As we ring in the new year I was reminded of my very good friend and neighbor from a past chapter of my life. Their family is part Polish and part Greek.
We grew very close over the years and I was always invited to partake in their family dinners and parties. Greek New Year was and still is always a BIG deal!
Everything homemade starting with hummus, tarama as we call it (aka- Taramosalata), loads of fresh pita bread, fresh tzatziki, chunks of the freshest feta, mountains of olives and Greek meatballs served at room temperature - packed with garlic and mint. Then for the "main" course if you weren't full already! Garlic marinated roasted leg of lamb, moussaka, Greek rice, Greek salad, pastitsio and always - always Spanakopita.
Their family tradition for New Year's was to bake a wrapped quarter into the spanakopita which we would refer to as the "pita" and whomever received the serving with the quarter would have good luck for the year. Ours was always made casserole style as we were always feeding a crowd. If time allows you could always make these into the triangles for appetizers, however for our family event, we always served it with the main course.
Other versions of this Greek tradition bake the quarter into a cake called Vasilopita and is a New Year’s Day cake in Greece, which contains a hidden coin or trinket, giving good luck to the lucky diner who finds it. On New Year’s Day Greek families cut the vasilopita to bless their house and bring good luck for the New Year. Ef̱tychisméno to néo étos! – Happy New Year!
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