Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dakos Salad

Several years ago I was on the island of Paros, Greece and finally had the opportunity to put a name to one of my favorite salads! It is called Dakosalata and it is delicious! I had eaten it before, but I did not know what it was called. We had just left the beach and were looking for something healthy, yet satisfying and this salad met both our needs. Because we were both so hungry, we ordered two. The first in the classic tomato style and the second was topped with grilled diced zucchini. Both were great! I have provided the recipe for the basic tomato version since you can dress up this salad however you see fit. The only thing that might prove difficult is finding the barley rusk bread which forms the base of the salad. If you cannot find it, I would suggest using large rustic croutons or day old whole wheat bread (not the sliced sandwich style) cut up in large cubes. If you live close to a Greek market you shouldn't have a hard time finding the barley rusk. One market that definitely sells it is Titan Foods in Astoria, They also will have all of the other ingredients, including reasonably priced extra virgin olive oil and excellent oregano. You can also always email me for sources and alternative ingredients!

To make this salad for two you will need,


-1 large piece of Dakos rusk bread (or two to three cups of croutons/bread)

-2 medium sized very ripe tomatoes, grated or finely chopped

-4 oz crumbled feta

-1/2 cup good quality Kalamata olives, you can also use pitted Kalamatas

-Tbs. capers (or more if you like them)

Extra virgin olive oil, and vinegar if you like it. We do!

I have seen some restaurants serve this salad on a bed of arugula which is also nice.

Assemble the bread in the bottom of a bowl and top with the remaining ingredients. Add the olive oil, vinegar and oregano. Salt if you like. The feta usually adds a decent amount of salt, but I always add more as I am a salt feign. Many recipes recommend wetting the bread before you assemble the salad, but I like it crunchy. If you prefer the bread a little soggy, assemble the salad 30 minutes before you want to eat it or wet the bread lightly before you add the other ingredients. As with many of my recipes, there is no exact way to make this salad, so experiment. I have even spread olive tapenade on the bread when I ran out of olives.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Best Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Ever!!

The baby is sleeping, the house is clean and I finally have a little time to get back to what I love, food and sharing! In honor of Turkey Day, as I call it in my house, I am posting my Aunt Susan's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake recipe. Aunt Susan turns out a mean Turkey Day dinner, but this cake is my favorite dish of them all. It's moist, flavorful and the best thing is that it is super easy to make. In other words, perfect for this and any other mommy! Since I am such a fan of spices, I added a little clove and nutmeg when I made it, but even without it this cake is delicious! Dangerous too, I have been known to keep slicing little slivers until I ended up eating half the cake :)


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1.5 cups vegetable oil
1 can canned pumpkin (or 1.5 cups fresh cooked pumpkin)
3 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Combine the wet ingredients, sift the dry ingredients together and then combine both the wet and dry ingredients together. Add chocolate chips and stir until they are evenly dispersed. Cook at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Add a touch of nutmeg and clove if you want. I used a 1/8 of a tsp of ground clove and 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg.

Use a well greased/floured bunt pan or a loaf pan. In the above picture I added chocolate chips on the top before I started baking and found out later that they started to burn. Better to just keep them in the batter.

Remember to keep it easy and fun! Better to have good food and great company than perfect food and a stressed out host!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Awesome Summer Fruit Crisp

It has been awhile since I have posted anything sweet and with summer producing so many luscious fruits and berries, I figured a nice recipe for a fruit crisp was warranted. This recipe came from an old roommate and was initially intended to be used on top of Granny Smith apples. Although I have made it with apples many times, over the years I have experimented with other fruits including, plums, peaches, blueberries and raspberries. They all are equally as good and when topped with homemade vanilla ice cream this dish is divine! This is one of my ,favorite desserts and the only problem with this recipe is that I have been known to wake up in the middle of the night and scarf some down with a glass of cold milk!


- 5 ripe, but slightly firm, medium peaches (if they are super ripe the dish can get mushy)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup raspberries

For the topping

- 8 Tbs cold butter cut in pieces
- 1 cup sugar (I often make this with 3/4 of sugar if I am serving the crisp with ice cream so it is not too sweet)(brown sugar is nice with apples, but only use 3/4 of a cup)
- 3/4 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons (you can also do 1/2 flour and half quick cooking oats)
- dash of cinnamon


Butter a baking dish and add sliced peaches, blueberries and raspberries. Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour over the fruit and gently toss.

Cut/blend the sugar, remaining flour and butter together until crumbly. If using a food processor, pulse the ingredients together. I also have used a fork and my hands. If using your hands make sure they are cold! Whatever your method, be careful not to overwork the ingredients or the topping will become one big fat glob!

Add topping over fruit, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Put your baking dish on top of a sheet pan so juices from the fruit do not boil over and end up in the bottom of your oven. You can also make this in individual ramekins, but reduce the cooking time.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream! Reheats beautifully if you want to make it the day before! Easier than pie to make and sure to impress your most discerning guests!


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Herbed Greek Meat Patties with Tzaziki Sauce and Feta Oregano French Fries

I cannot believe it has been almost a year since I started my blog. So much has happened, including the birth of my son Christian! I started to blog before I got pregnant and clearly little Christian took up most of my time over the past year. Now that he is out and almost three months old, I can finally get back to my other love, cooking! In honor of baby Christian and my recent move to the Greek community Astoria, I am posting my Grandmother’s recipe for Keftedaki, aka Greek herbed meat patties. These are super kid friendly and can even be made in larger portions to serve as a burger for a summer barbeque. If you do decide to serve them as a burger try topping them with tzaziki sauce or feta. At one point I will post my spicy feta dip recipe which would be equally delicious. If you are desperate for the recipe now, feel free to email me for an immediate response. I like serving the keftedaki with tzaziki sauce, a Greek green salad and French fries topped with oregano and feta.

Keftedaki - Greek Herbed Meat Patties/Burgers/Meatballs


1 lb ground pork

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground lamb (these proportions can be adjusted to your taste)

¾ cup grated (or super finely chopped) red onion (about one medium onion)

¾ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

¼ cup finely chopped mint (not spearmint!)

½ cup to1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs (just enough to absorb the excess moisture)

1 Tbs. olive oil

2 tsp. Greek or Mexican oregano

1 tsp lemon juice

2 beaten eggs

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Flour and vegetable oil if pan frying*


Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix, making sure not to overwork the meat. For best results mix the day before (leaving the eggs and breadcrumbs out) and let rest 24 hours so the flavors can combine. When ready to cook add the eggs and breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly. Make little meat balls, patties or burgers. Grill or pan fry. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

I like salt so I put about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, note that regular table salt is MUCH saltier so use half. After you combine everything make one small meatball and cook it before the rest to taste for seasoning. Adjust accordingly.

*Flour and vegetable oil only if you are going to make little round balls to pan fry. These are great if you are doing a dinner party. Roll the balls and coat them in flour, remove any excess before adding to the oil. Drain on paper towels and then serve them on a platter with the tzaziki sauce for dipping.

Although I like to mix the three meats, feel free to use only one kind if you do not eat pork or do not like the gaminess of lamb. I would, however, try it with the lamb at least once since it adds fabulous flavor. I imagine the recipe would also work with ground turkey or chicken even though I have never tried it.

Best Taziziki Sauce


1 17.6 ounce container of either 0%, 2% or full fat Total Greek strained yogurt. Of course full fat is best. (I highly recommend using this brand since it makes all the difference in the world. You can try other strained yogurts or make your own strained yogurt by using cheese cloth to strain regular yogurt.)

1 cup finely chopped peeled and seeded English cucumber (about a 2 to 1 ratio with yogurt.)

2-3 crushed garlic cloves (if I am not pressed for time I use a mortar and pestle and mash the garlic with a little salt. If I am busy, I use a garlic press)

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp red wine vinegar

Salt to taste


Combine all the ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or at least for a couple hours. As the tzaziki sits, the garlic will become more pronounced so if you want to add more garlic I would recommend doing it the next day. Some people prefer grating the cucumber and also adding dill. That is not how my family makes it, but either way is correct. I personally like the crunchiness of the cucumber when it is chopped versus grated.

To seed the cucumber cut it in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. If the cucumber is super watery you can remove excess water by placing the chopped cucumber on a paper towel in a colander and letting it sit for a few hours.

Finished tzaziki topped with olive oil

Feta Oregano French Fries


1/2 lb Good Greek or Bulgarian Feta

1 Tbs Greek or Mexican Oregano

salt and freshly ground back pepper

French Fries (follow the link below or use your own favorite recipe.) I like to fry my French fries in olive oil. It is expensive but it tastes so good and that's how we do it in Greece.


As any new mother knows, time is now super limited. In order to conserve energy I have posted a link to my friend Azmina’s recipe for French fries. Simply follow her directions and sprinkle with crumbled feta and oregano as pictured below.

It's good to be back!


Kat and Baby Christian

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Super Easy and Tasty, Braised Short Ribs

With the New Year, comes a new post! It has been a super long time since I have written anything, but I have a good excuse. I started my blog in late April and then in early May I became pregnant! So as you can imagine the only thing I was cooking was the bun in my oven J. Despite the fact that I am due this month, we had to move last week so for the first time in my life I regretted having over 200 cookbooks and kitchen gadgets. I finally finished putting my kitchen away yesterday and with its completion, came inspiration. I decided to make something easy for New Year’s Eve dinner since a) I am super tired, and b) my Fred Flinstone swollen ankles can only handle me standing for so long. So in case you happen to be 9 months pregnant, just moved and are still working full time, this is the recipe for you!


4 ½ lbs short ribs (bone in or out) cut in 3 ½ inch pieces.

1 package sliced button mushrooms

6 sprigs of Italian parsley

1 small chopped yellow onion

6 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

2 cups red wine

1 can chopped tomatoes

kosher salt

black pepper

olive oil for searing


Liberally salt and pepper the short ribs and sear them until the reach a nice dark brown color.

(This is where having the new All Clad Slow Cooker would come in handy since it allows you to sear in the slow cooking insert. I unfortunately bought mine right before they introduced the one with the metal insert and cannot buy it separately. If anyone knows any executives at All Clad, please explain to them that this is a serious crisis which only they can resolve!)

Remove the short ribs and place them in your slow cooker. Top with the parsley, garlic cloves and bay leaves.

In the same pot where you seared the meat, sauté the onions until softened slightly (add more oil if necessary). Be sure to scrape the pot to pick up the brown bits that have stuck to the bottom. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the red wine and tomatoes and stir to incorporate. Pour over the ribs.

Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.

After the dish is ready, I like to scoop out the meat and strain the remaining juices to remove any excess fat. At this point you can also adjust the seasoning. Alternately you can refrigerate this overnight and then the next day take off the excess fat that has accumulated on the top. In fact this dish tastes even better the second day!

If you find the remaining sauce too thin you can reduce it.

Serve over polenta, fresh pasta, or with crusty bread. Top with parmesan if you have it. I also like to serve it with caramelized carrots and a simple side salad.


I wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2011!!!