Friday, July 30, 2010


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

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


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)
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


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)

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


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 


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.

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.