In this episode of Cooking with Grandma, we meet Luba Stoyanoff, also known as Baba. Together with her eldest grandchild, Katherine, Baba discusses why she wasn't allowed to cook in her homeland of Greece, recounts the difficulties of making phyllo dough by hand, and prepares banitsa, the Bulgarian version of the Greek spinach pie spanakopita. Click here for Baba Luba's Banitsa (Spinach Pie) recipe.
Basic Vegetable Soup
This soup is an equally wonderful way to use up all the leftover veggie odds and ends in your fridge, or to celebrate the freshest produce in season by buying it specifically for the dish (and if you get a CSA box, it can serve both purposes). Whatever vegetables you use, this is an easy, nutritious, and delicious meal, and endlessly customizable. Fresh pesto makes a great, vibrant garnish, but you could also simply sprinkle on a bit of grated Parmesan and cracked black pepper.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Softened vegetables, including onions and bell peppers, amped up with spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, form the base of this tortilla soup. Chicken broth and tomatoes are added, along with soft corn tortillas that meld into the liquid to make a hearty, thick meal. Finally, shredded chicken is stirred in, and everything is garnished with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and scallions (avocados, pickled jalapeños, and cilantro would all work too).
French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
No lie: macarons can be fairly finicky to make, in that they might spread into uneven shapes or form dark spots on their tops -- but even if they're not as beautiful as bakery specimens, they will still be delicious. The smooth chocolate ganache filling sandwiches the light, chewy-inside, delicately-crisp-outside chocolate macarons together, for a classic French dessert you shouldn't be afraid to try making.