Pan Roasted Vegetables

No recipe needed for this glorious, yet very easy vegetable medley that can be the ideal accompaniment to charcoal-grilled meat or fish, but we mostly love to eat it by itself, with just feta cheese, along with a deeply-flavored, olive-oil-fried egg from our neighbor’s hens and slices of good, crusty whole-wheat bread.

 

 

Cut into chunks a couple of small, longish, tender eggplants, some peeled butternut squash, one or two bell peppers, add a sliced onion and a couple of garlic cloves and douse them all with olive oil; sprinkle with some cumin, ground coriander seeds, oregano or thyme, plenty of Aleppo (or Maras) pepper flakes and of course salt, and bake in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, tossing once after 30 minutes or so.  

 

 

For my 15×12 inch (37×32 cm) deep pan I used about 1 1/2 pounds squash and more or less the same weight of tender (no seeds) eggplants. (more…)

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Fava, Parsley and Lemon Spaghetti

A fast, plant-based pasta dish that we cannot stop eating these days. I cooked the spaghetti first, al dente, the traditional way,  then added it to the briefly braised fava pods flavored with onion, garlic, lemon juice, and plenty of wonderful parsley that we happen to have in the garden.

Lemon zest and plenty of coarsely ground pepper give the dish a lovely kick, while crumbled feta adds a very welcomed tanginess.

 

This is the more conventional and elegant way to make the dish, besides the One-pot version with Fava, Asparagus, and Spinach that I posted last year.

 

Serves 3-4 (more…)

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Moustokouloura: Grape must cookies

Much like Orange Koulourakia Cookies, you can get moustokouloura (grape must cookies) in the bakeries and in many homes all over Greece all year-round these days. They are made from grape must, the juice of grapes that is used to make house wine, something that used to be done in most parts of the country.

The cookies are deep-flavored and delicious. The grape must is boiled down to become thick petimezi (grape molasses) an pantry item in most traditional homes. Syrupy petimezi is diluted with an equal amount of water to make the cookies.

 

Grape must cookies, right, and Orange Koulourakia, left. 

 

The sweetness of the petimezi determines their taste, as moustokouloura have no additional sugar.  Commercial moustokouloura are usually large, but the homemade ones are smaller.

See also the Ginger and Grape Molasses cookies, my variation of the Ginger Snap ones.

To get 2 1/2 cups traditional petimezi (grape molasses) you need to simmer for about 1 hour or more 2 ½ kilos (5 pounds) grape juice. But to achieve the taste of my favorite island moustokouloura, made in August with the local fresh grape must, or with thinned down petimezi (grape molasses), I boil ordinary grape juice with sultanas and/or currents, and the result is great (see Note).

 

Makes about 3 dozen large cookies (more…)

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Strawberry Cake with Raisins and Almonds

This is my new, spring version of our beloved Quince Cake that started from a recipe of an apple cake/sharlotka by Darra Goldstein. This very easy, wonderful cake has become our go-to winter treat and I was making it all the time.

Now that strawberries appeared in the market,  I adapted Darra’s basic recipe for this early spring fruit.

For a 9-inch round cake –or equivalent square, or 1 large or 2 small loaves  (more…)

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Irresistible Plant Based Pasta Dishes

While in most parts of the world pasta is closely associated with butter and cheese, in Greece we have lots of traditional plant-based pasta dishes, without a trace of animal components. They were the staple of the numerous Lenten days, almost half the year –according to the old Orthodox calendar.

A humble leftover lentil soup becomes a delicious vegan pasta with complex flavor, while in my Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts  I created the Lebanese-inspired Linguine with Spicy Lentils and Caramelized Onions. 

 

 

Our plant-based, vegan dishes are not contrived, but created by the women who had to bring a delicious, filling dish to their family’s table.

 

(more…)

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