Salad of Beets and Beet Greens with Walnuts and Mint

I was inspired to re-create the salad often served at Fabrika tou Efrosynou, our favorite Athens tavern, in Koukaki. Sliced apples are mixed in the tavern’s salad, and the beets used are usually very small and tender. But since it isn’t easy to find this kind of beets unless you grow your own, I have adapted the salad for the more common large beets, omitting the apples.

Traditionally we boil the beets in water until tender, cooking the greens and stems separately, before assembling them in a salad, which is often complemented with Skordalia (garlic sauce).

 

 

Serves 6-8 (more…)

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Savory Cake (or quick bread) with Olives, Cheese, and Pine Nuts

This is a quite lovely meze-cake to enjoy in the garden, accompanied by crisp white or rose wine in the first sunny spring days. On this olivewood stand that I asked our friend, the brilliant wood-carver Panos to make for me the cake looks even more sumptuous. The basic idea comes from Les Cahiers de Delphine, the always interesting weekly newsletter.

 

Of course, I made quite a few changes, using local green olives instead of the black from Provence, and scallions, instead of the chives that are not available here. As I always do, I substituted olive oil for the butter, and grated aged graviera cheese for the parmesan, I increased the amount of pine nuts and sunflower seeds and added rosemary which gave a lovely aroma to the cake.

I baked it in a pan with a hole in the center, but you can of course use a loaf pan, or a simple round 8-inch pan. This meze cake is best slightly warm, or just cooled.

 

At least 8 generous appetizer pieces (more…)

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Yogurt, Spinach, Parsley & Beet Salad (borani)

In this recipe both cooked spinach and fresh parsley and cilantro are mixed together. It is my adaptation of an Armenian dish.

In Israel you will most often find the vivid pink ‘borani’, made with beets and beet greens instead of spinach (see variation). 

 

beet-yogurt

As an alternative to the traditional pita bread, I prefer to spread it on toasted whole wheat or multi-grain bread, rubbed with a clove of garlic.

It can also be a side dish, accompanying poached or grilled fish or chicken.

 

Makes about 3 cups. (more…)

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Spanakopita-like Bread with Greens, Scallions, Herbs, and Cheese

I usually have pieces of my basic bread or laganes dough in the fridge, so the other day I decided to use the wild greens Costas had collected from the garden to make this fast and irresistible greens and cheese tart, or pizza-like spanakopita. If you like, you can top the greens with a mixture of yogurt and egg just before transferring the skillet to the oven (see variation).

You can probably make this spanakopita-bread  with store-bought, whole-wheat pizza dough, if you are not up to making you own bread dough from scratch. 

 

For a 9-inch round bread, or 2 stuffed loaves  (more…)

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Cabbage Salad in Orange-vinegar Dressing

Cabbage is associated with winter in Greece. “You can’t have tender, sweet cabbage before the winter cold,” a farmer in Kea told me one October morning. The trick to turn almost any cabbage into a good salad is to “knead” the finely shredded leaves with salt and lemon juice. Here, instead of lemon a combination of orange and white ‘balsamic’ vinegar is used. The cabbage and carrots wilt and shrink, becoming juicy and delicious.

I tasted this salad recently at Ourania’s Tavern, on Samos island, and was fascinated. Ourania, the owner and cook, told us that the longer you leave the salad in the fridge, the better it gets;  she was right,  of course. 

 

 

4 to 6 servings

(more…)

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