Friday, April 10, 2009

Greek Easter Bread or Tsoureki

Tsoureki is a traditional Greek Easter bread. Red eggs are sometimes woven into the dough, a practice that probably dates back to very ancient times. Easter is one of the Greek's most important religious feast and it arrives accompanied by the smells of spring and the rebirth of nature. The red eggs are used to symbolize resurrection.

Before the Easter festivities occur the Greeks will fast for 40 days. They do not eat animal products only olive oil and vegetables during this time. This is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. On Easter day my family and I usually go to an Easter Glendi and enjoy lamb and other open fire roasted meats. It is a nice treat after fasting for so many days. It is also the best fun and I will be posting video and pictures to our festivities in 2 weeks. The Greek Orthodox follow a different calendar than the calendar we follow in the USA so our Easter occurs usually a few weeks after the American Easter.

15 cups of flour
2 1/2 cups of sugar
2 sticks of butter
5 lbs. of yeast
3 1/2 cups of milk
4 eggs
Almonds- blanched, browned and coarsely crushed
Optional Ingredients:
1 tsp. of mastic
1/2 tsp. of mahlepi (an oriental seed-type herb)


1. Dissolve the yeast in a little warm milk and add 3-4 tablespoons of flour.
2. Leave the yeast to rise in a warm place. When it has risen sufficiently, put the rest of the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center.
3. Put the yeast mixture in this well.
4. Warm in a saucepan the rest of the milk, the sugar, the eggs and the mahlepi (if you are using it), and half the butter. Combine well.
5. Slowly pour half this mixture in the bowl with the flour and yeast.
6. Knead well.
7. Melt the rest of the butter and keep it aside.
8. Add the rest of the mixture (eggs, milk, sugar, mahlepi and butter) to the flour and the yeast mixture.
9. Continue to knead, greasing your hands with the melted butter, which you set aside.
10. The dough should be a good consistenxy, neither stiff nor runny. More flour may be needed if it is runny.
11. Place the dough, covered with a clean cloth, in a warm place to rise.
12. When it has risen enough, it is ready.
13. Seperate the dough into 3 thick strips and make the bread into braids, circles or what ever shape is desired.
14. Paint the bread with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle them with almonds.
15. You may place a read bolied egg at one end for decoration.
16. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Tonight's Music is by Kostas Mantzios

This a link to the book I use when I have to look up a Greek recipe. I highly recommend it since it not only gives you good recipes but it also tells you a little history about the food. Also listed is the CD to the music I feature in my video.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Curtido: Spanish Cole Slaw

This Spanish cole slaw is usually added to the top of the pupusas. My mom mentioned to me that eating pupusas without curtido is like eating pizza without the tomato sauce. It is definitely a must try and can be a nice accompaniment to other foods.

1 small to medium Cabbage
1 green pepper
1 bag of shredded carrots
4 garlic cloves
1 onion (we used vadelia because my kids will eat it)

Chop all the vegetables and fry them in a pan with a little olive oil until it is all soft and tender. Serve on top of the pupusas with a little hot sauce if you like. Enjoy!

Tonights Music:
Bambaleo by the Gipsy Kings

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