Greeks love to cook and eat delicious food. My Greek immigrant (via Ellis Island) Yia-Yia (Grandmother), Stavroula, or as friends called her, Stella, created Grecian culinary masterpieces each time she had guests. Although Yia-Yia’s English wasn’t perfect – she once said, “I speakee the gud Egilish”, her cooking was. At least it was to me.
Stella and “Gus” (actually Constantine, named after a Greek King), my Papou (Grandfather), from Kalamata, Greece, were retired residents of Sonoma, California. They had moved there from Daly City, California, in 1956, after selling their home and “Evergreen Market”, a grocery store in which they worked together for over thirty years. Papou, who arrived in San Francisco only months before the 1906 earthquake, often shared his story of sitting on a hill, overlooking part of San Francisco and watching the “City by the Bay” burn. Their comfortable two-bedroom home was situated on a corner lot, with two acres of fertile farmland, part of which had been a riverbed, from which we removed seven pick-up truckloads of boulders and rocks. Yia Yia often reminded me that “Water from our well is the best in Sonoma”.
With the best water in Sonoma, they grew tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, celery, and walnuts, which Yia Yia lovingly turned into tasty Sunday meals for Family and guests. Gus also grew grapes and made possibly the WORST wine in Sonoma County. However, whenever my Papou offered me a glass of his sour cabernet, I drank it with gusto and a smile.
Yia Yia took pride in her cooking and spent thousands of hours in the kitchen, patiently stirring her big pot of Kapama, as generations of her relatives previously had done. I dearly loved Yia Yia and Popou. It gives me great pleasure to share this fantastic Grecian creation with you.
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
~ Greek tangy tomato sauce with chicken
• 2 large chicken breast halves (cut in 3 pieces each)
• 1 medium onion (chopped) -or- 1 well rounded Tbsp caramelized onion
• 4 cloves garlic (crushed and finely chopped)
• 454 g/ 16 oz tomato sauce (unflavored)
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemons 
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
• 1 tsp ground allspice 
• 1 tsp dried oregano 
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
• vegetable oil
◊ In a medium-size pot, on medium-heat, in 2 Tbsp oil , sauté the onion until golden brown.
◊ Add the garlic and stir for a minute, dish out the onion mixture on a plate and set aside.
◊ Continue using the same pot, add oil if needed, fry both sides of chicken meat till slightly brown. Skim out the white foam emitted by the chicken.
◊ Add tomato sauce, lemon juice, caramelized onion/garlic and all the spices, and simmer on medium-low heat for 40 minutes. Stir couple of times to avoid bottom of the pot coagulation. Serve over pasta of your choice.
Options: 1) Use braised lamb shank instead of chicken. 2) Add sautéed mushrooms to the sauce.
 These four ingredients are what make the dish Kapama. You may adjust the amount to your taste.
~ Kalí órexi! ~
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So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?