With Strawberries & Cream, or with Chocolate & Almonds

Starting from my Tsoureki —the the sweet, orange-flavored olive-oil-brioche-like dough I used for the Mallorca buns– I halved it and created two, very different festive, spring dessert versions.

For the first –our Easter cake– I used the sweet brioche instead of any other base to make a fresh strawberry treat. The other half of the dough I flattened, sprinkled with chopped semi-sweet chocolate, and ground almonds, then rolled into a loaf, and baked. Had I seen Lior’s Babka I would have cut and twisted the rolled dough to make it more spectacular. (more…)

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Chard Leaves Stuffed with Vegetables, Rice, Herbs and Fish

The garden offers me plenty of large chard leaves, often in different colors, all through May, and it is so easy to roll them into large bundles, preferably without blanching them first.

In my last book I have the vegetarian version of the stuffed leaves, although the original idea came to me from the salt-cod-stuffed lettuce leaves I had many years ago at a tavern near the archaeological site of ancient Corinth.  Here is my adaptation of that recipe.

 

WATCH the video

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Make the dish at least a day in advance and let cool completely before refrigerating; then you can serve it room temperature or reheat briefly reheat it. Accompany with yogurt, labne or with skordalia (garlic sauce).

 

Serves 6 (more…)

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Yogurt Bread Stuffed with Cheese or Chocolate

This is a delicious, moist and very easy bread dough.

I describe here how you can make it into savory or sweets treats.

No need to make them both the same day, though. Just keep half the dough in the fridge to stuff and bake within the next 2-3 days making the sweet or savory version.  

 

You also can form into loaves or small buns and eat instead of any other bread; it makes wonderful sandwiches.

The cheese-stuffed bread is a lovely accompaniment to soups and vegetable dishes, or served as meze with  drinks. The chocolate bread can be part of breakfast or accompany soft cheese or served with tea, and coffee.

 

Yields 2 round loaves
(more…)

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Preserved Lemons: Fast, Truly Edible, and Fragrant

This recipe is inspired from the ‘Preserve Lemon Chutney’ by the late chef Floyd Cardoz –victim of  the corona-virus epidemic. It brilliantly solves the problem of the straightforward, whole lemons made the traditional way, which loose their fruitiness as they take ages to ferment. 

 

But most importantly when they finally do ferment and their pith becomes soft and nearly translucent, they usually have such a strong, salty and bitter taste that their use as flavoring are extremely limited. Even few pieces added to rubs or marinades for meat or oily fish can overpower all other flavors and aromatics in a way that is not actually pleasant even for the most avid lemon lovers as myself; Costas really hates them.

 

 

So last year I had a revelation reading the recipe for ‘Preserve Lemon Chutney’ by the late chef Floyd Cardoz .

 

One of the victims of Covid 19, “Mr. Cardoz was the first chef born and raised in India to lead an influential New York City kitchen, at Tabla, which he and the restaurateur Danny Meyer opened in the Flatiron district of Manhattan in 1998. Soon after, Ruth Reichl of The New York Times gave Mr. Cardoz’s cooking a rapturous review,” as we read in his NYT Obituary.

 

His brilliant description of how to make fast and fruity fermented lemon wedges, in order to use them for his chutney, was really what I was looking for. I tested and played with his instructions –not the chutney, but just the preserved lemons— and here is what I now make and use and love!

 

 

“At the restaurant we preserve lemons all year round, and use them endlessly in salads, dishes with a north African feel, or puréed with crème fraîche, which we serve on roasted fish,” writes chef Cardoz.

 

 

I would add that these wonderful lemon pieces are complimenting my skordalia (garlic sauce), as well as potato salads, boiled greens (horta), steamed broccoli or cauliflower, and of course poached fish or chicken. I like to julienne the preserved lemon pieces and use in my salad dressings, and to flavor freshly cured olives, and all kinds of bean salads.

 

Fast Preserved Lemon Wedges

 

For 1 litre (quart) Jar (more…)

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The Green, Winter Greek Salad

Inspired from the traditional Lesbos winter salad as I adapted it from the recipe in my book The Foods of the Greek Islands.   Greek Salad is seasonal here; in the summer tomatoes are its basic ingredient but in the winter it is definitely green.

 

 

Greek Salad is seasonal here; in the summer tomatoes are its basic ingredient, but in the winter it is definitely green.  From the first October rains up until the end of April, the greengrocers of Mytilini, the capital of Lesbos, used to sell each head of romaine lettuce tied together with two or three sprigs of borage (often with its little blue flowers), two or three scallions, several sprigs of peppery arugula, four or five sprigs of dill or fennel fronds, a few sprigs of peppery wild cress and either fresh mint or a little wild celery. Once home, these essential ingredients for the local green winter salad are thinly sliced and tossed with a simple vinaigrette.

It’s important to cut the greens at the last moment and to slice them very thin. If they are coarsely cut, the salad will taste different.

 

 

Makes 4 servings (more…)

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