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Greek Festival + Fasolia Gigantes Elefantes + Melomakarona

Lars
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

Last weekend we went to the Greek Festival in Palm Desert, at St George Greek Orthodox Church and had some food and bought a couple of grocery items.


Fasolina Gigantes Elefantes Prespon Florinas + Eggplant in tomato sauce; I thinking of combining these two.


These cookies are very good with vanilla ice cream.



Food line for lunch, where Kevin got Chicken Souvlaki, and I had Mousaka, both of which had rice pilaf and green beans. We also got a Greek salad to share.


But first we had Spinach Spanakopita, which was very filling, and so we had the lunch meals to go and had them for dinner.

I checked later and found the same beans at Amazon for twice what I paid for them. They are supposed to be similar to Royal Corona beans, but possibly not quite as good. I have some corona beans and have eaten them recently, and so I will be able to tell how much difference there is. I like eating them plain, or with a little bit of olive oil.

Does anyone know how to make these cookies? They have interesting spices in them and also have a very interesting crumbly texture, which is especially good with ice cream.

Comments (21)

  • beesneeds
    2 months ago

    Looks like four kinds of sweets there. Baklava, the layers of goodness in triangle. Paximadia, a Greek biscotti. The twists with sesame seeds might be koulourakia, the one in the middle might then be melomakarona.

    Lars thanked beesneeds
  • nicole___
    2 months ago

    Looks like an adventure! I'm not educated in Greek cuisine. It's always fun to try new food or cook with new ingredients.....you'll have to report back if you make Greek cookies.

  • foodonastump
    2 months ago

    I love Greek food! In fact I just popped lahanodolmades (stuffed cabbage) in the oven, although after much internal conflict I opted for a tomato based sauce rather than the more traditional lemon. I’ll have to look up what makes Greek biscotti Greek, but the other things shown in that picture I love.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Thanks @beesnees, I think Melomakarona is the cookie in the middle that I like so much. I found this recipe, which looks like it might be the right one, but the cookies I bought seem dryer than that, but the spices seem right. It's worth trying anyway.

    This recipe might be correct for the Paximadia, which were my second favorites. They are not nearly as hard and crunchy as the Italian biscotti that I make, which have no oil or fat in them - I like both styles of biscotti - with and without oil.

    This recipe might work for the Koulourakia butter cookies, and it looks like one I would want to try.

    Although I've made baklava, I've never made Greek cookies, and I have to say that I am very happy that I did buy a selection of Greek cookies at the pastries stand. Normally, I would have just bought baklava and galatobouriko (which was also on the menu), but I do like the cookies a lot. I'm going to taste them very carefully (from what I have left) to see if I can identify the spices, now that I have looked at recipes. I know I tasted more than cinnamon, and I thought there were pistachios on the Melomakarona instead of walnuts, but I could be wrong. I like walnuts well enough anyway.

  • OutsidePlaying
    2 months ago

    The festival sounds like fun and the food sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing it all. Do share your cookie results.

    Lars thanked OutsidePlaying
  • beesneeds
    2 months ago

    You are welcome Lars. Years ago I used to live in a town that had a rather nice Greek festival. The wife of the guy I worked for was very active with the church and the festival, so the employees got entry tickets and some food tickets as a random perk. Everyone looked forward to it. Parking always sucked since a LOT of the town turned out for the festival, but the dancing and food was always great :)


    Lars thanked beesneeds
  • caflowerluver
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    The Greek festival here has been going on 37 years in the Fall and we have been going almost every year. I love Greek food and we use to have a resturant that was run by a man from Greece but it closed a couple of years ago. I have 3 cookbooks of Greek food and occasionly I will make a Greek dinner.

    Lars thanked caflowerluver
  • chickadee2_gw
    2 months ago

    The church has a cookbook.

    https://go-stgeorge.org/Ministries/Philoptochos/Cookbook/

    If you click on the HOME link at the top of the page, it says they start preparing the food for the festival in the middle of December.. Maybe the recipes are in the cookbook. Looks like they have an active social group on their facebook page.

    Lars thanked chickadee2_gw
  • Lars
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    They were selling that cookbook at the fair - perhaps I should have bought a copy, but I can still order if if I need it. I already have a large comprehensive Greek cookbook, and I haven't been using it that much. I'll look for the cookie recipe in it when I get back to L.A.

    Today I ordered a Greek pastry and dessert cookbook by Vefa Alexiadou. It got really good reviews, and so I think it will be helpful, even though I was unable to see a table of contents. The author has a Youtube video showing her making Μελομακάρονα, which I think it the cookie I most want to make.


    Here are the ingredients she used:

    •1 ½ cups of oil
    •½ cup vegetable or animal cooking fat
    •1 cup of sugar
    •¾ cup orange juice
    •¼ cup cognac
    •2 teaspoons of baking powder
    •1 teaspoon of baking soda
    • 2 spoons of orange zest
    •8 cups of all-purpose flour
    Syrup
    • 2 cups of honey
    •2 cups of sugar
    •2 cups of water
    Garnish
    •1 ½ cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
    •½ teaspoon cloves

  • Lars
    Original Author
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    I also found this video, which at least is in EnglishL


    Here's a link to the recipe.


    I think I like this recipe better:

    It has more spice to it, and it also has semolina flour, which I can tell was in the cookies that I bought. I'll have to get some cake/pastry flour for this, however, as I mainly have bread flour.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I received the Greek pastry cookbook yesterday, and I'm very glad I ordered it. I paid $11 for it, and it is now $33 because it is out of print - last published date was 2003.

    The copy I got looks new, as if no one ever used it. It has many recipes that I will want to make, but the Melomakarona recipe might need some tweaking - and I can do that by using an ingredient list that I like better. I think it should have semolina flour, and I've already put that recipe into a Word document so that I can print it out.

    Some of the recipes call for lime water, which has calcium hydroxide, and this might be difficult to find - at least in small quantities. I've never used that before.

    I was disappointed with the feta cheese that I bought at the festival - it has almost no flavor and was made with cow's milk. I much prefer the Bulgarian feta that I get at a Lebanese/Syrian market.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I finally made a batch of melomakarona tonight, and I will offer some to our next door neighbors, whom I invited to visit tomorrow morning so that that can take some plants and tell me what they think about house colors. They are young (20s) and have a small baby, and the wife is an interior designer. She got excited when I told her (via text) that I was a furniture designer, and it's too bad that we did not get to know each other better earlier.

    Here's a photo of the cookies:

    This is the recipe I used (more or less): https://www.mygreekdish.com/recipe/melomakarona-greek-christmas-honey-cookies/

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    Cannot edit the above post, which is an ongoing problem for me with Houzz lately.

    I wanted to add that I divided the recipe in half and added some finely chopped walnuts to the dough, as recommended in some other recipes I have found. I ended up with some leftover syrup, but I can still pour this over the cookies, if they need it. I did not soak the cookies very long, and so I spooned some syrup over them after they were in the paper cups, and they appeared to soak it up. I was afraid that if I soaked them too long that they might fall apart.

    I've only tasted a crumb from one cookie, and I felt that it had a bit too much cinnamon in it. Next time I will omit the optional cinnamon to the walnut topping, but I will keep the clove.

    These were quite a bit of work to make, and so I'm glad I only made half a recipe.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    I think I should have baked them a bit longer. The recipe I used said 15-20 minutes, but another recipe said 20-25 minutes, and I think 25 minutes might be right. I baked mine 15 minutes, took them out and then baked them 4 more minutes. They seemed done, but they are not crisp or crunchy, except for the nuts.

    I had quite a bit of syrup leftover, and I poured syrup over the cookies after we had put the nuts on top, and we still have leftover syrup. I ate one cookie, and it had a somewhat soggy bottom because of all the syrup, and it tasted like baklava. The texture of the cookie is very similar to what I bought at the Greek festival, except for the soggy bottom. I had to eat the last part of the cookie with a spoon, and so I'm glad we used the paper cupcake liners.

  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month


    I put some of the cookies in this container, which used to have baklava from a few years ago. I save containers like this for future use. We also have a square metal box that Kevin received from a friend, and I put the other eight remaining cookies in that.

    We had our real estate agent over today, and I offered her a cookie, but she is allergic to nuts and so could not eat it.

    Tomorrow, neighbors will come over to help us with taking plants - plus one is an interior designer, and I will ask her about house colors. So far, only Kevin and I have eaten any of these cookies 😞

  • nicole___
    last month

    They look delicious Lars! I'm sure having the neighbors over will be a HUGE success. And...I'm sure they will love your house and garden.

    Lars thanked nicole___
  • annie1992
    last month

    Those do look delicious, Lars, and the interior designer next door sounds like a perfect neighbor for you!


    The festival sounds like fun too, I always like to try the new and (to me) unusual things.


    Annie

    Lars thanked annie1992
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The interior designer neighbor never showed up, and she lives right next door! The one down the street did come over with her baby in a stroller, which I helped her bring into the house, and I did give her a cookie, which she liked. I did get some good info from her about house colors, etc, and that was useful. She sort of confirmed what I wanted to do, and she also told me that the agent that she bought her house from was the same one (Amber) that we had first interviewed, and so her house ended up being all white, which she (Jackie) thought was boring but still just okay. Jackie does like my dining room as it is, and she also likes our exterior colors.

    Later, another neighbor from further away in Westchester dropped by to pick up some plants that I wanted removed, and I gave him a couple of cookies. As it turns out, this neighbor (who lives near Loyola Marymount) is a lawyer and L.A. City judge, but he was very good at picking up and moving heavy plants. He came by in his car and then went back to his house to get his truck and a couple of plants to give to me, and he brought his son back with him to help load the plants that he had moved to my driveway. I asked him what his wife thought about all the plants he was bringing home, and he told me that fortunately she was out of town!

    Incidentally, Nicole, I gave him one of the beautiful ric rac epiphyllum that you had given me, which has been doing very well for me, but I won't be able to take it to the desert with me. If I ever want it back, I could still get a cutting from him. I also gave him my huge ginger plant in a huge heavy pot, which I could not lift myself.


    This ginger has a wonderful sweet fragrance, which is why I was growing it.

    Later I will post a recipe for the melomakarona with the revisions I made. The recipe is easy enough, but there are a few tricks to making it, and all recipes say to follow the instructions carefully, even though they are simple. Although I ended up with a fair amount of leftover syrup, I do not consider this a problem, and the syrup can be used for other things. The dough has to be handled carefully, and I think I may have not squished the cookies together sufficiently. They did not fall apart, but they do tend to crumble slightly while being eaten, and so I eat them with a spoon. I think I did not bake them quite long enough. The recipes I looked at varied the baking temperature and baking time, and I did not pay close enough attention to these variations, but now I know! I think they need a bit more clove, and the walnuts that I put on top did not need the cinnamon that I added to them, although it didn't really hurt.

  • l pinkmountain
    last month

    Dang it now my "to try" cookie list is going to get even longer!!

    Did I miss something where you are moving Lars? Are you going to re-locate permanently to NV? Or just doing a yard makeover?

    Lars thanked l pinkmountain
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    We are moving everything from L.A. to the Palm Springs area (Cathedral City, bordering Palm Springs to the east) and will then sell the house in Los Angeles. This is because Kevin is getting laid off, and he wants to try to work remotely in Cathedral City. He's pretty sure he can make that work, but I think it might be difficult. It is extremely difficult to find work in Palm Springs (this is a resort area - not a business area), whereas there are lots of jobs in L.A., but sometimes they require a brutal commute, although Kevin's has not been.

    I am getting ready to drive back to L.A. this afternoon, but I will post the revised cookie recipe when I get back. I forgot to do it, but I did make some important revisions. I'm going to make more later this week, since I have the walnuts and the rest of the ingredients.

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