Yogurt and Herb Pies Wrapped in Grape Leaves

In this unusual recipe from northern Greece, a cornmeal-thickened yogurt is flavored with scallions and herbs, and baked or fried wrapped in tangy grape leaves; thus becoming a sophisticated “pie” with complex aroma and unexpected flavor.

 

In an earlier version, I made a large pie that I baked in the oven. It was good, but difficult to divide into portions. Paula Wolfert suggested small fried “packets,” which worked much better. Now I propose something in between: individual little pies, baked in tartlet pans or shallow muffin tins. When finished under the broiler, the grape leaves caramelize beautifully! Serve with risotto or any grain pilaf.

 

 

My friend, David Tanis has created and published in the New York Times his own brilliant version of the recipe using chard leaves instead of the grape leaves.

 

 

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Homemade Fresh Myzithra (ricotta-like cheese)

Here on Kea we make it with the milk our neighbors often give us. It is probably the first and simplest cheese ever made, and today the various commercial myzithra we get sometimes come from Crete –where is called anthotyro. Cheese makers make it now by adding fresh milk to the whey left from the first, usually the hard cheese they make, adding rennet to the milk.

If you can get leftover whey add fresh milk and do not add lemon or vinegar, just boil the whey with the milk and cream. Needless to say that if you make it with the usual cow’s pasteurized milk you get from the supermarket, combine it with goat’s milk, if you can, and add some cream –more or less, depending on how creamy and lush you want your myzithra.

Serve this delicious fresh cheese plain, as appetizer, sprinkling it with chopped herbs, shallots and garlic, or as dessert, drizzled with honey or jam. You can also use it to make savory myzithropita (cheese tart), or combine it with some feta cheese to make a Greek version of the cheese cake.

 

Makes about 1 pound soft cheese (you may double the quantities for more)

 

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Skordalia me Agourides: Garlic Spread with Verjuice or with Lemon

This unusual recipe is inspired by one I found in the region of Pelion, in Central Greece.  The green garlic version is deliciously milder but we can only make it in the spring, when we get the fresh, scallion-like garlic from the garden.

Skordalia is served traditionally with fried or grilled fish and seafood; also with fried or grilled vegetables. On its own it is a popular meze served with toasted bread, barley rusks or crackers, and with crudités.

 

HERE read how I make the Sour Grape condiment.

 

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Makes about 4 cups

 

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Crustless or ‘Naked’ Squash Pie

The pie is very easy to whip-up and makes a great warm or room-temperature appetizer. Using a very similar mix, you can make the classic Zucchini or Squash Fritters that everybody enjoys at Greek taverns. Instead of frying, you can bake the patties.  

Adapted from Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts.

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GLUTEN FREE

See also the summer ‘naked pie’ we make with zucchini, of which we often have an overwhelming abundance in June, fresh from our garden.

 

Serves 5 to 6 as a Main Course (or makes 8 to 10 appetizer portions) (more…)

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Scrambled Eggs with Tomatoes and Paspalas, the Kea ‘pork confit’

The name of the dish, as well as the bits of pork that are simmered until tender and then fried in their fat are called ‘papspalas’ in the local dialect of the island.

READ more about it. 

 

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Because I make these scrumptious scrambled eggs mostly in the winter, I roast the pale, greenhouse tomatoes to give them more flavor. In the summer, diced fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes are perfect for this, as for any other dish. You just need to cook them a bit longer in olive oil until their juices become syrupy. See also Bonnie S. Benwick’s version at the Washington Post

 

Serves 2-3 as a main course, 5-6 as part of a meze spread

 

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