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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The Other Halva: Sumptuous, Vegan and Occasionally Gluten-Free

Sesame halva is one thing, but quite a different and very popular Greek as well as Eastern Mediterranean sweet –also called ‘halva’– is made with flour, semolina, corn or other grains toasted in butter or olive oil and steeped in syrup.

Halvas simigdalenios (semolina halva) is the Greek version of this simple old sweet. In our halva the grains are toasted in olive oil instead of the butter used in Turkey and the Middle East. I have also come across an old frugal confection of olive oil halva made with chickpea flour instead of semolina. The simple, yet enticing sweet is often prepared during Lent as it is vegan with no eggs or dairy. Halvas simigdalenios used to be the free dessert offered at Greek taverns; but now it is replaced by the simpler yogurt topped with commercial preserves or jam that requires no cooking.

halva-cornmeal-small (more…)

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