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Thanksgiving is coming up, and I am trying to track down a recipe. I had a Greek friend verbally describe what this is, but I need a recipe to follow if someone can help me out. His family recipe involves:
  • Onion
  • Ground beef
  • Rice
  • Water or broth
  • All spice, cinnamon, oregano (I thought he said oregano but I am not 100%)
  • Roasted chestnuts
I think maybe I can guess that the onion is sautéed, the ground beef needs to be browned, the rice is stirred in and water or broth is added, and the chestnuts are roasted separately and stirred in at the end?

Thanks for your help! I am learning that Greek cooks have most of their recipes in their brains.
You know, that looks about right. The proportions I use are 1 onion, 2 pounds of ground beef, about 1.5 cups rice. I don't measure the water or broth. And FYI, I personally use water. This year we are doing 2 pounds of chestnuts - chestnuts are hard to find.

Cooking Greek Style Octopus

One of the things I like about Greek cuisine is the octopus! It's so tender and flavorful. I get it a lot when I am in Greece and only a few times in the United States. I want to learn how to do that. In particular I want to know:
  • Choosing the Right Octopus: What should I look for when buying octopus? Are there any specific types or sizes that work best?
  • Tenderizing Process: I’ve heard that tenderizing the octopus is crucial. What methods do you recommend? I’ve heard of everything from beating it to simmering it in a pot. What works best?
  • Cooking Techniques: Should I grill it, bake it, or cook it in a stew? I'm aiming for something that's traditionally Greek.
  • Marination and Seasonings: What are the best herbs, spices, or marination techniques to use? I know olive oil and lemon are staples, but are there any other must-have seasonings?
Any advice you can give is welcome!

Greek pita bread?

I like to make gyros at home but I am having a heck of a time finding the right bread for it where I live.

There is a store near me but they haven't been getting the bread I normally use in.

I thought maybe I would make my own - but I am not the best bread maker. I also don't trust recipes I see.

I don't want it to be the wrong kind of bread. I want it to be soft. I guess I have two questions -

1. maybe I can buy the bread online? Do you know where? and 2. Do you have a recipe you can recommend?

Using Greek Yogurt in Cooking

I love eating Greek yogurt with a little honey and sometimes walnuts in the morning for breakfast. You an cook with it, too! I thought I'd make a list of some of my favorite ways to use it to share with you all. How do you like to cook with Greek yogurt?
  1. Marinades: Yogurt is a fantastic meat tenderizer. Mixing it with herbs and spices for a marinade not only imparts flavors but also ensures meats like lamb and chicken come out tender and juicy.
  2. Tzatziki: This classic Greek dip combines yogurt with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, and sometimes lemon vinegar or dill, creating a perfectly cool and refreshing side that pairs wonderfully with grilled meats.
  3. Baking: Yogurt can be added to cakes or pastries, providing moisture and a slight tanginess that complements the sweetness of the desserts.
  4. Soups: It’s also a thickening agent for traditional soups, adding a hint of tanginess and creaminess without overpowering the main ingredients.
  5. Sauces: Beyond tzatziki, yogurt serves as a base for various sauces, enhancing the flavors of vegetables and meats.

Using Kataifi Pastry Dough

I just watched a video somewhere (I lost track of where I saw it) on using kataifi pastry dough to make a spanakopita-like bite. I then watched another one on tiro pita using kataifi dough.

Honestly, I had never thought of this. I only just use it to make "kataifi". I thought I'd collect a list of ideas. Do you guys have any ideas?

  1. Kataifi Shrimp: Wrapping seasoned shrimp in Kataifi strands and baking until golden. It makes for a delightful appetizer that's crunchy on the outside with succulent shrimp inside.
  2. Kataifi Tarts: Using small molds to shape the Kataifi into tart shells, then filling them with either savory fillings like spinach and feta or sweet fillings like lemon curd or chocolate ganache.
  3. Spanakopita. Make the regular spanakopita filling but instead, roll it between sheets of kataifi. Can do the same with tiro pita filling/
What are your ideas? Maybe cheesecake roles? I am not sure how to accomplish that.

Does this look like a good koliva recipe?

I am planning a memorial service coming up in about two weeks. The person who makes the koliva for everyone in the church is going to be out of town, and I can't find another person to do it. So I thought I'd make it.

I found this recipe - does it look like it would work?


  • 2 cups whole wheat berries
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup black raisins
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • Garnish: pomegranate seeds, whole almonds, and powdered sugar


  1. Preparing the Wheat:
  • Rinse the wheat berries thoroughly in a strainer under cold running water.
  • Place the wheat in a large pot and add water until it's about 2 inches above the wheat level.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until they are tender but not mushy, adding more water as necessary.
  • Drain the wheat and spread it out on a towel or a large baking tray to dry out completely, preferably overnight.
  1. Toasting Ingredients:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5-8 minutes, till golden; be vigilant as they can burn quickly.
  • Repeat this process with the almonds and the walnuts, ensuring each is nicely toasted but not burnt.
  1. Mixing the Koliva:
  • Once the wheat is dry, combine it in a large bowl with powdered sugar, toasted walnuts, toasted sesame seeds, toasted almonds, golden and black raisins, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Stir the mixture gently to combine.
  1. Assembling the Dish:
  • Mound the mixture onto a large serving platter, shaping it into a dome with your hands or a spoon.
  • Decorate the top with whole almonds and pomegranate seeds creating a cross or other religious symbols as is traditional.
  • Just before serving, sift powdered sugar over the top to cover.
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