Free Style Friday_Flowers and Food

I had one big power lunch...
and a light guiltless supper in mind.

The creation behind a...
Turkish inspired Feta Bean Dip Delight.

Late, last Friday afternoon...
early summer was definitely in the air...
well at least in my mini part of the world...
my local flower and food market.

My favourite orange black-eyed Daisies...
were smiling at me as I promenaded by.

The vibrant Guinea Impatient were reminding
me to be patient enough to get all my food shopping
done and get myself home de-stressed from my hectic day.

The lovely and hardy red Begonia reminded me of the
strength I had re-captured in the last few months.

Ahh...and one of my hubby's favourite names for me: 'Petunia'
Having it regally staring at me with
such stern loyalty reminded me how fortunate
I was to be in a solid, happy relationship.

This abundance of fresh garden flowers were
slowly erasing the worries of the day and
increasingly putting back the smile on my face.

By the time I came across this stunning
climbing Bougainvilla...all the great vacation
memories of Greece came flooding back.
As light as those petals fluttered in the air...
is as light hearted as I was realizing to have become in the moment.

I do miss my former garden...
...however, I had realized that all I needed to do was
take a mini trip to the flower market and...
"ecco ci qui tutto va bene addesso"
and I'm home in my luscious garden again.

Thankfully for the beautiful fragrances everywhere because fresh produce was in very slim sight.
There were just a few vendors peddling their still very tart early spring strawberries...extremely expensive to boot I might add.  I could only wonder who in their right mind would be purchasing them. Sure and behold...the very desperate...probably the same people that used to open their in-ground pools at the very beginning of Spring because the waiting patiently game did not figure prominently in their human composition. Well, I had saved on labour and chlorine...and now I decided to do the same with the strawberries. I was going to wait until the berries would be sweet to my palate as well as my pocket book.  Who says, I'm not the smart cookie?
Just as I was thinking berries...Ooops
... I ended up literally running into this
hanging planter of strawberries. 

I sighed and then took a deep breath as I stood and admired the beauty of the...
tiny pink bloom which would later become a somewhat tiny strawberry.

Well, at this point...
any fresh strawberry was better than nothing. 
What's that saying..."Beggars can't be choosers".

Oh, no...a quick look at my watch signaled that I'd better get a move on.
I still had no clue what I was making for supper.
I headed inside the stores to the produce vendors and quickly scooped up a
bunch of veggies, an aromatic bouquet of mint...and out the door I went.

Happily on the way towards my car...
I took the route of the pink Bougainville once more.
I just couldn't get enough of the vibrant fuchsia color.

Then, there it was...an idea for supper.
Something Mediterranean...
something with feta cheese, legumes, mint.

I knew that once I'd get home...
something was definitely going
to be whirled up for a light, unfussy,
albeit healthy snacking style supper.

Turkish inspired...
FETA and BEAN dip/spread Delight
yields about 4 cups (950ml) of dip

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(American / Metric measures)

. 2 cups (500ml) (~1 large can) Red Beans, well cooked
. 12 fresh, Mint leaves (or basil or parsley)
. 1/4 cup (60) mild Ajvar* spread
. 3/4 cup (175ml) plain 'Greek style' yogurt
. 3/4 cup (150g) Feta cheese (preferable from goat milk)
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) capers
. 1 tsp. (5ml) granular garlic powder   
. 3 Tbsps. (45ml) e.v.Olive oil

Tip: If your desire is to turn this dip more into a spread...only put 1/2 cup (125ml) of yogurt

* What is an AJVAR vegetable spread?

It is simply a blend of finely puréed roasted peppers, eggplants, vinegar, sunflower oil, garlic, a touch of sugar and a tinch of hot pepper...and the bonus...no additives or preservatives!  I was incredibly fortunate to have discovered this gem of a product.  It is imported from Turkey, hence, my inspiration for this dip.  Ask your grocery merchant if they carry it.  If not, ask if there's an equivalent of this product at the Arabic grocery store.

Note: Ajvar also has a cousin named 'Pindjur': This vegetable spread is more 'rustic'...and just happens to be my favourite of the two. I still always have them both in my fridge...ready to aromatize and flavour my next dish.


1. Place ONLY the beans into a blender and pulsate a few times at MEDIUM speed.  
2. Add ALL the remaining ingredients and process until the smoothness desired.
 . Either serve right away or cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.  
3. Before serving, bring the spread at slight room temperature before serving.

Note: There will probably be a bit left over if you are only 2 persons...so I refrigerated it for future short term use.   Either pour as a possible pita sandwich condiment or salad dressing.   You can also easily freeze it in a small mason jar.

Serve as shown with a variety of fresh veggies and organic corn tacos.

Add to that a...sparkling Rosé wine...and now you can say:
“Thank God it’s Friday”.

As they say in Turkey...
"afiyet olsun"

Flavourful wishes,

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

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