Appetizers, Vegetarian

Pies with onions of Tasa (Kremidokalitsouna tis Tasas)

 

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     This recipe can be found for the first time at Chania during the Second World War. The ingredients for food back then were few and not easy to find. Nevertheless, the Cretan housewives who knew how to cook according with the Cretan traditional cuisine, took advantage of three ingredients (flour, dry onions and olive oil) which they could find in Crete, prepare small pies with onions (commonly referred as kremidokalitsouna).

    My recipe for “kremidokalitsouna” is the one that Tasa taught me. Tasa was a wonderful cook and even better woman who I had the luck to have as my mother in law. She used to make delicious Kremidokalitsouna. I will never forget that the first time I taste them, she didn’t tell me that there is onion (back then I was young and I didn’t like onion that much). I only taste the onion in a second pie. Since then they have become an irreplaceable part of my recipes and I feel very proud every time my siblings say that my pies taste the same with those of Tasa.

what you will need:

      for the dough:

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  • 1/2 kilo all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 250 ml water at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • plenty olive oil for frying

       

   for the filling:

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  • 1 kilo dry onions peeled and cut into thin slices.
  • 1 small ripe tomato (50 gr), coarsely cut
  • a pinch cinnamon
  • salt, pepper
  • 30 ml, olive oil

 the recipe step by step:

1. Prepare the dough:

    Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and half of the water and mix these ingredients by working them with your finger tips.

    Gradually add water, knead by hand until dough is soft and smooth. Cover with a towel and leave it for 30 minutes.

 

   2. Prepare the filling:

    Put olive oil, onions, tomato, salt, pepper and cinnamon in a large frying pan. Sauté and stir gently for about 5 minutes. Transferred the filling in a colander until the most of the liquid has disappear.

   Alternatively place the onions and salt in a bowl. Squeeze strongly with your palms for 5 minutes. Add tomato, pepper and cinnamon, mix well and put in the colander to drain well.

 

3. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, roll out the dough (approx. 0,2 cm thick), on a floured surface, and cut it into circles (about 12 cm diameter).

 

Μ-κρεμμυδοκαλίτσουνα (2)

 

5. In a frying pan on medium heat put the olive oil and fry the onion pies on both sides until they become golden. Remove and place them on absorbing paper.

 

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    Alternatively place the pies into a lined pan with non-stick paper and brush both sides with an olive oil. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180° C for 30′ or until they become brown.

 

tips and tricks

  • If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour.
  • Kremidokalitsa with raw onions are better baked in the oven, while the ones that have been sautéed onions are better fried in the pan.
  • You can freeze them. Place the pies in layers on a shallow pun. Between the layers, add double non-stick paper. Cook them as above, without defreezen.

                               Bon appetite – Kali orexi

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main dish

Meatballs Soup (Yοuvarlakia Avgolemono)

 

Meatballs Soup with egg-lemon sauce, also known as Yοuvarlakia avgolemono is an easy but delicious Greek dish. It’s a winter dish. The secret of the recipe is the egg-lemon sauce, which gives a nice texture and flavor.

What you will need:

for the meatballs (youvarlakia):

  • 500 gr minced beef
  • 1/2 cup rice (Carolina) washed and drained in a colander
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil + 4 tablespoons extra
  • 4-6 cups water or broth
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour (optional)

for the egg lemon sauceDSC_0468.JPG

  • 2 eggs
  • juice of 1-2 lemons (more to taste)
  • broth from the pot

 

 

 

the recipe step by step:

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1. Start by making the meatballs (youvarlakia). Place into a large bowl the meatballs ingredients (minced beef, rice, onions, egg, parsley, dill, 4 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper).

 

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2. Knead the mixture with your hand until combined.

 

 

 

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3. Form the mixture into small balls.

 

 

 

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4. Roll them into the flour (shaking off any excess flour) and set them aside.

 

 

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5. In a large sauce pan pour the water or broth, the olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to the boil.

 

 

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6. Turn the heat down and gently add the meatballs in the stock, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes. (The water should be enough to cover the meatballs, adding more warm water if needed).

Once meat is cooked, remove the pot from the heat.

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7. Prepare the egg-lemon sauce as follows:

Crack and separate the eggs. Put the white in a deep glass bowl and the yolks in a small saucer.

 

 

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8. Whisk the whites well.

 

 

 

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9. Whisking adds into the bowl the yolks, and the lemon juice.

 

 

 

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10. Whisking add slow ladles of hot broth.

 

 

 

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11. Stir gently the egg-lemon sauce into the youvarlakia and simmer for 2-3 more minutes over medium heat, until hot but not boiling.

 

 

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tips and tricks

  1. Serve while still hot with (optionally) a sprinkle of chopped parsley or dill or peppermind.
  2. Always serve with some nice hard bread. The crisp and lightly brown bread makes for a perfect dipping agent and truly soaks up all of the savory liquid in the bowl with ease.
  3. Ιf you don’t use flour your broth will be thinner.
  4. You can replace the water with broth or vegetables stock
  5. If you want youvarlakia with egg-lemon sauce put 3 cups of water.
  6. The youvarlakia is summer food, if instead of egg-lemon sauce put grated tomatoes with water.

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Bon appetite – Kali orexi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Χωρίς κατηγορία

Easter cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 kg flour
  • 400 g. Butter
  • 750 g. Sugar
  • 9 eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ cup of milk (room temperature or slightly warm)
  • ½ cup of alousia*
  • 25 ml of ouzo
  • 45 gr of ammonia
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 25 gr. baking powder
  • Gum mastic crushed (mastic is a resin obtained from the mastic tree)
  • 8 vanilla
  • Half lemmon

*Alousia is made as follow: To a glass of water dissolve two tablespoons of ashe from burnt clean wood. Boil the mixture for 2 or 3 minutes and allow to settle. Then strain it carefully either by using filter coffee or by putting tulle and cotton to a strainer.

 

Instructions

  • Separate the eggs to yolks and whites
  • Shake the egg whites to meringue
  • Mix the flour and the baking powder
  • In a mixer, mix the flour with the sugar
  • To the mixture, add one by one all the yolks and the vanilla and continue mixing
  • Dissolve the ammonia in the milk and pour it
  • Dissolve soda in ouzo and pour
  • Add the alousia, gum mastic, lemmon and a teaspoon of flour
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and add meringue and flour alternately, stirring by hand
  • Knead a soft pliable dough. You may need a little more flour
  • Make cookies and place them in pans
  • Brush the surface with egg and bake at 180 degrees until they take gold colour

 

Tips

We can crush the gum mastic with a teaspoon of sugar.

The egg mixture which we use to brush the surface is made from mix egg yolks diluted 2 or 3 teaspoons of water.

 

Χωρίς κατηγορία

Kidonopasto (Quince Paste)

Ingredients

  • Quince
  • Sugar

 

Instructions

  • Wash and clean the quinces by removing the stems, the hard parts and the skin.
  • Put the purified quinces in a baking sheet and bake in oven at 180 Celsius for approximately 2 hours OR put them in a cooking pot, cover them with water and boil them until they become soft. When ready you can drain the water.
  • Grind the quinces
  • Measure the pulp in glasses and then put it in a large cooking pot.
  • Add sugar at the same amount of glasses and add it.
  • Stir and leave it for an hour to melt the sugar.
  • If you want you can use honey instead of sugar. The quince paste becomes transparent with honey.
  • Begin cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  • Continue stirring, if necessary, lowering the heat until the mixture is reduced in volume and the colour to be darker.
  • If you wish, at this point, you can add blanched almonds.
  • Lay wax paper on a baking tray and pour the mixture.
  • Flatten the surface to have the same thickness and leave for 2-3 days to dry.
  • Cut the surface into small pieces of your choice.
  • If you want, you can roll them in granulated sugar and then wrap with plastic film.

 

Tips

  • You can preserve them in a dark place, out of the refrigerator, wrapped in gelatin for 1 year.
Appetizers, Vegetarian

Dakos or Koukouvagia (owl) and its history

 

Ingredients

3

  • 2 Local rusks (dakos)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes grated
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Home made cheese (tirozouli)
  • A black olive

Recipe steps

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1. Wet the rusks in water (shaking off any excess water) and cover it with a towel for 5 minutes.

 

 

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2. Put it on a plate, pour it olive oil and little salt. Rub origano in your hands and sprinkle it on the rusk.

 

 

 

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3. Carefully lay out the tomatoes on the rusks.

 

 

 

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4. Then add mizithra above.

 

 

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5. Lastly add the black olive oil above in the center, like the eye of an owl.

6. Sprinkle with olive oil. 

 

 

Tips and tricks

  • You can add more olives or kapari or kritamo for more bitterness and saltiness  
  • With the years, the presentation of “koukouvagia” has been evolved so as to look more with the eye of the animal owl (koukouvagia in Greek). This is why the ingredients are placed with care in circle over the “paximadi”. First the tomato, next the local cheese (mizithra) and a black olive in the middle.

Bon appetite – Kali orexi

 


The History

How the “koukouvagia” takes its name?

The history starts in the decade of 1950 in Rethymno. There was a tavern at the suburbs of the town, where all the forbidden pleasures were gathered there: gabling, smoking, women.

The conservative society of these days did not allowed such shops inside the town.

In this tavern they made round rusks which were offered for quick and stimulant meal. They were offered wet in olive oil and with the known goodies on them.

The rumors say that the owner was called Koukouvagias, a known name back then.

Other rumors say that in the area there were many owls (koukouvagia in Greek) that were witnesses of all the night walkers in the area every night.

The only certain fact is that the namekoukouvagia” end up to be the morning codename for all the gentlemen of the high society by saying to each other “Let’s go for koukouvagia at night”

Nice story


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Χωρίς κατηγορία

Mousaka and it’s history ;)

With a well-recognized name outside of the country, mousakas, along with tzatziki, souvlaki and xoriatiki salad, is a famous representative of Greek cuisine in the eyes of the rest of the world. Still, all this popularity raises the question. How Greek is mousakas and how many different recipes are hidden under its bechamel? In the end what mousakas even mean??

The word mousakas is Arabic and is originated from the word musaqqa whick means «wet» and «notismenos». In free translation this means a juicy food with its sauce. Mousasa is a know food in Middle East, Egypt, Turkey and all the Balkan area. Turkish and Libanese musaka are cooked in pot with vegetables, either with lamb meat chopped like minced meat and either without meat at all. Egyptians cook mousaka with slices of eggplant and tomato without minced meat. Closer to Greek recipe of mousaka is the Persian “magourma” which is a dish with slices of eggplant, onnion and chopped lamb meat.

Greek modern mousaka is a creation of 20 century and is a child of the Sifnian Nikolaou Tselemente. His target was to get rid of the eastern elements from the Greek cuisine and so he add the French mpesamel. His recipe offer another finesse to mousaka that made him famous and loved by the rest of the world.

The first recipes of mousaka in Crete are found in hand-written notebooks that was written in the end of nineteen century. These first recipes received a fast spreading in the urban centers since the recipes were found more and more in the start of 1920 decade. In suburban areas, the mousaka started to be known from the start of twenty century, but it was not still spread in rural areas. This happened mainly because mousakas needed many ingredients and it was not easy for the rural families to gather them and prepare the food. It needed a lot of time too.

They say that mousakas is a combination of low-class and high-class cuisine.

The editions of classic mousaka
Trouble maker but irresistible, mousaka is consists of three chapters: vegetables, minced meat and mpesamel. Its success is hidden on the balance of these three ingredients. The three layers have to be equal without too much mpesamel.

The vegetables can make many combinations in mousaka. Eggplant alone, eggplant with potato, potato alone, eggplant with zucchini and potatos, with or without peppers. Which combination you choose is up to you and your taste.

The secret of eggplant
The ideal cut of eggplant is moderate thickness slices. The cleaning are at striped strips or with the peel, something that makes the mousaka more beautiful and helps the eggplant to stay in one piece when cooked.

My grandma, which was from Constantinople and was elite shef, thought that the eggplant has to be alone without potato. This can result in a more light and gourme mousaka.

Mousaka should not absorb much olive oil. In order to succeed this, you have to let the eggplants for one hour at least in cold salty water. Then dry them and fry them in olive oil, always covered in order to be protected from the splashes that comes out all the time. Then, place them in strainer and let them dry a whole night. The amount of olive oil which gone, makes the mousaka lighter. For an even better result, you cut the slices a bit more thick, brush them with olive oil and cook them for 30 minutes in 180 C.

My secret of taste: Along with the eggplant, i cook or fry 3-4 peppers which i cut in the middle.

 

The minced meat

*In the classic recipe, the minced meat is from lamb, which fits perfectrly with the eggplant, or a mixture of pork and veal. Nevertheless, it is better to avoid the fat free minced meat. The fat makes the difference.

*According to your taste, you can also add some cinnamon, some allspice or just 1 full spoon from a mixture of spices for pork or chicken.

*Dropping the temperature with white wine gives some more taste.

Χωρίς κατηγορία

Mpriam (ratatouille)

Ingredients:

  • 2 flaskes eggplants
  • 2 big zucchinis
  • 2 medium size potatoes
  • 2 pepper (1 green,1 red)
  • 2 mature tomatoes or 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 big or 3 medium size dry onions
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt
  • pepper

 

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200 0C (at air and oven registors).
  • Wash and clean the vegetables
  • Cut the eggplants, the zucchinis and the potatoes in sticks of 2cm thickness.
  • Clean the fibers, seeds and stalks from the peppers and cut them in sticks.
  • Cut the potatoes in 6 or 8 pieces depending on their size or if we have tomatoes we cut them in the middle.
  • Clean the onions and cut them in thick slices.
  • Put the mixed vegetables in a pot.
  • Grind the garlic with olive oil and vinegar in a blender and pour over the vegetables.
  • Salt and pepper and sprinkle with the herbs.
  • Mix well with your hands or with two spoons.
  • Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 1 hour.
  • The first 30 minutes we bake the food covered. Towards the end of baking we expose the food to brown.
Χωρίς κατηγορία

Taramosalata (Fish roe with bread)

Ingredients

  • 150 gr fish roe
  • 200 gr crumb of stale bread
  • about 300 ml olive oil
  • 1 small size onion
  • Lemon juice (about three lemons)
  • For garnish (1-2 onions, parsley and olives)

Instructions

  • Put the bread in a deep bowl with water and leave it to soak. Then wring it with your hands until it drain well.
  • Toss the crumb of bread, the onions and the fish roe into the blender and blend them until you mix them. Next, start to drop little by little the olive oil and the lemon juice. The mixture should become homogenized and has the texture of a smooth cream.
  • Try your salad and if it is necessary you can add a little more olive oil or lemon juice.
  • Serve in deep bowls and garnish with fresh chopped parsley and olives.

Tips

  1. The white fish roe has more spicy taste than the red one.
  2. The white fish roe needs more bread and olive oil because it is more spicy.
Χωρίς κατηγορία

Politiki salad

Ingredients

 

  • ½ kg chopped cabbage (white and slightly purple)
  • 3 carrots, grated on a coarse grater
  • 2 red peppers cut as matchsticks (julienne style)
  • 1 green pepper also cut in julienne style
  • ½ bunch chopped parsley   
  • 2 sprigs of chopped celery
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed
  • ½ cup of vinegar tea
  • ½ glasses of wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olives for garnish

 

Instructions

  • From the cabbage you remove all the damaged outer leaves and chop them into a deep bowl or salad bowl
  • Wash the peppers, remove their stalks and their seeds and cut them like matchsticks (julienne). Chop the parsley and rub or crush garlic.
  • Pour the peppers, the garlic and the parsley in the salad. Add salt and pepper and mix the salad.
  • Add olive oil, vinegar and water and mix the salad again
  • Cover the bowl and let your salad in a cool place or in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving it.

 

Tips

If you mind the garlic but you like it’s taste, you can avoid using garlic and instead just spread on with a cut clove the walls of the bowl.

Χωρίς κατηγορία

Chicken with okra

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Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (1-1 ½ kg)
  • ½ kg okra
  • 2 onions (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (melted)
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes (chopped)
  • ½ bunch parsley (chopped)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vinegar
  • ¾ cup of olive oil

Instructions

  • Peel the okra with a sharp knife, by remove the hard casing on the top without removing the entire top. Wash them with plenty water, drain and drizzle them with vinegar and let them under the sun for 1-2 hours.
  • Clean the chicken, cut it in food portions, wash it and leave it dry completely.
  • Put the oil in the pot to warm up. If you can’t fit all the chicken in a layer, put it little by little, we brown it and take it out of the pot.
  • Put and saute the onion and the garlic
  • Add the chicken, the tomatoes, some water, salt and pepper and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Replace the chicken to a pan or clay pot
  • Add the okra into the sauce to boil for a few seconds and then pour them in the pan (where you put chicken) with their sauce
  • Add the chopped parsley and add a little salt if necessary.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil or it’s lid and bake at 180 celsius for 1 hour. The last 10 minutes expose it to get colour.

Tips

Instead of letting the okra under the sun, we can also fry them to wilt them.