Basic Tomato Sauce (Saltsa Domata)

In the winter, when good, ripe tomatoes are not available, use canned, or slice and roast the pale available tomatoes to make them more flavorful. Instead of sugar, I like to sweeten the sauce with currents.  

Beyond pasta, the sauce can be used on flat,  breads complemented with crumbled feta or any other cheese. It is the basis for the vegetarian mousaka, and also for the stuffing for papoutsakia (eggplant slippers), with the addition of chopped, sauteed bell peppers and feta, graviera or any other cheese, with or without walnuts, or other nuts.

Yields about 3 cups sauce, enough for 1 pound pasta          

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Pickled Huevos Haminados (slow-cooked Eggs in Onion Skins)

1a-eggs-pickle-jar1-smallThe pickled eggs taste better if they are slow-cooked with onion skins. But plain, hard-boiled eggs work well too. Serve as appetizer, drizzled with good, fruity olive oil, sprinkling with salt and pepper, or add to any salad of fresh, boiled or steamed vegetables. They complement beautifully bean, chickpea or lentil soups.

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6 eggs ( 6-12 appetizer portions) (more…)

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Slow Cooked Eggs (Huevos Haminados) Decorated with Leaves

Two years ago, with eggs from our neighbor’s hens, I made these onion-skin-colored Easter eggs, most of which I later pickled, because what I like most is pickled huevos haminados, which are simply delicious!

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Sephardic Jews who live in Salonika, and all around the Mediterranean, prepare huevos haminados (baked eggs) as they were called in Ladino, the dialect of the Jews who were expelled from Spain. Prepared on Fridays to serve on the Sabbath, they were originally placed in a covered clay pot filled with onion skins and water and baked in a communal oven, hence the name. Later, the eggs were simmered for hours on top of the stove. The onion skins darken the white shells and give the eggs a distinctive flavor and creamy texture.

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Liver Pâté with Thyme, Orange, and Pistachios

A fast and easy pâté that I make with the flavorful innards from the free-range turkey or the rooster we get for our festive winter lunches.

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I no longer remember which pâté recipe served as the base for my adaptation. As is my habit, I start by sautéing the onions with olive oil, instead of butter or duck fat, adding orange jest and also pomegranate molasses, which give it a lovely, fruity flavor. I prefer to use unsalted pistachios, but if you cannot get them, salted are fine.

This pâté is an ideal appetizer or first course, served with a simple green salad, like the one we make from the Romaine and other lettuce leaves and arugula from the garden.

I am sure your friends will appreciate a jar of this homemade pâté, so you may like to double the recipe.

Serves 6-8, about 2 ½ cups 
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Rustic Chocolates with Dried Figs and Nuts

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Adapted from Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts.

These bitter-chocolate-nut-and-fruit bars are delicious and almost guilt-free, as they have no added sugar. You will enjoy eating them and they make a much-appreciated edible gift; in any event, they are less of a problem when you bring to a friend’s dinner party, since flowers are a pain for the hosts who must stop everything and try to find a vase…

For about 80 pieces (more…)

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Citrus Fruit ‘Cheese’ with Pistachios

My way of recycling my leftover, homemade marmalade of previous years. The citrusy pieces are not dense and rubbery as Turkish delights, but somewhat creamier and really delicious, with intense flavor and aroma. I think they will pair beautifully with spicy cheese, with cookies, both sweet and savory, as well as with chocolates.

You can start with a smaller quantity of marmalade, halving the recipe.

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2 ½ kilos (quarts) marmalade: Seville orange, lemon, tangerine, or a combination of different kinds (more…)

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PITTING OLIVES

These picture are very dear to me because I shot them using the hands of my late mother, Frossoula Kremezi. It was during one of the last times she stayed with us here, in Kea.  

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To pit the olives you can use the appropriate tool, which has to be a really strong one, especially if you pit hard, green olives.

I prefer the following method: I place a handful of olives in a plastic bag and flatten them with a meat mallet or a pestle. Then I remove the pits that slip out easily. The olives are ready for chopping.

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Fig Jam: Tipsy and Fragrant

I have found that soft, refrigerated figs that ceased to look attractive make a better jam. For that reason I feel that even the soft, dried California figs would work here instead of the fresh fruit, although I have not tried them yet…

MAKES ABOUT 4 QUARTS (8 one-pint jars)

3 1/2 pounds (1.750 lt.) figs, any kind, purple or green –preferably a mixture of soft and firm fruits

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1 cup sweet red wine, preferably Mavrodaphne of Patras (see Note for substitutions) (more…)

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