Trahana..how to use..
I asked about this on an ongoing thread about halloumi cheese but it got buried. I have used trahana in meatballs and meatloaf; I first heard about it in a NY Times article:
Question is: Are there any other uses for this pasta/yogurt product?
This cold spell really would be great for trahana soup! In Greece, young people in agricultural areas are rejecting this ancient food stuff in favor of insipid "sandwich"; I am glad young people in the cities, and now abroad are discovering this cuisine and keeping the tradition alive!
In the Southern Peloponese, trahana, at least, in my family was a simple affair:in Boston my mother would make the sour one only, because, the sweet one needed sheep's milk and good free range eggs for the accompanying "hilopites" ( literally a pita cooled in a hilo or type of porridge,) which are noodles triple folded and cut into small rectangle pieces, which are oftn boiled or baked together with the sweet trahanas to make a main dish, often with meat on Sundays. She also made only the sour one, because she would have to dry it outdoors, bu could not here because of the flies.
I have memories of the trahana drying on fresh linen cloths, where we the children got to grind it between our fingers into that pebble like structure. When done, we would put it in clean jars or wrapped in clean linen and hung away from humidity and vermin. On a cold winter days, my mother would boil some water, add tablespoons of the trahana, boil for 10 minutes, stirring like oatmeal, then lowering the heat, adding milk and butter, finish cooking and seve. My father had a friend from Lamia, Central district of Roumeli, whose father made this for the children for brerakfast, to warm them up from he cold, to endure a long walk to school, which he had also forseen to give the children a nip of Metaxa brandy, our homemade cognac!
Tonight I made some of the sweet risoto style, using chicken stock and water, browning it first with onion, garlic in a olive oil from the Mani region, south of Sparta, finishing with a walnut oil,deglazing in red wine, a bit of sea salt. adding parmesan an soy yoghurt at the end ( what I had on hand). I also add it to shredded cabbage stew, the sweet one, but in samll quanities, and use it in the summer to stuff tomatoes, and to make meat rissoles.
I usually buy trahana- hilopites from Tripolis in Arcadia, Blahas brand from Central Greece is also available. It seems that the sour one is in short supply, maybe that's why my mother continued to make it. The hilopites "ftourane", are plentiful, nedding only a small amount to make in a broth, a tomato sauce, with meat or chicken, always with a ricotta like dried myzythra cheese, or kefalotyri, true pastoral cooking at its best!
Paula Wolfert has a bunch of recipes using trahana in Mediterranean Grains and Greens http://www.amazon.com/Mediterranean-G... wants you to make it yourself for most of them with good reason I'm sure, but I plan to try the storebought in one soup in particular. As a general note she says that the cooks in Crete will either drop it right into boiling soup, soak briefly and crumble into sautees and stews, or soak a lot to make a pilaf-ish side dish.
Finally got around to using mine. I made a soup out of it, as per Chef Google.
Boiled 4c. chicken stock, 1c. sweet trahnas, and salt to taste for ~15 minutes.
Ended up with a porridge-like soup; tangy from the goat milk, and the whole wheat added nuttiness--probably not a good thing to have in July, but I can see how this would be very appealing in the dead of winter.