Green Olives Marinated with Lemon, Chili, and Fennel

Adapted from a recipe by Marco Smouha, from “Olives, Flavored by Time, Seasoned With Memories” by Julia Moskin (New York Times, October 17, 2007)

Following our tradition, I substituted fennel for the celery called for in the original recipe. I made it last year for the first time, and I loved both the spicy olives as well as the fragrant preserved lemon pieces that are a great addition to all kinds of winter salads.

For 1 gallon (more…)

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Dry-salted Black olives (Elies Throumbes)

Place 2-4 pounds ripe, black olives in a basket or large colander, sprinkling generously with coarse sea salt. Place in a cool corner of the kitchen, over a large bowl. Shake and toss the olives at least once a day – more often if possible.

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After 2-3 days, they will start to wrinkle and let out some of their juices. Keep tossing for at least another 3-4 days. Check if they are done by slashing one or two olives and checking the color of their inner flesh. If dark all the way to the pit, they are done. Let dry completely on paper towels, then rub with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs (dried oregano, savory, or thyme). (more…)

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Cracked Green Olives (Elies Tsakistes)

Rinse the freshly picked green olives with cold water. On a flat surface, crack each fruit with a stone or a meat mallet and soak the olives in cold water for 6-8 days – depending on the size of the fruits — changing the water every 12 or 24 hours.

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Taste after 6 days. Olives should be just slightly bitter. Drain and salt liberally. Let stand 12-36 hours, according to how salty you want the olives to be. Transfer the olives to jars, packing tightly in order to fit as many as possible. (more…)

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Chickpea patties (Revithokeftedes)

This is the Greek version of falafel. Instead of grinding raw chickpeas, we cook and then mash them to shape the patties. The mixture keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Serves 4-5 as a meze

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight
Sea salt
1 /3 cup olive oil, plus additional olive and safflower oil for frying
1 ½ cup onions, chopped
6 scallions, chopped
1 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup flour, for dredging (more…)

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Tiganopites: Olive Oil Pancakes with Spicy Cheese

The somewhat complicated shaping of these pancakes gives them a crackling texture, similar to that of cream crackers. The Samos tiganopites are topped with dermatotyri, a salty and sharp goat and sheep’s milk cheese, that is left to age inside a sheep’s hide.

For 40 small pancakes, 8-10 servings

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup warm water, or more, as needed

Olive oil for frying
2/3 cup coarsely grated aged Manchego, any hard cheese from Sardinia, or well aged Cheddar cheese (more…)

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FAVA Revuelto or Strapatsada

I substituted my garden’s fava pods for the elegant green asparagus in David Tanis’ brilliant Spanish Asparagus Revuelto; the result is a humble, yet deliciously satisfying dish of scrambled eggs with fava and garlic.

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Inventive Mediterranean cooks use any seasonal vegetable, herb or green, and combine them with eggs to make frittata or froutalia —the Greek version. I am thrilled to discover revueltos, the simple Spanish stir-fry of vegetables and eggs, similar to what we call strapatsada in Greece –from the Italian uova strapazzate(scrambled eggs). (more…)

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