Foodbuzz 24,24,24 Great Lent

img_2841Today is the last day of Carnival in the Greek calendar. Tomorrow will be “Clean Monday” and the start of the Great Lent. Clean Monday acquired it’s name from long ago: it was the day on which the housewives cleaned all their kitchen untensils so as to rid the last traces of the Carnival food.img_2842-1

Clean Monday is a preparation of Lent and old traditions live. In Greece, family and friends head to the mountains or seaside and a banquet of Lenten dishes is laid out for the taking.

Salads, seafood, olives, array of pickled vegetables, beans and potatoes are just some of the foods that regularly appear on the Lenten table. Devout followers of the Greek-orthodox calendar will follow a diet that will contain no meat or meat by products. Shellfish and other seafood with no blood are allowed and lucky for me – that means more seafood!

img_2843-1One the centerpieces of the Clean Monday table is the “Clean Monday” loaf or, “lagana”. It’s shaped much like a foccacia and baked with a good amount of sesame seed topping and a “must have” at the “Clean Monday” table.

It is also traditional for the the children to fly kites on Clean Monday. The kids are always accompanied by parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents but with the “kefi” or spirit lingering from the revelry of Carnival, it’s hard to tell who soars higher…the kites or the adult Greeks celebrating another feast for the eyes and belly!

Let’s take a walk around and have a peek at the array of Lenten dishes I prepared for “Clean Monday”….

Deep-fried mussels…a specialty from the culinary rich city of Thessalonikiimg_2859-1

Baked beans or “Gigantes”…just like my grandmother made themimg_2820

Mussels and rice (Midopilafo)…another specialty from Thessaloniki, Greeceimg_2846-1

Boiled Amaranth (Vlita) and steamed zucchini with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice img_2857-1

Dolmades Gialantzi, the vegetarian option with just rice, fresh herbs olive oil and lemon juice img_2851-1

Chickpea soup (Revithosoupa), a specialty from the Greek island of Sifnos img_2849-1

Artichokes a la Polita, a braised artichoke dish from the city Byzantine City of Constantinople img_2848

Shrimp with lots of garlic, boukovo, olive oil, wine and parsley img_2847

Ladenia, a specialty of the island of Kimolos that pre-dates pizza img_2896

A potato salad from a new monastic cookbook I just bought img_2852

Stewed cuttlefish with onions, olive oil, oregano and lemon juice, another dish from the new monastic cookbook img_2856

A Greek Lenten table wouldn’t be complete without Taramosalata, a whipped caviar dip from carp roe (eggs) img_2853

Mom’s very own olive bread with “throumpes” olives, sauteed onions and rosemary img_2890-1

Octapus “Ksidato”, braised in it’s own juices and finished with extra-virgin olive oil, wine vinegar and dried Greek oregano img_2858-1

Mavromatakia salata or black-eyed pea salad img_2927-1

Here’s a closer look at the “Clean Monday” loaf, the Lagana img_2888

Braised whole octopus, dressed with Greek (Kalamata) extra-virgin olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice img_2898

A Lenten Spanakopita, just spinach, scallions and homemade phyllo img_2948

Finally, a little decadence leftover from Carnival, some boiled whole crab img_2879

In coming days, I’ll review the dishes and share the recipes with you. These and other Lenten dishes will be featured in future posts right up to Greek Easter.

I would like thank Ryan Stern and the Foodbuzz team for giving me the opportunity to present this Lenten banquet to you. It was all very last minute but I think you will agree, the result was most delicious.

I must (again) thank my mom for providing me with alot of help in the kitchen, her invaluable kitchen wisdom has made me the cook that I am and I’m the luckiest man alive to be taught by the best Greek cook…thanks mom!

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009,
Peter Minakis

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103 Comments for “Foodbuzz 24,24,24 Great Lent”

says:

What a feast! I am stuck for words – that ALL looks amazing Peter!
I love Gigantes but I’ve never made it myself. It looks like one fantastic day of cooking and eating you had!
Loving the black-eyed pea salad too. Great post and heres to your next 24-24-24!

says:

Oh my Peter, this looks absolutely superb!!! I look forward to the recipes for these wonderful dishes.

I live in the mid-west United States and so many people here think if there is no “meat and potatoes” on the table then it’s not a meal. I’m sending them all a link to this page!!! Not just a meal, but the best meal I’ve seen in a long long time.

says:

What an absolutely marvelous spread. There is an art to cooking a dish well, but there is another level when one is able to serve that many awesome dishes at once. I am so very impressed Peter. Congrats on the 24,24,24. Lovely tribute to your mom too. I look forward to hearing about each individual dish, especially octopus!
LL

says:

My jaw is on the floor in amazement at all of that food! Everything looks fabulous!! I can’t wait to hear more about this amazing feast! Nice job!!!

says:

Wow, stunning! I’d love to sit at that table in order to enjoy all these scrumptious dishes! I’m drooling….

Cheers,

Rosa

says:

Well that is what i call a table fit for royalty.
You indeed had a feast.
Why didn’t you invite me over.
Thank your mom from me, for all her work she has done for this beautiful delicious spread.

says:

Are we witnessing the “mother of all feasts”? I am flabbergasted at all that food! Whoever said “nistisima” foods were boring was def wrong!

says:

OMG! What a beautiful feast. It looks so good I think I’d even eat the fish. I love that pizza thing. And the breads!! The spanikopita! I am seduced.

says:

Wow – What glorious food! I love octopus and that would be the first platter I’d sample.

Love the pizza-like dish and the black eyed pea salad. MMMmmmm giant beans!!

<3 Chiffonade

says:

This Italian gal is homesick for Greek food! WOW! I was blessed as a teenager by finding a “Momma #2” who happened to be Greek, and she had tables like these. Oh, the memories! I “heart” your table spread! I want to cry… it looks like such priceless family memories and treasure all over that table…

Anna

says:

Oh my… Firstly I am amazed at the variety and quantity of food! Did you invite a small army to eat all of this? You will have leftovers for weeks! Secondly how many days were you and your mom cooking for this feast? Truly exceptional!

says:

Look at this feast! It looks like you aren’t eating at all for 40 days. lol. Everything looks SO good and now I really want some gigandes. I have a really hard time finding them here, unfortunately. I heard about a new greek market today, though, so I may check it out tomorrow.

says:

I’m not saying the rest of the food doesn’t look good, but, um, can I have that whole platter of spanakopita please? It looks just how I like it – stuffed to the gills with spinach and seasonings. *DROOL*

says:

I love your blog, all your posts make me hungry! This feast is incredible, I will be waiting for the recipes, everything looks so healthy and delicious. That olive-onion bread looks very good, and the rest too. Congratulations, it must have been a pleasure.

says:

Wow Peter that is one amazing feast. I always think of fasting & sacrificing at Lent & this is so far from that!

Martha D.

says:

Peter,
What a feast!!!!
You have made this girl from Thessaloniki very but very homesick. But will be there next week. I am in the process of making my own lagana. Καλη Σαρακοστη!!!

Elsee

says:

Can’t wait for the recipes to come. Awesome pictures – lucky you (and your family/friends) who get to eat those dishes!

says:

Peter, I’m anxiously awaiting the recipes for this incredible feast.
You never disappoint this gadding granny!

says:

I bet there were no leftovers left!!! What a fantastic spread Peter :D. Yes, you are lucky to have your mom there with her help and good advise!

Can’t wait to see the recipes in detail :D

says:

Wow, what else can I say? This feast is just amazing! Your mom and you are fabulous! It’s nice to do these things together and you learn everything from her. Look forward to your recipes.

says:

Peter, surely there was enough for me?
My invite, lost in the mail again… sniff..
It all looks so lovely, great job Peter and Peter’s Mom!

says:

unbelievable freakin’ food…
don’t tell heather but i like this spread way better then hers.

peter, your food is over the top. it’s overall, the food i dream of. and i am serious as can be. why are we not neighbors? why? but i am in nyc the first week of may and you should come too!!!

says:

before i die, i would love to take part in a greek feast like this. i’m officially adding that to my bucket list. :)

says:

I can’t even find the right word for all of this delicious food you had, WOW! I couldn’t imagine how long you spend your time in the kitchen to make them?
I can not wait for the recipe, especially the recipe for the squid.
Cheers,
Elra

says:

Whant an incredible feast! I am looking forward to these recipes.

Greek Orthodox traditions regarding Lent are very fascinating. As a Roman Catholic, we observe Lent in somewhat simialar and different ways.

says:

Well, first I thought I wanted to move in with Heather. Now I think I want to move in with you!! OMG, Peter, this is beyond the beyond! I’ve always adored Greek food, but this is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

Drool….;-)

says:

Oh my goodness Peter! That is one serious feast! How wonderful – and I see you have the octopus in there! I still haven’t picked one up, probably cooking it on Wednesday. I love the look of that artichoke dish too – scrummy.

says:

That is some feast… I am sick with flu & have no energy to cook. These pictures are like a tempting devil:-)

says:

What a completely spectacular array of dishes. Each one is more amazing than the one before it. How in hell did you do it all? Can’t wait for the recipes on these babies.

says:

mmmmmmmm. i could totally get into clean day! it all looks so, so good, but i think my tastebuds are most excited by the spanikopita, the black eyed pea salad and the stuffed grape leaves. mmmmm.

says:

holy crap,peter… are you KIDDING me with this spread!? how many people did you feed? i can’t even begin to tell you which food i want first – octopus? chickpea soup? crabs? my head is spinning here – GREAT JOB. why didn’t you invite us?

Georgia

says:

Amazing! Cant wait to see the recipes of some the dishes that I am not familiar with. I guess most of us are curious as to how long did it take you to prepare this feast! Kali sarakosti!!

says:

Picture me with my jaw dropping!!
I don’t even know what to say! Except you’re amazing! (and mom too!) I want to dive into the artichokes and the fried mussels first!

says:

I’m lost for words – what a spread! You are one imaginative cook with a traditional leanings – hang in there and spill out the beans one at a time. You’ve got me hooked – shrimps, cuttlefish, crabs and Oysters all on one table! Good for you.

says:

That’s a grogeous table Peter! The food looks amazing … that octopus and your mom’s olive bread would be enough for me!

Another great entry into this Foodbuzz event!

says:

Peter- that’s the most amazing and well put together meal I’ve ever seen!! So impressive. Wish I had been there to experience all of that wonderful food!

says:

oh my good god! this looks incredible. now I understand why they don’t accept my little 24, 24, 24 submissions ;)

says:

Oh my gosh, Peter, this is a feast beyond compare! I will forever and always think about this spread whenever the Lenten season begins. I recognize some of the dishes, but others are new to me. I look forward to the recipes! How wonderful that you and your mom prepared this together. I bet she’s an amazing cook! Kali Sarakosti! (I hope I said that correctly!)

says:

“A Lenten Spanakopita, just spinach, scallions and homemade phyllo” Just. Just. JUST! Homemade phyllo. Peter that is amazing. Mamma mia what a feast! I appreciate all the work that went into cooking and presenting this meal. It is lovely and I am very impressed with your talent. I am looking forward to seeing the recipes and learning more about Greek culture during lent and Easter. Thanks for sharing!

says:

Oh I forgot to ask. Do you have a favorite dish that stands out from all of the above, something that you just can’t live without during this time? Just wondering as there is so much to choose from.

says:

Oh… WOW. Peter, it’s fabulous. I’ve never seen a Lenten feast that can quite compare with this. I absolutely can’t wait to see the recipes.

says:

Lent? LENT?
Peter, Peter, Peter… This look like feasting at its best, not fasting… I’ll come back for the recipes though…

Jana

says:

Bravo Peter, I really wish I could join your “clean Monday” table… all the dishes look fantastic and tasty!

says:

I love coming over here to look at what you’re up to. Your feast for clean Monday looks fantastic! Way more than we had over here! :) Great, great job. I love your site.

says:

Whenever I came to Greece we were in a little town of Sarti. And there was this bakery with olive bread that looks just like your Mom’s :) Will there be a recipe?

says:

Oh. My. Gaw. Now THAT is a FEAST!! I don’t even know where to begin. Those little octopus (octopi?) look adorably delicious! And I’ve never had mussels deep-fried before, but they look divine. What a lucky bunch of friends and family you have! (And your mom obviously taught you well!)