A photojournal of the Wooster Square neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut. And, occasionally a photo of New Haven, of course, of course.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Another fine evening at St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. The Ladies of the Philoptochos Society ended this series with a bang. Tyropita. Gemista. Portokali Poutinga. Let me explain.Here we are assembling our Tyropita or cheese pie. This recipe is from Northern Greece the area which was once known as Roumeli. It's the standard butter, phyllo and cheeseAssembly got a little confusing and there were different opinions on how to assemble the Tyropita. Mine was not quite correct but I'm sure will work out just fine.
The Tyropita was scored before baking and here's the finished product above. Below we are moving on to the Gemista or Stuffed Vegetables.
From time to time cooks don't always agree on how things are done, or which utensils to use. Such was the case last night as we hollowed out the veggies. Above Maria is making her case with the students on the right and Virginia is making her case with the students on the left. Virgina prefers a melon baller to scoop. She's so serious.
Maria uses a spoon. It must be more fun using a spoon, Maria's smiling! In either case the insides of the veggies do not go to waste, they are put into the meat and rice mixture that is cooking below.
Oh Yum. Can't you just smell it, steam rising from the mixture?
Maria was the head cook on this dish. She's showing off a yellow pepper that's been stuffed with the mixture. She's pleased, the spoon worked wonderfully.
However, when the baked vegetables came out of the oven I think Virginia approved. Now on to the Portokali Poutinga. Below the orange mixture is being stirred over the stove top.
The woman standing next to me, Michelle, knew Greek so we got to talking. Tyri is cheese. Pita is pie. Hence Tyropita. Portokali is an orange. Poutinga is pudding. Hence Portokali Poutinga. However Poutinga, well let's say, sounds like another questionable word in Greek...also in Italian. It started like this. The recipe on the page only had Orange Pudding written on the top. So I asked what the name was in Greek. She said Portokali for Orange. No one knew the Greek word for pudding. We asked Maria, she didn't know. We asked Virginia, she said, "uh, uh" and then back to stirring the mixture. Then she said, "pudding".
Michelle wasn't quite happy with that so she went to her I phone and looked up in the Greek Lexicon, pudding. She started laughing and told me that sometimes there isn't an exact translation because there really is no equivalent word in Greek and the word is a very corrupt form of the English. Hence Poutinga! Well Maria's eye's got big as saucers and began to smile and Virginia well, the entire New Haven County could hear her laugh. Let's just say that poutinga is similar to 'lady of the evening'!
And here is Portokali Poutinga! Delicious and Sweet. The pudding is drenched in that delicious syrup that adorns the beloved Baklava. This was a wonderful way to end our time together. Thank you ladies, God be with you till we meet again.
I said, "Happy Easter" to Michelle as we were leaving. She said in Greek, "Kali anastasi" which literally translated means, good resurrection. Or, in the future tense, have a good resurrection. I like that....alot.
Kali anastasi

1 comment:

  1. Love those faces and hands and words.
    I like the idea of "assembling" food.