Avgolemono Soup and Greek Potatoes – Greek Cooking Challenge Recipe 6 and 7


How to Be A Good Greek Cook - Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2014

How to Be A Good Greek Cook – Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2014

Greek Cooking Challenge

June / July 2014

Avgolemono Soup and Patates

Today I am sharing not one, but two cooking challenges to catch us up for June and July – This month we will be cooking Avgolemeno Soup and Patates.

These meals are often made together at the same time, so technically there isn’t a lot of extra cooking to do.
In most Greek family homes, the soup is eaten as an entrée and then soon after you have eaten your second bowl of avgolemono, the roasted chicken will come out of the oven with some baked potatoes.

Delicious.

Avgolemono-with-chicken

In Greek, Avgo means egg and lemoni is lemon. The name of this dish literally translates to egg and lemon soup. Many yiayas believe that this soup can heal all sicknesses. Often, when a family member is sick or during the colder months of winter, avgolemeno is made. Soon after bowl of hot avgolemono soup, you feel much better!

You could say that protein and nutrients from the chicken broth is good for you when you are sick. Or you could say that lemon cleanses the body. However, I also believe that when you are sick in bed and someone brings you soup, it is a beautiful gift of love. Caring for a loved one can make them feel better instantly.

Share your cooking photos with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Use the hashtag #GreekCookingChallenge

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Step 1: Recipe

The Avgolemeno soup recipe has been created by Kenton and Jane, two Greek love birds who recently got engaged. The recipe for patates is one of Diane Kochilas famous dishes which I picked mainly because of the name. She calls the recipe: The Best Roasted Greek Yiayia’s Potatoes!

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AVGOLEMONO: EGG LEMON SOUP WITH CHICKEN
AUTHOR: LEMON & OLIVESegg-lemon-soup

Kenton and Jane share many recipes on their blog Lemon and Olives and they also write about Greek culture, history and food. Here is their recipe for Avgolemono soup:

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup Greek Orzo (short white rice)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

1. Place the chicken breast (skinless and boneless) in a large pot and fill with broth – go about 1 inch above the chicken.
2. Bring the water to a boil.
3. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 45 min (or until chicken is cooked).
4. Once chicken is cooked, remove it from the water and set aside.
5. Bring the broth back to boil and add orzo rice. Cook until the rice is tender (about 10 min).
6. Once the chicken is cool enough, shred it into strips.
7. Add the chicken back into the pot and reduce the heat to low.
8. Meanwhile, separate three eggs (whites and yolks) in to mixing bowls.
9. Beat the egg whites until frothy (a few mins).
10. While still beating, add the yolks slowly.
11. Continue beating and add 1 tablespoon of flour.
12. Stop beating and add lemon juice.
13. Take 2 cups of hot broth and slowly pour into egg froth, mixing. This is important. Don’g forget this or the eggs will curdle when you add it to the soup.
14. Pour mixture back into soup and mix well.
15. Remove from the heat, season with salt.
16. Serve!

Remember, you are free to choose to use your own recipe for the cooking challenge – it’s up to you!

Now for the potatoes…

THE BEST ROASTED GREEK YIAYIA’S POTATOES
AUTHOR: DIANE KOCHILAS – GREEK MEDITERRANEAN COOKING

potatoes-yiayia-300x325

Diane is a Greek TV host, author and passionate Greek cuisine expert. Click here to visit her website.

Ingredients

2 pounds / 1 kilo large Yukon golds or other roasting potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, then halved
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup extra-virgin Greek olive oil
½ cup fresh, strained lemon juice
3 tsp dried oregano or thyme
12 sprigs rosemary
4 garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp. smooth Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400F / 230C

2. Place the potatoes in a large pot filled with cold water. Heat over medium high flame. As soon as the potatoes start to boil, simmer them for exactly 8 minutes. Strain immediately and cool slightly.

3. Whisk wine, oil, lemon juice, herbs, garlic and mustard together until smooth and emulsified. Place the potatoes in a baking dish large enough to hold them in one layer and pour the wine-olive oil mixture over them. Toss gently. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes in a very hot oven. Reduce oven temperature to 375F /190C and continue roasting the potatoes until tender and golden, about 20-25 minutes.

Tip: Don’t cover the potatoes once they come out of the oven because they will turn mushy from the heat of the steam. Roast at the last minute and serve immediately.

Step 2: Take A Photo and Share It

Share your cooking photos with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Use the hashtag #GreekCookingChallenge

Or if you prefer to keep your pictures private, then send an email directly to Sia@greekweddingtraditions.com.

Step 3: Receive Your Gift

At the end of the month, the Greek Cooking Challenge subscribers will receive a pdf ebook of the recipe enhanced with all your comments, secrets and notes, all gathered together and garnished with your new years bread photos. By the end of the year, you will have the perfect ebook of Greek food recipes, with home-made pictures and secrets form within the kitchen of our subscribers. This gift will only be sent to you if you officially join the Greek Cooking Challenge – so if you haven’t already, you can still Sign Up Now!

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The Greek Cooking Challenge is all about Learning How To Be A Good Greek Cook.

Here on the blog, we can all help each other to learn how to be good Greek cooks together.

So don’t forget to share your thoughts throughout this month, your cooking experiences, tips and recipe secrets. Share the things that have gone wrong or perfectly right with your recipe, so we can all learn from each other!

Good Luck Everyone!

~*~

Related posts you might love:


SiaSia Aristidou is the bride behind the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. Fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture, Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or by leaving a comment on the blog.  If you want to learn how to be a great Greek cook, then join Sia in the Greek Cooking Challenge.


Want to Learn More About Greek Weddings & Traditions?
Subscribe to the Blog and Follow Us:
            

How To Cover Up For A Greek Wedding


The Marion Gown from SimplyBridal.com

The Marion Gown from SimplyBridal.com

When I was shopping for my wedding dress, I was really worried about showing my shoulders. Often Greek brides need to cover up and wear a dress that is somewhat conservative. If a Greek bride falls in love with a strapless dress, then she will have a whole lot of explaining to do to Yiayia before walking down the aisle.

Our friends at Simply Bridal know how to solve this dilemma. Here is a guest post with a few ideas on how to Cover Up For A Greek Wedding…

unnamed The moment you put on your dream dress, you knew it was the one. You cried, laughed and spun around to your entourage who gleefully agreed. What an amazing moment! But there’s a catch: it has no sleeves and your Greek heritage requires you to cover up your arms during the ceremony! Well, have no fear… you can still walk down the aisle in the dress of your dreams by wearing a stylish cover-up. Here are a few options to inspire you:

Taffeta Shawl from SimplyBridal.com

Taffeta Shawl from SimplyBridal.com

O-M-Onassis First Lady Kennedy was renowned for her style. Iconic, beautiful and elegant, she popularized the bolero jacket. A bolero jacket has the traditional long sleeves, but is cropped either beneath the bust or at the waist. This retro look will cover you up without hiding your feminine beauty, as the hemline will highlight your slender waist and hourglass figure. Jackie Kennedy is at the top of the style stakes for choosing to wear this beauty!

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Greek Cooking Challenge Recipe 5: Loukoumathes Greek Honey Puffs


How to Be A Good Greek Cook - Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2014

How to Be A Good Greek Cook – Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2014

Greek Cooking Challenge

May 2014

Loukoumathes ~ Greek Honey Puffs

This month I have been inspired by Brisbane’s Greek Festival, the Paniyiri to make Loukoumathes (λουκουμάδες) – or as we call them in Australia, Honey Puffs. This will be Recipe 5 for the Greek Cooking Challenge. If you would like to join the Greek Cooking Challenge then Sign Up Now. It’s not too late, anyone can do it!

Every Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast Day of the Church’s name. In Brisbane we celebrate the Feast Day of our Church St George Greek Orthodox Church in Brisbane with a Paniyiri. The difference is that the Brisbane Paniyiri is one of the largest Greek festivals in the world. The Paniyiri welcomes over 50,000 guests each year to eat, drink, dance and smash plates. I love going to the Brisbane Paniyiri. It is my favourite time of year!
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There are two things that I love about the Paniyiri. The first thing I love is the Loukoumathes – Greek Honey Puffs. The second thing I love about Paniyiri is that it is my anniversary with my husband. A few years ago, 12 years to be exact, we had our first date at the Paniyiri. We quickly fell in love and now we are married. The Greek Paniyiri will always have a special place in my heart and so will the Honey Puffs.

Paniyiri 2014

All the photos from this post have been borrowed from http://www.paniyiri.com with the intention to promote the festival. Please like the Paniyiri Facebook Page or visit the Paniyiri Website for more information.loukoumathes (Greek Honey Puffs)

Helena and Vikki from My Kitchen Rules made Honey Puffs on the reality TV show. They will also be at the Paniyiri this year cooking up a storm. You can ‘Learn How To Make Greek Honey Puffs’ at the Paniyiri at 2.35pm on Saturday 24th May 2014. Check out the Paniyiri program if you want more information or event times.

Remember to share your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #GreekCookingChallenge and #HoneyPuffs

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Step 1: Recipe

Since the reality TV twins Helena and Vikki will be at the Paniyiri cooking their famous Honey Puffs, I thought it would be appropriate to share their recipe for the Greek Cooking Challenge. Helena and Vikki’s recipe for Honey Puffs is a little bit fancy but it sounds really nice. Their dish is called:

Lemon Curd Loukoumades with Honey Thyme Syrup

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Top Ten Fashion Tips – What to Wear to Church For Greek Easter


Greek fashion week, Greek Easter

This ecard has popped up in my Facebook news feed a few times this week. It made me stop and laugh because there is some truth in the joke…

This funny little quote has inspired me to write a blog post about fashion and what to wear to Church for Greek Easter. Please share your own fashion tip in the comments section at the end of this article or on our Facebook page.

Fashion Expectations

You get told about all the rules from a very young age. There are certain expectations for what you can and can not wear to Church. If Yiayia doesn’t like what you are wearing, then you might not be able to leave the house until you find something more appropriate! Boys get it a little easier. The boys just need to wear a suit, shirt and a tie and they can get away with almost anything. However us girls have a much harder task when it comes to deciding on our Church outfit.

Your Church Wardrobe

Deciding what to wear to Church can be a really hard decision to make. In my opinion, this is why Holy Week at Church is often labelled the Fashion Parade or Greek Fashion Week. We have to put so much thought in to out outfits to make sure that it is appropriate and respectful.

Women are expected to wear skirts and stockings. You can’t show too much skin and you need to cover your shoulders. You can’t look like you’re going out to a nightclub but at the same time you don’t want to look too corporate. You don’t want to wear something that you have already worn to another big event like a wedding or christening (because people will remember) and you can’t wear last years Church outfit either.

Black Dress

Image found here: http://rstyle.me/~zxzu

God Doesn’t Care About Your Outfit:

Some people will probably think that I am being a bit superficial in this blog post. Surely your outfit will make no difference to God, right? The purpose of going to Church should be purely spiritual. It is about you and your own personal connection to your Faith. It has nothing to do with what you are wearing or how you look. Whilst I wholeheartedly believe in this truth, I also know that it is a very common conversation amongst Greek women around the world. Shopping for a new Church outfit at Easter time has become a tradition just like dyeing red eggs or making Easter Candles. What you wear to Church is an important topic to think about. My experience over the years have taught me a few lessons… here are my top ten tips for what to wear to Church for Greek Easter:

IMG_6718

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Greek Cooking Challenge Recipe 4: Red Eggs ~ For Greek Easter


How to Be A Good Greek Cook - Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2014

How to Be A Good Greek Cook – Join the #GreekCookingChallenge in 2014

Greek Cooking Challenge

April 2014

Red Eggs ~ For Greek Easter

Naturally Dyed Red Eggs

This month we will be colouring Red Eggs in preparation for Greek Easter, Pascha (Πάσχα). It is Recipe Number 4 of the Greek Cooking Challenge.

Easter is always a very special family occasion. After Church on Saturday night we all go to yiaya’s house and eat. The table if full of amazing Greek food which includes some dishes that are traditionally cooked only at Easter time.

My Greek side of the family (my thea Sylvia) will make patza, which I think is similar to Magiritsa a soup made from meats such as goats head, tongue, liver and heart. Of course she also makes tsoureki, which is a traditional sweet Easter bread and domathes!

My husband’s yiaya is Cypriot and when we go to her house we will eat a different style of Easter food including Trahana soup, and avegolemeno for those who don’t like the trahana. There are also flaounas (1/2 with sultanas and 1/2 plain to suit everyone’s tastes).

At both houses, there will always be hard boiled eggs, which are dyed and decorated ready for the cracking game.

I would like to make tzoureki one day. Or maybe even patza or trakahana but too be honest, I don’t know if my cooking skills are good enough just yet. So this year, I think i’ll start off with an easy one…

So, for April’s Greek Cooking Challenge, we will be dying Red Easter Eggs!

IMG_8434

Remember to share your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #GreekCookingChallenge and #RedEasterEggs

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Step 1: Recipe
Andie Powers from the blog Assemble shares a recipe for dyeing Easter Eggs Naturally with Onion Skins. However, I plan to use the recipe that is on the back of the food dye packet that I purchased from the local Greek deli.

The instructions on the back of the packet say:

1. Boil the desired eggs and let them cool.
2. Add a glass of vinegar to a pot of cold or hot water
3. Dissolve the dye in the vinegar and water mixture
4. Put the eggs in to the pot and let them sit for 2-5 minutes
5. Take the coloured eggs out and place them on a napkin to dry
6. Use an oily cloth to polish the eggs and make them shiny

Step 2: Cook!
Red Easter Eggs have a symbolic meaning representing the blood of Christ and rebirth. Traditionally the red eggs are dyed on Holy Thursday which is the Thursday before Easter Sunday. In fact, this day is often called “Kokkinopempti” which means Red Thursday.

Try to schedule some time next Thursday to dye your Red Eggs!

Avoid cooking on Good Friday or Easter Sunday. However you can use Easter Saturday as a back up plan just in case you don’t get them done on the Thursday.

Step 3: Take A Photo and Share It
Once your Red Eggs are ready, take a photo of it! Be sure to share your photo on social media with the hash tags #greekcookingchallenge and #redeastereggs or #redeggs. You can share it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Or email directly to me at Sia@greekweddingtraditions.com.

5620774328_92025cb747

This image is by Heather Christo – Click here to see her website and beautiful table decorations for Easter.

Step 4: Receive Your Gift
At the end of the month, the Greek Cooking Challenge subscribers will receive a pdf ebook of the Red Egg recipe enhanced with all your comments, secrets and notes, all gathered together and garnished with your photos. By the end of the year, you will have the perfect ebook of Greek food recipes, with home made pictures and secrets form within the kitchen of our subscribers. This gift will only be sent to you if you officially join the Greek Cooking Challenge – so if you haven’t already, you can still Sign Up Now!

~*~

The Greek Cooking Challenge is all about Learning How To Be A Good Greek Cook.

Here on the blog, we can all help each other to learn how to be good Greek cooks together.

So don’t forget to share your thoughts throughout this month, your cooking experiences, tips and recipe secrets. Share the things that have gone wrong or perfectly right with your recipe, so we can all learn from each other!

Good Luck Everyone!

~*~

Related posts you might love:


SiaSia Aristidou is the bride behind the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. Fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture, Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or by leaving a comment on the blog.  If you want to learn how to be a great Greek cook, then join Sia in the Greek Cooking Challenge.


Want to Learn More About Greek Weddings & Traditions?
Subscribe to the Blog and Follow Us:
            

Learn About Great Lent in the Greek Orthodox Church


Greek Easter 2011

Greek Easter by Pofyri.com.au

The Great 40 Days

The fasting period before Easter has just begun. The Greek Orthodox Church calls this period “Σαρακοστή” (Sarakosti) – the Great 40 Days or  “νηστεία” (nistia) the Great Fast. For Greek Orthodox people, this is the most important fasting season of the Church year.

For  many years, I have attended Church only for special occasions. This normally includes, the midnight Easter Service, Christmas morning, Weddings, Christenings and Funerals. Now that I am married, a little bit older and a little bit wiser, my spiritual journey has become more significant in my life. As I learn and grow, I share my experiences and my learnings here with you on the blog.

This Easter, I want to learn more about our Easter traditions and how we celebrate them with our family and in the Church.

Here is what I’ve learnt so far:

  • In Greece, the week before Great Lent is celebrated with Carnival - a time for celebration, eating, drinking and being with friends.
  • During Carnival (“Απόκριες” – apokries) people dress up (similar to Halloween in America) and they eat meat, lots and lots of meat.
  • Great Lent officially begins on Clean Monday or Ash Monday. In Greece, Clean Monday is a public holiday and a day of rest. Traditionally people ‘clean up’ their lives spiritually and physically. This day is the beginning of the fasting period.
  • On Clean Monday, Greek people will celebrate with the tradition of flying kites. Many also use this day to clean their kitchen utensils and their house. On this day, it is tradition to make lagana which is a bread specific made for the Great Fast.

A Personal Reflection

I don’t live in Greece. I was born and raised in Australia. So, the Greek traditions of Carnival and Clean Monday is very new to me. I have learnt about it because I now have friends who live in Greece and who help me with this blog.

It is interesting to reflect on this tradition from my own perspective. It makes sense. In Greece everyone knows about these traditions as it is celebrated nationally. In fact, everyone gets a holiday to celebrate. However in Australia, this tradition is only celebrated by the Church and there are many Greek Australians who are completely unaware of how fasting is a significant part of our spiritual and Greek way of life.

The more I learn about Greek traditions and our Orthodox religion, the more I understand about its importance in my life.

Why Do We Fast?

The GOARCH website shares a great story about how and why we fast. Theo Nicolakis suggests that sometimes we fast just because that is what we are told to do. It is what our parents do or what our grandparents tell us to do. He says that “we respect certain religious traditions and observe certain practices of our faith simply because our mothers did them.  This is not necessarily wrong, but it is a sure prescription for turning these traditions in to empty and meaningless customs.”

I guess that is the reason why most of my generation of young Greek Australians don’t go to Church or Fast during Great Lent. We don’t see the point in it. It doesn’t have meaning nor does it make sense in our everyday lives. In Greece, everybody follows the tradition but in Australia, we are not properly educated about why we do the things that we do.

Everybody has their own opinion about what is right and what is wrong. Some people say that your should not eat meat during Lent, others tell you not to eat dairy products. Some say that you should just give something up, like smoking. There are many guideline about what you should and should not do during Lent, but the decision must always be your own.

Theo Nikolakis tells us that “Fasting is a way of emptying ourselves from the cares and concerns of this world.” Fasting is not just about cutting out certain foods from our diet. True Fasting is about letting go of our obsessions and our materialist connection in this world. It is about your own personal journey and the things that you learn about yourself during the 40 days of Lent. It is about the mindful connection that you make with yourself, through your decisions and your actions. It is the act of true Fasting that will enable you to receive God.

Rules For Fasting:

Once you have decided to fast for Great Lent, you should then make a decision or a commitment to yourself about what you will do. Use this list a guide or suggestion – it is just one of those ‘should’ and ‘should not’ lists that I borrowed from this website.

First Week of Lent: 

  • Only two full meals are eaten during the first five days, on Wednesday and Friday after the Presanctified Liturgy.
  • Nothing is eaten from Monday morning until Wednesday evening, the longest time without food in the Church year.
  • For the Wednesday and Friday meals, as for all weekdays in Lent, meat and animal products, fish, dairy products, wine and oil are avoided.
  • On Saturday of the first week, the usual rule for Lenten Saturdays begins (see below).

Weekdays in the Second through Sixth Weeks: 

  • The strict fasting rule is kept every day: avoidance of meat, meat products, fish, eggs, dairy, wine and oil.

Saturdays and Sundays in the Second through Sixth Weeks:

  • Wine and oil are permitted; otherwise the strict fasting rule is kept.

Holy Week:

  • The Thursday evening meal is ideally the last meal taken until Pascha. At this meal, wine and oil are permitted.
  • The Fast of Great and Holy Friday is the strictest fast day of the year: even those who have not kept a strict Lenten fast are strongly urged not to eat on this day.
  • After St. Basil’s Liturgy on Holy Saturday, a little wine and fruit may be taken for sustenance.
  • The fast is sometimes broken on Saturday night after Resurrection Matins, or, at the latest, after the Divine Liturgy on Pascha.

Wine and oil are permitted on several feast days if they fall on a weekday during Lent. Consult your parish calendar. On Annunciation and Palm Sunday, fish is also permitted.

If you are looking for some good recipes to cook while fasting then check out Pres Vassi’s Lentern Recipe List or The Greek Vegan and The Greek Vegetarian.


Do you know of any fasting rules?

Related topics you might love:


SiaSia Aristidou is the bride behind the Greek Weddings & Traditions blog. Fascinated by the rituals and traditions celebrated in Greek culture, Sia writes about love, marriage, family and tradition. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or by leaving a comment on the blog.  If you want to learn how to be a great Greek cook, then join Sia in the Greek Cooking Challenge.


Want to Learn More About Greek Weddings & Traditions?
Subscribe to the Blog and Follow Us: