A Greek Easter

by0| PUBLISHED Mar 30, 2009 8:00 AM
A Greek Easter
Metaxia Xerakia, Maria’s mother, is to credit for these dolmades or dolmadakia, otherwise known as stuffed grape leaves. These leaves are filled with rice, onions, and scallions, and simmered with water and lemon juice. See the Recipe. Anna Stockwell
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SAVEUR's editorial assistant, Maria Xerakia, celebrates Easter with her family in Bayside, a neighborhood in Queens, New York. Here's a look at the traditional dishes the Xerakia family feasts on.

Andreas Xerakia, a Greek-born resident of New York City, slow-roasts a whole lamb every year for his family's celebratory Easter dinner. Our editorial assistant, Maria Xerakia (daughter of Andreas), writes: "My relatives here are crowding around the lamb, enjoying their handpicked petsa (skin) and psaxno (meat)." See the recipe for Grilled Leg of Lamb
Maria's father, Andreas, carves the Easter lamb in the backyard of their house in Queens, New York.
This spanakopita, prepared by Maria's family, is a savory Greek pie made with feta cheese, leeks, and dill. It fits in a 9" x 13" baking dish and is perfect for feeding a crowd. See the Recipe
Xoriatiki salata is a country-style Greek salad made with olives, tomatoes, feta, oregano, and cucumbers. It's the perfect accompaniment for rustic main courses such as grilled leg of lamb. See the Recipe
Metaxia Xerakia, Maria's mother, is to credit for these dolmades or dolmadakia, otherwise known as stuffed grape leaves. These leaves are filled with rice, onions, and scallions, and simmered with water and lemon juice. See the Recipe
Maria writes, "Here I am with Anna [Stockwell], cracking red eggs. This is a classic Greek Easter tradition where one says 'Christ has risen.' The other person responds with, 'truly, he has risen,' as you try to crack their egg without breaking your own."
Aginares me koukia is a Greek side dish of brightly flavored and tender artichoke hearts and fava beans, and was also prepared by Maria's mother, Metaxia. This recipe is perfect for spring, when artichokes and fava beans come fully into season. See the Recipe
Maria's family toasts to the holiday. The traditional Greek toast is "stin ygeia mas!," or "to our health."