Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TURKEY POT PIE

Leftover Turkey is good for sandwiches.  You can always freeze some for later use.  What else can you do that is easy and also make use of other left overs in your fridge?  How about a simple Turkey pot pie with perhaps all with left overs.


4 cups cut up Turkey
1 or 2 small cans (284 ml) Turkey gravy
1 small can (284 ml) peas and carrots
1/4 cup cooked rice (optional)
1 onion (optional)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
Salt and pepper
1 package puff pastry
1 egg
  • Cook the rice according to package instructions.  If you have left over pilaf that would work just fine.  This is optional
  • Drain peas and carrots
  • Saute finely chopped onion in cooking oil.
  • Mix together cut up Turkey, peas and carrots, rice, onions and gravy.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cut dough in half
  • Roll out the first half a little longer than the size of your pan.  I used a 10.5x14.5 pan
  • Spray your pan with vegetable oil
  • Place the dough in the pan making sure it goes up the sides
  • Pour Turkey filling on the dough and spread it out
  • Roll out the second half of the dough and place over the filling making sure the sides of top and bottom meet.  Roll the sides together to ensure filling does not come out during cooking.
  • Mix the egg and spread it over top
  • Preheat oven at 350.  Cook 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown
  • Serve with salad

Sunday, December 26, 2010

OVEN ROASTED TURKEY

Turkey is the specialty food for New Years, Christmas and Thanksgiving.  While very special, I think it is the easiest dish on the table.  Perhaps most complex part is the stuffing if you are making it from scratch.  I found packaged stuffing works just fine.  Using a stuffing bag makes it easy to take out the stuffing.


Dressing:
1 lemon juice
1/4 cup cooking oil
Spice for sprinkle on top (like barbeque flavour)

  • Mix lemon juice and cooking oil
  • Brush the bottom and side of the pan you'll be using with the lemon and oil mix.
  • If you are stuffing the Turkey, you'll need to do that first.
  • Brush the back of the Turkey and place it in the pan. 
  • Pour remaining mix over the front.  Sprinkle with spice. 
  • Cover with aliminium foil. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Use cooking guideline below for weight and cooking time. 
  • Last 1/2 hour uncover to ensure it is nicely roasted. 
  • Remove from oven cover and let it sit for 1/2 hour.

                                                                                                               Cooking time in Hours
                      Weight in Kg                 Weight in Pounds               At 350 degrees

                             2 - 4                                5 - 8                                       2.5 to 3
                             4 - 5                                8 - 11                                        3 to 3.5
                             5 - 6.5                           11 - 14                                      3.5 to 4
                          6.5 - 7.5                          14 - 16                                        4 to 4 1/4
                          7.5 - 9                             16 - 20                                  4 1/4 to 4.5
                             9 - 11                           20 - 24                                     4.5 to 5                  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

FAVA BEAN PUREE

This fava bean puree can be served as a side dish for fish, steak or chicken.  It can also be served as an appetizer with crackers or Pita bread.  You can use a variety of molds for the occasion.  I used a Christmas tree mold for the family Christmas dinner this year.  Decorated with dill to make it look like a tree and used olives for tree decorations.  You need to start a day ahead for best results. 

2 cups (500 gr) Fava Beans

Soaking:
 Water
1/2 lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar

Cooking:
Water
1/2 lemon juice
1 onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1.5 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 bunch dill (finely chopped)

Dressing:
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon juice

Decoration:
Green Olives
Black olives
Dill
  • Soak Fava beans in warm water, lemon juice and sugar overnight.  Water level should be 1-2 cm passed the fava beans.
  • Next morning drain the beans
  • Use a big pot.  Put beans in it.  Put fresh water in the pot.  Water level should be 1-2 cm passed the Fava beans
  • In a separate pan combine 1/4 cup olive oil and chopped onions and cook until onion is a bit soft.  Be careful not to burn
  • Add onions to the beans and boil beans until soft.  Be sure to mix frequently and check on water level.  It should be a little watery when done.
  • Add in salt, sugar and chopped dill
  • Using a food processor mix everything together
  • Rinse mold with cold water and pour in hot Fava bean mix.  Make sure all the air bubbles come out by tapping it a couple of time on the counter.
  • Wait until it cools
  • Cover and leave in the fridge for 7-8 hours or overnight
  • When ready to serve, take out of the mold.  Decorate with dill and olives.
  • Prepare dressing by combining 3-4 tablespoon olive oil with 1/2 lemon and pour over the bean dish.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHEESECAKE LOLLIPOPS

I tasted these for the first time in the office last week when Joelle brought them in as a treat.  She had all so many varieties in her lollipops like mint chocolate, chocoloate cheesecake with coffee bean chippings.  They were absolutely delicious.  I just had to make them for our family gathering Christmas evening.  What I liked most about this idea is that you can use your imagination and be creative with the shapes, and colours.  It requires a lot of time and needs a couple of days to complete but the good part is that you can make them weeks in advance and freeze them until they need to be served.


2 packages of Cream Cheese (250gr each, 500 gr total), room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 package vanilla sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons heavy cream

Dipping:
250 gr chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Topping:
Crushed Skor Candy Bars
Coconut
Any kind of unsalted nuts like hazelnuts

Wooden skewers (short ones for shish kebaps work fine)

Makes 35 to 40

  • First make the cheesecake:  Mix together cream cheese and sugar until soft.  Add all of the ingredients and mix well to even consistency
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare a 8 x 8″ square cake pan or spring form pan by melting butter at the bottom or  line it with cooking paper.
  • Pour cheesecake batter into the cake pan
  • Bake for 40 to 50 minutes
  • Leave the cake in the fridge overnight.  Make sure it is covered.
  • Making the Lollipops is the creative part.  First decide the shape you would like (balls, circles, hearts use your imagination).  You can cut out the pieces as you like.  Insert a wooden skewer into the cheesecake to make them into lollipops
  • Cover and freeze overnight.
  • Prepare your toppings.  My favorite is ground Skor candy bars.  I usually freeze them first then use a blender to ground them.  All kinds of colourful candies or chopped (unsalted) nuts work very well.
  • Melt chocolate
  • Dip cheesecake lollipops in melted chocolate, dip into the topping of your choice
  • Cover and freeze overnight.
  • Take out of the freezer 1/2 hour before you need to serve

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

ALMOND COOKIES WITH JAM

You will not see Almonds in the picture because this recipe uses ground almonds.  I also chose star shape and thought they would look like a wreath on the plate to give it a Christmas kind of theme.  Other shapes like hearts can be used especially around Valentine day.  Optionally you can sprinkle melted Chocolate on the cookie part too.  This time, I chose Apple jam but now that I look at the picture, Strawberry would have been a better choice for the pictures.
2 cups ground Almonds

1/2 cup yogurt
200 gr butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 egg whites
2.5 cups flour
1 package vanilla

Any flavour jam for the middle and sprinkle icing sugar
  • Mix all the ingredients together (except the jam of course) to make a soft dough.  The dough should not stick to your hand.  If it is sticky, add a bit more flour
  • Roll out
  • You will need 2 different cookie cutters of the shape that you choose.  One bigger than the other.
  • Using the bigger size cookie cutter, cut 1 cookie out.  This is the bottom of the cookie
  • Again using the bigger cookie cutter, cut another cookie out but this time using the smaller cookie cutter, cut the same cookie to get a hole in the middle.  Put the cookie with a hole in the middle on the first cookie.  You will have a "taller" cookie with a hole in the middle to be filled after cooking.
  • Continue using the rest of the dough the same way.  If you like, you can use the small middles as cookies too with chocolate sprinkles as variety.  Kind of like "Timbits"
  • Line a cookie sheet with cooking paper and put your cookies on the cookie sheet
  • Preheat oven at 350
  • Cook until the bottoms of the cookies are brown (approx 20 minutes)
  • Cool
  • Add jam in the middle and sprinkle with a bit of icing sugar

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TURKISH PRETZELS

I called these Turkish Pretzels only because they are salty.  Otherwise they don't really taste or look like pretzels.  No reason you can't shape them the same way.  it is just that this is the "official" shape of them.


2 eggs (Separate the yolk of 1 for glaze)
125 gr. unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mahlep (although optional, this gives it a nice smell)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 lemon juice
Flour

Top: Sesame seeds and blackened sesame seeds

  • Mix all of the ingredients except 1 egg yolk and flour together
  • Start adding flour a little at a time until you get a soft dough (A little more than 2 cups).  Dough should stick to your hand just a little
  • Make any shape you like
  • Line an oven pan with cooking paper
  • Put your "pretzels" on the pan
  • Mix egg yolk with 1 tablespoon cold water and brush on the "pretzels"
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds
  • Preheat oven at 350
  • Cook until the top is golden brown (Approx 25 minutes)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

HONEY GLAZED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS

This is an easy recipe for delicious and quick meal.  Great for left over as well.  Serve with fries, mashed potatoes or rice.
12 Chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons soya sauce
2-3 cloves of garlic
Sea salt
Black pepper
Sesame seeds
  • In a large bowl, combine crushed garlic, honey, water, soya sauce and honey
  • Remove skin from chicken drumsticks
  • Cover all of the chicken pieces with the sauce by rolling them over in the large bowl. 
  • Cover with plastic and leave in the fridge for 2 hours
  • When ready to cook, cover a large pan with cooking paper.  This is important for clean up because this is a very sticky recipe.
  • Put Chicken drumsticks on the pan and pour remaining sauce drumsticks.  You can use a spoon to put on each individual piece.
  • Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on each of the chicken pieces
  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees
  • Cook for 30 - 40 minutes
  • Remember to turn them over a couple of times dipping in the sauce during cooking
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds

Sunday, November 7, 2010

OVEN BAKED MEATBALLS WITH POTATOS (FIRINDA KOFTE PATATES)

This recipe is simple and good at any time with or without garlic and yogurt sauce.  Best with good Italian or French bread for dunking.  Although not necessary results are better if the koftes are prepared the night before.

Meatballs:
1/2 kg. (500 gr.) ground beef
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 bunch parsley (optional)
1 clove crushed garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon thyme
1 egg

Remaining ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
5-6 large Potatoes
1 bell green or red pepper
1 can tomato sauce
1/4 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
3 sliced tomatoes (optional)
  • Mix all of the Meatball ingredients.  Use your hands and knead like dough to make sure all the ingredients are mixed together.  Make into shape of  flat balls (start with a ball shape but flatten it a bit).   Leave in the fridge (covered overnight).
  • Put 2 tablespoons olive oil at the bottom of the pan.  Add peeled, washed and cut up (round) potatoes and mix through with the oil.  Spread them at the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle with salt.  You can sprinkle additional blackpepper too.
  • Spread meatballs on top of the potato layer
  • Wash and slice the pepper and spread them on the meatballs.  If you are using tomatoes, slice them thinly and alternate with pepper pieces
  • Pour tomato sauce over the dish.  Pour water only from the side of the pan to make sure it does not wash the tomato sauce off the meatballs
  • Preheat oven at 350
  • Cover with aluminum foil and cook for 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Take the cover off and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Check while cooking to make sure there is always a bit of "juice" at the bottom to make sure it doesn' burn. 
  • Serve with garlic and yogurt sauce on the side.

Monday, October 25, 2010

COMPANY'S COMING

It is hard to take pictures when you have company coming.  You have so much to remember.  I made special efforts to take pictures this time.  Pictures did not turn out very well but I wanted to share my menu anyway.  Most of the recipes are already on my blog

Deserts, stuffed oyster and stuffed grape leaves from friends.  Everything else from my kitchen.   Full Menu:
Oven Fried Chicken
Roast Beef
Rice Pilaf with fried noodles
"Crisco" Borek
Romano Beans in tomato sauce
Chick Peas with Cauliflower
Stewed Zucchini
Eggplant with Yogurt Sauce
Mixed Green Salad
Stuffed Oysters
Stuffed Grape Leaves

Deserts:
Tahini Cookies
Dream whip dome cake
Bite size Brownies
Tulumba

Saturday, October 2, 2010

ORANGE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

I thought of making a cake with chocolates and oranges after eating a orange chocolate bar the other day.  It also gave me the opportunity to use a chocolate sauce I saw in a German recipe book.  The recipe book stated if you melt chocolate chips in coconut milk, it made it shiny and more presentable.  After trying it, I see that it is true.  From now on, I am making my chocolate sauce with coconut milk.


1 package orange cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 orange (skin for the cake and juice to pour on the cake)

Decorations
2/3 cups chocolate chips
1/3 cup coconut milk (or regular milk)
Candies
  • Wash and grade the orange skin using the thick part of the grader
  • Juice the orange and set aside
  • Prepare the cake according to package instructions.  In my case, it called for 3 eggs, 1 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil.  I added the graded orange skin. Add the cake flour
  • Pour into a non stick (or spray the pan with vegetable oil) cake pan
  • Cook at 350 35 to 40 minutes.  When you insert a toothpick into the middle, it must come out clean
  • Let it cool
  • While still in the pan, make deep holes using a wood skewer or fork.  Pour orange juice over the cake.  Be careful not to get to the edges as juice makes it stick to the pan and makes it hard to take the cake out of the pan.  I covered and left the cake in the fridge overnight to make sure orange juice soaked well into the cake
  • Prepare your chocolate sauce.  Put chocolate and the coconut milk into a microwave safe bowl.  Heat at high for 30 seconds and mix well. 
  • Pour chocolate sauce over the cake.  I covered all of the cake with it but it is also nice if it is just on the top of the cake
  • Decorate with colourful candies.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

TURKISH APPLE COOKIES (ELMALI KURABIYE)

Fall is Apple season.  I used McIntosh apples for this recipe.  I was also short of time this morning so I took a short cut.  Instead of individual cookies that are oval shaped, I rolled them into a log and cut them to show the middle part.  They are a similar consistency to shortbread in that they not very sweet and on dry side just the way we like them with coffee or tea.

Cookie dough:
250 gr margarine
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup icing sugar (if you like sweeter cookies, you can increase to a cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 package (9gr.) vanilla
3 cups flour
Filling:
3 middle size McIntosh Apples
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnut chips
  • Start with soft margarine that is room temperature.  Add in yogurt, icing sugar, vanilla and baking powder.  Slowly add in flour to get a soft dough.  Cover and set aside to rest.
  • Peel apples and grade them.  Put in a pot, add in sugar and cook until all the juice is gone.  Add in walnuts and set aside to cool.
  • Depending on the shape you want to use, roll out the dough and arrange the middle.  In my case, I rolled it out to a rectangle on waxed paper, spread the filling all over.  I rolled into a log making sure wax paper could be removed.  I removed the waxed paper and moved it onto a cookie sheet.
  • Cook at 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes until it is golden brown. 
  • Let it cool completely
  • Cut into shape, arrange on a plate and sprinkle generous amount of icing sugar.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

SOBIYET (CREAM FILLED BAKLAVA)

This recipe has a story.... When we first moved to Canada, I was a teenager.  A family friend would make Sobiyet but he would not share his recipe (his secret).  No Internet at that time.  After having his Sobiyet a few times, I tasted semolina in the filling and created my own version of the filling.  I used my mother's measurements for the syrup and store bought dough.  This desert has since become "my" specialty for my friends and family.  My children, and grandchildren can safely say this is one of those true family recipes.


1 Package Filo Pastry (It must be a brand with thinner sheets like Krinos's)
Ground raw Pistachios
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Filling:
1.5 cup milk
4 tablespoons fine semolina

Syrup:
2 cup sugar
1.5 cups water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping
Ground raw Pistachios
  • First prepare the filling.  Mix cold milk and semolina together until smooth in a pot and cook at medium heat until it thickens.  Cover and let it cool.
  • Melt the butter and pour some at the bottom of the cooking pan.  Use a cooking pan with higher sides because later you will be pouring the syrup, you don't want it to leak.
  •  Open the package of Filo pastry and lay it on a table or a big cutting board.  In this recipe you do not separate the sheets. You will be using the stacked up sheet as is.
  • Cut Filo pastry in strips (width wise).  See the picture below
  • Cut lengthwise to create small squares
  • Put a teaspoonful of the filling in the middle of the square.  Sprinkle half teaspoon of ground pistachios on top.  Fold sobiyet into a triangle.  You will need a bit of water at the edge to make the dough stick and keep its shape while cooking
  • Fill your pan with uncooked Sobiyets.  Make sure there is a bit of room between each one.
  • Pour melted butter over them all.  You may want to use a little brush to start to make sure each of the Sobiyets has a bit of butter to start them off.
  • 1 package makes approx. 30 - 35 Sobiyets
  • Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cook the Sobiyets until they are golden brown.   Approx 45 minutes to 50 minutes
  • While Sobiyets are in the oven, make the syrup
  • Stir water and sugar together.  Bring to boil.  Add in lemon juice.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat
  • Pour syrup over the Sobiyets as soon as they come out of the oven.  Both Sobiyets and the syrup will be hot.  Move pan all around a few times to ensure syrup spreads across all of the Sobiyets.  Leave it aside.  
  • Once most of the syrup soaks into the Sobiyets (Approximately 15 minutes) put it in the fridge.  Fridge is a key step.
  • Sobiyets will look "crispy".  Move them to a serving plate.  Pour whatever syrup is left in the pan over them.  
  • Sprinkle with ground pistachios just before serving
One of the best things about this recipe is that it freezes well.  You can make them weeks ahead and store them in the freezer.  If you take them out of the freezer 2 hours before serving, it leaves them a bit cold and crispy which is the preferred way to eat for some people

Sunday, September 5, 2010

GREEK PASTA SALAD

This is a healthy salad.  Original recipe is from Heart and Stroke foundation web site.  I added olives.  I also think sliced cubenalle peppers would be good in this recipe as well.  You can use any shape pasta.  I used bow tie pasta.

2 cups (500 mL) whole-wheat pasta
2 cups (500 mL) diced English cucumber
2 cups (500 mL) grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced red onion
1 cup (250 mL) cubed light feta cheese, rinsed
1/2 cup black olives

Dressing

1/4 cup (50 mL) red wine vinegar
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
1/2 tsp (2 mL) black pepper
  • Cook pasta as per directions on the box. Drain, rinse and place in a large bowl.
  • Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl.  Keep some of the feta cheese for the top.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the salad and toss.
  • Crumble remaining feta cheese at the top of the salad
  • This salad can be made one day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

CHICK PEA STEW (ETLI NOHUT)

I used stewing beef for this recipe.  You can use also use lamb (preferably bone in) or chicken breasts.  Although canned chick peas also work, my recommendation is always to use dried chick peas.  You can taste the difference.  If it is tomato season, you can add in a couple of crushed tomatoes.  I cook mine in a pressure cooker.  You can serve with sticky white rice or bread.  Don't forget the pickles!


1 cup dried chick peas
200 gr. stewing beef
2 medium sized onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 table spoon tomato paste
1/2 table spoon red pepper paste (optionally choose spicy)
Salt and pepper
Hot water
  • Soak the dried chick peas in plenty of water overnight. 
  • The next day, if you are not using a pressure cooker, you will need to boil the chick peas in a pot and enough water to cover the chick peas to soften them first and drain.
  • If you are using canned peas, you can skip the previous steps.  Just drain and wash the chick peas.  Also, you'll need to cook the meat before you add in canned chick peas to avoid them turning to mush.
  • Put chopped onions into a pot with olive oil.  Add in the stewing beef and stir fry a little.  Cover and reduce heat and cook until the meat is soft
  • Add in chick peas, tomato paste, pepper paste, salt and pepper.  Add in boiled water
  • Cook for another 5-10 minutes
  • Serve with sticky rice or bread (juice is really good for dunking)
Note: In the pressure cooker, I add all of the ingredients (after soaking time for the chick peas) together.  I add in 3/4 cup hot water.  Once the pressure cooker is ready, reduce heat and cook for only 5 minutes.  I turn off the stove and leave it on until it is time to serve.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ITALIAN RICE WITH NOODLES

Easiest side dish ever. Goes with everything.  You can choose any shape noodles, star shaped, alpahbets, or just regular orzo or soup noodles.  You can also serve them with a spoon or use a design for company with cookie cutters or small cups. You simply put the rice in a cup, press and turn it over on the plate.


1 cup Unico Italian style rice
2 cups water
1.5 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon noodles
2 tablespoon butter
  • Put the butter in a pot with the noodles.  Brown them.
  • Add water and salt and bring to boil
  • Add washed rice
  • Reduce heat to low
  • Cover and cook for 15 minutes
Note: Rice may require different amount of water and cooking time.  Make sure to read the package instructions.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

CRACKED WHEAT WITH STEWING BEEF (ETLI BULGUR PILAVI)

All the tomatoes I was growing in my backyard turned red all at once this year.  I was thinking about how to use them before they go bad.  I remembered this recipe from my mom's kitchen.  It's been a very long time since I had this dish.  I did not realize how much I missed it.



150 gr stewing beef (cut into small pieces)
2 cups cracked wheat (coarse)
4 cups water
2 Onions
2 tomatoes
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Optional: 1 teaspoon pepper paste
2 cubennella peppers
3 tablespoons cooking oil
salt, red pepper, black pepper
  • First get all the ingredients ready.  Chop the onions.  Clean and chop the green  peppers.  Peel and chop the tomatoes
  • Put oil in a pot.  Add the onions and stir fry them until soft
  • Add in the stewing beef and stir fry all of it together until the beef changes colour.
  • Cover, reduce heat and cook until all the juice from the beef is gone.
  • Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper paste and water.  I suggest starting with 3 cups of water first as it is not easy to predict how much water different types of bulgur require to cook.  Keep boiled water ready.  You can always add more.
  • Bring to boil.  Add seasoning (salt and peppers)
  • Add bulgur
  • Cover.  Cook at reduced heat until bulgur is soft.  Add more water if required
  • Remove from heat.  Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

COCONUT PUDDING (YALANCI KESKUL)

I don't know how to translate this to English so I called it coconut pudding.  This is a popular Turkish desert. There is no eggs or butter in it so it is very light and tasty.  Serve it cold for best results.


3 cups milk (750 ml. 2% or whole milk works best)
1/2 cup (120 gr.) sugar
2 tablespoons (5 gr) shredded coconut
1/3 cup (35 gr) rice flour
1 package vanilla
Little less than 1/3 cup ground almonds (25 gr)
Decorations: cinnamon and ground pistachios
  • Mix milk, sugar and rice flour together until they are disolved in the milk
  • Cook at medium heat.  The mixture should cook until a little more runny than regular pudding
  • Add vanilla and cook for another couple of minutes
  • Pour into cups and and cover with Saran wrap to avoid them getting a thick skin on the top.
  • Leave in the fridge until cool.  Couple of hours
  • Decorate with cinnamon and ground pistachios
  • Enjoy.

Monday, August 2, 2010

SOUR CHERRY JAM (VISNE RECELI)

I was visiting a blog called "Kitchen of Oz" which I incorrectly assumed belonged to Dr. Oz (very funny!!!). I  saw his Sour Cherry Jam recipe. I thought of the recipe I have which has been in our family for many generations. Ours does not cook very much at all. It does most of its cooking in the sun!!!

This jam is very special. My kids were born and raised in Canada.  They were first introduced to this jam when they were very little when we went to my mom's cottage in Bodrum, Turkiye.  Nothing like sitting on the balcony with the ocean view surrounded with family and lots of love and laughter.  It is this family setting we miss the most and the breakfast table that includes fresh breads, simits, feta cheese, watermelon, tomato and cucumbers along with all kinds of jams but in the centre of it all is the sour cherry jam that gets prepared specially for us before we get there.

1 kg. sugar
1 kg. sour cherries
1/2 teaspoon butter
  • Wash the sour cherries and take the seeds out. My aunt is a professional when it comes to removing the seeds. A clean bobby pin may come in handy
  • Put the cherries in a wide pot. Pour 1/2 the sugar over the cherries. Cover and leave overnight. You'll find lots of juice in the pot the next morning
  • Add the rest of the sugar and the butter (butter stops the 'foam") and start boiling.
  • Boil at medium heat for 10 minutes and remove the cherries to preserve their plump look
  • Continue to boil the rest for another 15 minutes
  • Add the Cherries for the last 5 minutes of cooking
  • Total cooking time should not exceed 30 minutes
  • Put in jars. Cover with a cheese cloth to protect from bugs. Leave in the hot sun for a couple of days
  • Then enjoy for holiday weekend breakfast with the family in the backyard or the cottage.

Friday, July 30, 2010

EASY PASTA & FETA BOREK WITH PHYLLO PASTRY (BAKLAVA HAMURUNDAN MAKARNA BOREGI)

I posted this recipe before but it was made with home made dough.  This version is made with Phyllo dough to reduce cooking time.   My family preferred this version because the dough was softer. 

1/2 package phyllo pastry
     (about 8 sheets for the top and 8 sheets at the bottom)

250 gr. Farfalle (bow tie pasta)
300 gr. Feta cheese
4-5 tablespoons parsley

Sauce:
4 eggs (save one of the egg yolks for the top)
1.5 cups milk
3/4 cup cooking oil

Large size pan (10.5 inch x 14.75 inch x 2.25 inch)
  • I found not every bow tie pasta is the same in thickness.  Thinner versions are better for this recipe. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and let it cool.
  • Separate 1 yolk from the eggs.  Mix all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl until they are blended together. 
  • Divide the sauce in half.  One half will be used to wet the dough the other half will be mixed into the pasta.
  • Crumple the feta cheese and mix with cleaned but dry chopped parsley
  • Mix pasta, 1/2 the sauce, feta and parsley all together in a big bowl.
  • Divide the package of phyllo pastry in half.  Only use the half for this recipe.  If you wrap it well, you can freeze the rest for another time.  So, you need 1/4 package phyllo pastry for the bottom and 1/4 for the top.
  • Spray the bottom of the pan so it does not stick to the bottom. 
  • Line the bottom of the pan with 2 sheets of phyllo pastry.   If it is too big for the pan, just squeeze it in.  Put 4-5 tablespoon of the sauce.  Make sure the pastry is soaked well.  Continue until the bottom half of the dough is used.  You should use 1/4 of the sauce for this.
  • You'll need to do the same for the top half so save 1/4 of the sauce. 
  • Pour the Pasta and Feta mix in the pan 
  • Top with the remaining dough 2 sheets at a time pouring some of the sauce in between to soak the pastry.  Save about 5 tablespoons of the sauce for the very top layer and mix with previously saved egg yolk.
  • Cook at 350 until the top is golden brown.  Aprox. 35 to 45 minutes

Saturday, July 24, 2010

CARROT AND TURNIP SALAD (TURPLU HAVUC SALATASI)

I love, love, love this salad.  It is one of my dad's favorite salads too.  Goes well as a side dish with just about everything.

3 medium sized carrots
1 medium sized white turnip
1 lemon (juiced)
salt
1/4 cup olive oil
Optional and for presentation only black olives
  • Scrape and wash the carrots
  • Peel the turnip
  • Using a food processor, or a manual shredder, shred carrots and the turnip (using the large side of the shredder)
  • Put them together in a bowl
  • Add salt and olive oil
  • Start adding lemon juice a little at a time and continue mixing.  I like lots of lemon juice but if you prefer less, adding a little at a time will help you find your preferred amount.
  • Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Stir before serving
  • Decorate with black olives and parsley

Sunday, July 11, 2010

SWEET KURABIYE WITH MAHLEP (MAHLEPLI KURABIYE - TATLI)

In Turkish cooking, sesame seeds are typically used for salted dishes.   This is the first recipe I found where a cookie (sweet) using sesame seeds on it.  I followed the recipe reluctantly.  Result: Excellent!!


1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup (125 gr) margarine
1egg (reserve white for the glaze)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon mahalep (you can find this in middle eastern stores)
Flour

Top:
Egg white
sesame seeds
  • Melt the margarine
  • Add milk, sugar, milk, oil, salt, 1 egg yolk, baking powder,mahalep together
  • Slowly add flour to get a soft dough.  Cover, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Take a small piece (size of a tangerine). Shape as you like.
  • Whisk egg white
  • Dip the "cookies" in egg white first and then in sesame seeds
  • Cook in oven that is preheated at 350 until it is golden brown

Friday, July 2, 2010

BABA GANOUSH

This is a dip or a side dish.  Origin is Arabic but used widely in most of the Middle Eastern countries.  I usually buy it at the store.  I thought I would try and make my own this time.   It tastes quite different than the store bought version because store bought versions have mayo in it.  So, it is really not the real thing.  I liked the original version because I like eggplants and you can taste it better.  I also tried another variation (I added garlic yogurt sauce) which tasted awesome too.  My kids, on the other hand ,preffered the store bought version with mayonnaise which I will publish later.

If you are serving this dish as a dip, use pieces of toasted Pita breads or crackers.  If you are using it as a side dish, try it with beef or lamb.

1 large egg plant
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1.5 tablespoon Tahini (sesame paste)
1.5 tablespoon olive oil
salt, pepper, paprika
Optional: 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1 crushed garlic
  • Ideally this recipe should have the nice smell of barbecued on the eggplants.  If you can prepare the eggplants on the barbeque.  Wash and make a few slits on the eggplants and barbeque until they are soft 
  • Otherwise, preheat a toaster oven (normal oven will do as well) to 400 degrees.
  • Wash and cut the eggplant in half.  Sprinkle a bit of olive oil on the eggplants, wrap then in tin foil and cook for approx. 1 hour (until eggplant is soft)
  • Let the eggplant cool covered.  Then scoop out the insides.
  • Crush garlic
  • Add all of the ingredients together in a food processor and get a creamy mixture
  • Taste to see if you would like to add more salt or any other spices like cumin or hot red peppers
  • For another variation, you can optionally add 1/2 cup of yogurt with another addition of garlic
  • Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving 

PASTA WITH BASIL PESTO

This is my first year growing Basil in my backyard.  We had a lot of rain this year and I now have more Basil than I can use so I started searching for recipes with Basil.  This one seemed like one my family would enjoy and I was right!!!  This is an ideal recipe for garlic lovers.  I too like garlic a lot but garlic does not love me back because it upsets my stomach especially when it is used raw in recipes.  For those in the same situation, I would recommend adding garlic last and saving pesto without the garlic first for themselves.

Apparently this pesto is perfectly good for freezing.  I will be making lots of it and freeze for the winter.  I also learned lots of people grow Basil in the house through the winter or dry them.  I am thinking I may try those options too.


Pesto:
2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts (walnuts or cashews would work too.  Make sure they are unsalted)
2 cloves of crushed garlic (optional)
2 cups of basil leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

2.5 cups pasta of your choice
  • Toast pine nuts at low heat (250 degrees) until they are crispy.  Toasting is optional.  You can use them as they are or you can use unsalted walnuts or cashews.  If you are not fond of nuts, you can omit them altogether
  • Crush the garlic
  • Put basil leaves in the food processor and chop them coarsely
  • Add in garlic, cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper to get a creamy pesto.  Be sure to scrape the sides once for better consistency
  • Cook pasta according to package instructions
  • Mix pesto and and pasta together
  • You can serve this with fish or chicken.  Pesto is good for grilled vegetables as well
  • Pesto can be made ahead and will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days.  You can freeze in a sealed jar for 6 months
You can use this recipe with a few modifications of course to make mint pesto for lamb recipes.  For Mint Pesto, omit Parmesan, replace basil with mint and optionally replace olive oil with canola oil.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

NOAH'S ARK DESSERT (ASURE)

This dish is believed to be originated on Noah's ark.  They say that the last few days of the flood, most of the food was gone.  They had a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  They threw everything in a pot and made Asure which lasted them until they were able to get on dry land.  This day is declared to be a special day that is later followed by birth of Jesus on the same day.  In Turkey, Asure is made and shared with family, friends and neighbours during Asure month.  It is a celebration of God's generosity and blessings.


1/2 kg cracked wheat
1 cup dry chick peas
1 cup dry haricot beans
1/2 cup white rice
100 gr dry apricots
100 gr. dry figs
150 gr. raisins
1 kg. sugar
2 orange peels
Optional: 1/4 cup rosewater
Optional: Cooked and peeled chestnuts (for bottom of the individual cups)
For decorations: coconuts, cinnamon, pomegranate seeds, walnut pieces
  • This is not a difficult recipe to follow but you need to start the process overnight (8-9 hours before) for soak time.
  • Put the cracked wheat in a big pot.  Add water.  Water must top the wheat by about 15 cm (put 4 your fingers together as a measurement by sight).  Bring it to boil once.  Set aside for overnight "soaking"
  • Put beans ad chick peas together and add water.  Bring to boil once and set aside overnight for "soaking"
  • Next morning, drain beans and chick peas.  Add more water and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling until they are soft.  Approx. 2.5 - 3 hours.  Add more water if required.
  • In a separate pot, bring wheat to boil, reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until very soft (almost mash).  This too takes approx. 2.5 to 3 hours.  Make sure it is not covered to avoid from boiling over.  Add water as required.
  • 20 minutes before wheat is finished, add rice.
  • Add wheat, beans and chick peas together.  Continue to boil for another 10-15 minutes at low heat.
  • Cut up apricots, and figs.  Wash 2 oranges and grade skin.
  • Add  sugar, apricots, figs, orange peels, raisins, and rosewater.  Boil once and take off the heat
  • As Asure waits, it thickens.  You can add boiled water to bring to desired consistency.
  • You can serve Asure in a big pot and so it can be spooned out to smaller cups or you can make individual cups.  Optionally, you can put cooked and peeled chestnuts at the bottom of individual servings.  I personally do not like chestnuts or the pomegranate seeds in this dish
  • You can decorate with any combination of pomegranate seeds, coconut, walnut pieces and Cinnamon. 
  • You can eat it at room temperature or cold right out of the fridge in warm summer nights.  Believe it or not, some people like to eat this for breakfast.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

CHILI

Filling and tasty dish Chili.  Good for cold winter nights or cool spring dinners.  You can have it in a bowl or make individual servings inside buns by removing the middle of the buns to make a "hole" and filling it with Chili.  Go ahead and spread shredded cheese on top. 


250 gr. ground beef or ground chicken
1 can (540 ml) kidney beans
1 can (213 ml) tomato sauce
1 package (35 gr) seasoning mix (I use Clubhouse seasoning packages) or make your own
Optional: Shredded Cheese
               1/4 cup water if you prefer your Chili juicy

Home made seasoning mix:
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoon chopped jalapeno peppers
1 onion very finely chopped
1 green pepper seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • In a skillet, ground beef over medium heat.  Cook until all the juices and fat evaporates.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, and the seasoning mix and cook for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.  If you like your Chili a little juicy for dunking your bread add 1/4 cup water.
  • Add in drained and rinsed in cold water kidney beans and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Spread shredded cheese on top (optional)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

VEGETARIAN STUFFED PEPPERS (ZEYTINYAGLI BIBER DOLMASI)

This is a wonderful vegetarian recipe.  Aroma of allspice and cinnamon combined with dill and other herbs makes it appeal to your sense of smell as well as your sense of taste.  Use of different coloured peppers adds colour to your dinner table..This recipe is good for stuffing all kinds of vegetables.  Try stuffing egglplants, zucchini, grape leaves or cabbage for other varieties.  I like squeezing additional lemon juice on my stuffed peppers.  My daughters prefer yogurt and garlic sauce. 


2 cups plain white rice
4 cups boling water (1/2 for the rice, 1/2 for the stuffed peppers)
1 cup olive oil
6 - 7 medium onions
1 table spoon pine nuts
2 table spoonts currants
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 bunch dill
1 table spoon dried mint flakes
1 table spoon salt (or as you like)
1 whole lemon juice
1 teaspoon each of sugar, allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
750 gr. cubannella peppers
Optional: 1-2 Roma Tomatos (sliced to be used as "cap")
  • Note: Size and type of the peppers and the amount of rice you will need are directly related.  For example, if you are using mix of big red peppers and cubannella peppers, big red peppers will require more stuffing just because they are bigger.  You'll need to do this sizing by sight.  I used 1.5 tablespoons as average per pepper
  • Chop the onions using a chopper or grade them.
  • Stir fry onions and pine nuts in 3/4 cup oil
  • Add in rice and stir fry together a little longer.  Add in equal amount of boiling to the amount of rice you used.  For example, if your rice was 2 cups, use 2 cup of boiling water.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook until rice looks more like a pilaf.  This is approximately 10 - 15 minutes.  Be sure to stir occassionally.  Let it rest for 20 minutes.
  • While you are waiting for the rice to cool a bit wash and prepare your peppers by cutting the top parts off and removing all the seeds.  You can make a cap with the top part for presentation purposes but make sure the seeds on the inside the "cap" are all removed.  Chop parsley, and dill.  Juice the lemon, wash your currants and prepare your spices.
  • Combine all of the herbs and spices with rice.  Now you are ready to stuff the peppers.
  • Stuff all your peppers.  Put the "caps" on them.  The "cap" can be a slice of tomato or the top of the pepper.  Place them in a single layer in a large pot.
  • Pour in 2 cups of boiling water from the side of the pot.  Put the lid on a little bit ajar.
  • Cook in medium heat until all of the water is gone.  This may take 30 minutes.  You will find the peppers will soften.  In the last 5 minutes, keep an eye to make sure they do not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

SALMON ON A BED OF SPINICH

Spinich is a very good compliment for Salmon.  You can cook them separately and combine on your plate as you wish.  If you like the taste of Salmon more, you can use less Spinich on your serving. 
 
4 pieces of Salmon
2 tablespoons Butter
1 garlic clove (crushed)
1 Lemon
Salt

500 gr Spinich (1 package)
1 Onion
Salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Clean and chop Spinich.  Chop the onion
  • Saute the onion in 2 tablespoon of oil. 
  • Add Spinich, salt, pepper and cook in slow heat.  Approx. 15 minutes.  No need to add water. 
  • Cook Salmon as you wish.  I cooked mine on the barbeque wrapped in foil.  Put Salmon stakes or cut up pieces on a large piece of Aliminium foil.  Sprinkle salt, butter and lemon juice.  Wrap in foil and cook at medium heat on the barbeque for 20 minutes
  • Serve Salmon on Spinich with your favorite side dishes like rice and coleslaw or potato salad
Oven baked option:
  • Put  washed and cleaned Spinich on a large pan
  • Put Salmon fillets on top of the Spinich
  • Sprinkle Salmon with salt and pepper
  • Pour butter, lemon juice and crushed garlic over everything
  • Cover the pan with foil
  • Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degree (preheated oven) 

Monday, May 24, 2010

FRESH FRUITS

I love fresh fruits.  I always make sure we have some ready for after dinner.  Good replacement for high calorie deserts.  I have recently learned that fruits should be consumed 1 hour after you have your meals or 1 hour before in order for your body to benefit from all of its nutrients.  I am not sure I can wait that long after dinner to dig into nice cold fruits on a hot summer evening... This is my arrangement for a recent get together at my house with a few good friends.  Nothing special really... I just cut them up, arranged them nicely, cooled them in the fridge and served.


"TURKISH PIZZA" WITH MEAT TOPPING (LAHMACUN)

Life is very busy....  It is always good to know short cuts for when you are in a hurry.  Although short cuts are not as good, they are close enough in taste to serve as quick alternatives.  Here is the short cut for this recipe...  Making the dough and the crust is the most time consuming part of this dish.  You can use store bought Tortillas for the crust.  Down side of using Tortillas is they are best right out of the oven but they dry out when left over for use the next day. 

Another option is use of store bought fresh pizza dough.  This option does save you time in making the the dough but you still have to roll them out to make the crust.  They keep well for the next day.  I personally don't like to do this because I find Pizza dough very sticky for this recipe.

Of course the best taste comes from making them from scratch...


Dough:
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon dry yeast (1 package)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups flour

Topping:
500 gr. lean ground beef or lean ground lamb
3 medium sized onions
3 cloves of garlic
3 medium sized tomatos
3 cubanella peppers
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon red pepper paste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt, blackpepper, cumin, red pepper flakes

Filling (Optional):
Parsley
Lemon juice
Onions
  • To make the dough, heat 1/2 cup milk in the microwave to luke warm; in a tall glass.  Add in sugar and yeast.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  The yeast will rise in the glass.
  • Mix together remaining milk, salt, yeast and flour.  Make a fairly hard dough.  If you need to, you can add a bit of water.  Let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Take your dough and break into small "balls" size of a large lemon.  Let it rest for 1 hour. 
  • Prepare the topping by putting all of the ingredients into the blender and mix at high speed until you get a them to the consistency of a paste
  • Roll out very thin crust with each of the small balls
  • Divide the topping to equal the number of dough balls and put paste over each of the crusts
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  This is a must!
  • Cook until the bottoms of your pizza turns golden brown (10 - 15 minutes)
  • Serve with cut up lemon (to be squeezed on the pizza), sliced onions, parsley.  Some people also like sliced lettuce and graded carrots as a filling
  • You spread lemon juice all over the "pizzas" and roll them up like a wrap to eat
If you end up with too much of the topping and not enough dough, try topping slices of French bread or English muffin for snacks.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

BARBEQUED KOFTE (IZGARA KOFTE/IZGARA SIS)

One recipe, multiple ways to serve.  Make it into Koftes (meatballs) and serve with rice and salads or put it on skewers for stuffed pita along with your choice "stuffings" such as lettuce, onion, tomato, mayo, hot peppers, maybe even green olives (yum yum).

How about using a burger maker to serve as hamburgers on gourmet burger buns or smaller meatballs on minibuns for baby hamburgers as appetizer at a large get together? 

Meatloaf is another choice with mashed potatos and beans as side dishes.  So many ideas from a single recipe.


500 gr. lean ground beef (for variation you can use 1/2 ground chicken and 1/2 ground beef)
1/2 package Lipton's onion soup
1 onion chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
salt
pepper
chopped parsley (optional)
Barbeque sauce (brushed on the kofte's just before taking them off the barbeque)
  • Mix all of the ingredients together and shape them any way you like
  • Barbeque.  We like a little brushing of barbeque sauce on the kofte's just before taking them off them the barbeque
  • Serve with fresh salads.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

CELERY SALAD (ZEYTINYAGLI KEREVIZ SAPI)

Who would have thought Celery would taste this good cooked. 

1 bunch celery
1 carrot
1 onion
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic
1 table spoon rice
1 table spoon noodles (I used star shaped ones)
Salt
  • Put olive oil in a pot
  • Stir fry chopped onions, finely chopped garlic and noodles together
  • You can chop the cleaned celery either length wise or width
  • Clean and chop carrots.  You can grade them or cut legth wise as well
  • Add in carrots, celery, rice, water and salt and sugar
  • Cook at medium heat for 20 minutes (until vegetables are soft)
  • Some people add in 1/2 lemon juice after it is cooked but we don't like the sour taste.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

SPINACH AND POTATO SALAD (PATATESLI ISPANAK SALATASI)

Super easy, healthy, delicious and versatile (you can serve it as an appetizer with crakers or pita bread or a side dish as salad)... What else can you ask for??  What's interesting about it is..spinach is uncooked.

If you feel, it would be even healthier without the Mayonnaise, try replacing it with crushed garlic.


1 package (250 to 300 gr.) spinach leaves
3 medium sized potatos
1 cup plain yogurt (juice drained)
2 - 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt
  • Boil potatos in water.  Everyone has their own way of boiling potatos.  Some people peel and cut them before boiling in salt water.  I like to boil mine whole with skin on.  I drain and let them cook before peeling.
  • You only use the leaves for this recipe.  Wash spinach leaves and let them dry completely.
  • Drain juice of plain yogurt.  Easiest way to do this is put it in a strainer over a bowl and leave in the fridge for an hour.
  • When ready to put it all together, mash the potatos and using a food processor chop spinach leaves very small
  • Mix together mashed potatos, spinach leaves, olive oil, salt, yogurt, and mayonnaise
  • Put in a bowl and decorate as you please.  I used parsley for my picture

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

COTTAGE CHEESE PUFFS

My friend Peri served these as an appetizer at our last visit with her family.  She took the recipe from one of her friends at a visit.  I served it as an appetizer for friends last weekend who also asked for the recipe.  I guess this is one of those favorites passed on from friend to friend.  I am sure everyone will add their own touch.  For example, I added the sesame seeds as they were not in the original recipe.  I may even try this with half the butter replaced with plain yogurt for more "healtier" version.  Mix of shapes like stars, circles and hearts or sizes may also be good for fun variations.
2 cups butter (500 gr)
2 cups pressed cottage cheese (see the picture below)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour (500 gr)
1 egg yolk
Sesame seeds for the top (optional)


  • If butter is room temperature, then just mush it together with all of the ingredients.  If out of the fridge, you can grade it first into the flour.
  • Add in salt.  Please be careful with the salt.  If you are using unsalted butter, you will need 1 teaspoon but if you are using salted butter, you'll need to reduce salt.  Add in the cottage cheese.  You'll get a nice soft dough.
  • Roll out to 1.5 cm sheets and cut into shapes with small cookie cutter
  • Put on a cookie sheet lined with cooking paper and cover with plastic and leave in the fridge overnight.
  • When ready to cook, prepare egg yolk glaze by separating the yolk from the white and mixing it with a teaspoon of cold water.
  • Remove plastic.  Glaze puffs with the egg yolk glaze.  Sprinkle sesame seeds.
  • Cook at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes until they are golden brown 

Sunday, March 28, 2010

LADIES THIGH MEATBALLS (KADIN BUDU KOFTE)

It is interesting that many Turkish dishes are named after women's body parts. I think it is because they are passionate about food. Eating and drinking together is a very big part of the culture. These "meatballs" are called Ladies Thigh Kofte. Years of living in Canada, I had forgotten about this dish until my Aunt came to visit us and made it for us. I remember as a child this dish being part of picnic baskets because they are just as good cold as they are warm

500 gr. ground beef
2 onions (medium)
1/3 cup cooked plain white rice
3 eggs
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 bunch parsley
salt
black pepper
6 tablespoons flour
  • Cook plain white rice as usual (1 measure rice, 2 measures water, cook for 15 minutes covered and at low heat). Set aside to cool
  • Stir fry 1/2 the ground beef in 1 tablespoon oil until fully cooked and set aside to cool
  • Clean and chop parsley
  • Combine remaining uncooked beef, chopped onions, cooked rice, stir fried beef, 1 egg, salt and pepper together. Make oval looking meat balls
  • Sprinkle bottom of a pan with half the flour and place the meatballs on the flour. Sprinkle remaining flour on top of the meat balls
  • When ready to serve, mix together 2 eggs and dip each of the meatballs in eggs and fry them in low heat

I served mine with rice in this picture but you can try serving it with Frech Fries.

TURKISH EASTER BREAD (PASKALYA COREGI)

I thought I would be topical with this recipe with Easter just around the corner. Turkiye may have been the very first true multi-cultural community hundereds of years ago where all religions lived together in piece and respected one another's views. To the point where neighbours helped celebrate each other's special days together regardless of their religion, culture, or language. Turkish easter bread was cooked in homes all over through the easter season.
2 eggs (save the yolk of one for the top)
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup warm milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon mahalep
Flour

  • Put 1/2 cup warm milk in a tall glass. Add in 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 teaspoon yeast. Stir and let it sit for 15 minutes until the yeast rises
  • Mix the 1 egg and the white of the second egg together. Add in sugar, salt, milk, cooking oil and mahalep.
  • Start adding flour. After the first cup, start adding a little at a time until you make a dough that is soft. Add enough flour that it does not stick to your hands.
  • Let it rest for a couple of hours. The dough will rise.
  • Take small pieces of dough and roll into "strands" (look like long pencils)
  • Use three "strands" to "braid" your dough together to take the shape of the easter bread
  • Continue until you use all your dough
  • Mix 1 tablespoon cold water with the remaining egg yolk and spread over the easter bread
  • Cook at 350 until golden brown

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CREAM CHEESE FILLED CHOCHOLATE CUPCAKES

A different taste in cupcakes with cream cheese filling. Can be changed to be topical. For example, for St. Patrick's day, you can make your topping green using green food colouring with white chocolates or on Valentines day, you can add red food colouring with white chocolates for the topping. Mint flavored chocolates give it a nice scent too.

When you use packaged cake mix, it is easy but if you feel ambitious, you can make your own cake for the base as well. This recipe makes 12 large cupcakes (or 24 small).


1 (520 gr) package chocolate cake mix

Cream Cheese filling:

250 gr. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon salt

Topping:
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon corn starch

  • 3 tablespoons mint flavoured chocolate chips
    Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. This usually requires 2-3 eggs, oil and water.
  • Line a cupcake pan with paper cupcake holders
  • Fill 2/3 of the cupcake holder with cake batter
  • Prepare the filling by mixing all of the ingredients together
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling in each of the cupcakes. If you choose, you can add another spoonful of cake batter on top but that is not necessary because the cake rises over the cream cheese filling
  • Cook at 350 for 25 to 35 minutes. You can test if it is ready by sticking a wooden skewer or a toothpick in the middle of the cupcake. If it comes out clean, they are ready
  • Set aside to cool
  • Prepare topping by combining all (except chocolates) in a small pot. Make sure everything is blended well. Cooking over a low heat until it thickens remove from heat. Add in the chocolate chips and let them melt by mixing it continually.
  • Spoon the topping over the cupcakes and let cool completely before serving

Friday, March 19, 2010

WALNUT PASTE (MUHAMMARA)

This appetizer can be served with Crackers, Melba Toast or Pita Bread. For brunch, breakfast or afternoon snack you can spread on pieces of bread. It is full of garlic and spices. When stored in a tightly closed jar and kept in the fridge, it can last a long time.

150 gr walnuts
2 slices of day old bread
1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
2 pieces of garlic
Cumin
Black Pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Chop walnuts into small pieces (I use a blender because I don't like this very crunchy)
  • Soak bread in water to soften. Squeeze the water out in your hand. Crumble and add to the walnuts
  • Crush garlic and blend with walnut and bread mixture and all of the remaining ingredients
  • Serve with crackers or toasted bread pieces
  • You can decorate with parsley if you like

Thursday, March 18, 2010

LEEK FILLED PUFF PASTRY (PIRASALI BOREK)

This recipe is very easy to make simply because the pastry is store bought so there is no fuss. It can be your main dish when served with salad or a side dish when company is coming but left overs always make a good lunch.


1 package puff pastry

1 bunch leek
2 carrots
1 medium sized onion
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tespoon salt
2 tablespoon cooking oil
1 tablespoon rice (optional)

For glaze:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

Sesame seeds
  • Clean and wash the leek. This is likely the most complicated part of this recipe. I personally don't enjoy having to do this part. Cut the top part. Peel outer layers. Cut in small circles and wash. I usually leave it in cold water for about an hour in case I miss some of the sand that is usally between the leaves. Then I remove them out of the water by hand and rinse again to make sure all of the sand is washed away.
  • Scrap the carrots and cut them in small pieces
  • Chop the onions
  • In a big pot, stir fry the onions and then add all of the remaining ingredients.
  • Bring to boil and reduce heat immediately. Cook for 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool fully before using it as filling
  • Roll out the dough with some flour (normal thickness) and cut into squares
  • Put 1 or 2 tablespoon of your leek filling. Be sure not to take too much of the juice as it will spill out while cooking
  • Fold the ends over each other to make a little pouch
  • Turn them over on the lined cookie sheet. Make sure there is enough space between each one
  • Mix egg yolk with cold water and glaze each of your "pouches" with this mixture
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cook 30 to 45 minutes until they are golden brown

Friday, March 12, 2010

BANANA LOG CAKE

This cake always looked very complicated and intimidating to me until I tried it. It is actually very easy make but can be a bit messy in the Kitchen. It is always a favorite because it is light and delicious. Another good thing about this cake is that it tastes better on the second day so, make it a day before and leave in the fridge overnight.

3 Eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
3 tablespoon cooking oil
1 package vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup flour


Cream:
2.5 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 full tablespoon flour
1 full tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons butter
1 package vanilla
1 package powder whipped cream (see the picture below)

2 peeled bananas

For decorations: flaked coconut or ground walnut or hazelnuts


  • For the cake part: in a cake mixer, mix 3 eggs and 1 cup sugar together really well. It starts changing colour to white
  • Add in milk, cooking oil, baking powder, vanilla and flour last. Don't mix too much once the flour is added (just enough to mix through)
  • Spread cooking paper on the baking sheet
  • Cook at 350 until golden brown (approximately 20 to 25 minutes)

  • Once the cake is ready. Take it out of the oven and roll into a log with the cooking paper
  • Let it cool fully before attempting to use it to avoid breaking

  • Start getting the cream ready
  • In a pot, mix together: milk, egg,  sugar, flour, corn starch
  • Cook to pudding consistency on medium heat and stirring constantly
  • Add in butter. Once the butter melts, add in vanilla and remove from heat
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl or a blender
  • Blend to smooth out any lumps
  • Add in whipped cream and continue to mix for another 2 minutes
  • Once the cake is fully cooled, roll it out. It is important to separate it from the cooking paper before attempting to fill it with the cream
  • Save some of the cream for decorations. Spread most of the cream on the cake
  • Peel 2 bananas and break them in half
  • Place the bananas at one end of the cake over the cream and gently roll into a log paying attention keeping most of the cream inside the log. Some of the cream will spill out. Don't worry.
  • You can cut the ends if you would like a "perfect" log
  • Spread the remaining cream on the log
  • Decorate with coconut flakes or ground nuts like walnuts
  • Leave in the fridge overnight