Tag Archives: greek

  1. Greek Gyro Meatballs {Paleo-friendly}

    Greek Gyro Meatballs

    Greek Gyro Meatballs

    These Greek Gyro Meatballs aren’t your standard ground meat Greek meatballs, instead we are bringing the flavor and more importantly the texture of gyro meat. So you can skip the multiple steps and the need for delicate, thinly sliced meat and condense the work into these tasty bites!

    My love for Greek food runs very very deep, you guys know this. Last year when I created, basically the best homemade gyro ever, I realized that I had been sorely missing out for basically an entire lifetime. Growing up Greek there were loads of recipes and dishes that were handed down from generation to generation, things we just always grew up eating – souvlaki, avgolemono soup, lamb meatballs, pastitsio, leg of lamb, Greek Potato Salad and that list goes on and on.

    Though we all loved it very much, gyro wasn’t exactly one of those foods, it just wasn’t part of my family’s Greek food repertoire. Souvlaki was always the go to for this time of meal and if and when gyro was served, at our house, it was the store bought stuff (eeeeek over-processed, gluten-containing and not so good – so, I always passed). When I broke into the homemade gyro game, after years of being without it, it quickly became a dish that is requested every time I am home in NY visiting my family.

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  2. Lettuce Wrapped Chicken Souvlaki {Paleo and Gluten-free with Dairy-free options}

    Lettuce_Wrapped_Chicken_Souvlaki

    Lettuce_Wrapped_Chicken_Souvlaki

    After 4 weeks of loads of travel, I am back home and getting back into real life. Interestingly, I have never been more organized with my content when traveling, especially before 4 weeks of on and of travel. I  had plenty of content to share posts just as regularly while I was gone. From this time last month, until right now, I have been in Mexico, Portland Oregon and finally, Buffalo, New York. I’ve been down the road and back again, to say the very least.

    This final leg of travel, which I just returned from last night, began as an innocent surprise trip home to see my family. I somewhat randomly selected this week, though it was my Mother’s birthday and my nephew’s first birthday, but it was just all a good excuse to come home and surprise everyone.

    Lettuce_Wrapped_Chicken_Souvlaki

    Sadly as the trip crept closer, I received word that my Grandfather had fallen ill and it wasn’t looking great this time. His body was failing him and it was his time. He was in Hospice. I kept checking in with my mother, from my trip to Portland, asking how he was and managing the wonder of what would happen if he passed if I was in Portland, mere days before my scheduled surprise trip. Could I book a rush trip back to New York from Portland? I would also have to spoil the surprise that I had worked so hard on and it would be a challenge cancelling a non refundable trip, just to come a couple days sooner.

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  3. Gluten-free Pastitsio (Greek-Style Baked Pasta / Lasagna)

    Gluten-free Pastitsio (Greek-Style Baked Pasta / Lasagna)

    Gluten-free Pastitsio (Greek-Style Baked Pasta / Lasagna)

    I literally cannot believe that after nearly 7 years of blogging and sharing recipes here with you, that I have never shared this one. It’s literally one of my MOST favorite foods ever. Gluten-free Pastitsio (pa-STEE-tsee-oh), a Greek-Style Baked Pasta / Lasagna, of sort, this is 100% my kind of comfort food. A Christmas dinner tradition, this is the food I grew up eating for the holidays. My Yia Yia always made an incredible tray of pastitsio and since her passing, we can always count on my mother to manage the task and do it as if she herself was the Greek one. Years ago, when I discovered my gluten intolerance, my mom so graciously tweaked the family recipe to be made gluten-free and I never had to be without. Overtime I have made it myself and continued to slightly adjust things and I am so honored to be sharing it with all of you, finally.

    With layers of ground meat (beef or lamb) and pasta and a creamy, puffy, eggy, cheesy béchamel on top, there are hints of warming cinnamon throughout the entire dish and then it’s baked to perfection. This dish steps in where casseroles and lasagna leave off. Traditionally made with bucatini, a long tubular pasta laid out going in the same direction, I make mine gluten-free using instead an organic brown rice penne. In place of regular flour in the béchamel, I use a gluten-free all-purpose blend.

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  4. Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki {gluten-free, paleo-friendly}

    Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

    Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

    I am back in New York right now, visiting my family for the week. I’ve been home but a couple of days and it’s been jam-packed with family, friends, fun and of course – eating. We have yet to fill our faces with a Greek feast, but I know it’s coming, that’s always on my MUST-HAVE list when I am home.

    In moving to California over three years ago, I have found myself learning how to recreate some of my most favorite Greek dishes that I grew up eating, as well as many that I didn’t. To me, Greek food is the flavor of family and comfort and it’s the taste of home. Good homemade Greek food is always what I crave when I am feeling homesick and missing my family. Lamb is certainly a Greek favorite and while we traditionally enjoy leg of lamb roasted or grilled, I have really come to love ground lamb, as meatballs, in homemade gyro meat, in moussaka or especially these tasty burgers.

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  5. Grilled Greek-Style Leg of Lamb

    Grilled Greek-Style Leg of Lamb

    Grilled Greek-Style Leg of Lamb

    This is a recipe that I have wanted to share with you all for many years, but my disdain for photographing meat has kept me from it. I know, I know. I’ve been holding out. Don’t hate me. But I have long struggled with how to make charred, brown meat look appetizing, I dunno if I did it – but who cares? I did the best I could and this is far too delicious to keep from you any longer.

    This is another Greek recipe I grew up eating. My Dad has perfected his Greek Marinated Leg of Lamb. He has done it bone-in and boneless on the grill, in the oven and even over an open fire pit. Every summer when the Greek side of my family has their big family reunion out at the lake, my dad is always in charge of the lamb and it’s a spectacle for everyone. In all honesty, I feel like half of it gets eaten right off the grill.

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  6. Greek Potato Salad

    Greek Potato Salad

    This light Greek Potato Salad is full of a bright, fresh tang from the freshly squeezed lemon juice, an incredible fresh crunch from the red onions and cucumber this all comes together with the fresh fill and oregano to create perfect Greek flavors. Step away from the mayo and opt for my family’s favorite summer side dish.

    Greek Potato Salad

    Summertime is the time of quick meals, picnics, BBQs and cookouts. As much as I am a big fan of mayonnaise, I have never been able to get down with the idea of it on my cold salads. I have never enjoyed it on potato salad, coleslaw or pasta salad. Not sure why. Maybe it’s too many picnics in my youth, seeing the salad and the mayo baking away in the sun, no one has a care in the world. I won’t ruin it for those of you that like it, but it’s just not for me.

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  7. Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    Being away from my family living in California, it has gotten a bit easier with time and there are less and less tears over random moments, holidays, but one of the things I miss most is Sunday dinner as one a big family.

    I grew up eating delicious home cooked Greek food. My family, they know their way around the kitchen. Everyone has their specialties and their things. My mom is an incredible baker, while not Greek herself she has mastered Greek desserts and pastries, baklava, koulourakia cookies. My dad is the king of savory, the grill master, the Greek God of souvlaki, marinated grilled leg of lamb, roasted potatoes among many other specialties. Sadly while my dad makes THE best lamb you’ll ever eat, neither he nor anyone else in our family has ever mastered homemade gyro. Whenever my parents serve up gyro, which isn’t super often, it usually comes already prepared and frozen. Meh. It makes me sad that we aren’t making it ourselves. Also sadly, these pre-made gyro meats tend to be very processed and they almost always contains gluten, so naturally I won’t touch them. Short of going to a more traditional shop, cart or restaurant, where they cook the meat traditionally over a spinning spit or rotisserie – it’s impossible to get the real thing, I haven’t had it in many, many years.

    Traditional Greek gyro, from what I have read, is made with whole cuts of pork, slowly cooked rotisserie style, and thinly shaved, while Americanized Greek gyro is the pressed, almost sausage-like, thinly sliced minced beef and/or lamb blend. Usually served in a pita, wrap style it is a meal that I never get to eat, yet I still find myself craving it.

    Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    I am home in New York right now, with my family, visiting and meeting my brand new nephew Keaton James, born just three weeks ago. As I was preparing for this trip home to Buffalo, I got giddy at the thought of all the homemade Greek food I would be eating. Greek food is my comfort, it’s what I crave at the holidays, when I am homesick or when I come down with a bug. Greek food from a restaurant is just never the same and somehow making a big feast of Greek food at home, just the two of us, while I do it occasionally, it just never tastes the same to me. This is the food best served with a large group of the people you love most. A big Greek feast needs to come with a side of very loud chatter, tons of laughs, stories from back in the day and it needs kids running around the very same living room that my dad ran around as a little kid.

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  8. Greek Lamb Meatballs

    Greek Lamb Meatballs

    For me, scent is a huge memory trigger. The aroma of something can waft my way and instantly I am transported back to another time. I always think of the old cartoons where the steamy aroma of a fresh baked pie, suddenly morphs into a hand, quite literally coaxing and lifting up the characters and carrying them right to the goodies. Think Mickey Mouse being tempted by the vapor hand from the scent of a Minnie’s freshly baked cake, right to her kitchen window. This is likely seconds before she slams the window down and says “ah ah ah”. For me rather than being taken to someone’s window, I find myself reliving memories, remembering people I love and those times gone by. It’s one of my most favorite things about cooking, especially since moving away from my family.

    Greek Lamb Meatballs

    Being Greek, growing up I was constantly surrounded by all the delicious, home cooked meals. There are still smells to this day that remind me of my family and most specifically my late, Great Yia Yia and my Yia Yia. The smell of potatoes roasting with garlic, cinnamon and honey will always make me think of baklava syrup simmering away on the stove top, cinnamon in a savory tomato sauce will trigger my nose to think of moussaka or pastitsio and a big pot of homemade chicken stock will always make me want avgolemono soup. Of course, chocolate melting will also get me, since my Great Yia Yia had a full-blown candy making set up in the basement, from her days of owning the ice cream and soda shop. They made some delicious chocolates!

    Greek Lamb Meatballs

    Lamb was another food served quite often, whether, roasted, grilled or used in dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). Though not a food I make quite often, whenever I do prepare it, I think of all my family back home in NY, so I have certainly found myself making it more since we’ve moved out to California. It makes me miss our summer picnics with the huge Greek family, out at the lake, a big leg of lamb slowly grilling over an open fire, all day. Or my Yia Yia’s homemade Greek lamb meatballs, which my parent’s seemed to perfect quite well and made often when we were growing up.

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  9. How-to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty YummiesHow-to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves

    This might seem like a beast of a tutorial, but if you grew up Greek, as I did, you will know just how exciting this is the first time you make them yourself. For the past few years, every trip my parents have taken out here to California to visit us, we have planned a day and made a huge Greek feast. Each time we have made the time to use the beautiful grape leaves growing in my yard that are always perfectly in season and we spend the afternoon making homemade dolmades AKA dolmas AKA stuffed grape leaves. These are just like my Yia Yia and my dad’s Yia Yia, had made when we were growing up.

    How-to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves

    The beautiful thing about this stuffed grape leaves tutorial/recipe is how versatile it is. I have made these both vegan and with meat and most recently I have even experimented with cauliflower rice for a grain-free version. I have also made them both with jarred grape leaves and the fresh grape leaves growing in my yard.

    How-to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves

    How-to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves

    My dad has stories of his YiaYia (my great grandmother) driving along very specific country roads that she knew had grape vines, all the kids in the car would be instructed to get out and pick the freshest leaves, they would then take them home and she would tie them up to dry out in the attic, so she’d always have them on hand for homemade dolmades.

    Thankfully, I have several grape vines growing behind my house, so I don’t have to stalk any local vineyards. In the late spring and early summer as they are just starting to sprout new leaves, I can head behind the house pick the prettiest and most perfect ones, just for making dolmades. If you don’t have access to grapevines, simply buy jarred grape leaves, a little less work but still so delicious.

    This tutorial shares options for the filling to be made with or without meat, with rice or with cauliflower rice. Throughout the instructions you will see notes that pertain to the various options. Be sure to read carefully.

    Stuffed grape leaves make a great meze (mezethes or mezze) an appetizer or a small dish to share, meant to be served with wine or ouzo. Imagine a plate of these with some homemade hummus, feta cheese and olives, a big bowl of avgolemeno soup, falafel, a big ‘ol Greek salad, the list could go on and on. Whatever you serve these with and however you serve these, hot, warm or cool, you will love them, especially if you make and share them with people you love. This I can very much attest to.

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  10. Tomato Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Olives

    This post is part of my ongoing Restricted Diet series with the Free People blog BLDG 25

    Tomato Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Olives

    This refreshing, summer-inspired Tomato Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Olives is a beautiful addition to any summer meal. Growing up in a Greek family, tomato cucumber salads were a staple with many of our meals in the summer. We would go to the garden, grab what we needed, mix it up, top it off with some variations of a Greek-inspired dressing, maybe some feta and kalamata olives and that was that.

    Tomato Cucumber Salad with Avocado and Olives

    I swap the feta cheese for avocado in this rendition, creating a dish to please everyone. This light and colorful side dish has a beautiful crunch from the cucumbers, a salty brine from the olives, creaminess from the avocado and the bright fresh flavor of the tomatoes. If you have an abundant garden of your own or maybe a weekly CSA box delivery, I am certain this classic refreshing salad will become a mainstay on your summer menu.

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  11. Greek-Style Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes with Feta Cheese

    Greek-Style Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes with Feta

    Each week, when our farmer Tony drops off our CSA box, besides gabbing about all the luscious, seasonal produce he has for me and his perfectly perfect fresh eggs, maybe talking about the weather and how business has been, we always spend a few moments sharing our stories of growing up Greek. We chat about our favorite foods and our fondest memories of the traditions and I try to impress him with the 3 or 4 Greek words that I know. I love it!

    Greek-Style Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes with Feta

    Greek-Style Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes with Feta

    This past week when Tony dropped off the box and I saw that I got some of his beautiful green beans, we spent a good couple of minutes talking about one of my favorite Greek dishes, Fasolia (aka Fasolakia Fresca), a traditional Greek Green Bean Stew. As much as I wanted to make a large pot of that with these beans, the idea of cooking a hot steamy stew on the stovetop all day, it just wasn’t appealing to me, with this crazy heat.

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  12. Lightened-Up Moussaka {Grain-free w/ Vegetarian Options}

    Lightened-Up Moussaka {Grain-free w/ Vegetarian Option}

    After sharing the recipe for my dad’s famous Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Cheese Dip earlier this summer, I realized that I haven’t shared enough Greek recipes here on the site.

    Growing up Greek is to grow up loving delicious, traditional, homemade food. I can still remember the smells of my Great Yia Yia’s house, the fragrant stews and sauces, like Fasolakia, simmering that you could smell as you walked up the driveway, fresh herbs drying in the kitchen, the smells of homemade chocolates wafting up the stairs from the basement, where she did her candy-making. It is amazing how I can still tell you exactly what that kitchen smelled like and that was over 20 years ago. When my great grandmother passed away, it was my dad’s parents that moved into the home, carrying on many of the same traditions, Avgolemeno soup, lamb meatballs, pastitsio, spanikopita, dolmades, plus of course, the Greek pastries and all of that good sweet stuff.

    Lightened-Up Moussaka {Grain-free w/ Vegetarian Option}

    Now that my parents have moved into this home, that was built for my Great Grandparents many years after they moved here from Greece and has been in family since long before I was born, they continue to make many of these amazing traditional foods in the very kitchen that my Yia Yia Faklaris and my Yia Yia Manos once did. My dad makes the best Greek salad dressing around (I will have to share my version of it soon) for the best souvlaki you will ever eat, he can grill up a leg of marinated lamb like it’s no one’s business and he makes a killer rice pudding that will literally have you on the verge of tears, it’s that good. My mom, though she doesn’t have a bit of Greek blood in her veins, she makes incredible pastitsio, amazing Avgolemeno soup and together she and my dad make the best baklava I have ever eaten.

    Sadly, going gluten-free nearly 10 years ago now, has meant that I have had to say goodbye to a lot of the traditional foods I grew up on. I have yet to come up with a gluten-free equivalent to phyllo dough, something so integral to so many of my favorite Greek dishes. With that said,  it has taken me nearly 10 years and moving across the country away from my family to come to this – but lately I have been thinking that while I may never have many of those classic Greek dishes as I once knew them, there is no reason I can’t reimagine them. Keeping the classic flavors, but making them gluten-free and trying to generally just lighten them up a bit.

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  13. Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip aka “Htipiti” (Gluten-free)

    Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip (Htipiti)

    I can say that in more ways than one – I truly am my father’s daughter. My love for food, eating and talking about both (or in general) – most definitely all come from my dad! Though I may not always like to admit it, I can be his clone in many ways!

    As a Greek girl, (also from my dad) who has been gluten-free for nearly 10 years, one of the saddest things I have had to endure is saying good-bye to sooo many of my favorite classic Greek dishes – spanokopita, taramasalata, baklava, pita, gyro wraps, moussaka, pastitsio, melomakarono, loukamathes – oh my gosh I could go on and on and on (and now I am super hungry). Thankfully, a couple of these dishes can be made gluten-free, so I haven’t had to let go completely.

    Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip (Htipiti)

    This dip isn’t something I grew up, like many of those aforementioned dishes, but rather it was a dish my dad had somewhere along the line at a restaurant and became obsessed with recreating. Since he perfected his recipe a few years ago, he has pretty much brought this dip to nearly every get-together and everyone that has ever tasted it – soon becomes obsessed, too! I myself am one of those people and I’ve taken to altering his recipe slightly and making it for my own dinner parties and other get-togethers.  Since we moved out west last year, this dip has been a nice way to savor some of those flavors of home.

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  14. Photo Fun Day Friday – A Few Days Late

    I realize this should be titled “Photo Fun Day Sunday Afternoon”. My parents’ trip ended Friday afternoon and with that came some sad goodbyes and an afternoon of loafing around for Mark and I after we drove them to the airport. We had a busy week with them, we crammed a lot in and it was really wonderful! So nice to spend an entire week with my parents. Uninterrupted by work, obligations, business meetings, events, other people, etc. I don’t know if I have ever had that much time with just me (and Mark) my parents, ever! It was nice, to say the least.

    We made lots of meals at home, we went to a few of our favorite restaurants and even tried a few new places that Mark and I haven’t been to yet. We took a lot of walks, checked out the Long Beach Flea on Father’s Day, hosted a big dinner with friends, we of course, took them for their first trip to Disneyland and lastly, the beach on the last day, to end their trip right.

    Here’s a few pics from the past week, most from the time we spent with my parents!

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    My dad and Seri. Not sure who is enjoying the sun more. They are both sun-a-holics.

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    Crab Pot for dinner. Seafood overload. So good.

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    Lotsa crab.

    Photo Fun Day Friday
    Me and Mark

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  15. Avgolemono Soup

    Avgolemono Soup

    This classic Greek soup reminds me of both my Mom and my late Yia Yia (Grandma), this is one of my all time favorite comfort foods. The perfect dinner on a cool night or when you have the sniffles. My husband, Mark, swears this is an acquired taste, I have been trying for 7 years to get him to like it, but he just isn’t a fan of the lemon. I personally think the lemon is what makes this soup and the more the better. Growing up in a Greek family, this soup was a winter staple and definitely something I would beg my Mom for when I was feeling under the weather.

    I find some soups taste good enough made with store-bought stock, if you don’t have time to make your own, this soup isn’t one of those. It needs homemade stock, made from scratch, cooked for a few hours. It’s the only way. Whenever we make a whole roast chicken, I freeze the bones for stock, I love being able to make my own stock. I usually go very simple with the spices on my roast chicken so whatever is leftover is perfect for making stock with. I personally prefer to make each stock specific for each soup I make, since most times the ingredients that I add to the stock varies to each recipe.

    This soup is a very simple to make, only a few ingredients. I like mine with a lot of fresh ground pepper and the perfect amount of rice. Too much rice and it isn’t brothy enough, too little rice and it’s just not quite right. Some people prefer orzo to rice, but I like the classic white rice much better. If it were possible, I would always have a fresh pot of this soup in the fridge, ready to be warmed up whenever I wanted it. Thickened with eggs and brightened with the lemon, there is really nothing like this. This is my family’s recipe and honestly, have tried other people’s Avgolemeno before and it just isn’t nearly as good, in my opinion.

    Chicken Stock

    2-3 quarts of water
    Bones from a whole roast chicken 3-4 lbs (I prefer organic, free range and without hormones or antibiotics)*
    1 large onion, quartered
    2 garlic cloves, halved
    2 teaspoons sea salt
    2 teaspoons pepper

    In a large stockpot, (use the strainer that fits in your stock pot if you have one) combine all the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 1/2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any foam that forms on the surface. I added a bit more water as it was cooking to keep the chicken and vegetables covered. The longer you cook the stock, the stronger the flavor will be, but 2 1/2 hours was more than adequate and the stock had a fantastic flavor to it.

    Remove the meat and bones and reserve, any meat on the bones can be separated and added back to the soup. If you didn’t use the strainer when making the stock, strain the stock to remove all the vegetables and other bits and add back to the pot. Throw out the bones and vegetables. Use the stock immediately or let the stock cool completely, and refrigerate overnight. Skim any fat that forms on the surface. Keep refrigerated in airtight containers until ready to use, up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. Since I was using the stock immediately, I skimmed any visible fat off the top, made sure that it was strained of everything, and kept it on a low heat while I prepped everything for the soup. You will probably end up with about 48 ounces of stock when making it homemade (give or take). Use all of it.

    *You could also use a whole chicken or chicken parts. Whatever you have and whatever works best for you.

    Avgolemono Soup
    serves 4-6

    6 cups homemade chicken stock*
    1/2 cup rice
    kosher salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    2 eggs
    juice from 2 lemons

    Bring the stock to a boil, stir in rice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

    Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until peaks form. Add in the egg yolks, stir until well blended. Add lemon juice, barely mix, just enough to combine (you don’t want to break the whites).

    Slowly ladle the hot soup into your egg mixture until the mixture is warm, stir constantly. You want to do this slowly so as not to cook the eggs to fast. Pour the mixture back into the pot of soup very gently. Taste the soup, salt and pepper to your liking. Ladle into large soup bowls with a lemon wedge on the side, top with freshly ground black pepper.

    *If you absolutely must use store-bought chicken stock, you most definitely can. The soup is still very good.

  16. Greek Black-Eyed Peas Salad

    Greek Black-Eyed Peas Salad

    Here is another dish I made out at the beach house for everyone. I am on a big black-eyed peas kick right now (and no, I am not referring to the terrible pop group). I made that Hoppin’ John Salad, not too long ago, which is an Southern tradition brought over from Africa, so, I was surprised to see the beans used in this Greek style salad, as I most definitely think of the South when I think of black-eyed peas. Being a Greek girl, that loves ALL Greek foods, I was excited to try this variation on the classic Greek flavors that I know and it really sounded like the perfect side for an outdoor dinner. Even my cousin Andrea, who doesn’t like beans typically, told me she liked this salad. SCORE!

    I was also super excited about using the sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil, since I always buy them dry and have been looking for an excuse to experiment with these. You won’t want to use the dry ones in this recipe, as you need to be able to slice them and you need the oil in the salad. You can definitely use fresh tomatoes, if you have those on hand, just add a little bit of olive oil to the salad. Since I have so much fresh oregano in my yard, I did add a bunch of fresh chopped oregano to the salad, I really couldn’t resist as it was a perfect match.

    I really would prefer to be cooking with dried black-eyed peas, but I have yet to find them locally, so I have been using canned beans. I went ahead and posted the recipe using the dried beans, since that is what I would prefer. If you are substituting canned black-eyed peas for the dry peas, use approximately two 15-ounce cans. Rinse thoroughly. Skip step 1 and step 3 in the instructions. Another tip from Elise on this recipe: Don’t add the lemon juice until you serve the salad: It helps keep the greens bright.

    Greek Black-Eyed Peas Salad

    Greek Black-Eyed Peas Salad
    Serves 8-10
    Adapted from original recipe on Simply Recipes by Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

    2 cups dry black-eyed peas
    Salt
    1 package of feta cheese, about 7 ounces
    1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil, about 8 ounces, sliced
    1 cup black olives, preferably Kalamata or oil-cured, roughly chopped
    1 finely chopped green onion
    1 finely chopped garlic clove
    1/2 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped
    1 large bunch of baby spinach, about 1 pound, washed, roughly chopped
    Zest and juice of a lemon
    Freshly ground black pepper

    1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to make the water taste like the sea. Turn the heat down to low and add the black-eyed peas. Let them cook slowly, uncovered, until they are done, anywhere from half and hour to an hour, depending on how old the peas are. Don’t let the water simmer.

    2. Add the spinach to a large bowl. Crumble the feta cheese into the bowl and add all the other ingredients except the lemon juice. Mix well.

    3. When the black-eyed peas are done, pour them into a colander and spray them with cold water to stop the cooking. Pick through and discard any loose skins or mashed peas; you’ll find a few, but hopefully not many.

    4. Add the black-eyed peas to the salad, mix well. Squirt some lemon juice over and top with freshly ground black pepper. Serve.

  17. Penne with Chickpeas, Feta & Tomatoes

    IMG_9254

    This is a quick and delicious vegetarian dinner that is full of Greek inspired flavors, perfect for any weeknight. The salty tang from the feta, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the nutty chickpeas all pair together to make for a hearty pasta dish. I was so happy to be able to walk into the yard and grab a fistful of our fresh oregano that has been growing like crazy, it gives it such a fresh and peppery taste to the flavors. I made this with gluten-free organic brown rice penne, but you can cook it with whatever your favorite pasta happens to be.

    Penne with Chickpeas, Feta & Tomatoes
    Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2010
    Serves 4

    8 ounces uncooked gluten-free penne (or if you aren’t gluten-free, regular penne)
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup chopped shallots
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 (15-ounce) can organic low sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
    3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
    3 ounces crumbled feta cheese
    1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    Cook pasta according to directions, drain in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan, make sure it coats the pan. Add shallots and garlic; sauté for 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in chickpeas; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in pasta and reserved cooking liquid; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and put in a serving bowl. Add feta, oregano, salt, lemon zest and pepper; toss to combine.

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