Gemista (Stuffed Peppers)

So, This was an all time favorite growing up! Stuffed peppers or Gemista in Greek, is a traditional stuffed pepper with rice, meat, and spices.

Kouzini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 large bell peppers (any color) 

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef 

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 cup cooked rice

1 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 can (15 oz) organic tomato sauce 

3/4 cup Parmesian Cheese cheese (3 oz)

Directions

  • 1 Cut thin slice from stem end of each bell pepper to remove top of pepper. Remove seeds and membranes; rinse peppers. If necessary, cut thin slice from bottom of each pepper so they stand up straight. In 4-quart Dutch oven, add enough water to cover peppers. Heat to boiling; add peppers. Cook about 2 minutes; drain.
  • 2 In 10-inch skillet, Pour in some Kouzini EVOO and cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in rice, salt, garlic and 1 cup of the tomato sauce; cook until hot.
  • 3 Heat oven to 350ยฐF.
  • 4 Stuff peppers with beef mixture. Stand peppers upright in ungreased 8-inch square glass baking dish. Pour remaining tomato sauce over peppers.
  • 5 Cover tightly with foil. Bake 10 minutes. Uncover and bake about 15 minutes longer or until peppers are tender. Sprinkle with cheese.

Kouzini Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)

What you'll need for the filling:

  • 2 lb. fresh spinach, washed, dried, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. Kouzini extra virgin olive oil.
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 3 oz. or 10 small), white and light-green parts only, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese (10 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Greek kefalotyri
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher or fine sea salt

Assembly:

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing; more as needed
  • Eighteen 9x14-inch sheets frozen phyllo dough. ( frozen or fresh if you have prepared and rolled your own.)
  • 2 tsp. whole milk

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375ยฐF.

Making the filling: Heat a 10-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a few large handfuls of the spinach and cook, tossing gently with tongs. As the spinach starts to wilt, add the rest a few handfuls at a time. Cook until all the spinach is wilted and bright green, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a colander set in a sink. Let cool slightly and squeeze with your hands to extract as much of the remaining liquid as you can.

Wipe the pan dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Stir in the spinach, turn off the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir in the cheeses, eggs, dill, parsley, nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. salt and mix thoroughly.

Assembling the Pita: With a pastry brush, lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9x13x2-inch baking pan with Kouzini extra virgin olive oil. Working quickly, lightly oil one side of a phyllo sheet and lay it in the pan oiled side up and off center so that it partially covers the bottom and reaches halfway up one long side of the pan (the edge on the bottom of the pan will be about 1 inch from the side). Lightly oil the top of another phyllo sheet and lay it oiled side up and off center so it reaches halfway up the other long side of the pan. (If your pan has sloped sides, the sheets may be slightly longer than the bottom of the pan; if so, let the excess go up one short side of the pan and then alternate with subsequent sheets.) Repeat this pattern with 4 more phyllo sheets.

Next, lightly oil the tops of 3 phyllo sheets and layer them oiled side up and centered in the pan. Spread the filling evenly over the last layer.

Repeat the oiling and layering of the remaining 9 phyllo sheets over the filling in the same way you layered the previous 9. With the oiled bristles of the pastry brush, push the edges of the phyllo down around the sides of the pan to enclose the filling completely.

With a sharp knife, score the top phyllo layer into 24 rectangles, being careful not to cut all the way through to the filling. Using the same pastry brush, brush the milk along all the score marks (this will keep the phyllo from flaking up along the edges of the squares). Bake the spanakopita until the top crust is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool until just warm. Cut out the rectangles carefully along the score marks and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make the pie up to 4 hours ahead. Keep warm, if desired, or serve at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving): 
Calories (kcal): 400, Fat (kcal): 27, Fat Calories (g): 240, Saturated Fat (g): 9, Protein (g): 13, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14, Carbohydrates (mg): 28, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2.5, Sodium (g): 790, Cholesterol (g): 90, Fiber (g): 3,

The Perfect Salmon Dinner

Heat riced cauliflower (can get from traderjoes) on a pan oiled with with Kouzini EVOO. Season with garlic powder, sea salt, pepper and nutritional yeast (nooch), stir then sprinkle more nooch at the end. Pair with salmon {season with turmeric, garlic, paprika, cayenne, sea salt + black pepper + Kouzini cold pressed olive oil. Cook over medium heat} push to side and add remaining veggies, like baby bella, kale, spinach and collard greens + a little bit of coconut aminos! Check out @fitandwellmedgal for more awesome Kouzini recipes!

Greek traditional Grape pudding moustaleuria!

So our grapes have had a great year this year! So I decided to make moustaleuria! A traditional Greek grape juice pudding! All natural organic and switches things up a bit! Super quick and easy to make!
.
.
Ingredients:
2 cups organic grape must
1/2 cup organic flour
walnuts, as many as you like
sesame seeds
cinnamon to taste
Directions:
Place the grape must in a pot. Put the flour in a bowl with a little grape must and dissolve well so that there are no lumps. Then, add it back to the pot.
Stir constantly over low heat until it thickens. Finally add the walnuts and mix well so that they are evenly distributed. Once done place in a pan with a light coating of Kouzini evoo so it doesn't stick. Serve warm or chilled and sprinkle with sesame seeds and cinnamon!

Kouzini Kitchen Lasagna

Hello friends! So yesterday I was craving a lasagna! but not any ordinary lasagna, a Kouzini inspired lasagna! A lasagna that would make yiayia say "ohh wow"! Here is my lasagna recipe that I am very pleased with! Hope you Enjoy!

To your health,

Kouzini

ย 

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion (or to taste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tbsp Kouzini EVOO
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

I personally like adding fresh cilantro, parsley and basil in my ricotta before layering it in the lasagna!

Directions:

  1. Cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic in Kouzini EVOO over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Greek Spinach Dip by Kouzounas Kitchen!

Healthy Greek Spinach & Kale Dip Recipe

To see Kouzounas Kitchens blog click here!

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups spinach
  • 2 1/2 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon ( Kouzounas Kitchen Santorini Sunset Rub) << Click on the link to purchase.
  • or 2 Tsp paprika
  • 1 Tsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1 Tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt & ground pepper

ย 

Directions:

ย 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Saute the garlic, bell pepper, and onion over medium heat. One the onion becomes translucent, add the spinach and kale. Remove from the pan, and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, add the Greek yogurt, cream cheese, and almond milk. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add the kale and spinach mixture to the yogurt mixture, and mix to combine.
  5. Season with paprika, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  6. Place mixture into a casserole dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top, and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve with pita chips, and enjoy.
  8. ย 

6,000 years of Greek extra virginity; Let's level the olive oil playing field in the U.S.

Hello friends! Today marks 4 months since we sold our very first bottle of fresh pressed Kouzini extra virgin olive oil! Tony Kasandrinos and I decided we wanted to make our small townโ€™s olive oil available to Americans everywhere in the Fall of 2014. 

Everyday, I am asked the same set of questions from customers, distributors, and supermarket managers: "Why should we buy your Greek extra virgin when we can buy Italian or Spanish oil for much less?" So I tell them Kouzini oils are single origin, raw, 100% Greek, pressed from small family farms, robust, fruity, and with low 0.4% acidity- they're less than half the required maximum for EVOO. And most importantly- our oil tastes and smells REALLY good. 

As media attention continues to grow surrounding the truth about olive oils labeled as โ€œextra virginโ€ from Spain and Italy- I continue to maintain hope that a fundamental shift in consumer preferences for real cold pressed, single origin, low acidity EVOO will someday help smaller producers compete with the conglomerates who continue to hold supermarket shelves hostage to their "lantern oil," as our Giagia calls it. Customers who experience Kouzini's 100% Greek fresh extra virgin oil for the first time will notice the difference almost immediately upon opening the bottle. 

How could a product with over 6,000 years of history and prized since ancient times become the center of such fraudulent activity? The Olive Institute at the University of California- Davis found that 69% of olives oils labeled as extra virgin on U.S. supermarket shelves are in fact not extra virgin. Any olive oil touted as such and sold in clear glass or plastic packaging probably isnโ€™t extra virgin at all. Itโ€™s important to know that it takes only a few days for extra virgin olive oil to oxidize if exposed to any light. Another sign to look out for is oils that are mixed from various regions of the Mediterranean or falsely labeled to deceive consumers on their true origin. Like fine wine, olive oil shouldnโ€™t be mixed. We know first hand that the big companies from Italy and Spain purchase Greek extra virgin olive oil to enhance the flavor of their lower grade oils. Having lived in Greece at various points of our lives and as an undergraduate student, weโ€™ve lived it- through friends, family and stories whispered in the Athenian streets. 

Of all olive oil produced in Greece, nearly 70% meet the standards for extra virgin oil (an acidity of 0.8% or less). Greek olive trees produce strong, robust oils that help mask defects of lower grade olive oils once imported and mixed in Italy and Spain. Due to this manipulation and the sheer output of Spain and Italy- small Greek oil companies such as Kouzini and others simply can not compete on price alone. The European Union and the FDA must find a better way to regulate the vast olive oil industry's producers and marketers, so consumers can be sure they are receiving only true, 100% extra virgin olive oil from the Mediterranean basin.

We are on the cusp of an olive oil revolution in the U.S. Not only will this help the California olive oil industry, but most importantly, help level the 'olive oil playing field' for all of us who produce and market this liquid gold. To date, Kouzini is available in our hometown market of Rochester, NY and in New York City. Every day is a new day to educate on the importance of high quality EVOO. Almost 100% of the time during our in-store demonstrations, we find that shoppers do not know how to select or look for a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Having grown up with Kouzini olive oil and being a staple in our family's kitchen for centuries has made this journey that much more personal for us. It's a win-win for everyone; the local Greek economy, our loyal customers who appreciate good olive oil, and by donating 1 meal for every bottle sold to Feeding America. 

The name โ€˜Kouziniโ€™ (little kitchen) was born; right in our grandmotherโ€™s kitchen. Kouzini is two cousins, a family, a town, and an entire country bound together by one common, staple ingredient that deserves the respect of its 6,000 year old history. Visit us at http://www.kouzini.com/ourstory/ to learn more about our story, products and mission.