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Saturday, 4 August 2007

Horta (Καλοκαιρινά χόρτα βλήτα και στίφνο - summer greens)

Horta are a very important part of the Cretan diet in summer (see winter horta for an explanation of the word). We have loads of horta in the garden right throughout the summer, so we often make this green salad. Wash the vlita (leafy amaranth) and stifno (otherwise known as deadly nightshade) meticulously. Keep separate. Boil the vlita for about half an hour (till stalks are soft when pinched). Boil the stifno for about an hour (till stalks are soft when pinched). Boil the potatoes and courgettes separately to your liking.When all is done, pile the amount of your choice of each ingredient onto a soup plate. Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt over the vegetables. Mix in well. The procedure is the same for cooking any wild leafy greens like tsohos (sow thistle) and radikia (chicory, endive or dandelion leaves), which are in season in the winter. Find out more about these wild greens in the age. My absolute favorite winter green is stamnagathi (Chicorum spinosa), which is a kind of chicory that grows among thorns. Serve with toasted village bread, cheese, boiled eggs and any BBQ meat or fried fish. I also use vlita in making hortopites (spanakopita or mixed greens pie) when spinach isn't available. Although I've never done it myself, mixed horta can be parboiled, drained well of all liquids, and frozen for later use, They need to be defrosted in boiling water.

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MORE WILD GREENS RECIPES:
Kalitsounia fried
Kalitsounia in the oven
Marathopites
Spiral pie
Hortopita (spanakopita)
Stamnagathi
Sorrel
Swiss chard (silverbeet)
Eggs with mustard greens
Mountain tea
Octopus stew
Wild asparagus

MORE SALADS:
Cabbage salad
Lettuce salad
Winter horta
Salad advice
Greek village salad
Cretan salad

Beetroot salad