Monthly Archives: August 2017

It’s a Tomato Extravaganza!!!

August 19, 2017

Hi everyone, it’s summertime, so I am going to talk about summertime things.  Ready?  Summer always reminds me of the beach.  And the beach always reminds me of my favorite place to vacation, Greece.  And Greece always reminds me of my favorite Greek island, Santorini.  And Santorini always reminds me of tomatoes.  Wait.  What?  Yep, I said tomatoes.

This magical island with an honest to goodness active volcano is known for its little tiny tomatoes or domatakia.  Apparently the volcanic soil on this island is the perfect place to grow sweet little tomatoes, dry them in the hot sun and store them in olive oil.  Forget the sun dried tomatoes you used to know.  A jar of Santorini tomatoes is like eating a mouthful of candied sunshine.  Yes, I did just say that.  I know in my heart that if you could taste the sun it would tastes like a sweet, little tomato.

I have been to Santorini many, many times and I will probably go again and again and never tire of it.  The island has to be the most architecturally beautiful and geologically unique place I have ever visited.  Red beaches, black beaches, and white beaches.  

(By the way, if you ever go to Santorini, go to red beach.  And if a little old man pulls up to the shore in an old wooden boat yelling, “White beach, white beach!” Do yourself a favor and get on his boat, survivor style, backpack over your head wading through the water and let him take you to white beach…you won’t regret the adventure.)

Back to our regularly scheduled program…

Every town on Santorini has those traditional white-washed cave homes, perched precariously on the lip of the volcano’s caldera looking like hundreds of little sugar cubes just waiting to slide down into a coffee cup of blue Mediterranean water.  Too much?  I don’t care!  It’s a remarkable place.  I can’t possibly do it justice with words. I want heaven to look like this island.  Pictures don’t capture the scale of its beauty.  You just have to go and see for yourself.
So tell me, what kind of person are you?  Do you like to vacation to a different place every time you travel?  Or do you love going to the same place over an over again?  Me?  Sure, I like different places, but I am notoriously loyal and known for going to the same place over and over again and exploring more and more of it.  I just want to absorb a place I love.  Know it like the back of my hand.  Be a regular at the local taverna.  I want to go where everyone knows your name.  What?  Wait, never mind.   Anyway, I am like that with Santorini.

Many years ago, when I was still single, I went to Santorini with my then friend and now koubara, Despina. We stayed in Fira town, the capital and did all the crazy things you are supposed to do on this island. We walked up and down hundreds of steps to get to the old port. We took a schooner around the island which stopped at the volcano, which we then walked on. We saw air vents that let out hot steam. We worried about said volcano blowing.  We had lunch at Thirasia eating donatokeftedes, tomato fritters.  We climbed up more stairs in Oia while avoiding a pack of donkeys who were also climbing the same stairs. We went for a wine tasting and drank ALL the wine.  We watched the sunset with a thousand of our closest friends. True story. And then we shopped for what they are known for, vinsanto and capers and domatakia. Oh and really expensive jewelry.  By accident.  But that’s a story for another time.  Eeek!  Back to the tomatoes. I couldn’t get enough of those domatakia.

So here is how you can make some of your own and get a little bit of “island candy” for the summer:

Domatakia – Oven Dried Cherry Tomatoes

A pint of cherry tomatoes

Olive oil


Slice washed cherry tomatoes in half.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.

Bake at 250 degrees F for 2-4 hours (depends on size of your cherry tomato)

Pop them in your mouth like candy.  Or put them in your salads or pasta.  Or put on top of your avocado toast, if you’re in to that sort of thing.  (There is an avocado shortage by the way…something about too many hipsters photographing avocado toasts on Instagram!!!  LOL)








My Latest Project…

August 4, 2017

Hi everyone,

You have probably been wondering where on earth I have been the past few months. You must have thought I disappeared completely.  Don’t fret inter-web friends, I am still here.  In fact, I have been working hard on a new recipe this whole time and it goes something like this:

1 part sugar
1 part spice
1 part everything nice


So if you haven’t guessed by now, I had a baby girl. On July 9th, Jeff and I welcomed our little Magdalena Vasiliki to the world and we are head over heels in love. Isn’t that something every new parent says?  it’s so cliché but I guess it’s true.  She is so adorably squish-able.  She is so sweet…I could just eat her up, chomp! I may have nibbled on some toes already.  LOL.

Anyway, I basically have been living the past 9 months in shock and awe at my ever changing body and never ending nausea wondering what this little girl would be like.   In addition to sugar and spice and everything nice, I’m pretty sure Miss Magdalena is made of carrots,  cucumbers and raspberries…and a little bit of Swiss cheese.  That’s pretty much all I ate the whole time.

How on earth do those crazy baby apps decide that “this week, your baby is the size of a pineapple” and then the next week it’s “the size of a butternut squash”? Doesn’t that really depend on how big the actual fruit or vegetable is? Or is this an “on average” estimate? I know, I am thinking way too deeply about this baby to vegetable analogy, but come on!  Sometimes it made no sense.

Anyway, I played along with the weekly fruit/veggie game, always wondering what little Magdalena really looked like, or what she would be like.  Well there is no wondering anymore.  She is here right now and I can hardly believe this little girl is all mine.

I was also was very fortunate to have 3 very kind and generous women in my life give me the most amazing baby shower.   My koubares, Eleni, MaryAnn and Vayoula organized a very elegant and intimate baby shower at Sepia’s event space with my closest friends and family.  My favorite flowers, peonies and hydrangeas were the center pieces. The food was excellent.  At a place like Sepia how can anyone go wrong?  And of course the bonbonieres were these super cute little baby elephants with the traditional white Jordan almonds tied to them.  it was perfect.

I do think everyone was annoyed with me though because I wouldn’t tell anyone the sex of the baby.  Even my baby registration was all white and grey colored sheets, blankets and onesies.  Neutral colored car seats and play yards.  Everyone of course tried to guess…and I have to say everyone was wrong.  Something along the lines of “oh you look to pretty to be having a girl.”  Ummm, okay, thanks???  Although, if they were paying attention, they would have noticed I wore a vintage pink colored dress to the shower…hello, I gave clues all along…haha!

I am also glad to report that I did not give up on wearing heels the whole time I was pregnant.  I wore booties and sandals with adjustable laces to accommodate the random Kim K. type of swelling in my feet.  Whoa!  Thankfully, they have shrunk back down to normal.  My shoe collection is saved!

On July 29th, Jeff and I celebrated 5 years of marriage. This year, we were able to celebrate it with our little Magdalena. We walked across the street to our favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago, Monteverde and had late lunch celebrating our anniversary. Our lives will never be the same.  And we are so grateful for it.

I wonder what kind of foods Magdalena will like? Will she like being the “flour girl” and help me bake, like I helped my mom?  Or will she be all about mac and cheese?

Here is a link to my new favorite song: Me and Magdalena by the Monkees. Yes those Monkees!  It was a song written by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie.  I think it’s the most beautiful song I ever heard.

Jeff and I decided that Magdalena needs a real music education. We will need to inform her musical tastes by listening to ABBA and Cracker and the musical stylings of They Might Be Giants and of course the kiddie version of the Smiths. Did you know They Might Be Giants write children’s songs? There will be no purple dinosaurs, bizarro tele-tubbies or yo-gabba-gabba creatures in this home…sorry Magdalena =)

Anyway, dear blog readers, I hope to be back more often with new posts and recipes for you soon.  Thanks for reading.

Take care,