the farmers’ market: housewares

I think these must be intended for restaurants… who needs a pot that big?

I don’t need a 3 ft wide pan, but I do like knowing that if I ever do, I can pick one up from the local farmers’ market.

All kinds of small kitchen utensils and gadgets are available.

Dishes of every variety.

Tea sets.

This is a great place for practicing one’s Turkish!

These T-shirts have Turkish stuff written on them; I have no idea what they say!

See more of our farmers’ market here:
Clothes & Shoes


turkey & navy bean chili with apples

Sometimes a recipe just jumps out to you and you want to try it right away.  I have lists and lists of recipes – both my own original ideas and from blogs – that I want to try, but when I saw this one on Ambition’s Kitchen, I decided to make it right away.  I loved that it used a bunch of ingredients that I either had on hand, or could substitute for.  In the end, it turned out that I substituted practically all of the ingredients and changed almost everything about the recipe, but the inspiration is clear!

I’m not a navy bean fan; I only make two other navy bean dishes, and that very rarely, so a chance to use some of the navy beans languishing in the pantry is welcome.  I substituted turkey for chicken, because it’s what I have (thanks to a sale last Halloween).  And of course I played around with the method and spices and basically all the rest of the ingredients too, but the point is that it was really good and we loved it and maybe you will too.

Soak some navy beans in water for a while.  I soaked mine for about five hours.  Drain and rinse and put them in the pressure cooker with water; cook under pressure for about ten minutes or until tender.

While the beans are cooking, cube the turkey (or chicken) and stir fry it with a spritz of olive oil and the spices, which are:

ground cumin, Spanish smoked paprika, hot paprika, taco seasoning, and rosemary.  Why taco seasoning?  Because I can’t buy things like chile powder here and I figure it helps cover my bases a little bit.  Throw in something spicy.

While those are stir-frying themselves (this is why it’s good to have three or more hands), prepare the pearl onions by chopping off the ends.  Crush a chicken bouillon cube and pour boiling water over it (or get out your chicken stock).   When the turkey is pretty well cooked, put it in a bowl and fill the very hot pan with some water; it will come to a boil pretty quickly, especially if you pour the extra boiling water from the chicken stock into the pan (not the chicken stock itself).  Put the pearl onions in the pan and let them bubble away for a few minutes.  Then drain them and rinse with cold water.

Pop the skins off the pearl onions and add them to the turkey.  Core and cube the apples.  Around this time, your beans will probably be ready.  Drain them and spritz the pressure cooker bottom with olive oil.  Add the apples and saute them in the olive oil for a few minutes with a little salt.  When they’re soft, add the flour and stir really well for about half a minute; then pour in the chicken stock while stirring vigorously.  Be careful of the steam – stand back a little as this can be a very steamy activity.

When you’ve stirred in the chicken stock, add in the turkey and the onions, stir and add about a liter of water to the pot; stir again, and cover the pot.  Bring it back up to pressure for 10 minutes, then release naturally.

Stir in half the yogurt and serve with a little yogurt and tabasco sauce (I used the green Tabasco) on top.

Turkey & Navy Bean Chili with Apples
inspiration recipe here
Serves 4

300g navy beans, dried; soaked for 5-24 hours
300g turkey breast (or chicken), skinless, boneless
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/2 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 cup pearl onions, ends chopped off (or diced onion)
2 medium apples, cored and cubed
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 chicken bouillon cube
1.5 L water
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
Tabasco sauce for serving (green or red)

1.  In a pressure cooker, cook the navy beans covered by 1.5″ water until tender.  Use natural release method.

2.  While beans are cooking, dice turkey and stir fry with a spritz or a few drops of olive oil.  Stir in all spices and continue stirring for several minutes until turkey is mostly cooked.  Transfer to a bowl.

3.  Crumble bouillon cube in a bowl.  Add 500mL boiling water and stir.

4.  Put another 300mL boiling water into the hot pan (from cooking the turkey).  When it boils in the pan, add the pearl onions.  After a few minutes, drain and rinse with cold water.  Squeeze on end to remove skins.

5.  Drain navy beans and set aside.  Spray or drizzle pressure cooker bottom with olive oil.  Saute apple pieces with a pinch of salt.  When they are soft, stir in flour; stir for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken stock carefully, stirring.

6.  Add the chicken, onions, and navy beans.  Stir; add the remaining 1 L water.  Cover the pot and bring up to pressure for 10 minutes; release pressure naturally.

7.  Stir in 1/2 cup Greek yogurt.  Portion into bowls; top with remaining yogurt and a drizzle of Tabasco sauce.

Nutritional Information
per serving, i.e., 1/4 of total recipe, excluding Tabasco sauce

356 calories
4g fat (1g saturated, 3g unsaturated)
48g carbohydrate
33g protein
10g dietary fiber
50mg cholesterol (17% DV)
227mg sodium (9% DV)
941mg potassium (27% DV)
Contains significant amount (+10% DV) of the following:
calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B-12, manganese, and copper.

lentils & rice: the frugal Greek comfort food

We’ve talked about simple Greek comfort food before. This remains one of only two recipes I’ve ever learned from S. (Yes, he was lucky to find me!) This was the first meal he ever made for me, when we were first dating.

This ranks as one of the most frugal meals in the Greek repertoire, and it’s good, healthy, and comforting.

The ingredients are ones that should always be in everyone’s kitchen, making this an easy meal to throw together at no notice: lentils, rice, carrots, onions, and olive oil. It helps to have a pressure cooker, as it will save money and time, but of course isn’t necessary.

Chop the onions and carrots.

Saute the onions in a little olive oil in the pressure cooker.

Add the carrots, rice, and lentils. (Remember to pick through your lentils to be sure there are no little pebbles! It happens, and you can literally break a tooth on one. I always check, but I also make sure that when I eat a lentil dish, I ‘bite softly,’ rather than tearing into it with abandon. Er… I mean, I always eat like a lady, absolutely….)

Add water to cover the food by about an inch (around 2 cm). Stir and cover; bring up to pressure. Let it cook until the lentils are tender; about 8-10 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally (I always say this – because it’s cheaper).

Stir in salt and top with garlic olive oil. I make my own spicy garlic olive oil, and I use it all the time – it’s very cheap to make your own and you can put whatever you want in it. I put hot Thai peppers, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice in mine. Keep it in the fridge; it will be sludgy but it will reduce the (admittedly very low) risk of botulism. If you don’t have garlic olive oil, just put some pressed garlic into the pot with the onions.

Serve with your choice of feta cheese, anthotyro cheese (a firm Greek ricotta, pictured above), or plain Greek yogurt. I chose anthotyro, because my mother in law gave us some! (This is one of my favorite cheeses – it’s extremely mild and refreshing; it occupies the same spot on the flavor and fat spectrum as cottage cheese, which is not traditional in Greece, but is firm enough to eat in chunks. At first I found it bland – it’s not nearly as salty or as tart as feta – but I came to love it for its refreshing flavor. It’s also usually the cheapest cheese by weight available in Greece.)

Lentils & Rice
Serves 2, very generously

150g brown or green lentils, picked over for pebbles
150g rice (white or brown)
1 large onion, diced
4 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
2 tbsp + 1 tsp garlic olive oil, divided
1 tsp salt
yogurt or cheese to serve

1. Saute onion in 1 tsp olive oil for several minutes in pressure cooker. Stir in carrots, rice, and lentils with enough water to cover by 1″. Cook under pressure for 8-10 minutes or until lentils are tender. Release pressure naturally.

2. Stir in salt to taste. Serve with cheese or yogurt on the side.

Nutritional Information
per serving, i.e., half of the recipe, and assuming white rice, and that you add 2 tbsp lowfat yogurt as a topping

770 calories
18g fat (3g saturated, 15g unsaturated)
125g carbohydrate
30g protein
30g dietary fiber
2mg cholesterol (1% DV)
1,242mg sodium (52% DV)
1,320mg potassium (38% DV)
Contains a significant amount (+10% DV) of the following:
vitamin A (687%), calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, folate, manganese, and copper.

You might also like:
Manestra:  simple Greek comfort food
Greek lentil soup
Melitzanosalata | Greek eggplant dip

a note about nutrition

From now on, I’ll be including complete nutritional information on all my recipes.  I will also be adding it to my already-posted recipes over the course of the next little while.   (To see an example, see my most recent recipe.)

I hope this is helpful to those who are looking to achieve a balanced diet.  I am working on this myself.  It’s a work in progress, let me tell you!

If anyone has in mind a recipe I’ve posted for which they would like the nutritional info, post a comment and I’ll do those first.   It may take me some time to get to all the recipes.  Those that have nutritional info posted will be marked with an asterisk on the Recipe Index page.

When I post a recipe from now on, the nutritional information will be located directly below the formal recipe.  I will abridge the micronutrients (selenium, copper, etc.) but if you need a specific value, just ask, as I have all the information and can give it to you at no trouble.  I just don’t want to clutter up the page with too many statistics that most won’t want to see.

And of course, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts with me!

creamy Melian lazania with greens & a tour of Milos

No, that wasn’t a typo!  We’re talking about lazania, not lasagne!  The island of Milos is one of my favorite Greek islands.  I’ve only visited twice, once in 2003 by myself, and once in 2011 with S and my mother.  Although it took me seven years to return, I never stopped yearning for Milos.  Before we start cooking, let’s visit just a few spots on the island to get us in the mood.

And who knows… maybe it will inspire you to visit Milos some day!

The village of Klima, located at sea level below the town of Trypiti, is a row of bay-front two-story buildings.  The ground floor is a ship-shed and the upper level is living quarters.  A ship-shed is exactly what it sounds like:  a garage for a fishing boat.  Although Klima is the most famous ship-shed village, there are dozens of villages like this here in the region of the Southwest Cyclades islands.

Across the bay on the northern coast of the island is the lagoon of St. Nicholas.  It’s an important wetland (one of several on Milos), and the two white buildings you see are little churches.  A road goes along here and ends at the village of Emporeio, one of the most peaceful spots on the island.  However, to get this photo, you have to be high up in the area of Xerokampos.

Xerokampos is one of my favorite parts of the island.  Very sparsely populated, it’s green and filled with wildflowers in spring (as is the whole island, of course) with a panoramic view.

The cliffs of Sarakiniko, where we went swimming in April.  The rocks are so white and smooth that it is often called a lunar landscape.  We were completely alone for our swim and long, leisurely picnic.

The dramatic sea-cut channels at Papafranga.  I went swimming here in 2003, when I was in Milos in July, but when we came back last April the rock-cut steps down to the beach were off limits.

So… are you hungry yet?

I came up with this recipe in an effort to replicate a dish I ate once, about a year ago.  I don’t know how accurate it is, but it was delicious and I will definitely make it again.  One of the famous traditional foods of Milos is the pasta ‘lazania,’ which is basically pappardelle.  I can’t buy Melian lazania up here on the mainland (they sell it at restaurants and at traditional shops in Milos though!), but they do sell pappardelle.  However, the pappardelle cost exactly twice what the lasagne cost.

So I buy lasagne and cut it myself.  If you can’t get pappardelle or if your supermarket does the same crazy thing, do what I do!  I promise, the results are excellent.   (Use the flat lasagne, rather than the ruffle-edged kind.)

The original restaurant version only used spinach, but I liked it much better with arugula also, so definitely use both.  The peppery taste of the arugula balances the spinach very nicely.

First, boil the lasagne noodles.  I put olive oil in the pasta water because I think it helps keep the noodles from sticking to each other, which is important.  The worst thing is to have your lasagne noodles come out in a single clump.  I also stir them around pretty much the whole time to reduce the likelihood of sticking.

Meanwhile, clean the spinach:  twist the leaves off the roots and drop in a large pot of cold water with 1/4 cup red wine vinegar in it.  This will help loosen the dirt on the leaves.  Agitate forcefully with your hands.  When you feel that the leaves are clean, lift them out in handfuls to a colander.  Don’t pour them out, because the dirt, which has settled on the bottom of the pot, will just come out onto the leaves again.

Don’t chop the spinach, but chop the arugula.  You don’t have to discard the stems.  No reason to throw anything away!

Saute the garlic in a nonstick pan; then add the spinach and arugula.  Salt.

Drain the lasagne.  If you used pappardelle, ignore this step.  Carefully lay out a lasagne noodle on your cutting board and cut into three equal strips.  Transfer to a plate and continue with the other noodles.  Be very careful not to get a steam burn.

When the noodles are ready, add the lemon zest to the spinach and arugula, and then the noodles with the olive oil, which will keep them from sticking here too.  Stir in the yogurt and the myzithra (or parmesan).

Season with freshly ground pepper and serve.

Creamy Melian Lazania with Greens
Serves 2 (generously)

240g pappardelle or lasagne noodles
1 colander full fresh spinach, washed
1/2 bunch arugula (rocket), ends removed, chopped in 2″ pieces
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp grated myzithra cheese (or parmesan)
salt & pepper

1.  Boil pappardelle or lasagne noodles in water with 2 tbsp olive oil.

2.  Saute garlic in non-stick pan; add greens and allow to wilt; salt.

3.  Drain pasta.  If using lasagne, cut each noodle into three equal strips.

4.  Stir lemon zest into greens.  Add pasta to pan with remaining olive oil.  Stir in yogurt and cheese.

5.  Serve with freshly ground pepper.

Nutritional Information
per serving, i.e., half the recipe, omitting any salt added at the table

621 calories
18g fat (3g saturated, 15g unsaturated)
95g carbohydrate
21g protein
5g dietary fiber
5mg cholesterol (2% DV)
165mg sodium (7% DV)
646mg potassium (18% DV)
Contains a significant amount (+10% DV) of the following:
vitamin A, calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, iron, riboflavin, folic acid, food folate, manganese, and copper.

You might also like:
Spicy Siphnian revithada
Orange-scented chorizo pasta with dried figs
Creamy lemon pasta