Slaughtering the Pig

In the dead of winter, when seaside taverns are closed and the cold wind beats mercilessly against the deserted beaches, islanders slaughter their pigs. Pig-slaughtering is still an important annual festival for the locals on Kea, as on all the Cycladic islands.

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In the necessarily frugal old-days, it was an essential undertaking; today it is more of an occasion to gather, eat, and drink homemade wine and raki, the local moonshine… MORE

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Pork Delicacies from the Venetian past

Despite their colonial history, some islands were never occupied by the Ottomans, as the rest of Greece. By the late 15th century Kea was dominated by pirates, almost deserted by its inhabitants.

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It was later repopulated by people who fled from other islands – my maternal grandfather’s family probably came from Patmos, as my mother’s maiden name, Patiniotis, indicates… MORE

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Mushroom, Garlic, and Yogurt Avgolemono

Use the sauce for any kind of stuffed leaves –with meat or vegetarian— as well as with braised greens and other vegetables.

1/2 cup dried wild mushrooms
1 tablespoon wakame or any dried seaweed (optional)
1 1/2 cups very hot water
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
2 large eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice, or more to taste
1 cup thick yogurt, preferably full-fat
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl soak for 20 minutes the mushrooms and seaweed, if using, in 1 1/2 cups very hot water. Drain, reserving the broth, and puree in the blender, together with the garlic.

In a saucepan warm the olive oil and briefly sauté the mashed mushrooms until the garlic starts to smell. Add the wine and the reserved broth, together with 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of water and the yogurt. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and the remaining lemon juice, then whisk this into the egg mixture. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1 1/2 cups of the hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, into the egg mixture.

Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and simmer, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens and starts to boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt, pepper and more lemon juice if you like.

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