I have been reading the book by Debbie Matenopolous and enjoying it. This is a lovely book with Greek recipes, healthy and full of fresh foods. The photographs in the book include family, friends, food and it looks like lots of fun. What's not to love about that?
I honestly was not familiar with Greek cuisine until this book. I have been pleasantly surprised I must say.
Let's give a shout out of congratulations to Debbie, she just gave birth on October 29th to a little girl! WOO HOO Congrats Debbie!
Here are two of the recipes I made.
Would you like to try these recipes and others? How about having this book for yourself? Well, enter to win and you could have your own copy. Interested?
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I was given permission to share the recipes with you from the book that I chose to try.
Fassolakia Yiahni (fah-soh-LAH-kee-ah yahck-NEE)
Green Beans Braised with Tomatoes and Onions
If you’ve been perusing this book, you have probably noticed that Greeks use a lot of tomatoes and olive oil in their cooking. Lathera style means that a dish is cooked with tomatoes and olive oil; yiahni style adds onions to the mix. These green beans, cooked yiahni style with tomatoes and onions, are especially scrumptious.
SERVES 4 TO 6
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
11/2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
3 ripe medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste diluted in 2 cups water
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it just begins to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Reduce heat to low and add the green beans. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and the diluted tomato paste. If the mixture seems dry, add a bit more water, to cover the beans halfway. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of the olive oil and the parsley. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 40 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated and the sauce has thickened.
Add the salt and pepper, remove from heat, and let cool for a few minutes while the flavors meld.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary, before serving.
This dish is traditionally made to use up the zucchini pulp that is left when making Kolokithakia Gemista me Kima (Stuffed Zucchini, page 202). Greek families feel it is disrespectful to waste food, so they always find a way to use every part of the fruit, the vegetables, or even the animals they are consuming. These fritters are charmingly rustic, so don’t worry if they are not perfectly round.
SERVES 4 TO 6
3 pounds medium zucchini, washed and stemmed
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 ounces brine-packed Greek feta (about
11/2 cups), crumbled small
2 tablespoons finely grated kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese (optional)
Olive or vegetable oil for frying
1 recipe Tzatziki (page 76) (optional)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Cut the zucchini in half down the center into half cylinders. With a small teaspoon or a grapefruit spoon, hollow out the zucchini skins by scooping out all the pulp, leaving about 1/8 inch of zucchini intact next to the skin. Leave the bottoms intact so that you are left with a “zucchini cup” that can be stuffed later. Take care not to crack or puncture the skins. Cover the zucchini skins and reserve in the refrigerator to make Kolokithakia Gemista me Kima.
Transfer the pulp to the bowl of a food processor or high-performance blender and pulse a few times to chop finely. Place the finely chopped zucchini pulp into a colander and toss with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover the zucchini with a plate and put a weight on top (such as a large can of tomatoes). Drain for 10 minutes, briefly rinse, then squeeze as much moisture as possible from the pulp with impeccably clean hands.
Whisk the flour, eggs, mint, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Gently fold the drained zucchini pulp into the flour mixture along with the feta and kefalotiri or Parmesan cheese (if using). Stir until the mixture resembles a thick batter.
In a deep skillet or Dutch oven set over medium heat, heat about 1/2 inch of the oil until it shimmers (see tip, page 42). Working in batches if necessary to prevent overcrowding, scoop out heaping tablespoons of the batter and carefully drop into the oil. The fritters will naturally flatten out. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown, flipping them over carefully, just as you would a pancake. Remove the fritters from the oil and drain on a large, oven-safe plate lined with paper towels. Keep fritters warm in the preheated oven as you continue to fry the remaining fritters in batches. Serve plain or with Tzatziki.