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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Skillet-grilled Asparagus, Red Peppers and Zucchini Slices

Green are the only fresh asparagus we find here, on the island. They come usually from the Peloponnese and are succulent, and wonderful.  We like to briefly grill them on a stovetop griddle, on a non-stick pan, simply rubbed with olive oil and serve them sprinkled with some local, delicious finishing salt. I love the taste peppers impart to the olive oil, and whatever is fried with or after them, see this variation of the simply grilled-fried asparagus, as I combine them with sliced zucchini. 

 

If you would like to make this a main course add some olive-oil-fried eggs.

 

 

Serves 4-5 as first course or side-dish (more…)

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Red-pepper-and-feta-topped Flat Bread

Besides adding our garden’s delicious red peppers to sauces, fry, and stuff with rice, vegetables, meat, or fish, I love the combination of flavors created by olive-oil-sautéed peppers and use them as topping for my flat bread, pairing them with crumbled feta cheese.

The dough is the one I use for my everyday breads, sometimes adding yogurt if I have leftover that is going too sour or any kind of mashed vegetables or greens.

See also the Tomato and Cheese topped bread, the Smoked Cheese and Kumquat Bread which is basically the winter version of my topped breads. For a more spicy-aromatic topping spread Zaatar mixed with olive oil over the tomatoes.

 

Makes TWO large Laganes (flat breads), or FOUR smaller 10X7 inch (25X18,5 cm) breads, serving 8-12 people as appetizer 

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Aglaia’s Mousaka (or Moussaka)

My Mousaka (or moussaka) with layers of eggplants, potatoes, and peppers, is topped with yogurt and olive oil béchamel. I recently added the spicy and smoky Kea sausage to the lamb, to deepen and enrich the flavor.

 Read HERE about the origin of this iconic Greek dish.

‘Pseudo-moussaka’ is the meat-less, vegetarian version of the dish that my mother often prepared in the summer (scroll down to see this delicious Variation).

 

Mousakas-pot-CUT-S

See the video of My moussaka from Joanne Weir’s Plates and Places.

 

Little did we know how idiosyncratic the name of the vegetarian version were to our home.  We all loved it and I thought the term ‘pseudo-moussaka’ was common until my first husband burst into wild laughter upon hearing the name of my family dish! After much investigation he concluded that it was family jargon, but it was ours, and it was delicious.

 

I serve large spoonfuls, as with all gratin dishes; not perfectly cut squares. If you prefer a more elegant presentation make it in individual clay pots.

 

 

Makes 6 servings

 

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