Tessa Kiros writes stunning cookbooks. Falling Cloudberries, Venezia, Apples for Jam, Twelve and her latest, Food From Many Greek Kitchens, are the books I pull off my shelves when I need to be transported to another place and experience a mix of traditional and new recipes. Food From Many Greek Kitchens celebrates Kiro's Greek-Cypriot heritage and is like a vacation to Greece, where you are hanging out in the kitchens of the locals absorbing the flavors and smells of homestyle cooking.
The book journeys through Greece presenting the food in the settings it is usually enjoyed in chapters titled; Traditional Foods, Fasting Foods, Easter Foods, Shared Foods, Baker's Foods, Soups, Ladera--Salads, Ready-Cooked Foods, There + Then Foods, and Sweet Foods. There are introductions to the Greek alphabet and a glossary of Greek ingredients to get you started. There introductions and anecdotes for each of the over 115 recipes in the book. The 336 pages are packed with gorgeous glossy photographs of the recipes, kitchens and scenery of Greece. This is a book for foodies who love to travel and will have you longing for, or even planning, a trip to Greece.
I marked several recipes to "road test" this book like Yuvarlakia (Dilled Meatballs), Kebabs, Melopita (Honey Cake), Tahinosoupa (Tahini Soup), and Spanakorizo (Spinach Rice). The recipe I ended up choosing was Revithada or Baked Chickpeas--simple, yes but I love my chickpeas and this sounded like the homey kind of comfort food dish I love. Although it comes from the Ladera (Salads) chapter of the book, I added a little more water to give my chickpeas plenty of broth and ate them as more of a soup. Thus they became my soup offering this week for Souper Sundays.
Kiros says, "The traditional Sunday lunch in Sifnos is chickpeas. The skepastaria, or special ceramic pot, which is often passed down from mother to daughter, is taken on Saturday afternoon to the baker to cook overnight in the wood oven. Then everyone collects theirs on Sunday morning. Here the chickpeas are cooked for quite a while in a regular oven. If you have a ceramic pot about 9 inches in diameter with a lid, great. If not, a baking or gratin dish with a lid will work well. It really is the pot, good olive oil and maybe the wonderful surrounds of a Greek island that can make a dish special."
Reithada (Baked Chickpeas)
Courtesy of Food From Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros
1 pound 2 ounces dried chickpeas
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 onions, well chopped
2 bay leaves
6 Tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
best quality olive oil for serving
lemon quarters for serving, optional
Put the chickpeas and flour in a bowl, cover with plenty of water and soak overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Drain the chickpeas, rinse and put into a large round ceramic pot with a good fitting lid. (I used my Dutch oven.) cover with 4 cups of water (I used 5 1/2 cups) and add the onions, bay leaves and olive oil. Stir a few times to distribute the onion, then put the lid on. Bake in the oven for 2 hours.
Lower the temperature to 350 F and remove the pot from the oven. The contents should be nice and bubbly. Season well with salt and pepper and mix. Return the pot, still covered, to the oven for a further 2 hours, when the chickpeas will be lovely and soft with a little of the thick liquid left. Turn off the oven and leave the covered pot inside to cool for about 1 hour.
Taste for salt and pepper, then serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, if you like.
Notes/Results: A warm bowl of soupy bean love. ;-) These are so simple and taste delicious. The flavorful broth is perfect with the nutty chickpeas and the drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon further enhances it. The recipe takes a little advance prep and time to make but other than a little chopping and stirring, there is no effort. Running your oven for 4 hours in the summer might not be that appealing (I am used to it) ;-) but you can put them in the oven and get out of the kitchen for 2 hours, then season, stir and put them back in for their remaining time. A bowl enjoyed warm with slices of good bread to mop up the broth makes a perfect light supper enjoyed outside on the lanai and they taste even better reheated. I would make them again.
Obligatory Disclosure Statement: A copy of this beautiful cookbook was provided to me by the publishers for review however I was not compensated for this review and as always my thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
Let's see who is here in the Souper Sunday Kitchen on this holiday weekend.
Akheela from Torviewtoronto is here with a versatile Fish Stew full of veggies like yams and long beans, shrimp and kingfish and lots of spice. Akheela says, "Serve the stew hot, it doesn't need to be accompanied with anything. Can adjust the amount of fish, shrimp, yam and beans. Can also add different types of seafood i.e. crab, squid, octopus and other fish."
A new blogger to welcome to Souper Sundays is Roha from Hyderabadi Cuisine Recipes, here with a Paya ki Nihari, a popular meat stew dish from the Indian subcontinent made with lambshanks, trotters and other meats and spices. Roha says to serve this hearty dish, "Garnish with Fry Onions, Coriander leaves (finely chopped), Mint leaves (finely chopped)" and "Serve hot with Parathas/Naan" Welcome Roha!
Graziana from Erbe in Cucina tried a Hot Watermelon Gazpacho, a cold soup made spicy with Pimento Piquillo chilies from her garden. She says, "We were pleasantly surprised by this watermelon gazpacho, refreshing and tasty. The sweetness of watermelon is balanced by the chili and -even if I usually don't use it- a pinch of salt to your taste"
Tigerfish from Teczcape-An Escape to Food made a salad of Brisling Sardines in Olive Oil, Lemon Dressing and says, "With the Brunswick Sardines in Spring Water, it's best to cook them with tomatoes, and/or lightly spiced, with a tomato-based sauce or gravy. But in a dressing of olive oil, parsley/cilantro, a little sherry or cider vinegar, lemon, and diced tomatoes - the Brisling Sardines works really great!"
Carol from There's Always Time to Cook hit the grill for Jamie Oliver's colorful Caprese Salad with Grilled Peppers and says, "Jamie's very nice twist on the classic. Simple enough with a nice grilled flavor from the peppers. Loved it!"
Roz from la bella vita also combined tomatoes and peppers for her Garden Fresh Heirloom Tomato, Pepper, and Cucumber Salad. She says, "There's no secret, magic recipe to this. Just cut up what you've got in your garden or that's available in the fresh markets or at your local farmers' market, mix them up with a bit of red wine or balsamic vinegar, some olive oil, garlic and basil . . . and there you have it! It's the garlic and the fresh basil that takes the flavor of this vegetable salad over the top of deliciousness!"
Janet from The Taste Space made this unique Warm Leek and Flageolet Salad with a Mustard Dressing and says, "White beans are combined with caramelized leeks and smothered in a light mustard sauce. I was mostly inspired by the recipe from Waitrose since I adapted it quite a bit. I increased the amount of leeks, used dill instead of parsley, added in lemon pepper and simplified their mustard dressing. I like how creamy dressing can get with mustard alone!"
Kim from Stirring the Pot made Jamie Oliver's Evolution Potato Salad this week and says, "We really enjoyed this potato salad. It was quite tangy from the addition of the yogurt and the lemon, making it different than your standard potato salad. I still prefer the traditional potato salad, but I would definitely eat this one again."
We have one sandwich entry this week and what a sandwich it is, Black Bean and Plantain Burgers from Joanne at Eats Welll With Others, and that she serves with her Honey Lime Chipotle Sweet Potato Fries. Joanne says, "The honey lime flavor, especially when combined with a hint of salt, keeps you coming back for more while the spice from the chipotle chili powder gives your taste buds that perfect combination of pain and pleasure. Ideal for pairing with just about any burger...but especially these plantain black bean burgers which also contain that winning sweet savory spicy flavor combo"
Thanks to everyone who joined in this week and sent in such fantastic dishes. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays link on the side bar for all of the details.