everything granola bars

We never manage to have snacks in the house beyond the occasional orange, but now that it’s spring and we’re out and about more, walking, going for runs, going to the beach, etc., having a ‘grab and go’ snack is necessary.  So… homemade granola bars it is!

I’m calling these “everything” granola bars because in order to make them, I opened my cabinets and took out almost everything in them.  Granola bars are one of those foods that is endlessly variable to your taste and the state of your cupboards.  I modeled my recipe after the Smitten Kitchen version, which is based on the King Arthur Flour recipe, but of course after I made my requisite 500 changes, my recipe is quite different from hers.

I want to be clear up front – you don’t have to ‘follow’ this recipe to make these.  Use what you like, what you have, what’s available where you live.  You can mess with the proportions even.  All that really matters is that your dry / wet proportions are such that the mixture is thick but not dry.  (By the way… many commenters on the Smitten Kitchen recipe complain that their bars crumbled.  I didn’t have that problem; I’d love to think it’s the Chian mastic that makes the difference, but the truth is I have no idea.)

So here’s how I did it.

Start with a big bowl o’ oatmeal.  I used quick oats because that’s all they sell in Greece.  Deb of Smitten Kitchen says that if you use regular oats, you should put them through a food processor first to break them up a bit.  For readers in Greece:  quick oats are the standard type in Greece (Quaker, Fytro), though they don’t say so on the package.

Scoop out about a cup of them and run them through a grain mill or a good food processor to get fine oat flour.  You can also use prepared oat flour if you have it, of course.  I used my hand-powered grain mill for this and the result was beautiful silky white oat flour and a tired bicep.

In a food processor, combine the raisins, dried blueberries, and almonds and process for several minutes.

Get out a huge bowl.  Put your oats and your oat flour in the bowl.  Add in the sugar, salt, and artificial sweetener.  (I use artificial sweetener, saccharin specifically, to keep these from getting out of control calorie-wise.  You can leave it out completely (especially if you don’t like sweet granola bars), use a different sweetener, use more sugar, whatever you like.  I don’t like aspartame, but I don’t have a beef with saccharin; if you do, just adjust the sugar to your taste.)

Add in the remaining dry ingredients:  the dried fruit from the food processor, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, shredded coconut, and cinnamon. Chop and add the figs. Grind and add the mastic.

I used my “Rescued Sesame Seeds” in this recipe. I collect sesame seeds that fall off of things and keep them in a jar. 99% of them come from sesame seed breadsticks. When the bag is empty, there are usually at least 2 tbsp of sesame seeds in the bottom. I love to use them in cooking – so much better than throwing them away!

I add Chian mastic to this as well. This may not be readily available where you live, so don’t worry if that’s the case; if you have it, try it. It adds a wonderful flavor and aroma and it gives the bars a bit more chewiness. Just put a few pearls in a mortar and grind them up.

Mix it all up well.

Melt the butter.  I melted mine in a bain marie (in a bowl over boiling water) but you can use a microwave if you have one.  Add the honey, glucose syrup / corn syrup, tahini, and molasses to the butter, and mix.

Pour it all over the dry ingredients and stir together.

Add the sesame oil and continue stirring until it is all combined and there are no ‘dry’ patches.  If it is too dry, add a little more sesame oil.

Put it in your pan and press it down really well so that the top is very flat and it reaches into the corners.  Bake for about half an hour.

Let it cool in the pan on a rack for several hours, and then slice into pieces.  I got 32 pieces out of this recipe (cut into quarters, then quarters again, and then halves), each piece with about 116 calories.  You can also make the pieces twice as large, 232 calories each, of course.

S and I agreed that these taste much better than the storebought kind, and they really are fun and easy to make!

Everything Granola Bars
makes 32 pieces

230g quick oats
110g white granulated sugar
5 packets saccharin (or other artificial sweetener, or another 1/2 cup sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
40g almonds (any type)
50g raisins
70g dried blueberries
30g sesame seeds
10g poppy seeds
25g shredded coconut
4 dried figs, chopped finely
1 tsp Chian mastic pearls, crushed with a mortar & pestle
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
85g butter
85g honey
2 tbsp glucose syrup / light corn syrup
1/2 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp sesame oil

1. Prepare pan: line a square baking pan with a wax paper sling, and spray well with cooking spray.

2. Grind a cup of the quick oats to a fine flour. In a food processor, process raisins, almonds, and blueberries for several minutes until in small pieces.

3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, oat flour, sugar, sweetener, salt, processed raisins, almonds, and blueberries, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, coconut, figs, and crushed Chian mastic.

4. Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F. Melt butter. Add honey, syrup, molasses, and tahini to butter, stirring. Pour over dry ingredients and combine. Add sesame oil and combine well.

5. Pour into prepared pan. Press and smooth top until flat and even. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly brown on top.

6. Cool on rack in pan. When completely cool, cut into 32 pieces. Wrap in foil or store in airtight box. Can be frozen.

Nutritional Information
per piece, i.e., 1/32 of recipe

116 calories
5g fat (2g saturated, 3g unsaturated)
17g carbohydrate
2g protein
2g dietary fiber
6mg cholesterol (2% DV)
64mg sodium (3% DV)
96mg potassium (3% DV)
Contains 23% DV of manganese.

You might also like:
Anise-almond biscotti with orange glaze
Raisin walnut whole wheat bread

pork gyros with everything

The ultimate Greek street food is called ‘gyros.’  The word ‘gyros,’ as you can probably guess, comes from the Greek word that means ‘around.’  A gyros is a sandwich, with either pita or bread, with meat (usually) stuck on a rotating metal spear.  The rotation is how they got their name.  The most common type of gyros is pork; outside of major cities, it is often the only kind available.  The second most common type is chicken; most gyros shops have these.  It is very rare to see other types; however you may come across lamb or even beef.  My city is one of the only places in Greece where you can get beef – although technically this is the Turkish döner rather than Greek gyros.  You can also order gyros without meat; these are popular during Lent.

click for source

Gyros is such a popular food in Greece that it makes up an entire industry – and despite the economic crisis, it is reported to be doing very well.  Gyros are sold in shops that go by various names:  ovelistirio (‘obelisk store’ because the rotating meat spear resembles an obelisk), gyradiko (‘gyros shop’), souvlatzidiko (‘souvlaki shop,’ a reference to gyros’ cousin souvlaki, which is square chunks of meat cooked on a grill), sandwichadiko (‘sandwich shop’), and fastfoodadiko (you can figure that one out yourself).  Even the smallest Greek town will have at least one of these.  They tend to open up around 5pm, and they deliver until late into the night.  They are very popular among college students, bachelors, and tourists.

The ritual of ordering a gyros is as follows:  first, you indicate that you are ordering the gyros wrapped up in a pita (or in bread), as opposed to the much more expensive plated version.  Then you specify your meat choice, and then what extras you want.  The standard extras are fried potatoes, tomato, and onion.  In northern Greece, mustard and ketchup are also standard.  In southern Greece, tzatziki is very common.  You can also ask for a different sauce; there are usually six or seven other options.  Most people order their gyros ‘with everything.’

You don’t have to be in Greece to eat gyros, though.  You can make it at home and it’s pretty close.  I sure as heck don’t have a rotating obelisk of meat in my house; I just bought some boneless pork and cut it into pieces.  Because the meat in a gyros is thinly sliced pork, this is pretty close.  (Turkish döner uses ground beef but that’s not how it’s done in Greece.)

When I made gyros at home, I made everything except the ketchup from scratch.  You can decide what you want to make from scratch based on what you have available and how much work you want to do.

The first step is to start the dough for the pita bread.  I used my regular pillowy pita bread recipe for this.  Follow that recipe through the first rise and then come back here.

Once the pita bread dough is rising in its bowl, it’s time to prepare the pork.  I bought boneless pork and cut it into small pieces.

Make the marinade:  cider vinegar, oregano, thyme, cumin, Spanish smoked paprika, and ground pepper.  (I used salt also but you don’t have to.)

Combine it all well in a bowl and add the pork.  Cover and refrigerate.

Next, make the mustard.  You can use any kind of mustard you like, but I recommend a ‘standard’ type, not Dijon or honey mustard.  To make mustard, mix two parts mustard powder with one part vinegar and one part water.  Whisk it together well, cover, and refrigerate also.  (If you’re a mustard weirdo like me, you can put all kinds of spices in it.  But this is totally unnecessary.)  When you’re ready to use it, whisk it again; you may want to whisk in a little additional water to return it to the proper consistency.  It keeps well due to the vinegar so you can make more than you’re going to use for this recipe if you like.  Or, you know, just open a jar of mustard.

Now, make the tzatziki.  (Note: this is tzatziki for gyros, not real tzatziki.  Real tzatziki has a lot of cucumber in it.  We’ll make that some other time.)  Stir together the yogurt, dill, and garlic, with a pinch of salt.  Set aside.  Preheat the oven.

Cut four pieces of wax paper to about 10″ wide.  Set aside.  Slice the tomatoes and onions very thinly and set aside.

Wash and slice the potatoes into french fry shape.  (Note:  I made more than the recipe calls for in the above photo so that we could have extra on the side.)  In a large bowl, toss the sliced potatoes with the olive oil and salt.  Arrange on a baking sheet and bake, periodically moving them around, until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, about 50 minutes.  Put them aside for now.  Turn the oven to its maximum temperature, with an overturned baking sheet on the middle rack.  (Note #2:  the traditional way to make potatoes for gyros is to fry them.  You can certainly do that if you prefer.)

When the pita dough has risen, press it down and divide into four, rather than eight, pieces.  Continue to follow the pita instructions through baking them.  They should bake in about 3 minutes.

In a pan sprayed with non-stick spray, stir-fry the marinated pork pieces.  This will take a while; you want them to start to brown.  Taste a little piece:  it shouldn’t taste like vinegar at all.  When the pork reaches a golden brown / pink color, remove it from the heat.  While these are cooking, put the potatoes back in the oven to keep them warm.

To assemble the gyros, place one pita on one end of a piece of wax paper.  Put a few tablespoons of tzatziki on the pita.  Layer on the tomato and onion slices.  Then add the pork and potatoes. Add a little bit of mustard and ketchup.

Curl the pita tightly around itself and wrap tightly with the wax paper.

One of these is very filling!  This recipe makes enough for four people.

Pork Gyros
serves 4

1 recipe of Pillowy Pita Bread
300g boneless pork, raw
500g potatoes, raw
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Greek strained yogurt, any fat content
1 tsp dried dill or 1 tbsp fresh dill
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 medium tomato, sliced very thin
1 small onion, sliced very thin

1. Prepare the Pillowy Pita Bread according to the recipe, but making 4 large pitas instead of 8 regular ones.

2. Make the marinade: in a medium bowl, mix together the cider vinegar, oregano, thyme, cumin, smoked paprika, pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Add the pork; cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.

3. Make the mustard: in a small bowl, whisk the mustard powder with the wine vinegar and 1 tbsp water. Optional: whisk in pinches of other flavorings, for example whole mustard seeds, horseradish powder, cumin, toasted onion powder, dark brown sugar, etc. Cover and refrigerate.

4. Make the tzatziki: in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, dill, and garlic with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

5. Slice the potatoes into french fry shape. In a large bowl, toss with the olive oil and the remaining salt. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until crispy, about 45-50 minutes, periodically moving them around to prevent sticking and to bake on all sides. Set aside, and turn oven to maximum heat with a baking sheet overturned on the middle rack.

6. Bake pitas according to pita recipe. Cut four pieces of wax paper 10″ wide, leaving them their original length (about 22″).  Replace the potatoes in the oven (turned off) to keep them warm.

7. Spray a nonstick pan with olive oil. Stirfry the marinated pork until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl.

8. Assemble the gyros: Place a pita on one end of a piece of wax paper. Dollop a few tbsp of tzatziki in the center. Arrange a few slices of tomato and onion on top. Add pork and potatoes, then a small amount of mustard and ketchup. Curl the pita around itself (it will just barely close), and wrap tightly with the wax paper. Continue with the other three.

Nutritional Information:
per gyros, i.e., 1/4 of total recipe (assumes you use lowfat yogurt)

585 calories
14g fat (3g saturated, 11g unsaturated)
88g carbohydrate
28g protein
7g dietary fiber
50mg cholesterol (17% DV)
1924mg sodium  (80% DV) ** This is a high sodium food!
1127mg potassium (32% DV)
Contains a significant amount (+10% DV) of the following:
vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin B-12, manganese, and copper.

You might also like:
Fennel seed kebabs with yogurt sauce on pita
Kremmydopita (handmade onion pie)
Baked spanakoryzo 

Sifnos & her almond sweets

Of all the islands we visited while we were living in the southwestern Cycladic archipelago, Sifnos was probably the one that surprised us the most.  We had heard good things, but having been in and out of the unimpressive port town many times on the way to and from ‘our’ island, we weren’t really sold on it.  We gave it a great chance to impress us by visiting at the height of spring flowers.  It stole our hearts, so much that we gave it the very high accolade of “we’d be willing to live here.”   Today’s recipe is a wonderful traditional sweet from the island, but before we get to that, we have to get in the proper mood first!

The beach of Vathy (“deep”).  When we were there, it was a glorious day – too cold to swim, but not too cold to enjoy the beach.

A small country house with olive trees near Vathy.  Unlike some of the other islands nearby, Sifnos is able to support an impressive amount of olive cultivation.

Above:  a dovecote in the midground, below the town, alongside some beehives, among the olives, and between several ancient stone terraces.  <- A sentence with a lot of prepositions.

Sheep in a field in the town of Exambela.

Another dovecote – the island is pretty well stocked with them.  I thought that these were a specialty of the island of Tinos (where I’ve never been) but was pleased to see that Sifnos is full of them as well.

The monastery of Panagia Chryssopigi between Apokofto and Saoures beaches.

Sifnos is ideal for walking… there are dozens of beautiful walking trails like the one from which I took this photo.

This ‘pond’ formed from rain water or melted snow at the top of a mountain where we were walking.

So… are you hungry yet?

Sifnos is famous for sweets made with almond paste, called amydalota.  The word means ‘almond’ as an adjective, as in ‘almond-shaped’ or ‘made of almonds.’  There are many Greek sweets made of almonds that carry this same name, and this particular version can be found on other islands besides Sifnos, but that’s where we had them and I think Sifnos is most famous for them.

When we tried these in Sifnos, we absolutely loved them:  they are not particularly sweet, except for the sugar coating, and they have a rib-sticking gummy mealy graininess to them that sounds awful but is just perfect.  I have been looking for a recipe pretty much since we left.  The recipe I ended up with after a little adjusting is not at all time-consuming, and the results are very close to what I remember eating in Sifnos.  S agreed with me that these were just as good as the ones we got at the traditional Siphnian pastry shop!

These are traditionally given out at weddings, and the website where I found the recipe (which I adjusted somewhat) says that they preceded the now-customary ‘boubouniera’ or tulle-wrapped Jordan almonds; and are still handed out at Siphnian weddings today.  You definitely don’t need a wedding to have an excuse to make these – but I made them for our wedding anniversary.  Not only are they wedding-related, but we spent our first wedding anniversary in Sifnos.  So these were a particularly ‘sweet’ treat for us!

Although many recipes say to coat them in confectioner’s sugar, this is not how they’re made in Sifnos.  Instead, they are coated in superfine sugar.  If you have superfine sugar, use it; otherwise, process regular sugar in your food processor.  If you do this first, you never have to wash your food processor bowl.  Set the sugar aside.

If you don’t have almond flour, process almonds in the food processor until they are the same grind as the almond flour.  If your almonds still have the papery peel on them, don’t remove it – they are even better this way.  You don’t want to use roasted almonds, though.

Either way, put the almond flour in the food processor.  Add the semolina and part of the sugar.  Process.  (Because my food processor is so small, I did this in two batches.)

Add the egg whites and vanilla, process again.  (I saved some of the processed dry ingredients, and put them over the top of the egg white and vanilla, so it was layered; I think this makes it easier to incorporate.  My food processor isn’t that great, though.)

Add in 1 tbsp of orange-flower water, and process.  Add another 1 tbsp orange-flower water, and process again.  At this point, it should be a thick, moist, and workable dough.

Remove it to a bowl.  If you do this in two batches, remember to put 1 egg white, half the vanilla, and 1 tbsp orange-flower water in each batch, and then combine in a bowl.

Spray or wet your hands with orange-flower water.  Form the dough into cones, about 1.5″ long, with a small depression at the thick end.

The usual word to describe this shape in Greek means ‘little pears,’ but as I was making them, I thought they looked like noses 😛  S came in while I was making them and said they were pyramids.  They can be whatever you like 😉

Place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake.

I baked mine 12 minutes, but really 8 minutes is enough.  Mine got a little brown on the tip and the bottom, which is not really ideal.  I guess I should have paid more attention….

If you live in this part of the world, you can probably get orange-flower water in either a regular bottle or a spray bottle – I have both and I think that if you use orange-flower water often (as I do), it’s nice to have both on hand.  If you can’t get it in a spray bottle, you’ll need a clean spray bottle to put your orange-flower water in so you can do the next step!

When they’re baked and cooled, spray them well with orange-flower water.   Roll each cone in the sugar to coat it well.   (I have a few of them sitting upside down in the bowl because I ran out of space – but within a few minutes, I didn’t have that problem anymore, if you know what I mean….)

Siphnian amydalota
makes 15-20 pieces
traditional recipe, adjusted from here

400g almond flour (or almond kernels, with or without peel, processed fully in food processor – not roasted)
100g fine semolina
200g white granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 small egg whites (or 1 large egg white)
1/4 cup orange-flower water

1.  Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.  In a food processor, process 120g of the sugar to create superfine sugar (heavier than confectioner’s sugar).  Remove and set aside.  In a large food processor, combine almond flour, semolina, and 80g sugar.  Process.  Add egg whites and vanilla.  Process.  (If using a small food processor, put half the dry ingredients in, process, transfer to a bowl; process the other half of the dry ingredients, transfer to the same bowl; mix together well.  Put half the dry ingredients back in the processor with half the vanilla and one egg white; process with 1 tbsp orange flower water.  Transfer to a clean bowl.  Repeat with the other half.  Transfer to the same bowl.)

2.   With your hands sprayed / wetted with orange-flower water, form the dough into 1.5″ long cones with a depression at the wide end.  Set them upright on a wax-paper lined baking sheet.  If the dough starts to break apart, re-wet your hands with orange-flower water.

3.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Allow to cool so that they can be handled.

4.  Spray the cones with orange-flower water and roll in the previously processed sugar.

5.  Store in an airtight plastic container.  They will keep several weeks.  Serve at room temperature.

Nutritional Information
per piece, assuming the recipe makes 16 pieces

217 calories
13g fat (1g saturated, 12g unsaturated)
22g carbohydrate
6g protein
3g dietary fiber
0mg cholesterol
4mg sodium (0% DV)
197mg potassium (6% DV)
Contains a significant amount (+10% DV) of the following:
phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, vitamin E, riboflavin, manganese, and copper.

You might also like:
Anise-almond biscotti with orange glaze
Almond flake cereal
Dark chocolate mousse

wild greens & weeds

S couldn’t believe it when I told him that we don’t eat wild greens all that often in the US.  “But they’re so healthy – and free!”  True, but… well, I don’t know why we don’t.  In Greece, they’re practically a staple in the countryside when they’re in season.  And with the range of edible greens that grows here, there’s always something in season, year round.  You do have to know how to identify them – you can end up with a stomachache or worse if you eat the wrong ones.  So for those who don’t know, or who live in the city, it’s best to start by buying them at the farmers’ market, where they are very inexpensive.

There were a few questions on the poppy leaves that I served with the fish and skordalia, so I thought I would show you what wild greens are in season now and how we prepare them.    Some of these will be very familiar to you, some others might not be.

Right now, the four kinds that are in season here are endives (antidia / αντίδια in Greek), poppy leaves (paparounes / παπαρούνες), sow thistle (zohos / ζοχός), and wild radicchio (radikia / ραδίκια).

Above:  endive.

Above:  poppy leaves.  In traditional Greek folk medicine, these are used as a cough suppressant and a anxiolytic.

Above:  sow thistle.  These were traditionally used as a galactogogue (to encourage milk production in nursing mothers), as a general antidote for poisons, and for liver problems.

Above:  wild radicchio / chicory.  These are traditionally used in spleen, liver, and gall bladder problems, and against diabetes.

All together!

You need quite a lot to get a portion.  For two people, I needed this much:

and that’s only for a side dish!  If someone wanted to eat wild greens as a main course, it would be much more than this.  But they are best as a side dish, due to their slight bitterness – especially if you’ve never had them before.  That’s not to say that I haven’t sometimes made them as a main dish with some crusty bread!

Bring some salted water to a boil.

Plonk them all in together in the water once it’s boiled.  Press them down into the water with a wooden spoon and let them cook for a few minutes.  After a few minutes, turn them so that the ones on top go to the bottom.

When they’re done, remove them with tongs (don’t pour into a colander to strain – you’ll end up with dirt on your food).  If you are concerned about the color, you can put them into cold water to help keep them green; they will brown slightly if you don’t.

The American instinct is to let them cook for 12 seconds and then dunk them in water full of ice cubes.  However, the Greek way is to cook them for quite a while (around ten minutes).  You don’t get all 9,000,000 vitamins but they are a lot easier on the digestive tract.

If you want the rest of the vitamins, you can drink the cooking water after it cools.  It’s supposed to treat all kinds of things.  It’s bitter, like all real medicine.  Strain it through a coffee filter first so you’re not drinking dirt.

Because I like to buy lemons at the height of the lemon season and freeze the juice, I use lemon ice cubes for this.  But you would normally just squeeze some lemon juice over the greens.  I put my lemon ice cubes in first so that the hot greens on top melt them quickly.

The lemon juice helps neutralize the bitterness in the greens.

Drizzle a little olive oil, salt, mix it all up, and serve!

I served them alongside a simple summery pasta with zucchini, purple scallions, tomatoes, parsley, and anthotyro.

You probably don’t really need a recipe, but here you go anyway:

Horta | Boiled wild greens endemic to Greece
serves 2 as a side dish

3 bunches endive
3 bunches wild radicchio
6 bunches poppy leaves
4 bunches sow thistle
(total greens: 1.5 colander full)
1 lemon’s juice
1 tbsp olive oil

1.  Bring salted water to a boil.  Chop off the root ends of the  greens.

2.  Put the greens together in the boiling water.  Press to submerge.  Swirl around every few minutes.  Boil for about 10 minutes.  Lift greens out of water, allowing excess water to drip off, and put in serving dish.  (Pass through cold water to maintain color if desired.)

3.  Salt; drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.

4.  Optional:  strain the cooking water through a coffee filter and drink for additional benefits.

I’m not including nutritional information because I couldn’t find it for all these wild greens.  However, rest assured that they’re basically calorie-free (although olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon), and full of vitamins and other good stuff!

You might also like:
Baked spanakoryzo
Greek okra

potato & herb bake

When the Potato Movement spread to our town, I was thrilled to pick up 10 kgs (22 lbs) of small potatoes for €3.00.  (I love small potatoes – and they are cheaper than regular potatoes in Greece, probably because they are less popular.  The most common way to prepare potatoes in Greece is to peel them and then fry them, which is hard to do with small or new potatoes.  I never peel or fry them, so they are perfect for me!)  As it turns out, 10 kilos is a lot of kilos.  I came up with this recipe in an attempt to get rid of some of the potatoes, and we loved it.  And it’s as simple as can be.

I used a combination of dried and fresh herbs.  It’s still early in the season and the herbs on my balcony are pretty small, and I didn’t want to over-pick them.  You can use all dried, all fresh, or a combination like I did.  The fresh herbs I used are rosemary, oregano, thyme, and lemon thyme.

The dried herbs are oregano, rosemary, and thyme; there’s also flake salt.

Wash the potatoes.  Use a combination of white potatoes and orange sweetpotatoes.  I used one medium sweetpotato with a kilo of white potatoes, and that worked just fine; do try to include at least one sweetpotato.  It adds sweetness, and of course color and vitamins.

Put them in a pressure cooker and cover just barely with water.  Cook under pressure.  As soon as the pot reaches pressure, turn off the heat and let the pressure reduce naturally.  When the pot allows you to open it, drain the potatoes and rinse with cold water.  Slice them into rounds (because I used new potatoes, I sliced them on the long side; if you use regular potatoes, you can just slice them into regular rounds).

While the potatoes are cooking, slice the onions sideways.

Add two tablespoons of the garlic olive oil to the potatoes, and mix with a wooden spoon.  Add in all the dried herbs and salt, and half the fresh herbs.  If you are using all dried herbs, use all of them.  If you’re using all fresh herbs, add in about 3/4 of them.  Add in about half of the sliced onions as well.  Mix everything well and put into an ovensafe dish.

Sprinkle the remaining onions over the top, and drizzle another two tablespoons of garlic olive oil over the dish.  Bake and…

When the onions on top have started to blacken a bit, stir everything up and top with the crumbled cheese.  Bake again and…

Serve with another tablespoon of olive oil per plate.

Potato & herb bake
makes 4 servings (8 if a side dish)

1,000g mix of white potatoes and sweetpotatoes
150g onions, sliced sideways
1/2 cup garlic olive oil, divided
2 tsp dried oregano + 1 tsp fresh oregano or 3 tsp dried oregano or 3 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp dried thyme + 2 tsp fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried thyme or 4 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary + 2 tsp fresh or 2 tsp dried rosemary or 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
2 tsp fresh lemon thyme
1 tsp flake salt
200g anthotyro or other white Greek cheese (like feta or manouri), or dry ricotta

1.  Parboil potatoes and sweetpotatoes, barely covered in water, in a pressure cooker:  allow to come to pressure, then shut off heat and allow to release pressure naturally.  Drain and slice into rounds.

2.  Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F.  In a large bowl, combine sliced potatoes with 2 tbsp oil, all dried herbs, and half fresh herbs (3/4 fresh herbs if using all fresh herbs), salt, and half the onions.  Stir together.  Place in an ovensafe dish.

3.  Sprinkle the remaining onions on top.  Drizzle 2 tbsp oil over the dish.  Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

4.  Stir everything together.  Top with the cheese, crumbled.  Bake, uncovered, another 10 minutes.

5.  Serve; top with another 1 tbsp oil per plate if desired.

Nutritional Information
per serving, i.e., 1/4 of total recipe

534 calories
33g fat (7g saturated, 26g unsaturated)
51g carbohydrate
10g protein
8g dietary fiber
21mg cholesterol (7% DV)
364mg sodium (15% DV)
1,036mg potassium (30% DV)
Contains a significant amount (+10% DV)  of the following:
vitamin A (258%), calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, food folate, manganese, and copper.

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