I am always mixing up meats when I cook, and I don't just use beef. I know a lot of recipes in the US call for beef, but as far as I can tell, this isn't traditional in Greece. So instead, I have a Greek mindset of using whatever is available and fresh, and I try to work in lamb and pork whenever I can.
One of the most cherished things in my household is my mom's binder of old recipes preserved in clear plastic film. My mom has kept all of our family recipes in the original form which is old paper that is yellowing and in my grandmas handwriting. Because I am paranoid, I have taken pictures of all of the recipes and taken pictures of each recipe and uploaded them to the cloud so that I have a backup in case the binder gets lost. I urge everyone to write all of their family recipes down if you don't have them already!!
Bechamel sauce is a French sauce that is commonly used in Greek dishes like pastitsio, moussaka and papoutsakia. It is a rich, creamy sauce that pairs really well with ground meat sauce and pasta. You can use it for traditional Greek dishes, French dishes or even make up your own dish. One time when I had extra béchamel, I made some pasta and used it as a sauce with some sprinkled cheese. It was sooo good!
Taramosalata is one of those dips that's a bit mystifying. Many people really don't know what's in it (caviar and bread mostly) but we all know that it tastes amazing! There are varying qualities, and depending on how expensive or local the taramasalata is, its going to have different consistencies and taste. I like to go with your standard Krinos taramasalata that I get at the Greek supermarket but you can even make your own if you want a much fresher taste.
Many people think the traditional way to make baklava is with walnuts and syrup, although there are many different recipe variations from Greece and all over the world. One of my favourites is the Turkish version which is made with pistachios, and the syrup includes rosewater. There are also a few modern versions that include chocolate, like chocolate dipped baklava. Here is a recipe for covered baklava with pistachios!
Baklava is a Greek dessert pastry consisting of layered phyllo dough and chopped nuts soaked in a sweet syrup. Traditionally this is a very rich and time consuming dessert to make. So I lightened it up and created a baklava that's a much more approachable. Oh, and it's delicious too!