I’m really excited to introduce and welcome one of my favorite Greek food bloggers.
Please welcome Evi Skoura, owner of the Healthy Cook blog. Thank you for accepting this fun blog interview on Kouzounas Kitchen.
~Thank you so much Krystina for having me!
Where do you currently reside? How did you start The Healthy Cook Blog? Who and what is your inspiration? ~I live in Athens, Greece. I started blogging when I realized that I wanted to share the tasty journey of healthy eating with others. I wanted to help people realize that a balanced diet is neither complicated nor boring. My inspiration comes from all these fresh products I find in the farmers market, a new ingredient I haven’t try before, a very interesting recipe I might find in a cookbook or on other blogs. Many of my readers ask me for recipes too.
2. What is your favorite Greek recipe? ~I really love legumes and vegetables!!! I’m lucky, Greek cuisine has many such recipes.
3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three food items would you take with you?
~Greek yogurt, honey and nuts.
4. What is your favorite restaurant in Greece?
~ I really don’t have a favorite. I’m trying to locate restaurants that respect their clients and use quality products.
5. What was the very first recipe you made?
~I think it was pastitsio… well, it wasn’t a big success… I almost ruined it!!! Not a wise choice for my very first shot as a cook, but I was very young then.
6. Your photography is amazing!! How did you learn how to shoot food photos?
~Photography is a big love of mine. I’ve met amazing food bloggers out there with great photography. 7. If you were to give any tips to food bloggers, what advice would you recommend?
~Dedication! For me food blogging is a 24/7 thing. 8. What is your favorite quote? ~ “You have the brush, you have the colors; paint the paradise and then in you go.”
I am sharing a delicious Greek recipe that I hope you all enjoy!!!
Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolmadakia) with Bulgur & Cumin
By The Healthy Cook- Evi Skoura
Preparation time: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8-10 Ingredients:
· 300 g. vine leaves
· 220 g. wheat bulgur
· 700 g. onions, chopped
· 850 g. ripe tomatoes, grated
· 125 ml olive oil (+ 3-4 tablespoons extra for cooking)
· 2 teaspoons cumin powder
· 1 cup chopped fresh dill
· ½ cup chopped fresh spearmint
· Juice of 1 large lemon
·Salt and freshly ground black pepper Method:
1. Mix bulgur, onions, tomatoes, and oil in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper and cumin and stir well. Cover and let the bulgur rise for about 2 hours. After rising, add the spearmint and dill.
2. Meanwhile, if using fresh leaves or vine leaves in brine, wash them and put them in a large saucepan with boiling water ( separately, if necessary) for 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
3. Pick the very small or torn leaves and put aside.
Wrap the vine leaves putting a teaspoon of filling on each one.
Lay the bottom of the pan with the small or torn leaves you have kept aside and place the stuffed vine leaves in the pan, in layers.
4. Pour the lemon juice, the remaining olive oil and add as much water as needed to barely cover the dolmadakia.
5. Place over an overturned plate to hold on to their position while boiling and cover the pot. Simmer until the leaves are softened, for about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
Tid Bits & Tips
Stuffed vine leaves with bulgur, tomato, onion and plenty of cumin. This is a recipe from the Dodecanese and specifically from Rhodes, but similar are found in Crete. In Greece there are numerous recipes of stuffed vine leaves.
This particular recipe I found in Diana Kochilas book, “The Taste of Greece”. Something very interesting written in the book is that in Kalymnos (which I have not yet visited) and possibly in other islands of the Dodecanese as well, vine leaves are dried by passing them into a thread like hoop and leaving them hung for a few weeks to dry out completely. They are very fragile after, but when soaked they regain their juices and are again fragrant and delicious.
Another very interesting information that I had not heard, is that in Rhodes and Nisyros leaves of cyclamen are used for dolmades, instead of vine leaves (and their bulbs are made a sweet preserve!).
Do not forget to read here all the valuable beneficial properties of vine leaves, as well as information on their conservation. Those that I used I had bought fresh and after boiling them, I kept them in the freezer. You can use vine leaves in brine, as well.
~Recipe adapted by the book “The Glorious Foods of Greece”, by Diane Kochilas, Ellinika Grammata publications, Athens 2003.
~Thank you very much Krystina for having me.
Evi, thank you very much for spending some time with us today on Kouzounas Kitchen. Find Evi’s delicious recipes over at The Healthy Cook blog. I will make sure to try out this delicious dolmadakia recipe, as I just picked some fresh leaves yesterday. 🙂