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The Glorious Foods of Greece: Vegetables, Beans, and Grains

August 2008 Cookbook of the Month, The Glorious Foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas.

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  1. Stewed Vegetables with Sausage from Limnos, p 278

    Kochilas puts this in the vegetable section of the Islands of the Northeastern Aegean chapter so I'm following her lead.

    This was straightforward and delicious (although Mr GG didn't love it as much - he likes meat a lot and is still raving about the Chez Panisse ragu I made last weekend). I used a mixture of Italian herb sausages and Cumberland sausage as that's what i had. The recipe calls for you to brown the sausages in their own fat but mine were very lean so i added a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Then you add three chopped red onions and and a chopped fennel bulb and some fresh dill (as a substitute for wild fennel leaves - I left out the dill as it's not something I'm fond of). When the veggies have softened add a medium courgette, quartered (wasn't sure what she meant here so I chopped it into four and then quartered it) OR 1 1/2 pounds of green beans, 2 grated fresh tomatoes (I had half a can of plum toms which needed using so I subbed those) and 1/3 cup of fresh mint. Season and add EVOO (I used 1T istead of the suggested 3 to 4 as I'd already used 1T to sautée the sausage) and enough water to come halfway up the vegetables. Simmer for about an hour with the lid on until vegetables are tender. Serve warm or at room temp - this is vital imo, it tasted a lot better warm than piping hot.

    I really enjoyed the subtle flavours of the mint and the vegetables and it really took me back to meals I've enjoyed in Crete. We mopped up the juices with my first attempt at No-Knead bread and a glass of Normandy cider - just delicious.

    9 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      That recipe is on my To Make list, GG. Is the final dish soupy or does the liquid reduce in volume? I have found that many dishes taste much better just warm or at room temp. Piping hot seems to deaden the flavors, it seems to me.

      1. re: Gio

        Not that soupy, no. But enough liquid to mop up nicely with some good bread.

      2. re: greedygirl

        I also have this on my to make list (although with turkey or chicken sausages), but wondered if it could make a full meal on its own since she has it in the veg. section. Did you make a full meal of it?

        That no-knead bread is pretty amazing, isn't it?

        1. re: LulusMom

          We did, but it was lunch, and we ate the whole recipe (which she says serves four) between the two of us! So I'd say you definitely need something else with it. Maybe some rice, or another dish?

          I am sold on the no-knead bread, but it's only really possible to make it on days you're not at work, no?

          1. re: greedygirl

            My husband is in charge of making the no-knead bread, but I *think* he's made it and then just left it for hours on end only to do the turn over (or whatever it is) that evening. But again, he's in charge of it, so I'll have to ask him if he feels it is necessary to do it on home days ...

            Thanks for the info on the amount; I think maybe rice might be the answer.

            1. re: greedygirl

              gg: You've GOT to try the faster NYT artisanal bread in 12 seconds (kidding) recipe. It's extremely fast and you store any leftover dough in the fridge and lop off a piece whenever you want to bake another loaf...up to a point, that its, since the dough doesn't multiply on its own. Dagnabbit!

              There are posts about it (even some recent) here if you search artisanal and 5 minutes .... I think that's it, anyway. Ain't I helpful?!

              1. re: oakjoan

                That's the next thing on my list to try! Probably a bit easier to fit round a job, right?

            2. re: greedygirl

              My turn on the Stewed Vegetables with Sausage from Limnos (p 278). Thanks to greedygirl for letting me know it needed to be doubled for a meal - she was definitely right. I used spicy turkey sausage, half green beans and half zucchini. Directions say to add the fresh mint and dill when you add the veg. and then cook for an hour, but I saved half the mint and all the dill and added in the last 5 minutes. I wasn't very excited by this one - if it wasn't for the spiciness of the sausage and the brightness of the dill, I don't think it would have had much going for it at all. That said, husband liked it more than I did. It just didn't seem like anything special to me.

            3. Ionian Islands Chapter:
              Garlicky Eggplant from Zakynthos, Pg. 81

              This just had to be my first Greek dish - eggplant is my favorite vegetable and every time I've had it in a Greek restaurant I've been disappointed...
              This was absolutely a delight - easy to make and very tasty.

              The eggplant is sliced in rounds, and fried with a bit of EVOO then drained on paper towels. DH used the grill pan. Two tomatoes are grated, I used the course side of a box grater with great trepidation but the process went very well with no injuries. Eight cloves of garlic are smashed and fried for a few minutes, the tomato pulp and juice is added along with sherry vinegar, salt & FGBpepper. This is simmered for 10 minutes. The eggplant and sauce are layered in a baking dish and baked in a 350* oven for 30 minutes.

              I served this as the main dish intending to make the cornmeal fritters from Corfu but discovered too late that we were all out of cornmeal, so having a box of Near East couscous in the pantry, which conveniently had a Greek Salad recipe on the box, that's what I made as a side. FWIW: it was loaded with chopped fresh veggies and went very with the eggplant.

              We loved this and will definitely make it again....and again! However I wish she had included some recommendations for side dishes or perhaps wine pairings. But then I like to research such things. It's all good!

              8 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                Oh good - I'm making this for dinner - just got back from the market with loads of goodies. I was going to make half of it and serve it with a meat pie.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Ditto! Just got a lovely pinkish/lavendar and white stripy eggplant in my CSA box yesterday. Need a side dish for tonight.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Is this a main course do you think - or do you mean you are using it as a`side dish? I'm about to put together the meat pie ... maybe I should save this for tomorrow? I've salted, rinsed & drained my eggplants, but I guess they'd keep until tomorrow.

                2. re: Gio

                  I made this last night - not much to add, except that I used 3 large tomatoes, rather than the 4-5 called for, and baked for 40-45 minutes per the book. Delicious dish. I made the sauce after browning the egg plant, but it would be faster if you did both at once.

                  I served it with the meat pie on p. 91, some tzatziki that I made from a recipe off the internet, and a green salad.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    This morning's breakfast was a piece of toast, a schmear of the eggp[lant with a poached egg on top and pot of Earl Grey tea....Lovely!

                    1. re: Gio

                      I'm thinking of cutting up my leftovers and serving it with pasta for dinner for me tonight, since husband is away.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Tonight, Monday, was as always Macaroni night at casa G&G. A tomato sauce was made with diced and sauteed pancetta, garlic, leftover half red onion, half red bell pepper..... and the leftover eggplant. It was delicious, and not very spicy but just right. Had to clean up some ricotta salata, fontina and parmisano for the final grating and dusting and we loved every bit of it!

                        We had so much leftover chicken from a few days ago that I'm going to simply heat it up and make another COTM side tomorrow night to go with it.

                        I have a whole new interest in cooking after digging myself out of the rut I obviously was in. Thank you COTM!

                  2. re: Gio

                    I made this as well, and it was excellent! Quite easy to make, but it does take a bit of time. I made it for a potluck this afternoon and am sorry there are not any leftovers. I don't think this would go well as a main dish, maybe if you added some goat cheese or feta it would be more substantial. Certainly a keeper.

                  3. Peloponnesos Chapter
                    Fresh Green Beans with Onions and Fresh Cream, Pg. 27

                    Ingredients are:
                    2 lbs. fresh green beans. I used 1 lb.
                    1 large onion, finely chopped
                    1/c cup heavy cream. I used 1/4 cup 1/2 & 1/2
                    Salt & Pepper

                    Onions are cooked in warmed oil till translucent...about 15 minutes. Trimmed beans are added with S & P, tossed to coat with the onions and oil, pot is covered and simmered for 10 minutes. Water is then added to cover the beans by 1 inch, pot is covered and beans are cooked till "practically limp".... 30 minutes. The cream is added, tossed with the beans, covered, and cooked till cream has thickened.

                    After all that liquid and all the cooking time I thought the beans would be mush. But, I was wrong! I'm so used to steaming most veggies. The dish was not spectaular by any means but strangely satisfying in a blandish kind of way. I found myself wanting to add a few fresh herbs, but controlled the urge. Another rendition of the ever popular green bean.

                    This was served with the Chicken Smothered with Onions & Feta, pg. 33......good combo.

                    1. Beet greens w/ yogurt
                      I made this from the weblink MM posted on the master thread.

                      It's a great dish, and I've made it twice already, though I just received the book, can't find it! I made once per recipe (er, weblink) and then differently. It is easy, very flavorful and a keeper!

                      Version 1 -- the weblink: (I halved recipe for one)
                      Recipe has you blanch beet greens or chard, shock in ice water and drain. Mash one clove garlic in mortar & pestle, mix in lemon juice and let sit 5 mins or so, then add to 1/2 c greek yogurt. Chop 1/2 red onion.
                      Then back to your chard:
                      Heat saute pan and add 1 T butter. Put greens in w/ salt and cook 5 mins. Remove to plate and put yogurt on top as a sauce.
                      Then saute chopped onion in more butter on high heat until it browns and put on top of yogurt.

                      Version 2 -- my adaptation
                      This time I used beet greens rather than chard. I nixed the blanching and shocking. I tore up, soaked and drained beet greens. Chopped garlic and red onion.
                      Sauteed onions w/ olive oil, added garlic for one minute. Then added greens, salt and later a little water to steam, along w/ some canned garbanzo beans for protein. Covered and simmered (while I boiled some fresh corn). Then simmer away liquid uncovered, taste and resist eating straight out of the pan.
                      Just yummy. A perfect summer dish when you have the freshest greens.

                      Can't find this dish in the index though.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: NYchowcook

                        I made this last night with gorgeous chard and garlic from the Farmer's Market and I agree, it's a keeper! I made it per Version 1 but I couldn't resist adding a few pine nuts in with the onions and I'm pretty sure I'll do that whenever I have them around because I really liked the little crunch. Will probably try Version 2 next time except putting the garlic in the yogurt, liked that punch.

                        1. re: NYchowcook

                          There's a slightly different recipes on P230 for beet greens cooked with butter and youghurt. I might give that a try later as I have all the ingredients to hand.

                          1. re: NYchowcook

                            Not something I would have thought to make had it not been for both of your reviews. Used the Web link since I don't have the book. Made it with callaloo, because it looked lovely at the farmers' market this morning. Used Fage 0 because it was in the fridge and added toasted pine nuts because I had them and it sounded like a super idea (thanks, Gretchen). I doubled the garlic, just because I always do. Mistake. Too much. Also cut the butter to a couple of teaspoons to no ill effect that I could tell.

                            It is indeed a tasty, light summer dish--perfect for when you have access to lot of marvelous greens. But if I do it again, I'd try to do it with full fat, fuller flavor yogurt. It's such a prominent element in the dish that the best is definitely called for.

                          2. Oregano Fish Roe and Patties (p. 177, Thessaly)

                            (Mistake in title? Oregano and Fish Roe Patties?)

                            My husband had picked up some carp fish roe at the market, and I was looking for ways to use it up before it goes bad - there are a couple of recipes for using it in the book. This one is a potato pancake - riced potatoes, roe, a lot of chopped fresh oregano, chopped red onions, egg, and bread crumbs. I should have chopped the red onions more finely than I did, I think, and maybe added a little more bread crumbs, as the dough was rather malleable - may also be due to my leaving it out for a while before forming the patties. But, well worth it - quite delicious, great flavors. I suggested to my husband that they might be good with a little yogurt on top, so while I finished preparing dinner, he had some more of them with dollops of yogurt and a little bit of roe. I made half a batch, and probably had 20 or so patties. This would make great mezethes.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: MMRuth

                              That looks delicious.

                              Can you describe the carp roe you used? I haven't gone shopping yet for Greek ingredients, but I have a jar of tarama in the pantry. It doesn't sound like it's the same item though for this recipe. Is the carp roe you used dried, like bottarga?

                              1. re: Rubee

                                The carp roe is tarama, I believe. It's very heavily salted, like tiny salmon roe, not dried like bottarga (she does have a recipe or two for bottarga, though, I think, in a side bar, not an actual recipe.)

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  I was reading more about this in the book, by the way, and apparently the better tarama is not dyed, but white. Mine was sort of an orangish color, though not bright like salmon roe.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    Very helpful! That describes what I have too, though this picture makes it look darker:


                                    I'm going to make something with tarama tonight - either your Oregano Patties, or the Garlicky Fish Roe Spread on p. 217

                                    1. re: Rubee

                                      Yes - that's what mine looked like too.

                                      We had a lot leftover but it was still good last night, and since I didn't have potatoes, I just mixed it with quite a bit of yogurt (so salty), some olive oil, lemon juice, chopped onions and mint (the mint idea came from the book). Need to post my reports from last night.

                            2. Macedonia and Thrace Chapter
                              Leeks Stewed with Prunes and Tomatoes, Pg. 229

                              DK calls this dish a Lenten dish usually served alone. In that regard I would say it's perfect for Lent because it's so sparse. I hasten to add, though, that I made half a recipe instead of the whole one for 6 servings since we're only 2 people here at casa G & G. Certainly fish would be an appropriate accompaniment, which I did serve.

                              Ingredients: for 1/2 recipe....
                              1 lb Leeks
                              1/3 C EVOO
                              1 large ripe tomato, grated
                              8 pitted prunes
                              S & FGBpepper
                              1/2 C dry red wine, if necessary (it was, water is an option)
                              Dried cherry plums are an option but I could not find them so they were eliminated.

                              The leeks are sliced in 2 1/2 inch cylinders then washed thoroughly.
                              When I saw the small portion this was I added a large white onion, peeled and sliced in eighths with root core attached. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven and add the leeks. Cook till caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add tomatoes and prunes, season with S & P and simmer till all are tender... about 15 minutes. The wine had to be added near the end of the cooking. Good thing too because it added more flavor and countered the sweetness of the prunes.

                              We both thought the dish was rather mild, and certainly not enough for 3 people to eat without another dish of something. That really would be penance. DH baked a potato for himself.... he's a big guy and needed a little bit extra.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Gio

                                I'm having a really hard time imagining this one. Does the simmering in wine sort of mellow out both the onioniness of the leeks and the sweetness of the prunes?

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  The leeks really don't simmer in the wine, LLM. The leeks cook in the EVOO and the juicy grated tomatoes. The wine is added if the pan gets too dry, which it did after about 7 minutes of cooking. I thought the wine kind of boosted the flavor of the dish.

                              2. Summer Vegetable Stew from Ikaria, p278

                                I wasn't blown away by this but it was a good way to use up a whole load of veg from by organix box! It's just a very simple vegetable stew - you sauté green beans and onions in olive oil for about five minutes and then add corn and potatoes (I didn't have any corn). Add enough water to cover the vegetables and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

                                You then add grated tomato, courgettes and season (needed a lot of S&P) and simmer until all the vegetables are tender - 20 minutes or so.

                                It was tasty enough, but if I made it again I'd add some oregano and maybe some garlic to lift the flavours a bit. Good if you're on a diet though (as long as you cut the oil a bit)! (Can you tell I'm going on holiday in a month's time?)

                                1. Giant Beans with Celery, p25

                                  I made this for a picnic and winged it a bit on the quantities as I wanted to use half a kilo of beans rather than the half pound stated in the recipe. I used butter beans and soaked them overnight before simmering until tender (about an hour). I sautéed celery in olive oil with garlic until softened then added it to the beans with half a cup of olive oil and about two cups of water diluted with tomato purée. I used more water and purée than the recipe called for because I had more beans. The whole lot was baked in the oven until the beans were tender - DK says they should be "creamy, almost the texture of roasted garlic, without disintegrating but I found it hard to know when they were done. It definitely took longer than stated in the recipe, a good couple of hours. You put in some parsley a few minutes before the end and adjust the seasoning when they're done. I found they needed a lot of S&P and quite a bit of lemon juice.

                                  These were good, and people at the picnic seemed to like them but I felt they lacked a certain something, not sure what though. Maybe more garlic. But as I didn't double the quantities of everything, hard to know.

                                  1. Macedonia and Thrace Chapter
                                    Bulgur and Walnut Pilaf from Pontos, Pg. 232

                                    This was delicious! At least I thought so but DH didn't think it was anything special...
                                    Coarse bulgur is cooked in water and a bit of EVOO till all the water has evaporated. Walnuts are ground in a processor and added to the bulgur 5 minutes before it's finished then the mixture is seasoned with S & P. The pilaf can be packed into a ring mold or simply turned onto a serving platter, which is what I did. Greek yogurt is piled in the middle and the whole thing is sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley. Nice presentation. I'll definitely make this again, even though.....

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Gio

                                      I made this last night. I thought it was delicious also. And very healthy! I have nothing much to add. (The only ingredient Gio didn't mention was paprika.)

                                      I have a habit of buying various food items and not using them up for ages. So the bulgur I used had been sitting around for _ I hate to guess how long. But it still tasted great.

                                    2. Zucchini Omelet from Syros, p326 (The Cyclades)

                                      Made this for a quickish after-work supper. It was pretty straightforward - sauté sliced courgettes for about five minutes in a covered, non-stick frying pan. This seemed pretty unorthodox to me and is apparently to drive off any moisture, but mine didn't seem to really have any. Then I added 2T of EVOO (cut from 1/3 cup in the recipe) and some spring onions and sautéed for about five minutes. Add 1t of dried mint and 1/3 cup of fresh dill (skipped the dill as I don't like it much). Beat 4 jumbo eggs with 3T of milk and add to the pan (I have no idea how big a jumbo egg is so I used 9 medium eggs which may well be small ones in the US). Cook over a low heat until the bottom is set then flip over and cook on the other side. I don't trust myself to flip omelettes so I popped mine under the grill for a few minutes, which is what I usually do with frittatas/tortillas, which is what this is essentially.

                                      The mint gave this a nice flavour, but it wasn't really more than the sum of its parts. A decent enough supper dish, but nothing special. I think I prefer tortillas or frittatas, which are a bit thicker than this was.

                                      1. Epirus Chapter
                                        Baby Zucchini Simmered in Milk from Zagorohoria, Pg. 145

                                        Chopped scallions and parsley are cooked in either EVOO or butter, we chose the former, in a pot for about 9 minutes. Zucchini rounds are added, seasoned with salt, tossed to coat then cooked over low heat till all moisture has evaporated. One half pound Feta is crumbled and added, tossed, then the milk is added and everything is simmered till the mixture becomes thick and creamy which takes abut 10 minutes. Season with salt and FGBpepper and serve. Very nice dish. I would never think to cook zucchini in milk, let alone cheese, although in some Italian preparations, cheese is grated over the final dish. This was a tasty variation and DH loved it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I've looked at this recipe but always ended up making something else, so thanks for reporting on it. I definitely want to make it sometime.

                                        2. Crete Chapter
                                          Pilaf Simmered in Chicken Broth from Sfakia, Pg. 414

                                          I'm almost embarrassed to report on this recipe.... it was So easy!
                                          Chicken broth, long grain rice, lemon juice to taste, slightly browned butter at the end. That's it. Delicious. Nice and creamy, with the juice of one lemon making it the most flavorful rice I've had in a long time. I served it with fish baked in tahini sauce and baby zucchini. One good dinner I'd serve to anyone.

                                          1. Thessaly Chapter
                                            Warm Cauliflower Salad with Tuna and Olives, Pg. 176

                                            Had a huge head of cauliflower from the farm so I had to use it for this meal....
                                            the cauliflower is cut into very small florets. The recipe calls for tinned tuna in olive oil ( I used 2 tins from Trader Joe's). DK says to drain and rinse the tuna... I just drained. One small red onion halved & sliced and 1 cup of unpitted Amfissa olives round out the ingredients. The cauliflower is steamed till very soft then put into a bowl with the tuna, onions and olives and a simple red wine vinagrette is poured over, seasoned with S & P and tossed. That's it. Very nice.... we both liked it - but - next time I'll steam the cauliflower till just cooked through. Ms. Kolichas says that Greek people like their veggies soft.

                                            I served it with a baked sweet potato and a tomato, cucumber and onion salad with a tahini dressing from a Bittman book. All in all a good meal for a summer evening, and a good way to use those wonderful seasonal vegetables now at the farmstands and farmer's markets.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Warm Cauliflower Salad with Tuna and Olives, Pg. 176

                                              Just popping back in this thread to report that this salad was a component of our Christmas dinner yesterday. It was just as delicious even though I didn't heed my own thought to keep the cauliflower crisp-tender. It was perfect with a pork loin from Michelle Scicoline's book "1,000 Italian Recipes" that is roasted with onions and apples, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

                                            2. Macedonia and Thrace Chapter
                                              Beet Greens with Butter and Yogurt from Pontos, Pg. 230

                                              Swiss Chard worked perfectly with the combination of butter, dressing, and garnish in this recipe. I had a mixed bunch of white, red and orange stemmed chard from my CSA and when I searched EYB this recipe popped up. Since I had under the 2 pounds of greens necessary I reduced the amount of butter from 6 T to 4 T but increased the garlic from 3 cloves to 4. Also, recipe calls for 1 small red onion but I had half a red and Vidalia so combined them.

                                              Blanch the rinsed and trimmed greens for 5 minutes. (The recipe didn't say to but I tore the leaves as well). Melt butter in a pan, add greens, cook stirring 5 minutes. Place greens on a platter. Mix well minced garlic with drained Greek yogurt and spoon over the greens. Add a little more butter to the pan and cook a roughly chopped onion till crisp... this takes about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the onion over the yogurt.

                                              For such a simple recipe with no salt or pepper this produced a remarkably flavorful dish. I can't really explain it but the amalgamation of those ordinary ingredients was wonderful. This will be the method I use for other greens this Summer.