Greek Orthodox Easter 2018

Our celebration of the risen Christ always involves family, food, music and prayer. The bountiful food is personal because the recipes have been passed down for three generations here in the U.S. I hope that when I cook and serve my grown children their great-grandmother’s handwritten tsoureki recipe they can understand that her substitution of anisette and orange juice for Mahlepi was born of economic necessity and the ingenuity of an immigrant. When we feast on lamb, we remember that Jesus Christ allowed himself to be the ultimate sacrificial lamb. When we crack the eggs dyed red and exclaim “Xristos … Continue reading Greek Orthodox Easter 2018

Pascha, Part II…

I like to cook my holiday meals all throughout the week prior so I can have a little fun on the big day too!  it’s especially important for Greek Easter as we often roast a whole lamb on a spit in our backyard!  Alas, this year no whole roast Pascha lamb, just a small semi-boneless leg.  But my prep work for the big day continues on this week before Eastern Orthodox Easter.   Today, I made my pites, or pies.  Tiropita  (cheese pies), and Spanikotiropita (spinach and cheese pies) are my children’s favorites.  My tiropitas are made with ricotta, shredded … Continue reading Pascha, Part II…

My big fat Greek Easter!

When the lamb has finished roasting a crowd often gathers around the guys who are doing the butchering. The spoils are the crispy pieces of outer skin which have been basted with the oil, lemon and herb marinade for the past 5 hours and the moist, delicious pieces of lamb that fall from the bones as the lamb is being cut up for dinner. So many fond childhood memories flood me during this time as my cousin wields my grandfather’s original cleaver. We will always remember and cherish the things you taught us Papou! Continue reading My big fat Greek Easter!

My big fat Greek Easter

Although the roast lamb is the main attraction, for many of us the side dishes are just as important. When they are homemade, all the better! This year we are enjoying a typical Greek salad with all the trimmings, Yiayia’s recipe for green beans, roasted potatoes, spanakotyropita (spinach and cheese pie), tyropita (cheese pie), and of course tsoureki (Greek sweet bread). My mother’s recipe for tsoureki is quite unique, as she does not use the traditional mahlepi for its seasoning, but rather anise. It is an all day process which requires lots of kneading, two risings (proofing) of the dough, … Continue reading My big fat Greek Easter

My big fat Greek Easter!

While the lamb is roasting, we enjoy some mezze ( hors d’ oeuvres). This is a power eating day and not for the faint of stomach! Today we have tabouli, skordalia (garlic spread), olives, taramasalata, pita bread, feta cheese, and other delicacies. The taramasalata is homemade this year. Fish roe, grated onions, lemon juice, bread, water and lots of oil. It is a labor of love but so worth the extra work. Continue reading My big fat Greek Easter!

My big fat Greek Easter!

The day begins early for the men of the family who rise at eight am to prepare the whole spring lamb to be barbecued al fresco on a spit. Our family has been celebrating Easter this old country way for as far back as I can remember. When my grandfather did it the lamb was skewered on a long wooden pole over a pit in the yard filled with charcoal and wood. First the lamb is spiked with pieces of garlic all over its body and sprinkled inside and out with salt and pepper. Several halved lemons are trussed into … Continue reading My big fat Greek Easter!

My big fat Greek Easter!

Today I will post my family’s celebration of Easter with all the trimmings. Enjoy! Above, the Easter eggs which are always dyed red to symbolize the blood that Christ shed for humanity. Before our Easter dinner the eggs are cracked between each two persons while saying ” Xristos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!” This literally translates to “Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!” The cracking of the eggs symbolizes Christ’s breaking forth from the tomb. The reason we celebrate Easter! Continue reading My big fat Greek Easter!