Cretan Cooking – Recipes

These recipes are just a sample of the 260 excellent traditional recipes of Crete included in the “Cretan Cooking” book of Maria and Nikos Psilakis (ISBN 960-7448-11-1)

Stuffed Vegetables (Yemista) for 5-6 persons

5 or 6 tomatoes
2-3 aubergines
2-3 zucchini
2-3 green peppers
2 onions, dill, parsley,
1 cup of olive-oil
salt, pepper
1 lb. of rice
1 tbsp. of concentrated tomato pulp diluted in 1 glass of water
1 cup grated cheese.

Hollow out all vegetables and chop their contents (except for the green peppers) in a bowl. Add the finely chopped onion, the dill, the parsley, the rice, salt and pepper. Salt the empty insides of the vegetables, stuff them and place them in a baking pan. Pour the tomato concentrate and a cup of oil over them. Cook in a heat oven. Just before turning off the oven, sprinkle with the grated cheese and let this melt.

Veal with lemon juice for 5-6 persons

1 kilo of veal
1 small glass of white wine
salt, pepper
2 tablespoons of flour
half cup of lemon juice

Brown the meat with the onion and pour in the tumbler of wine. Add salt, pepper and water and simmer the meat very slowly until it has absorbed most of the liquid. Dissolve the flour in the lemon juice and add to the pot. Bring to the boil a couple of times and then turn off the fire.

Chicken with Ochra for 6 persons

1 chicken
1 cup of olive oil
1 onion
1 kilo of ripe tomatoes
salt, pepper

Brown the chicken in the boiling oil with the onion and add the skinned and chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper and a little water. When cooked, remove the chicken portions with a ladle. In the meantime, prepare the ochra: wash them, clean them and pour a cup of lemon juice over them. Let them stand for a couple of hours before adding them to the chicken broth. Once cooked, mix with the chicken.

Cuttlefish and spinach for 5 persons

1 kilo of cuttlefish
1 kilo of spinach
1 cup of oil
2 onions
1 tumbler of red wine
a little dill
salt,  pepper

Clean the cuttlefish (remove the eyes, the internal shell or “bone”, the stomach and the ink). Brown the onions in oil and add the dill, the mint and the then add the chopped cuttlefish. When it is boiling, pour in the wine and let it bubble; add the salt and pepper, 2 glasses of water and simmer. Ten minutes before the food is cooked, add the spinach.

Potato and egg salad for 4- 5 persons

1 kilo of potatoes
5-6 eggs
2 tomatoes,
1 onion
2 tbsp. of finely chopped parsley
1 cucumber
a handful of olives
as much olive oil as you want
vinegar, salt

wash and boil the potatoes, then peel them. Boil the eggs and cut them and the potatoes in slices, add the sliced tomatoes, the finely chopped onion, the parsley, the sliced cucumber and the olives. Mix with salt, pepper, oil and vinegar.

Omelet with cauliflower

Boil the cauliflower in salted water and strain it. Brown in a pan with oil, turning it round till all water evaporates. Beat 4 or 5 eggs with some salt and pepper and pour over the cauliflower. When the eggs are firm, turn the omelet upside down with the help of a large plate and cook on the other side.

Sarikopites (pies)

Prepare a normal dough with 1/2 kilo of flour, a small cup of oil, 1 glass of water, salt and a little lemon juice. Roll out the dough and cut in strips 8 to 10 cm wide and 25-30 cm long. Spread the sour “mizithra” (a kind of soft Cretan cheese) all along the strips and fold them. Starting at one end, twist the ribbon in a spiral. The shape is similar to a “sariki” (the traditional headdress of Cretan men which is why the pies are called “Sarikopites”:sariki-pies). Deep fry and serve with honey.

Walnut cake

5 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 small glass of brandy
1 teaspoon. of baking powder
some grated lemon peel
1 tbsp. of ground cinnamon and one of clove
2 cups of fine semolina
1 cup of roughly chopped walnut

for the syrup

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
1 lemon peel
1 stick of cinnamon

Beat the white part of the eggs stiff and add the sugar. Then add the beaten yolks, baking powder dissolved in brandy, the lemon peel, the ground clove and cinnamon, the semolina and the walnuts. Bake in a moderate-heated oven for about 1 hour. As soon as the cake has cooled down a bit, add the warm syrup.

NOTE: These recipes are just a sample of the 260 excellent traditional recipes included in the “Cretan Cooking‘ book of Maria and Nikos Psilakis (ISBN 960-7448-11-1).

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