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Greek meze recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Tasty, little Greek dishes

On a crisp, cool and relaxing fall weekend, instead of cooking a whole meal, you can simply prepare a few Greek mezes, or small bites, for your friends and family for a fun and tasty get together. Here are three easy and mouthwatering mezes to serve with ouzo or a nice Greek wine.

Greek Meatballs

What are mezes?

Food is an integral part of Greek culture, and mezes are a vital aspect of that distinctive cuisine. Mezes are small bites that are eaten late afternoon and early evening, usually at bars and social gatherings. These tasty little dishes are a nice complement for drinks like ouzo and wine and give people a delicious reason to get together.

A typical meze can be as simple as some freshly brined feta stuffed olives, grilled octopus, or cheeses, or as complex as Greek sausages, spinach pies, or fried shrimp. Mezes are also usually paired with drinks, especially ouzo, Greek wine, or Greek beer. Ouzo is usually served as shots or mixed with water or ice for leisure sipping. Pairing these little Greek bites with ouzo or wine is a perfect way to spend a relaxed autumn afternoon.

Meze recipes

Mini Spanakopita

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 large white onion, chopped
1/4 bunch green onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spinach, rinsed and chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large skillet, saute white onions, green onions and garlic in olive oil until softened. Mix in spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Take pan off of heat and reserve.

3. In a small bowl, combine eggs, ricotta and feta then stir into spinach mixture.

4. Arrange 4 sheets of phyllo dough on a flat surface and brush each sheet with olive oil. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, slice dough into 4 equally-sized strips.

5. Spoon a small amount of spinach mixture onto the end of a phyllo strip and then fold the end over to form a triangle. Fold over again then use a sharp knife to cut phyllo at the edge of the triangle. Seal with oil.

6. Repeat with the rest of the phyllo and the spinach mixture. Brush triangles with oil then place on a baking sheet.

7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until phyllo is crispy. Serve hot.

Feta Stuffed Olives

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 bulb garlic, end trimmed to just expose the tips of the cloves
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 leaves fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 (8-ounce) jars jumbo or extra large olives

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until garlic is softened and tender.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, mix cream cheese, feta and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze garlic cloves out of their papery skin and mash into cheese mixture.

3. Spoon cheese mixture into a pastry bag or zip-lock bag with one bottom end cut off. Pipe mixture into olives and arrange on a platter or in a bowl to serve.

Lamb Meatballs with Feta Dipping Sauce

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 white onion, minced
4 teaspoons fresh mint, minced
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
Feta Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs, garlic, onions, mint, lamb, salt, pepper and eggs.

3. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls and dip in flour. Place meatballs on the baking sheet.

4. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until fully cooked through. Skewer meatballs with toothpicks and serve warm with Feta Dipping Sauce.

Feta Dipping Sauce

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:
6 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot sauce or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper to taste

Directions:
In a medium-sized bowl, mix feta, cream cheese, lemon juice, hot sauce and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with meatballs.

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