My Sour Grape Condiment

Last week, for the first time, I made my own concentrated sour grape juice. I have written about it before, as I became addicted to the Lebanese dark and syrupy condiment that I can no longer get…

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From the very old and robust grape vines that engulf the fence of our property in Kea we gather and stuff tender grape leaves in May for our trademark dolmades. But the dark grapes our vines produce later in the summer, although sweet, are filled with seeds and difficult to swallow. Plus we hardly ever manage to harvest them when they ripen, since wasps and all kinds of insects attack them as soon as they start to blush. Come harvest time we just find bunches of rotten half-eaten grapes. (more…)

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A Brilliant, Fruity LEMONADE

Ever since I was a child and my mother occasionally made thick syrupy, concentrated lemonade –which I didn’t particularly love– I had never tried to make my own. When my dear friend Barbara Abdeni Massaad visited us in Kea and saw our lemon trees brimming with fruit, she pointed me to a very different lemonade recipe…

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First and foremost this lemonade is not boiled, like my mother’s, and so retains its fresh fruity flavor. In her beautiful, extensively researched and documented book Mouneh: Preserving Foods for the Lebanese Pantry, Barbara writes that she got the recipe for the ‘out of this world’ lemonade from Dolly Shammah, a Syrian lady originally from Aleppo. (more…)

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Mediterranean Summer in a Bottle!

This fragrant liqueur is a variation from a recipe for Thyme Liqueur that I got from the south of France and is part of my new book. Since I still have tons of lemons, and also because my Lemon Liqueur is so popular with our friends, I came up with this fusion of the two flavors that I think are the epitome of the Mediterranean Summer!

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The French believe that thyme tisane is an excellent digestive and the perfect treatment for a hangover. But I suggest thyme not for its medicinal properties, but because its aroma, especially complemented with the lemon peels and with a bit of help from the alcohol, will transport you to the rugged hills overlooking the dark-blue sea—and if that is not therapeutic, I don’t know what is. (more…)

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Lemon Curd: my Favorite Treat

A brilliant English invention, this tart, lemony cream is truly irresistible!

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Our trees are brimming with fragrant lemons and I made lots of marmalade with and without Seville oranges; I also made lemon liqueur, and this year I took the time and candied some peels (see recipe). I was inspired by the exquisite “tasty, bite size, fruit candy” my friend June Taylor–the marmalade-maker par excellence–makes! (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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