Apple and Quince Crumble with Caramel

I used apples, or apples together with quince instead of the pears Samantha Seneviratne suggests in NYT Cooking to make this quite wonderful crumble that has a caramel base enriched with cottage cheese, instead of cream. I omitted half of the flour, added breadcrumbs, olive oil and orange juice and the results were delicious, both with just apples, or adding some quince for texture.

Served with or without ice cream, this is a seriously addictive dessert.

 

 

SERVES 8 – 10  (more…)

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Roasted Cabbage with Smoked Pepper and Rosemary

At Nolan restaurant in Athens, I tasted a salad of deliciously ‘burned,’ caramelized winter vegetables –pieces of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli— dressed with a lovely Asian-inspired sauce.  “Roasting cabbage wedges at high heat makes them crisp at the edges and tender in the middle,“ writes Melissa Clark in NYT Cooking.

 

 

Her recipe, the very first I encountered of roasted cabbage wedges –many have been published since– inspired me to try my version.

I omitted the anchovies and parmesan, but added both soy and fish sauce, as well as a large pinch of my favorite hot Florina smoked pepper, along with plenty of rosemary, which I think complements beautifully this Asian-Mediterranean roasted cabbage.  Costas and I loved it, and we make it quite regularly these days.

It accompanies beautifully any kind of meat or chicken, but we also eat it with the wonderful olive-oil-fried eggs from our neighbor’s hens, and feta cheese.

 

Serves 3- 4  (more…)

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Vietnamese-Inspired Baked Chicken with Potatoes and Squash

In an older recipe, I had stayed close to our Mediterranean traditions borrowing ideas from North Africa and the Middle East to propose the Rosemarry, Preserved Lemon, Garlic, and Orange Chicken.

Now I wend a long way east, taking inspiration from a very interesting recipe in Serious Eats.

“There’s a lot going on in the marinade, but one of the standouts—arguably even the key ingredient—is anchovy-based Vietnamese fish sauce, or nuoc mam,” write Emily and Matt Clifton. “Lime, ginger, and fish sauce add bold, bright, deep flavor to chicken,” they point out.

 

 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the particular fish sauce they mention, so I used the standard Thai fish sauce (nam pla) available at the Asian food stores in Greece. Limes are, again, an imported fruit that we can only get on Kea in the summer, when bars and the more sophisticated restaurants use it. I only had the local fragrant lemons, which, I must admit, are quite different in flavor; I decided to combine lemon and orange in my recipe.

I didn’t discard the very flavorful Vietnamese-inspired marinade but used it as the sauce to bake both the chicken as well as the accompanying vegetables, potatoes, some of our last garden peppers, and squash, drizzling with olive oil, as I usually do.

I think you will like this deep-flavored, easy chickenand vegetable dish as much as Costas and I did…

 

Serves 4  (more…)

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Fassoláda: the Traditional Bean soup, Revisited

The epitome of comforting, winter meal for Greeks, fassoláda is warming and filling. Prepared with the excellent ingredients from northern Greece that are now available, it becomes even more enticing!

 

I originally wrote and posted this seven years ago, as I was going through my first-grade school book published right after the Second World War. In it there was a description of fassoláda (bean soup), which was often referred to as ‘the Greek national dish’ in the old days. Surprisingly, the version in my book had no tomato! I was shocked, as fassoláda is always made with tomatoes as far as I can remember, but probably in those days canned tomatoes as well as tomato paste were not yet a common ingredient in all households. See also how the kitchen and stove looked in most parts of the country the 1950ies…

 

My revised recipe below is flavored with the wonderful Piperokama, the dried, smoked, hot peppers of Florina that our friend Naoumidis prepares.  I am told that it will be soon available in the US, as are his other deeply flavored roasted peppers which you can order  HERE and also HERE

 

We love to eat fassolàda with feta cheese, but also with canned sardines in olive oil or any smoked fish.

A simple bowl of olives, and/or taramosalata is the custom during the days of Lent, preceding Christmas.

 

Serves 4-6


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Eggplant and Squash pie with Peper, Cumin, and Walnuts

This pie is a rif on Melitzanopita tis Dramas (eggplant pie from Drama) a wonderfully complex and delicious pie I learned to make years ago in this northern Greek town, and have published in my first cookbook, The Fooods of Greece.

I though of adding squash and bell pepper to the eggpants as I had no leeks to sweeten and add color to the stuffing. This semi-open colorful pie/tart is the perfect main course for a vegetarian Thanksgiving or for any festive fall and winter meal.   

 

In the original pie of Drama sauteed leeks and eggplants are flavored with plenty of agad graviera cheese, and scented with cumin. Walnuts add a meaty taste to this delicious pie that I have baked on many occasions, both at home and also at various meals I have cooked over the years in the US. I often bake a rolled eggplant pie, as it is easier to cut and serve, especially if one uses commercial frozen phyllo, and not the wonderful home-rolled. 

 

 

Serves 10-12 (more…)

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