Great Lent

This is the final week of fasting before Easter Sunday. Greeks will vary in the manner in which they conduct their fast but it’s safe to say the majority will eat meatless and dairy-free until after midnight when we arrive back home to eat a waiting bowl of Magheritsa.

For those not in the know, Magheritsa is a traditional Easter soup make of a stock boiled from the lamb’s head and an array of organ meat.

One Easter, we could not eat Magheritsa. My mom made a big pot full of the soup and after fasting for a week of no meat or dairy…organ meat and such actually become very appetizing.

As it’s still often cold at night in Canada at this time of year, it’s perfectly safe to place food items outside that won’t fit in the fridge. During this time, our fridge bursts with food items and the Magheritsa was placed outdoors to be chilled until we got back from church.

So here’s the scenario:

Greek family gets dressed and goes to Saturday Midnight Mass for Easter. Said Greek family welcomes Easter at midnight at church. The same Greek family goes back home, starving for Magheritsa.

The Greek family gets changed into casual clothing and assembles to eat Magheritsa. The mother of the household steps outdoors to fetch the Magheritsa but all we hear are shreaks!

Said Greek mother is face to face with a racoon, licking it paws after finishing a whole pot of Magheritsa. Call this story the Raccoon Who Stole Greek Easter.

Onto today’s dish. Today for lunch I made a Fassoulada and to accompany this hearty bean soup, I also had some olives, bread, pickled cherry peppers and this vegetable Toursi.

Toursi is a Greek word used for pickled foods and sometimes marinated seafood dishes with octopus or squid.

Each fall my family makes this vegetable Toursi but it can be made anytime of the year and you can choose whatever medley of vegetables you like.

A Vegetable Toursi is great in the winter as part of an array of mezedes, to accompany a soup or to just have as a snack.

I’m submitting this dish for Putting Up, a food event co-hosted by my friends Pixie and Rosie. You have until May21st to submit your preserves, jams, marmalades, pickles or any food item you can think of that goes through the process of preservation.

Vegetable Toursi

1 lb. of green tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 lb. of carrots, peeled, halved and cut into thin half-moon pieces

1 lb. of celery, thinly chopped
1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets

1 lb. red peppers, sliced

1 head of garlic, sliced

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 small jar of capers

1 cup of coarse sea/pickling salt

white vinegar

pickling jars (
click here for pickling/jarring basics)

  1. Wash all your vegetables thoroughly and pin a bowl large enough to hold them all in. Add the coarse salt and mix it in. Allow the vegetables to stew in the salt for apporx. 5 hours.
  2. Using a large tea towel, squeeze the liquid out of the vegetables in batches and add them back into the bowl when complete.
  3. Cover the vegetables with enough vinegar to cover them. Allow the vegetables to steep in the vinegar for at least 3 hours. If you’d like your vegetables to be more acidic, allow them to steep for another hour or two (until you’ve received your desired taste).
  4. Using a large tea towel, squeeze the vinegar out of the vegetables in batches and now add your vegetables to the jars.
  5. Fill each jar with enough sunflower (vegetable) oil to cover the contents of each jar. Seal and store in a cool, dry cellar for up to one year.

© 2008,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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34 Comments for “Great Lent”

Sylvie

says:

It’s like the day I stepped out of the back door to see the birds flying away, leaving big holes in my cooling cake where they had picked at it. I guess mine wasn’t quite as bad though, as I had not been fasting and waiting for a special once-a-year meal.

glamah16

says:

You should have entered that in Pixie and Rosies canning event. So its similar to tthe giardinara. I have been hearing more tales of racoons.I though our squirls were bad.

winedeb

says:

I adore pickled veggies. A plate full of them, a nice hunk of cheese and some crusty bread…oh my what a treat for the taste buds!

Marjie

says:

Oh, dear! The problems one encounters with outdoor refrigeration! Thanks for the comical visual!

Susan from Food Blogga

says:

My dad made pickled vegetable salad every summer. Then we’d enjoy the jars all winter long. Boy, this post brought back delicious memories for me Peter. Thanks!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining

says:

I loved that story…reminds of me of my bad dog and my cake! That Vegetable Toursi looks very good.

δεσποιναριον

says:

mmmm toyrsi. Good idea for tomorrow. For tonight I made an austrian style potato salad with fresh taragon.

Bellini Valli

says:

Those Canadian racoons are well fed Peter. Great entry into the Putting Up event as well:D

Laurie Constantino

says:

As I was reading your story, I was thinking how lucky you were living in a city being able to put food outside because we can’t here due to wild animals. Then I got to the racoon! Your story is really funny.

Rose

says:

Anyone shoot the racoon? lol What a great story and fabulous entry for our event Pete, thanks so much! Also great link on canning- shall refer to it in my next putting up entry. :)

Mochachocolata Rita

says:

in indonesia we call picked veggies “acar” (normally cucumber, carrot, or white radish) and pickled fruits “manisan” (can be anything, my personal favorite: mango or guava) i amm sooo homesickkkk

Peter G

says:

The racoon story is hilarious! I love magheritsa. It’s an acquired taste but very “filling” after all that fasting. Your toursi looks fantastic as well Peter.

Marie

says:

As a young bride living in Northern Manitoba we often used to bury our food in a snowbank to keep it frozen in the winter. Nothing was every stolen to my knowledge and if it was, well . . . they must have needed it more than I did. Delicious looking pickled vegetables and I loved your narrative!

Núria

says:

How cute the raccoon!!!! I would love to live in a place where wild animals could come near my house… not bears and big ones!!! I would be snowwhite and sing through my kitchen window… he, he. So smart the way you keep the veggies… I like the idea a lot! Should try with season ones to eat when I can not find them anymore :D

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

lol, that sounds like an aggravating holiday but at least you have a fun story to tell! I don’t think I have anything quite as good, but those raccoons can definitely be a nuisance (e.g. even if we stopped leaving our trash bags outside due to them spreading it everywhere and eating it, they just started shredding the plastic garbage cans to bits to try to eat that! :o ).

I’d never heard of toursi before, but this definitely looks like an interesting and flavorful dish (and it looks great in that jar photo!).

Peter M

says:

Sylvie, your incident reminds me of an old cartoon…blackbirds nibbling the pie!

Courtney, thanks for reminding me…I ameneded my post and it’s now an entry, thx. doll.

Deb, pickling…another great way to capture nature at it’s peak.

Marjie, I still laugh at that fateful eve.

Judy, dogs will eat anything (you know what I mean).

Despoina, I see you’ve been inspired by your recent Vienna trip.

Val, raccoons are are a nuisance the best one can do is trap it set it free outside the city or in someone else’s neighborhood.

Laurie, I suppose raccoons are better than bears & such?

Rose, if caught harming a raccoon or wild animal…stiff fines, charges can be laid.

Rita, sorry to make you homesick.

Pete, I’m not a big organ meat person but Magheritsa works, like Kokoretsi.

Marie, thanks for visiting. I’ve been to “friendly Manitoba” twice…great folks.

Nuria, I was thinking you’d be Little Red Riding Hood and myself the BIG BAD BEAR (PERRO).GRRRRRR!

Mike, once we even had to call pros to remove raccoons from within our roof. As for Toursi, that’s just a Greek word for anything pickled.

aforkfulofspaghetti

says:

I’ve seen this on my travels from time to time. I dunno – it’s never really looked terribly tempting, somehow. Maybe I’ll have to reconsider…

Meghan

says:

this looks fantastic… i love how greek and italian cuisine has so many similarities… we eat these types of pickeled veggies all the time.

peter..as always..you never dissapoint!

We Are Never Full

says:

looks beautiful. like the history of the soup too! you know how i’m a sucker for that stuff. organ meat sound pretty friggin’ good to me!

Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide

says:

reminds me of the pickling my grandmother used to do….the old jars and reusing the old screw on lids that got worn around the edges. I love pickled vegetables.

Pixie

says:

Peter, thanks again for taking part in the event- it’s now up and running on my blog.