Allow me to introduce you to my favorite cookbook. Sure, I have prettier cookbooks, cookbooks I like to read like novels, cookbooks  that look great on a shelf, but this one is falling apart, stained, riddled with notes and has pages I have to peel apart.  Quick from Scratch: Real food for busy weeknights from Food & Wine Books is the cookbook I return to time and again. It has recipes I’ve nicknamed “Baby Soup” and  “Fu Manchu Pork” (doesn’t everyone have nicknames for favorite recipes?). I’ve even given it as a gift.

Unfortunately, the book is out of print and the recipes aren’t available on the Food & Wine website. So, I will share some of our favorites with you. The first is a dead simple Mediterranean-style sandwich/pizza that’s perfect for summer. I’ve changed the recipe slightly by using lamb but use beef instead if you prefer. I love to top it with the garlicky tzatziki sauce but it’s entirely optional.

Aegean Pita Pizzas

Serves 4
Allergy Tree Nuts, Wheat
From book Quick from Scratch: Real food for busy weeknights
Classic ingredients of the eastern Mediterranean--dill, mint, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese--are layered with ground lamb on a toasted pita for a quick and original dish, something between a pizza and a sandwich.


  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 6 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 1/2lb ground lamb
  • 3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup black olives (e.g. Niçoise or Kalamata, pitted)
  • 6 pitas
  • 5oz feta cheese (crumbled)


1. In a medium frying pan toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove. Or toast the pine nuts in a 350F (180C) oven for 6 minutes.
2. In the frying pan heat 1 tbsp of the oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and scallions and saute for 1 minute. Add the lamb, oregano, mint, 1 tbsp dill, the allspice and 1 1/4 tsp of the salt. Cook until the meat loses its pink color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pine nuts and 1/4 tsp of the pepper.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, lemon juice, the remaining dill, the olives and the remaining 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
4. Heat the broiler (grill). Put the pitas on a baking sheet. Toast under the broiler until one side is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Flip the pitas. Spoon the lamb mixture onto the pitas, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and broil until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.
5. Cut the pitas in half. Top with the cucumber salad and a drizzle of the remaining olive oil. Serve one and a half pitas per person.


  • Substitute ground beef for the lamb if you prefer.
  • Don't use canned black olives--they're nasty.


Allergy Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Misc Serve Cold
Region Greek
Website Gunternation


  • 500g Greek yogurt
  • 1 Medium cucumber (peeled, seeded and grated)
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste.


Some minced dill and/or mint is a nice addition.


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2 Responses to Quick from Scratch: Aegean Pita Pizzas

  1. Sounds and looks delicious son! :) I may have to try this!

  2. Heather says:

    Looks good! I’m looking forward to more recipes from this book, busy weeknight is everyday around here, it would be nice to have some new ideas. I made blackened tilapia sandwiches tonight which was quick and yummy, and I was just thinking about what else I can make quickly.

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