Pumpkin, Cranberry, Ginger, and Pistachio Cake

Adapting Julia Moskin’s wonderful All-in-one Holiday Bundt Cake I baked this simpler version using olive oil instead of the butter –as I usually do—and pistachios instead of pecans. I omitted the chopped apple, using a bit more mashed, freshly baked butternut squash.

 

“This holiday recipe comes from the baking expert Dorie Greenspan. She calls it “all-in-one” because it includes elements from both Thanksgiving and Christmas: pumpkin, nutmeg, cranberries and ginger. It’s really the perfect dessert for either feast, or any occasion in between,” writes Moskin in her introduction.

 

 

Both our friends, who were with us this past weekend, as well as Costas, who loves all kinds of moist and nutty cakes, agreed that this is a real treat!

It is very easy to make, especially if you bake it in two long cake pans, as I did, instead of the more elaborate but tricky Bundt pan.

No glaze is necessary, but if you happen to have some lemon curd it is a lovely addition!

 

Makes 2 long Cake Pans (more than 12 servings) (more…)

Share

Read More

Stuffed Mini Squash for a Sumptuous Vegan Thanksgiving

I think this is a perfect main course for your winter dinners and lunches, especially for the Thanksgiving spread.

 

Quince Squash1 stuffed S

My dear fiend, the renowned chef Ana Sortun  brought me again honey-nut-squash to Cyprus (!) where we met recently for yet another wonderful Oldways trip.

Here on Kea I cook them together with quince, and you can do the same, or use them as a substitute,  in case you cannot get the fragrant old apple-like fruit, which is for us the epitome of the Mediterranean winter.

squash mini stuffed1 SI had the chance to taste this incredible, sweet squash, whose skin is also edible, at Oleana, a few years ago. (more…)

Share

Read More

I love Quince!

I have a bowl or a basket with fragrant quince at our kitchen
table almost all winter. 

 

I get them from our trees whenever I think they are almost ready but I often cut them when they are still hard, because if I let them the worms and wasps will get them before us… When I use them up I get new ones and let them ripen and acquire a bright yellow color before I cut them up bake, poach or cook with meat or make our favorite quince preserves.

 

I sometimes make a rolled, strudel-like pie but what I most like are the various savory dishes I have invented (more…)

Share

Read More

Our ‘Florina’ Peppers

Now that the tomatoes and most other summer vegetable plants have died in our garden, our peppers are still thriving!

Peppers-pan-SPeppers-plant1-S

Although peppers are New World vegetables and became part of the Mediterranean food basket quite late –sometime in mid-18th century— we very happily adopted them as our own and it is hard to imagine how we did without them.

We even created our own kinds of hot and sweet peppers, different in each country: this northern Greek ‘Florina’ pepper and the Spanish Ñora are sweet and delicious, while the various Middle Easter mildly hot Aleppo or Maraş pepper flakes are the perfect flavoring for all the dishes of the area.

Peppers-GRILLED-Sa (more…)

Share

Read More

Wild Fennel: Greece’s Mythic Ingredient

An earlier version of this piece appeared in  The Atlantic website.

 

Wild fennel: Greeks call it maratho; Italians refer to it as finocchio selvatico; and it grows all over the Greek islands and the mainland. Marathon, the area south of Athens where in 490 BC Greeks won the famous, decisive battle against the invading Persian army, probably acquired its name because of its abundant fennel fields. A young soldier, Pheidippides, ran the 42 kilometers from Marathon to Athens to announce the triumphant victory, thus inspiring the eponymous run.

 

The 19th-century British poet Robert Browning tapped the myth and, of course, its fennel fields, in his ode to the young runner: “Fight I shall, with our foremost, wherever this fennel may grow,” Pheidippides proclaimed. Little did he know the run from Marathon to Athens would be his last, as “Like wine thro’ clay, / Joy in his blood bursting his heart, he died, the bliss!”

Wild fennel is mostly used as an herb to add aroma to all sorts of vegetable, meat, and fish dishes, and it is essential in marathopites–the small, phylo-wrapped turnovers made in Crete. (more…)

Share

Read More