Moussaka a la Kleftiko

Greek Moussaka a la Kleftiko

 

Greek Moussaka a la Kleftiko

Though Moussaka doesn’t origin in Greece, it became the best known of all Greek dishes. Authentic Moussaka is a casserole made with ground lamb and eggplant covered with a thick layer of béchamel sauce. The latter is quite tricky to master. This recipe is a combination with Kleftiko, a lamb dish baked in parchment paper. It’s easy to prepare, fun to eat, and has a rich Moussaka flavor.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 1.5 lb lamb chops or beef sirloin steaks
  • 1/2 inch large eggplant cut lengthwise into thin 1/4 slices
  • 1/2 lb potatoes cut into thin 1/4 slices
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 2 tomato/es cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup grated cheese of your choice
  • 1 lettuce of your choice

You might have

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 orange for juice
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Black pepper thyme, cinnamon, bay leaves

Instructions
 

Prepare

  • In a large BOWL, add eggplant and a pinch of salt. Cover with cold water. Let rest for 15 minutes. Drain.
  • Season lamb with salt to taste.
  • In a BOWL, mix 7 tbsp oil, wine, and about half of the Moussaka Spices.
  • Preheat OVEN to 400°F.

Create 3 packets, each as follows:

  • On an 8-inch PLATE, place (1) ALUMINUM FOIL and (2) BAKING PAPER, each a sheet of about 20 inches long.
  • Staple: eggplant, lamb, tomato, garlic.
  • Place potatoes and onions around.
  • Drizzle with 3 tbsp of the oil mixture.
  • Season with salt and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Close BAKING PAPER, then FOIL
  • Place the packets on a baking rack.

Bake

  • Bake about 60 minutes until cooked.

Salad

  • Mix 3 tbsp orange juice, 1 tbsp oil, salt & pepper to taste. Toss over lettuce.

Serve

  • Serve salad with packets.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword thyme
Chios Mastic Tears

Mastic Tears

Mastic tears of Chios in a Greek bowl
No Tears Left?

Unique Mastic Tears

If a spice deserves to be labeled “unique” it is mastic, also called mastiha. There is only one place in the world where it is produced, on Chios, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea. The rarity and complex production are reflected in a price much higher than most spices.

The Mastic Tears Culinary Spice Kit includes the following spices:

  • Small Mastic Tears
  • Green cardamom pods (organic)

In case you get hooked on this distinctive spice, your “PEPPER” rewards secure you an attractive offer in our online store.

The Tears of Chios

The Mastiha tree grows in other parts of Greece and the Mediterranean, but it only “cries” in Chios, as the locals sometimes call the slitting-tearing process the tree must undergo in order to produce its resinous spice.

natural mastic drop on the tree close up
Natural Mastic Drop on the Tree

Mastiha is produced in 24 specific Mastiha Villages, Mastihohoria, in the southern, coastal area of Chios, Greece.

Greek Islands
Greek Islands
Cooking With Mastic Tears

Cooking with mastic tears is very special. Before you start, smell the flavor. How do you like it?

Mastic is a precious, extremely versatile spice that enhances just about every dish. It has a distinctive flavor, fresh and slightly pine-like. A small amount goes a long way. Too much can leave a bitter aftertaste.

Give your favorite dinner dish a new flavor, follow one of our starter recipes, or find your favorite recipe on our website. Important! Decide first how you prefer to use the included Mastic Tears pouch, as a flavored oil or ground powder. Both ways need different preparations.

Choose one of these two preparations for your Mastic Tears and find recipes below:
  • Mastic infused olive oil (see recipe below)
  • Grind Mastic Tears (see recipe below)

Mastic Infused Olive Oil

Cuisine Greek

Ingredients
  

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp small mastic tears

Instructions
 

  • In a small POT, heat olive oil over low heat.
  • Add all mastic tears and stir over low heat until they are dissolved.
  • Pour oil into a glass container and let cool.
  • It keeps fresh in a cool, dark place.
  • Always stir or shake oil before using it.
Mastic Recipe Inspirations for Mastic Infused Olive Oil:
  • Drizzle 1-2 tbsp mastic oil over salads, vegetables, or feta. Find the recipe for Halloumi Salad below.
  • Reheat cooked broccoli or another firm vegetable in 1 tbsp mastic oil and garlic. Serve as a side.
  • Roasted Pepper, Mastiha and Goat Cheese Spread – recipe
  • Warm Spinach-Orange Salad with Mastiha Scented Olive Oil – recipe (the recipe refers to 1/3 tbsp mastic infused olive oil)
  • Warm Vegetable Taboule Seasoned with Chios Mastiha – recipe
Chios Mastic Tears In A Mortar

Grind Mastic Tears

Cuisine Greek

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tsp small mastic tears

Instructions
 

Freeze

  • Place pouch with mastic tears for 1 hour in the freezer.

Grind with mortar and pestle

  • Grind with a mortar and pestle half or all mastic tears with 1 tsp salt or sugar, depending on your recipe. For sweet recipes use 1 tsp sugar, for savory recipes 1 tsp salt.

Grind without mortar and pestle

  • Place mastic tears on a flat surface.
  • Cover mastic tears with a large piece of plastic wrap.
  • Roll over the plastic wrap with a baking pin until all mastic tears are pulverized.
Mastic Recipe Inspirations for Ground Mastic:
  • In a PAN, fry cardamom 1 minute in 2 tbsp oil. Add ground meat and/or small vegetables. Season with salt, pepper, and ground mastic to taste. Fry until done.
  • Savory rice porridge (see recipe below).
  • Spaghetti with Fresh Mastiha-Tomato Sauce and Bocconcini – recipe
  • Greek Fries with Homemade Mastiha Scented Ketchup – recipe
  • Plum and Purslane Salad with Mastiha-Lemon Vinaigrette – recipe
  • Orange Chicken with Cinnamon, Ginger and Mastiha – recipe (make half of the recipe for 4 servings)
  • Asparagus Sautéed with Mastiha-Butter. Optional: Double all ingredients, except the asparagus, and add 1 lb shrimps. – recipe
  • Skilled-Seared Lamb Chops Rubbed with Mastiha – recipe
  • Greek cake recipes with ground mastic tears (see recipes below).
  • Orange Poached Pears Dipped in Dark Chocolate and Mastiha – recipe (make half of the recipe for 5 desserts).
  • Greek rice pudding (see recipe below).
Traditional Greek rizogalo

Rizogalo Rice Pudding

Cuisine Greek
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 1/2 cup rice rinsed with cold water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar use less or more to taste
  • 1/2-1 tsp small mastic tears ground

Optional

  • 1 stick stick cinnamon or cinnamon powder
  • 3 pods cardamom

Instructions
 

  • 1/2 cup rice, rinsed with cold water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar (use less or more to taste)
  • 1/2-1 tsp mastic (ground)
  • Optional:
  • 1 stick cinnamon or cinnamon powder
  • 3 pods cardamom
  • In a POT, add rice and 1 cup cold water with a pinch of salt.
  • Optional: Add cinnamon and/ or cardamom.
  • Cover. Bring to boil.
  • Turn heat to low and cook for 15-30 minutes until the rice is cooked. The time depends on the type of rice.
  • Add milk and sugar. Mix well.
  • Stir in ground mastic. Start with 1/2 tsp. Add more to your taste.
  • Cover. Bring to boil.
  • Turn heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, until the rice thickens.
  • Fill rice pudding in 3-4 dessert dishes.
  • Let cool for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Enjoy!
Grilled Halloumi Cheese salad

Halloumi Salad

Cuisine Greek
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 2 oz pack Halloumi cheese or firm mozzarella or firm tofu about 8each
  • 1 Frisee lettuce or your lettuce of choice
  • 8 oz cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 baguette

You might have

  • 1-2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp mastic olive oil
  • oil
  • salty & pepper

Instructions
 

Prepare oranges

  • Peel the oranges.
  • With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith from the sections.

Mix vinaigrette

  • In a BOWL, mix mastic olive oil with 1 tbsp orange juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Fry cheese

  • In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Cut halloumi into thin slices (8 slices per pack) and fry for about 2 minutes until golden on both sides, and it begins to melt.

Assemble

  • Distribute lettuce on plates.
  • Place cherry tomatoes and orange sections on lettuce.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with vinaigrette.
  • Place halloumi slices on top.
  • Enjoy!
Rice porridge with grilled vegetables

Savory Rice Porridge

Cuisine Greek
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb grilled meat and/or grilled vegetables
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups broth
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 lemon for juice
  • 1 tbsp parsley chopped
  • 4 tomato/es chopped
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • green cardamom pods
  • 1/2-1 tsp ground mastic
  • salt

Instructions
 

Rice

  • In a POT, add rice, broth, cardamom and salt to taste.
  • Cover. Bring to boil. Turn heat to low. Cook until rice is done.
  • Optional: Add 1/2 cup milk and cook about 5 minutes until the rice thickens
  • Take cardamom out.

Mastic Butter

  • In a small POT, melt butter with ground mastic to taste over low heat.

Serve

  • Drizzle butter over plated rice.
  • Serve with grilled meat and/or veggies.
  • Add a tomato salad seasoned with 1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh parsley, and garlic. No oil.
Orange Semolina Cake

Orange Semolina Cake

Cuisine Greek

Ingredients
  

Shopping list for the batter

  • 1.5 cup semolina
  • 0.5 cup sugar use to taste: up to 0.25less or more
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 0.25-0.5 tsp ground small mastic tears
  • 1.5 cup yogurt
  • 0.5 c milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Shopping list for the syrup

  • 0.75 cup sugar use to taste: 0.25less or up to 0.75more
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 green cardamom pods optional
  • 1 stick cinnamon optional

Shopping list for garnish (optional)

  • 1 orange halved and sliced
  • 0.5 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup ice cream vanilla or orange flavor

Instructions
 

Syrup

  • In a small POT, add bring 0.5 cup of water to boil.
  • Stir in sugar until dissolved.
  • Optional: Add cardamom or cinnamon.
  • Mix in orange juice. Return to a boil.
  • Turn heat to low and cook slowly for about 10 minutes. The syrup shall have thickened but still be runny.
  • Remove and let cool.

Batter

  • In a BOWL, mix semolina with sugar, baking soda, and mastic.
  • Add yogurt, milk, and lemon juice.
  • With an ELECTRIC MIXER, beat until the batter is creamy.

Bake

  • Preheat OVEN to 350°F.
  • Spread a thinly layer of butter onto a BAKING PAN.
  • Pour the batter into the BAKING PAN.
  • Bake for about 1 to 1.5 hours until its baked and lightly golden.
  • If the top turns brown before it fully baked, cover the pan with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.
  • Take the BAKING PAN out.
  • Pour syrup over hot cake.
  • Let cool.

Serve

  • Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar.
  • Serve cake with orange slices and/or ice cream.

Notes

Here are some Greek cake recipes. For all you can add ground mastic tears to the batter to get this special flavor:
Hortobágyi Palacsinta

Hungarian Hortobágyi Palacsinta

 

Hortobágyi Palacsinta

Hungarian Hortobágyi Palacsinta

Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 1 lb ground meat beef recommended
  • 1-2 red and/or green bell pepper cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 2 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

You might have

  • 2 onions chopped
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1.5 cup milk
  • 0.5 cup mineral water
  • oil
  • salt & pepper

Culinary Spice Kit

  • [Gulyás] Hungarian paprika marjoram, black pepper, bay leaves

Instructions
 

Pancakes

  • In a BOWL, beat eggs. Add milk and mineral water. Slowly beat in flour.
  • Cover and set aside in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • In a medium-size PAN, heat oil over medium heat. Pour one laddle pancake batter onthe PAN and spread the batter out until it covers the whole PAN.
  • Cook on medium-low heat until done. Flip the pancake halfway (when the top is not anymore liquid).
  • Repeat this until all batter is used.

Gulyás

  • In a large POT, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add ground meat, Gulyás Spices, onion, and bell pepper.
  • Stir-fry until meat is crumbled.
  • Add broth, tomato paste, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well.
  • Cover. Bring to boil. Turn heat to medium.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the bell peppers are almost cooked.
  • Stir in sour cream and bring to boil.
  • Turn heat off. Set aside.

Option 1: Assembly & Serve

  • On a PLATE, place one pancake. Add Gulyás meat in the center.
  • Close the pancake first from left and right, next from the other two sides. It should look like a little square package.
  • Pour Gulyás sauce over pancakes.
  • Serve immediately.

Option 2: Assembly & Bake

  • Preheat OVEN to 300°F.
  • On a PLATE, place one pancake. Add Gulyás meat in the center.
  • Close the pancake first from left and right, next from the other two sides. It should look like a little square package.
  • In a BAKING DISH, place filled pancakes next to each other in one single layer.
  • Pour Gulyás sauce over pancakes.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes, until it's baked through but not crisp.
  • Enjoy!
Hungarian Gulyás sausage soup

Hungarian Gulyás Sausage Soup

 

Hungarian Gulyás sausage soup

Hungarian Gulyás Sausage Soup

Dig in this hearty soup and savor the taste of freshly ground Hungarian paprika. Gulyás or Goulash is Hungary's national dish. It was invented by Hungarian cattlemen and became their favorite dish. Originally, it was a soup, not a stew. We kept this intention along with the typical ingredients. Though, to save you some cooking time, we substituted stew beef for sausages. (*)
Cuisine Hungarian
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 1 lb beef sausages cut in 1/2 inch slices (*)
  • 1 lb potatoes cut in bite size pieces
  • 1-2 red or green bell pepper cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 32 oz beef or vegetable broth

Optional for serving

  • 3-4 small round bread

You might have

  • 2 onions chopped
  • oil
  • salt & pepper

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Hungarian paprika, marjoram, black pepper, bay leaves

Instructions
 

Gulyás

  • In a large POT, heat 2 tbsp oil.
  • Fry onions, bell pepper, and sausages over medium heat until the onions turn translucent and the bell peppers turn slightly brown.
  • Stir in Gulyás Spices and fry some seconds without burning the spices.
  • Stir in broth, potatoes, and salt & pepper to taste. Cover. Bring to boil.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are almost cooked.
  • Stir in tomato paste. Cook 5 minutes.

Optional serving

  • Cut off the top of each bread.
  • Scoop most of the inside out.
  • Fill with Gulyás. Serve immediately.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword Hungarian paprika, marjoram
Spice Bag

Dublin Spice Bag

Spice Bag

Dublin Spice Bag

Cuisine Asian, Irish
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast bone+skinless, cut in thin stripes
  • 2 lbs potatoes peeled, cut in stripes
  • 1 bell pepper green and/ or red, cut in thin stripes
  • 2 cups almonds ground
  • 4 paper bags

You might have

  • 1 onion peeled, halved, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • oil & salt

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] Star anise, fennel, cinnamon, garlic, cloves
  • Pouch [2] Sichuan pepper
  • Pouch [3] Roasted chile powder mild

Instructions
 

Marinade

  • In a BOWL, mix chicken, Spice Bag Spices [1], 3 tbsp tamari, orange juice, and Spice Bag Spices [2] & [3] to taste.
  • Cover. Let marinate 1 hour in the fridge.

Prepare

  • Preheat OVEN to 400°F.

Potatoes

  • In a BOWL, mix potatoes with 3 tbsp oil and salt to taste.
  • Place potatoes in one layer on a non-sticking BAKING SHEET.
  • Bake in OVEN for 30-40 minutes.

Prepare Chicken

  • On a PLATE, beat egg. Add salt to taste.
  • Coat chicken thoroughly with the egg.
  • On a different PLATE, spread ground almonds.
  • Coat chicken thoroughly with the almonds.

Fry

  • In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil.
  • On high heat stir-fry the chicken until they turn brown and crispy. Set aside.
  • In the same PAN, fry onion 5 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add bell pepper and 1 tbsp tamari mid way.

Serve

  • Serve chicken and potatoes in paper bags.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword cinnamon, fennel, Sichuan pepper, star anise
Polish Barszcz Wigilijny

Polish Barszcz Wigilijny

Polish Barszcz Wigilijny

Polish Barszcz Wigilijny

This traditional Polish borscht soup is made from beetroots and mushrooms. It’s poured over homemade mushroom dumplings. You can choose your favorite tortellini instead. If you prefer a complete dinner dish, keep the vegetables in the soup. To make the flavor experience complete, serve the soup with fresh herbs, a dollop of sour cream, and a slice of dark rye bread.
Cuisine Polish
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

Shopping list

  • 9 oz tortellini (filled with mushroom or meat)
  • 1 jar pickled beetroots (sliced, 16 oz)
  • 0.5 oz dried mushrooms sliced
  • 32 oz vegetable broth
  • vinegar e.g. apple cider
  • 1 lemon (for juice)
  • salt

Suggested Sides

  • dark rye bread or baguette

Suggested Garnish

  • fresh herbs (chives, dill, or sprouts)
  • sour cream

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Allspice, garlic, black pepper, marjoram, cinnamon, star anise, cloves

Instructions
 

Prepare

  • In a GLASS, pour liquid from the beetroots jar. Set aside for later.
  • Cook tortellini according to package instructions. They shall be served with soup.

Soup

  • In a large POT, bring broth to a boil.
  • Turn off heat. Stir in mushrooms.
  • Let mushrooms rest for 30 minutes.
  • Bring broth to a boil again.
  • Add the beetroots, Barszcz Spices, and salt to taste. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Add the beetroot liquid from the GLASS, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1/8 cup vinegar.
  • Cook 5 minutes.
  • Drain soup through a fine mesh SIEVE.

Serve

  • Place tortellini on soup plates and fill plates with the clear soup.
  • Optionally, serve with sour cream and rye bread, and garnish with fresh herbs or sprouts.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

▪ Substitute dried mushrooms with 3 oz fresh mushrooms. Skip steps 2-4 and add fresh mushrooms with the beetroots in step 5.
▪ Skip step 8 and leave the vegetables in the soup.
▪ Skip step 8 and puree the vegetables in the soup with a hand blender.
 
Keyword allspice, cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, star anise