I’m looking forward to Spring this year, which begins on March 20. Finally, the Earth will wake from hibernating, the weather will warm up, days will get longer, plants will sprout, trees will turn green, and the world will seem rejuvenated and ready to try again. Hopefully, we’ll feel this way, too.
Spring also reminds me of Easter, one of those slippery moveable feasts that you can’t nail down because it’s never celebrated on the same day each year. Of course, Spring and moveable feasts also remind me of how I met Chef Maria Loi.
You might remember Maria’s Greek Feast premiering on the PBS cooking show Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking (season six, episode nine). I was excited to attend the celebration at her restaurant, Loi Estiatorio, in New York City. The guests enjoyed Tyropita (cheese pie), Avglemono Soup (egg-lemon soup), Olive Oil Poached Shrimp with Tomatoes, Dill, and Olives, and much more. Needless to say, the food was beautiful, fresh, healthy, and delicious. I must have felt my Greek roots especially deeply that day because as I continued to eat (food enjoyed in a blissful state with eyes mostly closed), I realized, knowing a thing or two about Greek cooking, how much more Maria had to share.
Lucky for me, she agreed to create another Greek feast for Fine Cooking Magazine later that summer. When we started discussing the menu, Maria generously shared so many delicious ideas that it was hard to decide what to include and even harder to decide what to cut. Finally, we settled on Dolmades Kasiotiki (grape leaves stuffed with ground beef), Fakosalata (lentil salad with oranges), Moussaka Nistisimo (vegan moussaka), Souvlaki (skewered grilled lamb with tzatziki), Kounoupidi (braised cauliflower), and Fresh Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries and Honey.
Chef Maria Loi’s Greek Feast in Fine Cooking Magazine issue #160
I’m hosting a Greek Easter celebration at my house this year, and it’s always a challenge to satisfy the varied palettes and dietary restrictions of my family and friends. This got me thinking. Why not make my life easy for a change and prepare Maria’s mouthwatering menu once more? I know there’ll be something to please everyone, especially me, at this Greek Easter moveable feast.
3 thoughts on “Spring and Greek Easter”
My sister in law’s mother was the most amazing Greek cook. I remember eating those feasts at her house. Having a sweet tooth I loved her homemade baklava but her moussaka and spanakopita were also amazing.
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You are such a good writer!
Coming from you, it’s a huge compliment – thank you so much!