Turkish Breakfast, Now for Lunch; Greek Salad for Dinner + Dried Herbs

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August 11, 2011 at 10:23 am

Rob Gardner

This is the summer of Turkish breakfasts for the Local Family.  We’ve found we like ‘em so much for breakfast, why not for lunch too.

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This one consisted of leftover rustic tomato pie, heirloom cucumber, labna, not local but with local honey; feta from Bulgaria, way not local, but pickles made from garden cucumbers; Tomato Mountain sungolds about as good as they get* and a bit of sliced local hot pepper.  Lunch!

If this year’s meal is Turkish breakfast, Greek salad has been the summer meal of choice for a long time of locavore obsession.

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Forgive me if I start some kind of diplomatic skirmish, but it kinda seems to me that if you put all the stuff on your plate in distinct piles, you have Turkish breakfast, and if you combine them all on a platter you have Greek salad.  No?

One key addition to this salad not found on my Turkish breakfast plates, sweet summer onions from Tomato Mountain.  See, as I’ve approached my fifth decade, I’ve finally starting to develop a taste for onions (raw that is, I’ve always been fine with cooked), and my gateway onion is sweet summer onions tempered by Greek salad.  The other key point to this salad, a key factor in it being “Greek” is the ample use, as shown in the picture, of dried herb.  Most Greek salads made in the USA use dried oregano, but this salad uses dried marjoram, the more intense flavor of local marjoram, to my imagination (at least) more apropos of real Greek herb.

And lets talk about dried herbs.  I went through a period, maybe you did too, not that long ago, disdaining dried herbs.  After all was not one of the great features of local food being the supplies of fresh local herbs.  Not just parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, but farmer’s market shoppers could find lemon balm and lovage, borage and taragon.  Who needed the McCormick shaker.  It seemed that stuff was crass, industrial and tasting mostly of dead leaves.  But then I kept on reading Greek and Middle Eastern cookbooks.  Dried herbs, especially dried mint and dried oregano/marjoram play important roles in the cuisine.  It seems there are herbs that dry and herbs that are dry.  Still, as the programmers say, garbage in, garbage out.  The best supplies of dried herbs come from fresh market herbs.  It certainly takes little skill or effort to dry some herbs.  Stock up now.  Smit’s Farm, which sells at Daley Plaza and Green City Market (Saturday) offers the fresh marjoram and fresh oregano that will make your food taste authentic later.  Other farmers also sell such herbs.  Don’t you want your own Greek salad.

*My wife works for Tomato Mountain.

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One Comment

  1. Wendy Aeschlimann says:

    FWIW, the woman working the counter at Sanabel told me that I should dry mint by putting it on a sheet pan and placing it in the shade. If you dry it in the sun or in the oven, she said, the leaves will turn brown.

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