the irresistible hortopita

Time goes by rapidly, whether or not you enjoy every moment of it; and the changes it brings about are usually for the best. Winter is now fading away; today's soft and sunny weather was a great proof of his (fortunately) temporary death. I love winter, Madonna loves winter, too.
My heart was also in wintery mood, the most insisting of all that I've been through till now. Maybe, it is just a coincidence; but along with the upcoming spring's blossoms, I started feeling a spicy traffic in my vains. I almost feel happy and so amusingly calm.

Spring is full of completed and incompleted memories for me; I am so curious about the latters.
And it is also the most heartbeating season, as it reminds me the fabulous Easter holidays that I used to spent in my village with family, flavors and objects I loved so much, like my grandmother, the prickly pears of our garden and my BMX bicycle. The strong and trembling voice of my grandfather warns me to keep away from the olive oil fields - a mysterious amazonian forest to my eyes - along with his desperate beggings to stop unchaining our neighbor's skinny dogs that were barking for some freedom and food that still sound so vivid to my ears.

Still, what I used to enjoy most was the small undiscovered open field trips where me and my aunties used to seek and collect gorgeously smelling herbs to make pites and kremidopitara. I wanted to feel like a grown up woman and equally contribute to collecting those priceless herb heritage of my land; so, I used to wear an apron, like my aunts, with a huge pocket in the front. That way, I didn't have to carry annoying plastic bags. At the end of the herb trip, our front pockets were spewing out showthistles, chervils, mediterannean hartworts and wild chards...

As soon as we were at home, the pita workshop used to begin immediately. Flour, wine or vinegar, salt, olive oil and warm water were to be prepared on the huge round table of our kitchen. I was so short that I couldn't even reach the sink to wash the fresh herbs; so, I used to help my aunt by draining water slowly into the mixture of the rest dough ingredients. Now that I am an experimental grown up, I like adding some blackpepper and dry thyme, mint or basil to give to my dough some extra flavor.

My other aunt was busy chopping fresh onions and sauting them in olive oil with the herbs for a few minutes, while the dough was resting in the fridge. She used to wait for the pan to get cold and then feta or salty mizithra cheese was added - dill is also welcome, but definitely it is a must if you make a pita with leek. In the meantime, they used to drink a cup of Turkish coffee gossiping and waiting for the dough to do its magic in the cold air. Then, they would roll out the dough, place it masterfully in an oiled and floured tray baker, apply the herb mixture and cover it with the other dough. With their fast and skilled fingers they would seal the edges of the dough with a simple and beautiful knit and with a food brush they would apply some mixture of egg yolk and olive oil to give tan and cause crispness. Finally, we would send kisses by making noise with our lips and abandon it in the oven for a whole torturing hour.

Since I've developped my own cooking skills, making wild herb pita has been the most pleasure-giving creation for me and for those who have the chance to taste it. Rolling out dough makes me happy when I feel sad, calms me down when I am upset and keeps me believing in the power of a trully good flavor when I crave for something real. This is what spring means to me; wild herbs.

What about your spring?


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