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mastichas09

Active member
For all of you who know a lot about Greek cuisine, how did you learn?

For me, I learned from a combination of my family, with recipes handed down, and from cookbooks to fill in the gaps.

My yiayia was straight from Greece and she taught me everything she knew. She didn't really teach me on purpose, I just cooked with her a lot.

When she passed, I realized that the recipes were all in my head, and if I neglected to learn something from her, the rest of the family somehow didn't know either. So I had to find some good cookbooks to help.

How about you guys?
 
For all of you who know a lot about Greek cuisine, how did you learn?

For me, I learned from a combination of my family, with recipes handed down, and from cookbooks to fill in the gaps.

My yiayia was straight from Greece and she taught me everything she knew. She didn't really teach me on purpose, I just cooked with her a lot.

When she passed, I realized that the recipes were all in my head, and if I neglected to learn something from her, the rest of the family somehow didn't know either. So I had to find some good cookbooks to help.

How about you guys?
Well, I learned from my mom my two sisters and my wife. Now get this my wife is an American. We were married in 1958 so things were different back then. She was always introduced at the Greek church as an American " but she cooks Greek". My mom bought her a Greek cook book in 1961 and it is still in use. To tell the truth my mom was not a very good cook,she was great at pastries,but my sisters were outstanding cooks including pastries. We use my sisters recipes for a lot of pastries and food.
 
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I learned from my yiayia! What a blessing. She lived across the street from me and when I was young, she watched my while my parents went to work. She had my learning by watching and helping. She trusted me with a sharp knife and chopping from a very young age. My mother caught her and yelled at her but I have a feeling she taught me the way she learned.

Now, all the recipes and methods and tricks are all in my head. When my yiayia was nearing end of life my mom tried to archive all her recipes, and it drove my mom nuts, and now I am the one driving the family nuts telling them - you don't need to measure that just eyeball it. 🤣
 
It is fascinating when you think how all these Greek grandmothers (γιαγιάδες) and the grandmothers before them, learned how to cook at a time where there were no cooking shows or cookbooks. There were no Aki or Argiro on tv or no worldwidegreeks on the internet. But all these women managed to learn not only on dish but multiple dishes without needing to peek at a written recipe. And it wasn’t only food. It was bread baking and baking sweets and pasta making, making cheese and curing olives and preserving fruits, and foraging and making soap. Yes k_tsoukalas what a blessing it was to learn from these amazing women. For those of you that still have a giagia in your life, spend time with her, write down her knowledge. Because their knowledge is better than any expensive chef’s cookbook you have.
 

Good Greek Dips and Spreads for Entertaining

I like to entertain and I like to have some good recipes on hand to throw together at the last minute. Did I miss anything? Here's what I have:
  • Tzatziki
  • Hummus
  • Melitzanosalata
  • Taramosalata
  • Fava
I eat tapenade (olive spread) a lot in Greece, but I don't have a good recipe...

Tips on How to Make Greek Olive Bread

I'm a big fan of Mediterranean cuisine and lately, I've been craving some authentic Greek olive bread. I've tried a couple of recipes, but I still feel there's something missing to make it just right.

Does anyone have any tried-and-true tips or secret ingredients that can elevate my Greek olive bread? I'm especially interested in:
  • Types of olives that work best
  • Tips for getting the perfect crust
  • Any herbs or spices that add authentic flavor
  • Baking techniques that ensure a soft, flavorful inside
Looking forward to hearing your suggestions! Thanks in advance for your help.

Greek Rice Pudding Recipe

I love Greek-style rice pudding! My family used to make this all the time but got away from it. It's one of my favorite desserts! Thought I would share my recipe.

Ingredients:​

  • 1 cup short-grain rice (such as Arborio)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions:​

  1. Rinse the Rice:
    • Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps to remove excess starch.
  2. Cook the Rice:
    • In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
    • Add the rice and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the rice is partially cooked. Drain any excess water if necessary.
  3. Simmer with Milk:
    • Add the 4 cups of whole milk and the cinnamon stick to the pot with the rice.
    • Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Sweeten and Flavor:
    • Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30-40 minutes or until the rice is tender and the mixture has thickened.
    • Stir in the sugar and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the sugar is fully dissolved and the pudding has thickened to your desired consistency.
  5. Add Vanilla:
    • Remove the pot from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. Cool and Serve:
    • Remove the cinnamon stick.
    • Pour the rice pudding into individual serving dishes or a large serving bowl.
    • Let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until well chilled.

Different kinds of Greek salads?

I love horiatiki when I go to Greece - but I also noticed other types of salads being served.

Do they have names?

I tried one or two of them and most of them involved greens - like lettuce, etc.

Are they just the invention of the restaurant or are they common dishes? I guess it's hard to truly know unless I can share examples from restaurants, but Id didn't think to take pics last time I was in Greece.

Chocolate Koulourakia Recipe

I had Chocolate Koulourakia when in Greece and I recently found and tried the recipe. It was good! Thought I'd share:

Ingredients:​

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk (if needed)
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions:​

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add Eggs and Vanilla: Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, baking powder, flour, and salt.
  5. Mix Dry and Wet Ingredients: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until a dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a tablespoon of milk to help bring it together.
  6. Shape the Cookies: Take small pieces of dough and roll them into ropes about 4-5 inches long. Fold each rope in half and twist the ends together to form a twist shape, or shape them into rings if you prefer.
  7. Egg Wash: In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
  8. Bake: Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until the cookies are firm and slightly golden around the edges.
  9. Cool and Serve: Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
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