Posts Tagged ‘Greek food’

Dinner Rush! Greek Meatballs with Lemon-Dill Tzatziki

The clean, fresh flavors of a Greek sandwich — lemon, tomato, cucumber, onion and spiced meat wrapped in flatbread — are so ubiquitous that they can feel somewhat cliched, but the authentic gyro experience is a thing of true beauty. In a perfect world, one would find an amazing Greek restaurant that cooks the meat on a vertical spit, basting the rotating roast in its own delicious juices. The cook would then carve off thin slices of the meat and roll them up in a warm pita with crispy vegetables and tangy tzatziki. It would be “sauce dripping down your chin” bliss.

Until you have that restaurant nearby, these not-quite-rotisserie-style spiced meatballs absolutely hit the spot.

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Get a Grandma’s Web-Only Family Thanksgiving Recipe for Greek Cookies

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Mo Rocca with George and Kathy Boulukos

I consider Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays, and I love to prepare the traditional foods of America — with a few twists. For example, I always stuff a huge turkey, but I use a very traditional Greek chopped-meat stuffing, which includes chestnuts and raisins (but no breadcrumbs!).

Since I am a huge dessert lover, I always include one special cookie from my family archives to serve. It is an old Greek family cookie recipe from my mother called Pastules. The cookies seem to hit the spot, since they’re small butter-type cookies and the perfect ending to a big meal. I make them year-round.

Quite simple to make, Pastules are basically butter cookies with a few changes, namely that you dip the rolled balls of raw cookie dough into beaten egg whites, then into a chopped-almond mixture. You then place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and make a small indentation in the center of each cookie. Once the cookies have baked and cooled, you sprinkle them with powdered sugar and add a tiny dollop of jam in the center. I try to use fig preserves, as fig preserves are very popular in Greek cuisine. However, other jam will suffice, so I sometimes use orange preserves.

These cookies can be prepared a week ahead and stored in an airtight container.  Since they’re so easy to make (form little balls, dip in egg white, then roll in nuts), if my grandchildren are around, they like to help make them.

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Party in Five: Mediterranean Dinner Party

We here at Cooking Channel love a good party. But throwing a memorable event requires more than just gathering some food and drinks. We show you how, with just five main “ingredients” (including recipes, big-impact decorating ideas and easy DIY elements), you can throw a party that feels like it has a cohesive theme — minimal work required.

During the summer, it can be a challenge to find interesting alternatives to the typical backyard dinner party. Next time you find yourself playing hostess, take inspiration from the ultimate sunny getaway — Greece. The bright white houses and azure seas of romantic coastal towns easily inspire blue, white and natural-hued decor, but just the same as it is in Greece, the food is really the star. A menu filled with salty olives and cheese, warm bread and herbed meat will transport guests to the Mediterranean (and if you’re lucky, you might just catch a pink-hued sunset).

To host your own Mediterranean-inspired dinner party, you’ll need five essential ingredients:

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Dinner Rush! Grilled Shrimp and Greek Bread Cheese

So there I am, minding my own business, scanning over the hundred-and-some-odd cheeses that populate my favorite local market’s cold case. The usual suspects are there in force: cheddar varieties for days, countless Camemberts, some funky monkey “pistachio-infused” wedge in coordinating green. And then I spot bread cheese.

What, what? Bread cheese? I mean, I’ve done bread + cheese, but ne’er without the two entering into our engagement as initially separate entities. Rick, the archetypal cheese man in his cute tweed derby cap, likens it to a grilling cheese. “The flavor is pretty mild,” he tells me, “like a halloumi but not as salty. People buy it up like crazy and eat it for breakfast and dessert. I guess you could use it as a savory snack, too. That would be good.” In the basket it goes.

Juustoleipa, as the Finnish call their native creation, translates to “cheese bread.” The idea is that this cheese is made and then baked, giving it a beautiful signature golden-brown surface appearance. To serve it, the Finnish recommend warming it in a microwave or an oven to soften the center. They’re wicked fancy and traditionally make theirs with reindeer milk, but we mostly get cow’s milk varieties in the U.S. Echoing Rick’s comment, it’s usually served as a breakfast or dessert item smothered in preserves or honey and nuts, but I’ve got other plans.

Combining some Greek salad-inspired flavors of tomato, olive, cucumber and oregano, this surprisingly filling meal offers a fun bit of something different from the typical pasta/rice/polenta portion of dinner. It’s got a great chewy (some say “squeaky”) texture that’s just as satisfying as any traditional carbohydrate. Give it a whirl, and leave me a comment below or on Facebook and let me know what you did with it!

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The Luckiest Food to Eat in May: Vasilopita from Greece

Photo by Kankana Saxena

The delicious Greek cake vasilópita is considered to bring good luck to the person who gets the slice that contains the treasure of a floori, a coin baked into the cake. Author of the beautiful book Greek Chic Cuisine (, 2010) Stephanie Patsalis shares the legend behind the cake: “The most popular New Year’s custom is cutting of the vasilópita (bread for St. Basil) in honor of a miracle performed by St. Basil. The Roman emperor Julian had commanded St. Basil to collect a large tax. But before it could be turned over to the emperor to stop him from sacking the city, the emperor was killed elsewhere. In gratitude, the people gave two-thirds of the riches to charity. St. Basil then became responsible for returning the remaining riches to the people. However, they could not agree on the rightful owners. St. Basil suggested that the women bake the valuables inside a large pita. When he cut the bread, each owner miraculously received their right share of valuables. Today a single coin is baked inside each loaf to honor this miracle and the recipient has good luck.” The tradition has been around for centuries, and depending on the part of Greece you are from, it could be a cake or bread that you are baking and serving.

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All the Greek You Can Eat, Tonight on Food(ography)


Make sure to wear a loose-fitting toga for tonight’s episode of Food(ography), because it’s jam-packed with amazing Greek food from your favorites! 

Mo Rocca visits Chef Michael Psilakis for Grilled Fish 101 featuring his Grilled Branzino and Grilled Octopus at Kefi. Then say opa to ouzo at New Jersey’s Axia Restaurant with leading author Diane Kochilas — get a load of their Moussaka:

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