Soupa with Bizelia - Pea Soup

2 1/2 cups of split peas
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 cup of chopped vegetables and herbs (carrots, celery, parsley, thyme)
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup of olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
8-12 cups of water

Pour the peas into a colander and rinse with cold water, checking for small stones. Put peas in a large bowl filled with cold water and soak overnight (12 hours).

Add the peas to a stock pot with the oil, bouillon cubes, vegetables, herbs, seasonings and water.

Simmer covered over low heat for 3 hours, stirring every so often so it doesn't stick. When the soup is thick and the peas are very soft, remove from heat. (If more water is needed, add boiling water.)
Stir briskly with a wire whisk and serve.

Xorta - Boiled Green Leafy Vegetables

1 1/2 pounds of spinach or your choice of dark leafy greens:
dandelion greens
mustard greens
beet greens
palmer amaranth (Greek vlita)
wild spinach
broccoli rabe (raab, rapini)
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons

Wash the greens carefully, discarding thick stems and damaged leaves. In a large pot, bring 1-2 inches of salted water to a boil, and add the greens. Boil for 4-15 minutes until softened and dark green, tasting to check for doneness (time depends on the greens used).

Remove , squeezing out the water and drain in a colander.
Greens are served warm or at room temperature. Add olive oil and lemon juice to taste.

Mix oil and lemon with 6 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and toss with the greens.

Spanakopita without Cheese (Spinach Pie)

5 pounds of fresh spinach
1 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
8 spring onions, finely chopped
1 bunch of fennel leaves, finely chopped (or 1 medium leek, finely chopped, or 1 bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped)
3/4 cup of olive oil
1 pound package of phyllo pastry sheets (approx. 24 sheets)
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Wash the spinach well in cold water, removing roots. Chop coarsely and place in a colander. Salt lightly and let drain for 10 minutes. Press or squeeze to remove all excess liquid.

In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, dill, parsley, onions, fennel, pepper, and half the oil, and mix well until ingredients are well blended.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Brush the pan with oil (round, square, or rectangular). When laying the sheets in the pan, leave an overlap of phyllo outside the pan rim all the way around. Lay half the phyllo sheets on the bottom, brushing each one lightly with olive oil.

Spoon in the spinach mixture and spread evenly. Fold the extending phyllo in over the mixture. Lay the remaining phyllo sheets on top, brushing each with oil except the top sheet. Trim the top phyllo with a scissors, and score the top into serving-size squares.

Brush the top with oil. Wet your hands and shake off the excess water over the top of the pita.

Grilled Octopus - Ohtapodi stin skara

4 1/2 pounds of octopus, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
olive oil to coat

For the sauce:
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
juice of 2 lemons or vinegar (about 4 tablespoons)

To garnish:
crushed Greek oregano (rigani)

A note about octopus: Octopus loses a lot of its volume during cooking, so expect that the finished dish will look like quite a bit less than the original quantity.

If the octopus has not been cleaned: Under running water, remove and discard the ink sac, stomach, and eyes from the large head cavity.

Remove the beak, at the bottom of the head where it joins the tentacles, with a sharp knife.
Place the whole octopus in a pot with enough boiling water to to cover generously. When it resumes boiling, cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain. When cool enough to handle, rub the octopus with your hands under running water to remove the dark outer membrane. This comes off fairly easily, and if it doesn't all come off, that's all right.

Place the octopus in the pressure cooker with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, seal, and when pressure is reached, lower the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Use quick pressure release, remove the octopus and drain.

When the octopus is cool enough to handle, cut off the tentacles, and cut the head sac into 1/2 inch strips. Brush with olive oil (or brush the grill) and grill over low coals for about 45 minutes to 1 hour (test for tenderness).

Just before serving, cut tentacles into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces (on a diagonal), and make the sauce: whip the oil and lemon juice or vinegar in the blender until it thickens (a few seconds). Pour over the octopus, sprinkle with oregano, and serve.

Bobota - Cornbread - Lenten Recipe

2 cups of cornmeal
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 cup of sugar
4-5 tablespoons of fresh orange juice (juice of 1/2 large orange)
1/4 cup of corn oil
about 1 cup of lukewarm water

Preheat oven to 350°F (175-180°C)

Whisk together the cornmeal, sugar, and baking powder to combine well. In a separate bowl, mix oil, orange juice, and water, and stir until well blended.

Add liquids to the dry ingredients and stir.
Pour batter into a well-oiled 9-inch pie pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the pan. It should come out dry.

Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

9-inch pie pan (4-8 pieces)

Yigandes (Lima Beans) Plaki - Lenten Recipe

1 pound of yigandes (or big lima beans), soaked for 12 hours, drained
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 pound of ripe tomatoes, peeled, finely chopped (or 16oz. of canned chopped plum tomatoes)
2 small cubes of vegetable bouillon (or beef for non-vegetarians/non-vegans)
sea salt (optional)
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups of water (1 1/2 cups if using canned tomatoes)

Add the beans to a pot with enough cold water to cover well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook at a slow boil for 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325F (160C).

Using a wooden spoon, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.

Add tomatoes (if using canned, add all liquid as well), bouillon cubes, salt, pepper, parsley, and water, and allow to boil gently for 10-30 minutes, until it begins to thicken.
Place the beans in an oven-proof pan, add tomato mixture, stir and spread mixture out evenly. Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beans are soft. (Check the dish during cooking and if needed, add a small amount of boiling water.) The dish will look crispy on top.

Remove from the oven, cover, and allow to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lamb Pita with Garlic

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless leg of lamb, cut into (3/4-inch) cubes
1 1/2 cups finely chopped seeded cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (6-ounce) container plain low-fat yogurt
4 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Combine rosemary, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and lamb, tossing to coat. Add lamb mixture to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until done.
While lamb cooks, combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, cucumber, lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and yogurt. Divide lamb mixture evenly among each of 4 pitas, and drizzle with sauce.

Mediterranean Wrap

1 tablespoon 1/3-less fat cream cheese
1 (9-inch) spinach or tomato-basil wrap
3/4 cup chopped fresh baby spinach
1/2 small avocado, sliced
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped tomato
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon wine vinaigrette

Spread cream cheese over 1 side of wrap. Top with chopped spinach and remaining ingredients.
Roll up wrap tightly. Cut diagonally in half.

Yogurt with Honey and Walnuts

2 to 3 cups plain yogurt (preferably Greek style)
3/4 to 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 to 2 cups toasted walnuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup honey

Stir together yogurt and vanilla. Layer alternately with remaining ingredients into 4 to 6 glasses, beginning with yogurt and ending with walnuts and honey.

Greek Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Feta

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 cups diced tomato
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups hot cooked thin spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese, divided
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon slices (optional)
Green onions (optional)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, green onions, 2 tablespoons parsley, and lemon juice; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Combine tomato mixture, spaghetti, and 3/4 cup cheese; toss gently. Top with remaining cheese and parsley, and serve with pepper. Garnish with lemon slices and green onions, if desired.

Lambropsomo - Greek Easter Bread

1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 cup butter, sliced
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
About 5 cups all-purpose flour
5 hard-cooked eggs, dyed deep red
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. In a small pan, lightly crush anise seeds and allspice with a wooden spoon. Add 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and let steep 15 to 30 minutes, then pour through a fine wire strainer; reserve liquid and discard spices.
2. In another small pan over medium-low heat, combine butter, milk, and salt. Heat just until warm (110°; butter doesn't need to melt completely). Stir in sugar. The temperature may continue to rise even off the heat; if it gets too hot, let cool before adding to yeast mixture.

3. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine yeast and 1/4 cup warm (110°) water; let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes.

4. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the beaten eggs; cover and chill. Add remaining beaten eggs, spice-infused water, and butter mixture to yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Stir in 2 cups flour. With a heavy-duty electric hand or standing mixer on medium speed, beat until dough is stretchy, 6 to 10 minutes, scraping it down if it rises up beaters.

5. If using a heavy-duty mixer with a dough hook, beat in 2 1/4 more cups flour on low speed until well blended. Then beat on medium speed, gradually adding just enough of the remaining 3/4 cup flour needed, until dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 6 to 10 minutes.

If kneading by hand, with a wooden spoon, stir in 2 1/4 more cups flour until blended. Dust board generously with some of the remaining 3/4 cup flour. Scrape dough onto the board and knead, adding just enough of the remaining flour needed to prevent sticking, until dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 10 to 15 minutes. Return dough to bowl.

6. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm (70° to 80°) place until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 350° (325° for convection heat). Punch dough down and knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air. Shape into a smooth round and place in a buttered 10-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim at least 2 inches tall; press dough lightly to fill pan. Set 1 hard-cooked egg in the center and 4 eggs around edge, at the points of a cross. Cover pan lightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm (70° to 80°) place just until almost doubled, 35 to 50 minutes.

8. Brush bread with reserved beaten egg and sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds. Bake until bread is richly browned and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack about 10 minutes, then run a knife around pan rim and remove; remove pan bottom. Let bread cool on rack at least 30 minutes. Cut into wedges to serve.

Makes 1 loaf

Greek Salad with Spaghetti Squash

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cooked spaghetti squash
2 cups chopped tomato
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

Combine 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar,2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil,
1 teaspoon dried oregano ,1/4 teaspoon salt ,1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced ,in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.
Combine squash and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add vinegar mixture; toss well. Cover and chill.

Hummus Pitas with Feta Cheese

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 garlic clove, peeled
Dash of crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped tomato
3/4 cup chopped seeded English cucumber
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
4 (6-inch) pita bread rounds, halved

Drain chickpeas in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon liquid. Combine chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and red pepper in a food processor, and process until smooth, scraping sides of processor bowl once. Add lemon juice and reserved chickpea liquid, process until smooth. Spoon mixture into a bowl; set aside.
Combine tomato and next 6 ingredients (tomato through mint) in a bowl. Spoon 1/4 cup hummus mixture into each pita half; top with 1/4 cup feta-olive salsa.

4 sandwiches

Greek Pasta Salad

6 cups water
1 pound large shrimp
1/2 cup low-fat Caesar dressing
2 teaspoons sun-dried tomato sprinkles
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
5 cups cooked penne (10 ounces uncooked tube-shaped pasta)
3/4 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/4 cup sliced red onion, separated into rings
1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, drained and cut into strips
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes or until done. Drain and rinse with cold water. Peel and chill shrimp.
Combine shrimp, dressing, tomato sprinkles, and rosemary in a large bowl. Add pasta and next 5 ingredients (pasta through bell peppers); toss gently to coat. Cover; chill 1 hour. Sprinkle with cheese and black pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


Braised Baby Artichokes and New Potatoes

4 cups water, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
12 baby artichokes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
2 cups thinly vertically sliced onion
1 1/2 cups fresh green peas
1 cup chopped carrot
2 1/2 cups small red potatoes, quartered (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon juice in a large bowl. Cut off stem of each artichoke to within 1 inch of base; peel stem. Remove bottom leaves and tough outer leaves, leaving tender heart and bottom. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise; place in water mixture, tossing to coat.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add remaining 2 cups water, peas, and carrot; bring to a boil. Drain artichokes; add artichokes and potatoes to the pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until artichokes are tender. Uncover; cook 3 minutes. Stir in dill, mint, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons juice.

6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 239(27% from fat); FAT 7.3g (sat 1g,mono 5g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 9g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 96mg; SODIUM 539mg; FIBER 12.1g; IRON 3.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 39g

Chicken Souvlaki Salad

2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic, divided
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
3 cups cubed peeled cucumber (about 3 cucumbers)
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/4 cup grated peeled cucumber
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat grill or broiler.
Combine 1 teaspoon garlic and the next 6 ingredients (1 teaspoon garlic through chicken breast) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake to coat. Remove chicken from the bag. Grill or broil chicken 5 minutes on each side or until done. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Combine chicken, cubed cucumber, and the next 4 ingredients (cubed cucumber through tomatoes) in a large bowl. Combine yogurt and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over chicken mixture; toss well.

4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 259(28% from fat); FAT 8.2g (sat 3g,mono 3.4g,poly 1g); PROTEIN 31.8g; CHOLESTEROL 79mg; CALCIUM 161mg; SODIUM 679mg; FIBER 2.9g; IRON 2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15.3g