Asadur's market

As I am forever gabbing away with so many folks I encounter, I often meet neat people and receive fabulous tidbits of treasured info.

I mean, I am still so excited not only to have made friends with Hiwot but also to have learned so much from her about making injera, lentil and cabbage wats, and more about Ethiopian holidays and the foods used to celebrate them. 

I have recently started seeing a new dentist, and her dental hygienist, Helen, is an absolute doll. Despite the extensive cleaning going on, we managed to chat fairly constantly and discovered that we had much in common, including experiences in and connection to Florence, Italy, and the fact that Helen attended one of my canning classes at Strosniders sometime in the past two years. As it also happens, Helen is Greek, and our conversation quickly turned to Greek food.

Last Thursday, I was in for another cleaning, and as Easter is on the horizon, Helen is manically cooking in preparation. Long story short, I was foaming at the mouth over the recipes she makes, including her gigandes (those enormous Greek white beans often stewed with tomatoes), and she mentioned that her favorite place to shop is Asadur's, a market in Rockville, MD. 

You will not be surprised to know that today, a mere 48 hours after hearing about bags of beans and awesome spices and imported feta, I hauled it to Asadur's. I am exceedingly glad I did, although my wallet is not. #obsessivefoodielady

Asadur's, 5536 Randolph Road, is housed in a nondescript unit of a nondescript strip mall. Sandwiched between Salon Gabor and Kung Fu Karate, two neon signs announce BEER and OPEN while a smaller anti-theft sign lets you know that you're being watched.

Undeterred, I headed inside, grabbed a cart, and started on the far right aisle where I grabbed Turkish delight (for Jack), a box of Nutella-stuffed croissants (for Ol; not a Greek treat, but he loves Nutella and croissants and learned to ride his bike today so they're deserved) and a large bag of ladokoulouro (for me) before running into the olive area where two Greek women were telling a third, non-Greek woman, what they do with their olives and how. I was in heaven.

Before we go on, let me tell you about ladokoulouro, in case you are unfamiliar. These -ring-shaped at Asadur's though I imagine they come in many styles- reminded me somewhat of taralli which are (also ring-shaped) Italian crackers. Both have a not-unpleasantly-dry crumb and are crunchy. (Taralli can be sweet or savory; I don't know if the same is true for ladokoulouro.) 

The ladokoulouro I chose today are made of wheat flour, sugar, Cretan olive oil, orange zest, cloves, and cinnamon, and are rolled in sesame. In the below photo, you can see them at the top of the serving platter. They.are.sublime. I didn't realize that they were better suited to a dessert tray than our dinner spread, but so be it. YUM!

 dinner: baba ganoush, hummus, Greek olives, green beans with lemon, cucs, stuffed grape leaves, tomatoes, two types of feta, ladokoulouro, village bread, all drizzled with kalamata oil

dinner: baba ganoush, hummus, Greek olives, green beans with lemon, cucs, stuffed grape leaves, tomatoes, two types of feta, ladokoulouro, village bread, all drizzled with kalamata oil

I love dessert items made with olive oil because I find the depth and flavor and lack of sweetness imparted by the oil so interesting. These do not disappoint.

Among the shocking number of items I purchased were:

 dried gigandes

dried gigandes

 whole camomile flowers for tea- I just drank a cup of the tea, and it is SO good

whole camomile flowers for tea- I just drank a cup of the tea, and it is SO good

 kalamata olive oil

kalamata olive oil

 giant golden raisins

giant golden raisins

 one of the two white wines I bought; Greek whites tend to be like southern Italian whites- crisp, clean, easy to drink.

one of the two white wines I bought; Greek whites tend to be like southern Italian whites- crisp, clean, easy to drink.

 you should smell this za'atar- it is SO fragrant

you should smell this za'atar- it is SO fragrant

I also bought olives, INCREDIBLE baba ganoush and two delectable types of feta (see first photo), a bag of frozen artichoke hearts, some course bulgur for tabouli, candied orange peel, two cans of stuffed grape leaves, and on and on. Everything we've tasted so far has been scrumptious. 

Asadur's is closed on Sundays but is otherwise open starting at 9 or 10 each day. During the week, you can purchase salads and sandwiches at lunchtime. Phone is 301-770-5558. I definitely recommend a trip if Greek food gets you even half as excited as it makes me.