13 September 2007

"Tiganopita me Feta" & the Weekend Cookbook Challenge

Tiganopita me Feta
As many of you have heard, time and time again, I was fortunate enough to take a 5 week sojourn to Greece in the Spring of last year. Two weeks of the trip were spent with Thordis Simonsen and Astra Tours on mainland Greece travelling extensively throughout Epirus and Thessaly. Four days were spent in the Zagoria region visiting tiny villages at the base of Vikos Gorge in the Pindos mountains of Greece and all the wonderful attractions it has to offer.

One afternoon we hiked along a mountain trail to a monastery overlooking the Vikos Gorge where we could reflect on the days journey. In the village we stopped at a tavern built the year I was born. (No, this does not make it an ancient ruin!!!). Here we devoured our reward; a plate of tiganopita or feta cheese pancake that I had only read about previously. The term pancake is loosely based because it is not a light and fluffy pancake as we know it. In fact, come to think of it, I was told they offered tyropita at the tavern which is a pie made with filo...which this is not. Therefore when I asked Aglaia about it she turned me on to a recipe for Kiki's Pie or "Lazy Woman's Pie" which is tyropita and not tiganopita...have I confused you yet? This is a recipe for tiganopita. If I had have known the real name of the dish Aglaia would have turned me on to her recipe right away!!!

This recipe from Aglaia Kremezi's cookbook, "The Foods of the Greek Islands, Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean", is the closest I have found to replicating the recipe at the tavern. The region is famous for it! Perhaps you need the fresh mountain air and a long hike to truly have the experience...perhaps a bottle of Mythos as well. I would highly recommend at least trying this amazing dish!!!You don't have to have the Mythos if it is not available in your part of the country!!!

Aglaia Kremezi is a Julia Child award winning cookbook author, photojournalist and food columnist. She has written many cookbooks over the years. With her husband Costas Moraitis and friends they run a wonderful cooking school in their home on the island of Kea in Greece. http://www.keartisanal.com/ . One of her many cookbooks, as featured here, is an 8 year compilation of recipes from island women, fisherman and bakers passed down from generation to generation. Many of these recipes she has collected have never been written down and have been passed on by word of mouth. Not only is this cookbook filled with wonderful recipes like:

Spaghetti with Lobster
Ravioli Stuffed with Haloumi and Mint,
Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Greens and Feta
Shrimp Saganaki
Crab Cakes with Garlic Sauce
Lemon Custard in Filo Pastry

but is also filled with beautiful photos of Greece, anecdotes and stories of Greek life.
I spent 8 days on the island of Kea in the wonderful company of Aglaia, her husband, friends and family. That is why I am featuring one of her cookbooks "The Foods of the Greek Islands, Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean" in this months 20th Weekend Cookbook Challenge .

"Show and Tell" is the theme for this months challenge. The event is hosted by Sara at Weekend Cookbook Challenge  and I Like to Cook. Aglaia's cookbook holds special meaning for me because of our time together in the classroom and around her dinner table under the stars on a magical island in the Mediterranean.

**Feta Cheese Pancake (Tiganopita me Feta)"**

1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup water
1 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
freshly ground black pepper

 1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and flour with a whisk or an electric mixer until blended, then gradually beat in the water. Cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 400F. Coat an 11 x 7-inch or other 1-quart baking dish with oil.
3. Stir 1 cup of the cheese and pepper to taste into the batter. Pour the batter into the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and more pepper on top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the sides are pulling way from the dish. Cut into squares or serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a main course
Note: I am even more generous with the feta cheese than the recipe calls for.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison.
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  1. I have never heard of this, but it sounds delicious. I'm in love with feta.

  2. I'd love to spend some time in Greece. 5 weeks? - You lucky thing!
    We went to Zakynthos for our honeymoon many years ago which was wonderful.
    The pancakes look lovely, I bet they were really tasty.

  3. I have been on a feta kick lately, so this sounds soooo good!! I'm jealous of your time spent in Greece!

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I have memories from visiting Greece as a child and would love to be able to return as an adult. Your visit sounds absolutely wonderful! My family would adore your feta pancakes.

  5. Val - wow, 5 weeks in Greece would be a dream! These pancakes look delicious and I'm going to give them a try soon. Thank you for joining in the Weekend Cookbook Challenge this month! Hope to see you again.

  6. Sounds delicious. I'd like to try and make it with manouri instead of feta: what do you think?

  7. The weekend cookbook challenge looks fun. I will have to stop by and take a peek.
    Speaking of cookbooks and your travels to Greece, I checked in my book collection and I have just one book on Greece. It is called The Food And Wine of Greece by Diane Kochilas. I have made a few recipes from it but my sticky note is on a recipe that is a favorite of my husbands. "Makedonitiki Skordalia" (Garlic and Potato Puree, from Macedonia) It is quite bland looking in the bowl, but it has a flavor that you do not forget. We love it on slices of baguette. Have you heard of it?

  8. Lucky you! How wonderful to spend all that time in Kea studying the food. Some people would kill for an experience like that!

  9. I love this dish as well Emilie. You need to use goat's milk feta because of it's stronger more authentic flavour.
    Zakynthos was on my list Nicisme. The problem with Greece is that there are too many wonderful choices!
    I enjoyed entering the Cookbook Challenge Sara.
    Simona, the pancake itself is quite bland so it needs a strong flavoured cheese to boost the flavour. Manouri from what I understand is a mild citrusy flavoured Greek cheese with the consistency of cheesecake. I have used it to make desserts.If there is another more aged variety then I am definitely mistaken. You would know more about that than I Simona with your expertise. I will go by whatever you say!!!
    Deb ...Donna Kochilas has a cooking school on the island of Ikaria. It sounded exciting but it is only during the summer months because they live in Athens for the rest of the year. She does market tours in Athens when she is there. I wanted the weather to be a little cooler so that is why I opted to go in May. I am glad I did as the cooking school on Kea was a memory of a lifetime!!!Scordalia is delicious as a dip or a spread. They serve it with battered fish in Athens.
    I had a wonderful time Aimee. Thanks all for visiting my blog!!!!!!!

  10. Pancakes with feta sound really good.

  11. I'm definitely going to check for that book on Amazon.

  12. Wow, Valli! I knew you had travelled in Greece, but I didn't know you spent 5 weeks there...lucky girl. :-) No wonder you have such a wonderful collection of Greek inspired recipes!

  13. Hi Valli,
    Thanks for introducing this book by Aglaia Kremezi and this wonder dish. I should look out for some Mythos. We have a large Greek community in Sydney, so I'm sure that it can't be that hard to find. :-)

  14. Oh wow, this has got to be delicious. I am thinking it must be a regional thing in Greece (I am greek and have been there several times, but never had this). I will definitely have to give this a try. the last time i went we stayed with friends who owned a bakery, and we slept above their production area, so i ate huge, warm tyropites for breakfast every morning. There's nothing better!

  15. I have to say, I've never really been into Greek food (or what I think of as Greek food) because I don't like olives, grape leaves, or other pungent tastes and I don't eat meat (so no lamb gyros). But I do love Feta, and this recipe looks excellent, not to mention easy to make! I'll have to try it for a potluck sometimes.


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