Greek Easter 2016: Starring Calliope, Gregory, and Jane.

16 May

Usually, my Greek Easter emails start with a picture like this one, which shows the care with which I transport nearly my entire kitchen up to my grandfather’s house for a weekend of cooking with JetSet in a kitchen that hasn’t actually been used in this millennium.IMG_5914But this year, the family Greek Easter celebration actually starts many weeks before the Pascha, when I skedaddled up to JetSet and KimmieKef’s very-well-appointed kitchen in NY for some very special preparation.

…But first, we bought bikes. Both JetSet and KimmieKef are turning 33 this year and, because they have a healthy relationship to numerical symbolism, decided that they should complete the TRIfecta by competing in the NYC TRIathlon (is my banging you over the head with the symbolism giving you a headache?). So, we spent some time with Jesse at Togo Bikes and got them all squared away for some cycling.

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Do either of those photos really need qualifying? I think not.

A few hours later, we walked into their apartment to find a kitchen full of chopped onions, minced garlic, and two expert chefs: Calliope and Georgios. JetSet and I have really gotten good at most Greek cooking staples, but one juggernaut has eluded us: spanakopita. So, we called in the experts from Calliopes Real Greek Food for a lesson in getting that flaky-dough, leafy-green genius juuuuust right.

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We also made some amazing leg of lamb (or so I’m told), imam baildi, and tiropita.

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And then, it was spanakopita time. Calliope guided us through the easier-than-we-would-have-guessed process of making the dough, resting the dough, rolling the dough, and–finally– assembling the dough into a pie.

The secret? A dough whose flour:oil ratio no one who cares about grams of fat wants to know.

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It also helps if you measure in teacups rather than measuring cups and focus on opening the dough rather than rolling it out– this adds to the authenticity of the whole thing.

Under Calliope’s careful guidance, the TerrorTwins + KimmieKef turned out an unimpeachably impressive spinach pie:

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I’d love to cut right to the Greek Easter family celebration, but first, some antics… like truffle popcorn in ceviche juice:

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An exercise in paying no attention to the people behind the curtain:

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And, of course, #shareashark

Not the actual picture to protect those slayed by Jane Danger’s wrath.

Okay, so now we can fast forward a few weeks and JetSet and I were making a mess in our grandfather’s kitchen in preparation for the big meal.

… but obviously that didn’t mean the shenanigans were over. The moment below is our celebration of  our first solo spanakopita, which we both agreed was on par with Gregory’s.

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If you’re a real Greek you will know this is not necessarily the highest of praise. If you’re Greek-American, you will think we are the best cooks on the planet. No matter who you are, your theory that we are freaks of nature has been confirmed by this picture.

For the first time ever, we finished all our cooking on Saturday, with time to spare! We headed up to an Orthodox monastery for Easter midnight service, where we accidentally disturbed strict gender roles by standing next to each other and I was accused of being a man because I wasn’t wearing a skirt.

After all that cooking and confusing the Orthodoxy, I was pooped and ready for some sleep. Before I knew it, it was lunch time on Sunday!

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Our pies weren’t nearly as perfect as the ones we made with Calliope (but they definitely qualified as χωριάτικη).

JetSet won the game life by combining by turning the tiropita into dessert–twice!

First, the left over filling + blueberries:

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And, the next day, warmed with a drizzle of honey.IMG_5941

Once KimmieKef had her second serving of baklava, Greek Easter 2016 was a wrap. Less than a week until I do it all again in DC!

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