Saturday, August 10, 2013


  • I used to buy my pitas at the super market. Panos, my son in law, asked me for a recipe for pitas and so I started looking for one. As I did my morning errands through the neighborhood, I would ask my Greek friends if they had a recipe for pitas.  They all said, "go to the super market, they're good and they're cheap".  I went for my daily swim at the little church, where the same people gather for the passed 20 years that I've lived here.  I asked the international crowd there for a recipe for pitas.  Finally, I was given two recipes, both from foreigners.  I tried them both and found the one from Georgia to be outstanding. The one from Bulgaria didn't have yeast, but both ladies told me the secret to soft pitas was using milk and not water.  Yannis made meatballs last night and I made a salad and yogurt dip and we piled it all on the best pitas I've ever tasted!  The recipe is so good that most of it was eaten right out of the pan, with a little salt and butter......nice! I'm so happy I can make fresh pitas so easily.... No matter what any Greek may tell you,. never get them at the supermarket !
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 teas. sugar
  •   let the above mixture sit for 5 minutes, in a large bowl put
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 Tables. salt
  • 2 Tables. olive oil
  • put the yeast mixtures in the middle of the flour and stir in 2 cups of warm milk; knead enough flour into the dough until it won't take any more, but is still elastic. Knead for about 10 minutes.  Place dough in a bowl and wipe with olive oil; cover and let sit for one hour.  Heat a griddle or fry pan and wipe it with olive oil or butter. ( I used butter), divide the dough into 12 balls and cover them with a moist cloth.  Press each ball with your hand into a 10 inch circle ;making the pita about 1/4 inch thick.  Fry over medium to low heat for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Remove and serve with most anything and everything you can think of!!When I say everything...

Monday, June 3, 2013


1 clove garlic 1 medium onion, sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
3 tomatoes, peeled
1 green pepper, seeded
4 raw eggs
1/4 teas. salt
1/4 teas. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup tomato juice

1 cup bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cucumber, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped

Puree the first six ingredients in a blender and mix well with the beaten eggs.  Season with salt, cayenne, vinegar, olive oil and tomato juice and chill.
For the garnish, brown the bread cubes in olive oil with the garlic.  Add the croutons, cucumber, onion and green pepper just before serving.
Gazpacho is actually a liquid salad.  It is one of the most refreshing of soups and must be served ice cold!
Not to be Confused with Gaz-Pug-Cho

As our vegetables would ripen faster than we could pick them from our gardens, we would get out our 5 gallon ice cream pails and make gazpacho.  This soup has been around since ancient days, and has found its way to Minnesota, where we don't like to waste anything. Gazpacho is the  perfect way to enjoy the bounty of summer vegetables.  The ancients recommended the vegetables be pounded to keep the consistency from being too liquid.  We like to add a splash of olive oil and vinegar to give it a bit of a Mediterranean zip.  So get out your mortar and pestle and do some gazpacho with your harvest!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Washington Square Cookies

the wind does make cookie consumption somewhat
difficult for the uninitiated

I have so many wonderful memories of our years in Chicago.  We had great friends, hung out with my brother and his family, enjoyed spectacular fireworks with the kids, danced till sunrise in Greek Town with Yannis and had some of the best cookies ever at a lovely Greek restaurant.  I'm going to make a batch before it gets too hot to be baking. These freeze well and are absolutely the perfect thing to serve with sherbet, ice cream, pudding or yogurt on a hot summer night. They have the consistency of short bread and are crunchy to boot.  If you haven't been to Washington Square, you can make their famous cookies and serve up a bit of the WIndy City in your corner of the world.

Washington Square Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teas. vanilla
Cream butter and sugar till fluffy;add vanilla.

Sift together-
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teas. baking soda
1/2 teas. salt

stir flour mixture into sugar  mixture, add 1 cup oatmeal; blend thoroughly.  Chill for one hour and then shape into a roll. Chill again for an hour, slice into thin cookies.  Bake at 325F./165C. for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Meat Sausages with Mint and Yogurt (Soutzoukakia)

yogurt is a great meat sauce
The first time I ate yogurt I was a teenager.  My friends and I would eat little plastic containers full of sweet, fruity yogurt to keep our figures like Twiggy's.  I didn't have real yogurt until I came to Greece. You haven't had the best yogurt in the world until you've eaten full fat Greek yogurt.  It has the consistency of sour cream and the tangy flavor of cream cheese.  I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in cookies, cakes, dips, and even meat sauces.  Now that I've tasted the combination of mint and lemon in yogurt, I highly recommend this as the flavor of the month.....try it and see if you don't agree.

Meat Sausages with Mint and Yogurt  (Soutzoukakia)

1 1/4 lb. ground beef
2 1/2 slices white bread, without crusts
4 Tbsp. ground bread crumbs
1 medium onion, grated and drained
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
juice of one lemon
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

Soak bread slices in 3/4 cup milk, squeeze very well and grate it into the hamburger; add the bread crumbs, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, onion and salt and pepper; mix thoroughly for five minutes; cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Shape the meat mixture into 2" oval sausages and place on a platter;  In a short, wide teflon pan heat the remaining olive oil and butter; place sausages in the pan and brown on all sides for 10 minutes.  Mix the yogurt, lemon and mint and pour over the sausages, shaking the pan gently till liquid is evenly distributed; simmer for 5 minutes and serve immediately over mashed potatoes.  I like to serve this with string beans or zucchini and a cucumber and onion salad  dressed with a garlic vinagrette, and of course plenty of rose wine.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cantaloupe with Feta

If you've read the title of the post, that's pretty much all you need.

the best way to eat this is on a balcony in Poros
Cantaloupe with Feta

1/2 cantaloupe, cleaned and chunked
1/2 cup or so feta

This is THE BEST thing you can eat when the temperature is skyrocketing.  It might sound like an odd mix if you've never tried it before, but the combination is di-vine.  It also works with watermellon (and I bet peaches, too)!

If you won't try your canteloupe with feta, at least try this

The difficult part of this recipe is getting to Crete to choose your melon.  These melons just came into their prime here in Greece.  We enjoy this perfect medley of flavors for breakfast, afternoon snacks and even dessert.  I'm sure any flavorful, firm cantaloupe will fill the bill for this recipe, so give it a try; it's really the perfect refreshing summer combination!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Galatopita -- Custard Pie

If all food values were the same; nutritionally, calorically, and fat wise, what would you eat everyday for breakfast, I asked Yannis this morning.  Without missing a beat, he replied,"bougatsa!" It used to be that every bakery in Greece served up hot bougatsa, or milk custard, in a pocket of filo and then splashed generously with powdered sugar and cinnamon.  My choice would be Sandy's caramel rolls or eggs benedict with asparagus, but since we live in Greece and it's Easter Week, we get to enjoy all the treats the season has to offer here.. We won't be eating bougatsa or milk pie every day, but we sure will enjoy it as long as it lasts.......that's why we're making the gigantic size...Easter Week is a long holiday in Greece!!

Galatopita   (Bougatsa) 

2 liters fresh milk
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup fine semolina  (farina or cream of wheat)
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 cup butter
4 teas. vanilla
6 eggs, lightly beaten

"I didn't eat all the galatopita"...
Bring the milk and sugar to a boil, add the semolina and cook till creamy; add the butter and vanilla and salt and allow to cool a bit before adding the beaten eggs.  Pour into a teflon or pyrex pan , with or without filo (2-3 sheets) on the bottom and then on top of the milk mixture.  Bake for about 1/2 hour  at 350.F/180 C.  Serve hot sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar...breakfast honestly just doesn't get any better than this!!!  Or Lunch.. or dinner.. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

--a note from your friendly neighborhood Editor on Greek Easter

--READERS you are so lucky that you get my parents' sweet recipes and that this isn't a blog about what their neighbor, Maro is cooking in her kitchen today:

--just sayin'...

the adorable Maro and her not so adorable friend.