What to do with: July Essentials

What to do with: July Essentials

Ben @ Ben to Table

This month’s heirloom, small-producer, and completely delicious pantry staples also coordinate quite well with the Taste of Greece items. Enjoy!

Here’s what’s in the box:

  *  Organic Greek giant beans from Arosis
  *  Organic Spelt Orzo from Agrozimi
  *  Black caviar lentils from Rancho Gordo
  *  Camargue Red Rice from Benoit
  *  All-purpose flour (White Sonora and Hard Red Spring Wheat) from Hayden Flour Mills
  *  Moroccan picholine olives from Villa Jerada

The giant beans can be cooked according to my "How to Cook: Beans" post. As can the lentils, though they’ll be much faster (25-30 minutes total).

The red rice can be cooked according to instructions in my "How to Cook: Grains" post.

You can also see me talk through these ingredients (and the Taste of Greece box) on an Instagram Live! 


Organic Greek Giant Beans (Arosis)

Organic Greek Giant Beans Arosis

These beans are organically cultivated in Prespes, according to traditional methods.

Light-skinned, soft, and smooth, these are perfect in soupy/saucy preparations, and go especially well with tomato-based sauces. A recipe is below for a very Greek preparation.

Black Caviar Lentils (Rancho Gordo)

 Rancho Gordo Black Caviar Lentils

These quick-cooking (less than 30 minutes!) lentils look like caviar, but taste like lentils, and hold their form well if not overcooked. They’re perfect in summery salads or soups. For the photo below, I grilled some veggies (asparagus, mushrooms, fennel), chopped some fresh ones (pepper, cucumbers, herbs) and tossed it all together with a nice vinaigrette.

 Black Caviar Lentil Salad

Camargue Red Rice (Benoit)

Camargue Red Rice

Camargue is a famed rice-growing region in southern France; the red rice here is a fusion of the old wild red rice that used to grow in the region and the white rice brought in after WWII.

Flavorful and versatile, this rice cooks up in about 20 minutes.

All-Purpose Flour (Hayden Flour Mills)

Hayden Mills White Sonora All Purpose Floer

This AP flour is a blend of White Sonora Wheat (a heritage wheat, and one of the oldest in North America) & Hard Red Spring Wheat, which gives it a bit more gluten strength.

This is great for everyday use (biscuits, pancakers, flatbreads), and was recently milled, so packs a lot more flavor than your average supermarket flour. I’ve also used it to make a Greek flatbroad using this recipe.

Greek flatbread with Hayden Mills Flour

Organic Spelt Orzo (Agrozimi) 

Agrozimi Spelt Orzo
Orzo (kritharaki in Greek) is a classic Greek pasta. This version is bronze-die cut and made from spelt flour. Perfect for saucy or soupy preparations or as the base of a pasta salad.

If it will be in a soupy/saucy preparation, try to cook it in the sauce itself, so you keep all that starchy goodness.

Moroccan Picholine Olives (Villa Jerada)

Moroccan Picholine Olives Villa Jerada

These hand-picked, slow-brined Moroccan picholines have a deliciously tart and fruity flavor. Perfect as a side, cooked into a tagine, or on a cocktail.

Recipe: Braised Greek Giant Beans with tomato, feta, oregano, and fennel

Braised Beans with tomato, fennel, oregano, and feta 


Greek giant beans, cooked according to the instruction in my “How to Cook: Beans,” with cooking liquid reserved
Red onions, chopped
Fragrant fennel seeds
Dried oregano (preferably Taygetus)
Chopped garlic
Canned, good-quality whole tomatoes, chunked (or fresh tomatoes even better)
Feta cheese, crumbled
Parsley, finely chopped
Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 450 or so
  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven on medium heat
  3. Add fennel seeds (1 tsp or so) and oregano (1 tsp or so)
  4. Once fragrant, add onions, and salt and pepper, sauteeing until onions begin to cook down
  5. Add as many beans as you want to use
  6. Add tomatoes and their juice
  7. Add bean cooking liquid to fill the dutch oven to about 2/3-3.4 the height of the dry ingredients
  8. Stir well, and, once warmed, top with a layer of feta
  9. Put in the oven for 20-30 minutes, uncovered. It’ll be warm and bubbly, with some places a bit crusty on top.
  10. Garnish the top with finely chopped parsley, and serve with crusty bread!



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