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.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Maro's Easter Cookies...Koulourakia

(video to follow soon as I can get it edited...)
It's Big Friday and everything is ready to celebrate Big Fat Greek Easter in two days.  The red eggs are shining in their baskets, the candles for the Saturday night vigil are decorated, the lamb is ready for the spit and the Koulourakia (Easter cookies) have been braided and baked.  Everyone is waiting for midnight Saturday night when the fasting is over.  Everyone will return home after the midnight candle service to cries of "Christ is Risen!", to eat gut soup and start in on the koulourakia!     Anna , my daughter, and Maro and I  made a washtub of cookies!  As we were rolling the dough,it was quite a challenge not to nibble on the butter/ouzo/.lemon batter!!!   I haven't had sugar for 6 weeks,  so thank God we made such a  great batch..and alot of great memories!  Having Anna and Maro in the kitchen is almost as much fun as cooking with Yannis, but not quite as entertaining!!! Kalo Pascha!!!!

That awkard moment when you can't get your koulouri out of your mug
1 1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/3 cup ouzo
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
4 teas. vanilla
1 T. ammonia
1 teas. baking soda
10 cups flour

Beat butter (room temperature), with the sugar till light; and the beaten eggs and mix untill white and frothy.  Add the Soda diluted in the lemon juice, then the ammonia stirred into the ouzo.  Stir in the vanilla and the flour, mixing until the batter will not take any more flour.  Roll into desired shapes, placing on a cookie sheet , well spaced as they expand. Brush with 2 beaten egg yolks and 1 egg white and bake at 380f./180C. for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  This is half of the original recipe and it makes quite a big batch, so sit down and enjoy the rolling with some good coffee and some good company!!!