Cabbage Salad in Orange-vinegar Dressing

Cabbage is associated with winter in Greece. “You can’t have tender, sweet cabbage before the winter cold,” a farmer in Kea told me one October morning. The trick to turn almost any cabbage into a good salad is to “knead” the finely shredded leaves with salt and lemon juice. Here, instead of lemon a combination of orange and white ‘balsamic’ vinegar is used. The cabbage and carrots wilt and shrink, becoming juicy and delicious.

I tasted this salad recently at Ourania’s Tavern, on Samos island, and was fascinated. Ourania, the owner and cook, told us that the longer you leave the salad in the fridge, the better it gets;  she was right,  of course. 

 

 

4 to 6 servings

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Fall in our Island Garden

The first rain on Kea confirmed the coming of our 21st fall on the island!

We were very grateful not only for the much-needed water, but for the comforting, cool  temperatures after a very hot summer.  We still have some vegetables, and hope for a few nice oranges, soon.

We started to get ripe, yet small fruit from the arbutus bush, and soon we will be harvesting the first oranges. 

The few, aromatic quinces we got are ripening in a basket, and are soon going to be used in meat and vegetarian dishes, also, of course in our cakes as well as in jams, and spoon sweets (fruit preserves).  

A low layer of green grass now covers the property, and our rose bushes are filled with tiny oblong red berries, and the big carob tree is filled with foul-smelling flowers buzzing with bees –an unexpected end-of-season treat for them. In Crete, where carob trees are ubiquitous in the rocky mountains, I heard that the densely-flavored carob honey is considered the best for melomakarona, the Christmas cookies.    

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Spicy Carrot Jam with Oranges, Apples, and Lemons

I have never tried to make a carrot jam, as the ones I have tasted were sickly sweet, lacking any aroma or distinctive tang. But I was intrigued by the ‘Carrot Cake Marmalade,’ at Food & Wine. The recipe originated from “ Molly’s Rise and Shine in New Orleans, where diners rave about the yogurt bowl served topped with marmalade,” as the recipe’s intro states.

I liked the idea of adding warm spices, but increased the number of other fruits –oranges, apples, and lemons—which beautifully complement the carrots’ sweetness. Also, I didn’t over-process the fruit to get a very smooth jam, as the recipe suggests. Furthermore, my carrot jam is somewhat tart, much closer to my beloved citrus-fruit marmalades. But you can add more honey or sugar to make it sweeter, as most people probably would prefer…

 

 

Serve with creamy, thick yogurt, with fresh cheese –like myzithra or ricotta– or with the very creamy manouri cheese.

 

 

 

 

At Molly’s Rise and Shine in New Orleans their very smooth carrot jam is served with granola and yogurt, topped with orange segments and blackberries.

PHOTO from the restaurant’s FaceBook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes about 2.2 quarts (liters) (more…)

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Spicy Festive Bread with Orange, Squash, and Raisins

Greek festive, Christmas and/or Easter breads (tsoureki) are similar to Jewish challah but have less fat and more spices.  In this, my newest Vegan version, I began experimenting starting from the Raisin Bread from the island of Mykonos, a recipe that I had included in my very first book The Foods of Greece.

 

This much lighter festive bread is in fact an interesting variety of the traditional raisin bread (stafidopsomo).  It comes from Mykonos, the now cosmopolitan Cycladic island, and was given to me by Anna Sigala, my old neighborhood baker from the days I used to live under the Akropolis.

 

Anna had told me that she learned to make it from her grandmother. Now that Koukaki –the area around Acropolis– has become extremely popular with both locals and foreign visitors, Takis, Anna’s son, transformed the old bakeshop into a much-written about  bakery where tourists line up to get sandwiches, pies, and sweets.

My mother and father hated raisin bread because, for a period during the 1930s, the Greek government made it compulsory for everyone buying any kind of bread to buy some raisin bread, too.  The Ministry of Agriculture had bought all the raisins from Corinth to keep the growers satisfied, for political reasons, and then invented this method to get rid of the surplus.

Later, when this stupid regulation was no longer applied, raisin breads disappeared from the bakeries because no one would buy them.  Only recently, more than three generations later, raisin bread has again become popular.

Athenian bakeries often slice tsoureki and other flavored breads and bake them again, to make delicious, light biscotti; you can do the same with this one, if you have any leftover.

I love it with spicy cheese, like Rockford and Gorgonzola, or simply with coffee or tea; I also use as a base for English trifle or summer pudding, much like my older version of pumpkin and tangerine bread.

 

Makes 3 small loaves (more…)

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Oriental Orange ‘Cream’

With no eggs or cream, this light fruity dessert is based on Portocal Peltesi, a Turkish recipe I tasted in Istanbul. You can make it with any fruit juice –lemon, tangerine, grape, pomegranate etc.  You can also use the fruit ‘cream’ as filling for a pre-baked tart shell. I like to serve it with cakes, as well as with Sweet Orange and Pistachio Couscous

 

 Photo by Anastasios Mentis from my ‘Mediterranean Hot and Spicy’

 

 

Serves 6 (more…)

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