Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Youvetsi with beef

Youvetsi is a very popular greek dish, that is made with beef or lamb (or any other meat you prefer). Beef (of lamb) is cooked with kritharaki, an orzo-type pasta, and tomato sause in a clay pot.

1/2 kilo beef cut into medium-sized pieces
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 garlic mashed

1 carrot chopped
oppional: 1-2 peppers chopped
1 cup of red wine
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
3-4 tbsp tomato sauce
a handful of parsleychopped
1 cup kritharaki (orzo-type pasta)
olive oil

How to make
Put olive oil in a pot (or a pressure cooker) and when hot, add the chopped onions. Let them soften and continue with carrots and pepper. Let them soften too, add the spices, except salt and sugar and then the piece of meat. Turn the meat with a wooden spoon from all sides until browned. 
Then, pour the wine over the meat and let it boil for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, sugar and parsley and stir well. Fill the pot with water, until meat is fully covered. Let it boil until beef is almost ready. This means about 1 hour or little longer or just 15-20 minutes in the pressure cooker. 
In another pot, heat water with plenty of salt and when starts to boil add the kritharaki. Let is boil for 10-12 minutes and then drain and rinse well. At this point kritharaki will be undercooked.

When beef and kritharaki are both ready put them together in a clay pot, like the one shown above, with with as much gravy from the pot as necessary to cover them.
Close the clay pot and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about an hour, until kritharaki absorbs the gravy and softens. 
Find it in Greek here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kourabiedes (christmas desert with butter and sugar)

I'll continue with another traditional christmas desert, kourabiedes, which is just a cookies with butter, sugar and almonds covered with lots of icing sugar. These, along with melomakarona, are the two deserts that can be found only the period before Christmas. 
2 cups butter (about 500 gr.)
3/4 cup icing sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 2 lemons
1 cup chopped almonds (about 200 gr.)
4 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder or baking soda
icing sugar for sprinkling
How To Make
Melt the butter and whip together with the icing sugar for 10-15 minutes or more - the more is better - to be whiten and fluffy. Meanwhile put the lemon zest with 1 teaspoon of sugar in a bowl and refrigerate - this is to give more aroma and to melt entirely.
When the butter - icing sugar mix is ready, add salt, vanilla extract, baking powder, lemon zest and 3 cups flour and knead continuously. At first it will be quite difficult as the pastry is sticky, but as you continue it is easier.
Then add the almonds and finally pour the last cup of flour gradually, until the mixture isn't sticky anymore. You may not need the whole cup. 
Turn on the oven to 175 and cover a baking pan with wax paper. Prepare kourampiedes with coupe-pates or round and put them in the pan like shown in the picture above. 
Bake for 25 minutes until they begin to turn red. Let them cool completely. Sprinkle a platter or a pan with icing sugar and place over the kourabiedes, close to each other, and sprinkle over again with lots of icing sugar. Allow to stand for a while and ready!
Find it in Greek here.  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Melomakarona (Christmas desert with honey)

Homechefs in Greece make melomakarona only the period before Christmas. I think this is the reason why almost everybody loves them! Today I' ll give you my recipe, which is not unique, and has been formed by combining the recipes from my gradmothers and my own experiments.
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup brandy or liqueur
zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated clove
little grated nutmeg
1/2 cup fine semolina
2.5 cups flour

2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup honey
1 orange cut in half

walnut chopped
cinnamon and cloves

How to Make 
Place the first five ingredients into a bowl and beat then with the mixer for 5 minutes until fully homogenized (I should prepare you that this stage is pretty splashy). In the meantime, turn on the oven at 175 degrees Celsius.
Then add the liquid mix the five next ingredients and stir constantly with a fork. After that, add the 2 cups of flour and continue stirring with the fork. From now on you should put your hands in! Pour slowly and remaining half cup of flour until the pastry has a homogeneous and relatively soft texture. If you find it very sticky pour some more flour, but be carefull it should not be stiff. 
Put wax paper on a baking pan. Then prepare small balls of pastry (the size of a whole walnut). Try to make the balls really smooth externally, without cracks. Place them in the pan, pressing lightly to be somewhat flat and leave a small gap between them. You will need 3 to 4 pans.
Bake in preheated oven at 175 for 20-25 minutes, until starting to get slightly red. Then place all of them in a pan or a bowl tightly with each one another and turned upside down and let them cool completely.
Once they cool, prepare the syrup. Put all ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 5-7 minutes. With a ladle pour the syrup over the Melomakarona and let them stand several hours (7-8) or overnight.
Then mix the chopped walnut with cinnamon and cloves and sprinkle melomakarona as you turn them to a platter.

 Find it in Greek here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hello There !!!!

Since I was in school, I liked going in and experimenting in the kitchen. Every time my parents left for weekend and my siblings and I were home alone, I had the role of .. mother in feeding the younger. So I learned quickly how to prepare all basic meals and not to be afraid of the kitchen.
Over the years, I continued to cook and I am always trying to learn traditional and typical greek recipies as well as international dishes! I am only at the beginning of my culinary journey, so I have a lot to learn and I have in front of me many many hours in the kitchen.
In this blog I intend to share Greek cuisine and Greek products and show how they can be used to create simple, everyday meals, as well as special and international dishes. Hope you find it interesting!
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