Roasted Squash and Bread Salad with Tahini-yogurt Sauce

In this simple salad the sweet, sumptuous roasted squash is paired with crunchy olive-oil-croutons, and complemented with tangy yogurt-tahini sauce,  creating an irresistible combination.

It is inspired from a dish served by Semsa Denizsel, the celebrated chef and former owner of Kantin Lokanta in Istanbul. She has now moved to the Aegean coast, and teaches cooking in her beautiful home, amidst olive trees.

 

 

Serves 4-6 (more…)

Share

Read More

Savory Cake (or quick bread) with Olives, Cheese, and Pine Nuts

This is a quite lovely meze-cake to enjoy in the garden, accompanied by crisp white or rose wine in the first sunny spring days. On this olivewood stand that I asked our friend, the brilliant wood-carver Panos to make for me the cake looks even more sumptuous. The basic idea comes from Les Cahiers de Delphine, the always interesting weekly newsletter.

 

Of course, I made quite a few changes, using local green olives instead of the black from Provence, and scallions, instead of the chives that are not available here. As I always do, I substituted olive oil for the butter, and grated aged graviera cheese for the parmesan, I increased the amount of pine nuts and sunflower seeds and added rosemary which gave a lovely aroma to the cake.

I baked it in a pan with a hole in the center, but you can of course use a loaf pan, or a simple round 8-inch pan. This meze cake is best slightly warm, or just cooled.

 

At least 8 generous appetizer pieces (more…)

Share

Read More

Frittata-Strata with Squash

Adding leftover, stale bread to various dishes is an old Mediterranean tradition dictated by the frugal ways of our ancestors. Strata is a kind of savory bread pudding, a frittata with vegetables or greens that are ingeniously complemented by toasted stale bread cubes.

 

Soups, salads, and frittata get even better with crunchy, toasted bread cubes. We especially love the flavor and slight crunch the croutons from heavy, unshifted flour bread adds to any vegetable in the frittata. 

 

I slice and cube the leftovers of the mixed-grain, heavy, old-fashioned, wood-fired loaves that we get each week from our village bakery,  toss with olive oil and roast in the oven, until completely dry. When cool I keep in jars. 

 

It is wonderful added in any bean or vegetable soup, while on the islands of the Cyclades twice-baked bread often adorned the simple fish soups.

 

In our winter frittatas I often make with our neighbor’s incredible eggs, these delicious mixed-grain croutons complement beautifully the roasted squash omelet/strata that I make. (more…)

Share

Read More

Spanakopita-like Bread with Greens, Scallions, Herbs, and Cheese

I usually have pieces of my basic bread or laganes dough in the fridge, so the other day I decided to use the wild greens Costas had collected from the garden to make this fast and irresistible greens and cheese tart, or pizza-like spanakopita. If you like, you can top the greens with a mixture of yogurt and egg just before transferring the skillet to the oven (see variation).

You can probably make this spanakopita-bread  with store-bought, whole-wheat pizza dough, if you are not up to making you own bread dough from scratch. 

 

For a 9-inch round bread, or 2 stuffed loaves  (more…)

Share

Read More

My Bread and/or Laganes (flatbreads)

Inspired from the traditional, fragrant festive Greek island recipes, this is the basic bread dough I use for various kinds of loaves but also for lagana (plural laganes) the flat, focaccia-like loaves that I make all the time, topped with any kind of seasonal vegetables or fruit —sliced fresh figs when in season, or wine-soaked dried figs in the winter, tomato or peppers in the summer, kumquat with spicy cheese etc.

 

Instead of baking the bread on the stone, I often heat a cast iron or clay casserole and when the loaf is ready, I carefully transfer it inside the heated casserole, close the lid and let it bake inside for about 30 minutes then uncover, and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until it is done. Baked inside the casserole the bread gets a more substantial crust. 

 

I also flatten and roll pieces of the dough stuffing it with greens or broccoli. Lately I invented a pizza-like spanakopita, topping this beautiful dough with the mixture of greens, herbs, feta, and other cheeses –the same one that I use for my winter greens’ pie, where I combine not just spinach but also a variety of wonderful wild, foraged greens. I shaped the round bread-spanakopita in a non-stick skillet, and fried it for about 6-8 minutes, until the bottom started to brown, then continued to bake it in the oven. 

 

 

Yields 1 large or 2 medium loaves, or 2-3 flat laganes (more…)

Share

Read More