours marinate the salad. (This also lets the cabbage soften and turn completely magenta!)
  3. SERVE!

I love this salad so much, that I can devour the whole huge bowl by myself in one sitting… OOPS there goes portion control, haha! Hope you had a great Passover, we are preparing for Easter Madness ūüôā

Kisses, hugs and bright smiles!

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Greek Salad Madness: Zingy Springy Potatosalata!

Appetizer, Greek, Mediterranean, Potato, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Dear Franny,

The sun is slowly coming out of its hiding place and the days are getting dramatically longer, which is a wonderful thing. When the sun is out over here, it is absolutely lovely. The grass blades really ignite like greenfire, emitting a neon green glow for miles and miles. (It is one of the little joys that I get from my hour long commute to and from work everyday.) All kinds of flowers are cropping up in the middle of grass patches, and ducks are quacking all around!

In this spirit, I have found myself starting to experiment again with one of my favorite food categories: Cold Salads!

This recipe is a great way to eat potatoes cold, it is really fresh, and a wonderful side dish to any meat, chicken, fish, veggie burger. It is also really flexible in the way that you make it, you can use boiled or grilled potatoes, big or small potatoes, yellow or white, and probably even sweet! any way you make it, it is DELICIOUSNESS HITTING YOUR TASTE-BUDS!!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 3-4 spring onions
  • Handful parsley (chopped)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lemon’s fresh squeezed¬†juice (depends on how juicy your lemons are, or how lemony you a taste you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • Salt & Pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut potatoes into large bite-sized pieces. (I like to use baby potatoes, so that I can keep skin on, and only have to cut in half).
  2. Boil potatoes in salted water, until cooked through. (quickest test is to poke¬†a knife through one of your ‘taters.)
  3. Once cooked drain and quickly rinse with ice cold water. Dry, transfer to a large bowl and refrigerate.
  4. Slice spring onions thinly. Chop parsley. Squeeze lemon’s juice.
  5. Bring potatoes out of the fridge, and add onions, parsley, capers(with a little brine), lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar. Toss carefully, making sure to coat your potatoes thoroughly with dressing, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to let the potatoes really soak up the yummy flavors, and serve.

If you are cooking with more Latin flavors, substitute the lemon for lime and parsley for cilantro, forget the capers and add a little chopped jalapeno or chili pepper (or sweet paprika)! For an Indo-infused accent you can of course also add curry powder!

Alternatively if you want to eat it as a main dish, you can turn this into¬†a lettuce-less Nicoise, just add a perfectly boiled egg, some tuna, tomatoes, and green beans (which¬†I didn’t have that day). Please do share you favorite combos or twists!

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Greek Madness: New way to eat Xoriatiki

Appetizer, Gluten-free, Greek, Main Course, Mediterranean, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Dear Frannnoula,

After adventuring for so long in the flavours and exotic ingredients of the far East, really understanding and appreciating the methodical way of cooking required for such a cuisine. I have landed back on my Greek feet. And well, the truth is that I love Greek food. As long as I was living in Greece, I never had a shortage of great home-cooked Greek meals, really anywhere you go, everyone just makes amazing food. (It obviously helps that the places I went were: home, Yiayia M.’s home, and Yiayia Z.’s house!) However, now, I need to remember how to make it again!

For warm up round, I decided I would start with the most basic food of them all.

Xoriatiki (horiatiki) is the well known “Greek salad”; the one with no lettuce or ready made dressing(no, ABSOLUTELY NEVER). The key to success and true genius of this salad are found in 2 things. First, only use freshest, most fragrant, in-season, sunkissed vegetables. Second, the better the olive oil, the better your salad will taste. This salad is not a dainty salad, is it a rough cut, rustic type of salad, so no need to whip out your knife skills on this one. In fact, it only tastes right if it is roughly chopped, if you almost need a knife to cut the tomatoes into smaller, actual bite size, pieces.

Last week, when we had some friends for dinner, one of them asked me how I dealt with the quality(or lack thereof) of the vegetables available in Oxford. And my response was “I try to work around it”. So no, this post is not about xoriatiki, as you would have it in Greece, it is about how to eat xoriatiki outside of Greece (and out of season).

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 500g (2 cups) Cherry Tomatoes* quartered
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 9 olives sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 100 gr feta (1/2 cup)
  • Oregano

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put a frying pan over medium heat. Once it is warmed up, pour in 1 tbsp olive oil and swirl around to coat the whole bottom of the pan.
  2. Add garlic and onion and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  3. Add peppers and cook until they start to become tender, 5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, olives, vinegar and remaining olive oil, cook until heated through, 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Place on a dish and garnish with thick chunky slice of feta and oregano, and ENJOY!

*You can use any kind of tomato you like, this one is the only one that has a tomato taste, over here. this time of year.

Cooking all of these ingredients, brings out their natural sweetness and help to make the tomatoes as sweet as they are during the summer months!

Hope you had a great weekend!!

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