Puff Pastry Spinach & Cheese Pie (Spanakopita) (Lahanopita)

Spanakopita makes a wonderful side dish at a family meal and it also makes a perfect appetizer for parties. In this video, Eva shows us her take on the traditional Greek dish. Instead of using phyllo, Eva uses puff pastry, which you can find in the frozen section of your local grocery store. It is a lot easier to use and makes a delicious spanakopita.

1 package of frozen spinach
1 cup of chopped green onions
½ cup of chopped red onions
½ cup of chopped dill
½ cup of chopped parsley
1 cup of feta cheese
1 cup of ricotta cheese
Pepper to taste
3 eggs
1 package of puff pastry
Flour to work the dough
1/3 cup of butter melted
About 2 tablespoons of milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Allow the frozen spinach to defrost and squeeze out all the excess water. Coarsely chop the spinach and place it in a large bowl. Finely chop the green onions, red onions, dill, and parsley and add this to the spinach. Add the feta cheese, ricotta cheese, and eggs to the mixture and season with freshly ground pepper. Using your hands, mix all of the ingredients together.

Allow the puff pastry to defrost and separate it into two equal parts. Flatten the pastry with a rolling pin (the same way you would with pizza dough) to fit the size of a medium size pan. Butter the pan and lay out half of the puff pastry on the pan. Brush some melted butter on the dough and add the spinach mixture on top.

With your fingers, lightly dampen the top edge of the pan with a little water.

Place the second half of the puff pastry on top of the spinach and cheese mixture. Fold in the edges. Use a fork to help you fold in the edges. Butter the top layer with butter and brush a little bit of milk on top as well.

Cut the dough into squares (but don’t push your knife all the way down, just pierce the top layer).
Allow it to bake in the oven for 1 hour. Afterward allow the spanakopita to cool for a few minutes before you serve.

Enjoy!

Kalo Pasxa! (Happy Easter)

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We are Greek Orthodox and this weekend is our Easter. For those that celebrate we say Xristos Anesti (Christ has Risen). We’ll be back next week with a new video! Take care.

Greek Souvlaki (Souvlakia) (Shish-Kebabs)

Souvlaki has become the quintessential Greek dish. You may prepare souvlaki with pork tenderloin, chicken breast, lamb, as well as pork shoulder. It is wonderful in a pita, or served with a side of rice, Greek salad, and tzatziki sauce. If you are planning to serve this dish, be sure to marinate the meat at least 24 hours before you start the barbecue.

2 to 4 pounds of pork tenderloin (depending on the number of people)
1 clove of garlic
½ cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
½ cup of wine
wooden skewers

Cut the meat into 1 inch cubes and place in a bowl. Combine the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, lemon juice, and wine together in a small bowl and mix well. Pour this mixture over the meat, making sure that all of the meat is equally coated. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Skewer the meat, placing about 4 to 5 pieces of meat per skewer. Fire up the barbecue! Once you’ve placed the souvlakia on the grill, lower the heat to medium and allow the meat to cook, turning the meat over periodically. Allow the souvlakia to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked to taste.

Enjoy!

Eva’s Classic Greek Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki is a popular Greek sauce that is often used as a dip with pita bread or enjoyed with various types of meat dishes such as souvlaki and gyros. It is best made with yogurt, but if you prefer not to use yogurt you may substitute it for sour cream. Keep in mind that the yogurt needs to strain for about 8 to 10 hours, so it’s best to begin the preparation the day before you plan to serve it. Some tzatziki recipes call for a bit of chopped dill or mint, but in this video Eva shows us how to prepare her version of this delicious sauce.

1 tub of plain yogurt
2 cloves of garlic crushed
Half a cucumber
1 tablespoon of olive oil
a pinch of salt (or to your taste)
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

To begin you need to strain the yogurt. Place a cheese cloth or a few sturdy paper towels on a strainer and place the strainer in a bowl. Scope out the yogurt into the strainer and allow the water to strain for at least 8 to 10 hours in the fridge. Once the yogurt has been strained, discard the excess water and place the yogurt in a medium-sized bowl. Add the crushed garlic to the yogurt. Peel the cucumber, slice it in half, remove the seeds, and shred the cucumber using a cheese grater. Squeeze out any excess water from the cucumber and add it the yogurt mixture. Add the olive oil, salt, and fresh lemon juice. Stir the mixture well. Garnish with an olive or a slice of lemon.

Enjoy!

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce Over Rice (Yiouvarlakia in Greek)

In this video Eva shows us how to prepare another family favourite: Yiouvarlakia, more commonly known as meatballs with tomato sauce over rice. Like many of Eva’s recipes, this dish requires only a few simply ingredients and is not overly complicated to make. We hope you enjoy!

To prepare the meat:

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion graded
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of dried mint (use fresh mint if it is available)
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

To cook the meat:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 cup of tomato juice
  • ½ glass of water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • ¼ cup of water

To prepare the rice:

  • 2 cups of rice
  • 4 cups
  • Pinch of salt

Using your hands, combine the ingredients together in a large bowl. Once you have thoroughly mixed the ingredients you may begin to shape the meatballs. Rather than roll the meat into balls, shape small portions of meat in an oval shape.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until light brown in colour. Add the tomato juice and ½ cup of water. Season with salt and pepper and cover the pot with the lid. Once the liquid has come to a boil you may add the meatballs. Carefully place the meatballs in the pot and lower the heat to medium.

In the meantime you may prepare the rice. Eva suggests that you boil the rice for a few seconds and then drain the water in order to remove as much starch as possible. Once you have washed the rice, set the water to boil again and cook the rice for 15 minutes. Remember to use 2 cups of water for 1 every cup of rice.
Once the liquid in the meatballs has begun to boil for a few minutes, lower the heat and allow the meatballs to simmer for 20 minutes.

To thicken the tomato sauce add 1 tablespoon of flour to ¼ cup of water, stir well, and pour the liquid into the tomato mixture (be sure to strain the liquid as you pour it in). Allow the meatballs to cook for another 15 minutes.

When serving this dish be sure to place a generous amount of tomato sauce over the rice. Enjoy!

Fish Baked in the Oven w/ Lemon, Carrots, Onion & Potatoes

With thousands of miles of coastline, it is not surprising that Greeks have developed numerous delicious ways of preparing fish. In this video, Eva show us how to prepare fish baked in the oven with onions, carrots, garlic, lemon, parsley and olive oil. We love this recipe for its simplicity and nutritional value. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  • 6 herring fillets (you can use a different type of fish if you prefer)
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic (leave whole)
  • 2 carrots coarsely chopped
  • 4 small potatoes cut into small wedges
  • ¼ a cup of chopped parsley
  • About ½ cup of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice from 1 ½ lemons
  • ¼ cup of wine
  • 1 glass of water

Clean the fish well and season it with salt, pepper, and a few drops of lemon juice. Set the fish aside in the fridge for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a large pan with a few drops of olive oil and place the fillets on the pan. Place the chopped onion on top on the fish. Add the garlic, carrots, and potatoes to the pan. Season the vegetables with a pinch each of salt and pepper, and the fresh parsley. Add about 1/3 a cup of olive oil, the remainder of the lemon juice, the wine, and water to the pan.

Cook in the oven at 350 degrees. After an hour take the pan out of the oven and turn the potatoes over on the other side. Put the pan back in the oven for another 30 minutes. It is now ready to serve, enjoy!

Giouvetsi (Lamb with Pasta Baked in the Oven)

Giouvetsi is a traditional Greek dish made with only a few simple ingredients but it is packed with flavour. It is made with lamb (although you could also substitute the lamb for beef), tomato juice and spaghetti. In our fast-paced world, it really is comforting to sit down to a wholesome meal. As Greek-Canadians, we appreciate the authenticity of this recipe, even though today it is made in electric ovens rather than wooden ovens baked in clay pots. We hope you enjoy!

  • A leg of lamb, about 1 to 1½ pounds (be sure to trim the fat)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon each of salt and pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 3 large glasses of water
  • ½ a package of Number 7 spaghetti

Wash the lamb well and place it at the center of a roasting pan. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Add the tomato sauce and water. Cook the lamb in the oven for about 3 to 3½ hours at 400 degrees. For the first hour cover the pan with the lid, but for the remaining time remove the lid.
After about 3 hours, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the lamb and set it aside. Add the spaghetti to the same pan and mix it a bit. Place the lamb back in the pan, on top of the spaghetti, but be sure to turn the lamb over on the other side. Put the pan back in the oven for another 45 minutes.

It is now ready to serve. Enjoy! (serves 6)