Quick & Healthy Bulgur Bowls

Delicious nutrient packed bulgur paired with fresh veggies, egg, chickpeas and a simple tahini dressing makes this dish a perfect quick weeknight meal.

If you’ve ever had a super long day (all of us had) and still wanted to enjoy a healthy and quick dinner, then this recipe is for you. To make bulgur, you don’t even need a stove or any pots or pans. Simply add hot water to the bulgur, stir and cover for 10 minutes, and that’s it! So simple!

Plus, this is something you can make ahead of time. It makes a great lunch to bring to work. Especially if you layer all of the ingredients together in a mason jar…wow! So beautiful and so good!

Here’s the recipe:

Healthy Bulgur Bowls

Serves 1 large bulgur bowl
(simply multiply this recipe based on the desired servings)

  • 1/3 c fine bulgur
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley (diced)
  • 1/4 c frozen corn (defrosted)
  • 1/4 c cucumber (diced)
  • 1/4 c carrots (shredded)
  • 1/4 c tomato (diced)
  • 1/4 c chickpeas (canned, rinsed & drained)
  • 7 black olives (pitted)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP tahini
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

 

Preparation:

To cook the bulgur, place the bulgur in a bowl and add boiling water. Add the dried mint (if desired), salt and pepper. Stir and cover (with plastic wrap or a plate) for 10 minutes until the bulgur is done).

Boil the egg for 10-15 minutes or until done.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Shred the carrots and set aside.

Dice the parsley, cucumber and tomatoes.

To assemble the bulgur bowl, stir the bulgur with a fork. Then layer the ingredients on top of the bulgur one by one to create a beautiful display (as desired).

To make the dressing, whisk together the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the bulgur bowl.

Serve & Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

 

 

Lamb Chop Soup (Ormon)

It all starts with roasted lamb chops. They’re browned to perfection and then added to a stock pot to create a delicious soup.

Here’s the recipe:

  •  lamb chops
  • 2 TBSP ground beef
  • 6.5 c suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c chickpeas (frozen)
  • 1 white onion (diced)
  • 3 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 tsp saffron
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Place the lambs chops on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 1 hour or until browned. Remove from oven and set aside.

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In a large stock pot, cook the ground beef until browned. Add 1 TBSP of sunflower oil and then add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add the chickpeas.

Add the chops to the pot then add enough water to cover them (approximately 2 liters).

Season with 1 tsp of saffron, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer on medium low heat for about 30 minutes.

In another saucepan, whisk together the yogurt with 1 egg. Warm the yogurt mixture over low heat until slightly warm but not hot. Pour the yogurt into the soup and stir.

In a small frying pan, heat the remaining 2 TBSP of sunflower oil and another tsp of saffron and add it into the soup.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Halva (Peynirli Un Helvasi)

Halva is a sweet dessert found throughout Central Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and many other parts of the world. There are a few variations of Halva including several variations of, a tahini (sesame seed paste) halva and a flour halva.
Nowadays, it’s easily found in many stores throughout the world. But, making this confectionary at home is also a reasonable possibility.  This simple recipe is for a flour based halva. The process is similar to making a roux, béchamel or a gravy except that it is indeed of course, sweet. This variation of the flour halva includes an unsalted cheese that is barley melted through the halva. The cheese creates a flavorful and unique twist on the classic dessert.
Here’s the recipe:
Flour Halva with Cheese
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c sunflower oil
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c milk
  • 3/4 c Antep peynir (grated) (substitute: unsalted mozerella)
  • 1 TBSP butter
Preparation:
Add the oil to a large stock pot. Using a whisk, gradually add the flour while whisking constantly until smooth.
Then add the sugar slowly, while constantly whisking.
Continue whisking and slowly add the milk until well incorporated.
Add the butter and then with a spatula fold in the grated cheese. As soon as the cheese starts to melt, remove from the heat.
Serve immediately & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Are You Ready to TESTIFY? “Master, I Want to See”

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Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash
What if the one thing that’s standing in the way of your testimony is you? What if you are the one that God is waiting for to participate with Him? What if we’re waiting on His timing, only to discover that He is waiting on us.
We cry out for help and healing and he’s ready to do it but we are not. Sometimes there is some sort of resistance in our lives. Maybe pride? Maybe unbelief? Maybe unforgiveness? Maybe hopelessness? Perhaps we are relying on our own understanding or past experience or present circumstances instead of relying completely on Christ. And so, He waits.
Is there anything in your life today that God may be ready to heal but that He’s waiting for you on? Cry out to Him. He’s listening. If you’re a human being on this earth, He loves you regardless of who you are.
In the story of blind Bartimaeus we read the story of a blind man sitting by the roadside who calls out to Jesus. Even when other people tell him to be quiet, he still cries out even louder until Jesus calls Him over and asks Him something so beautiful,
“What do you want me to do for you?”
What if Jesus is asking you today, “What do you want me to do for you?” Are you honest enough to tell him what you really need? Bartimaeus didn’t sugar coat it, at the heart of his blindness he just said what he desired, “Master, I want to see.”

Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?

The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see!

 Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.”

Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.”

Mark 10: 51-52

Could it be that the obstacle is not God or someone else but you? Could it be that today is our day where we lift up our hands to him, humble our hearts and profess to Him, I’m ready now. “Master, I want to see!”
Are you ready to testify? I am. 

A Traditional Turkish Coffeehouse: Tahmis Kahvesi

Take a trip back in time to simpler era. No cell phones. No laptops. No email. Taking a coffee break at Tahmis Khavesi takes you back to the essence of enjoying a good cup of coffee with good company.

One of the oldest coffeehouses in Turkey, founded in 1635 it is a treasure to visit. The decorative copper pitchers in the stained glass windows, the traditional chandeliers and the classic wood furnishings, it’s such a beautiful place to enjoy a Turkish coffee.

In the winter you’ll be warmly welcomed by the large wood burning heater that is in the middle of the building as soon as you walk in the door. If you venture up the stairs, you’ll be delighted to sit in upper level that overlooks the entire place.

There are games and books and it’s not unusual for people to play some traditional games or read but mostly you’ll just notice people enjoying the company of those that they are with.

“One neither desires coffee nor a coffeehouse. One desires to talk with others, coffee is but an excuse.” A Turkish saying.

 

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Drinking Turkish coffee is such a wonderful experience. Like espresso, it’s served in a small cup and it’s stronger than an average cup of coffee. But unlike espresso, it has a layer of foam on top and a thick layer at the bottom; This part, you don’t drink. The coffee is rich, thick and robust.

Turkish coffee is always served with water and frequently with Turkish delight, chocolate or some sort of snack. The sweet is meant to balance out the strong flavor of the coffee. While Turkish delight is the most traditional option, a little piece of chocolate it becoming more common.

When ordering your coffee, you can either order it without sugar “sade,” a little sugar “az sekerli, an average amount of sugar “sorta sekerli” or very sweet, “sekerli.” No matter what you’re preference, you’re in for a treat!

At Tahmis Khavesi the Turkish coffee is served with some roasted nuts and water. It’s brought to your table in an elegant coffee cup and when you remove the lid, you unveil the beautiful aroma of the steaming Turkish coffee. With one sip, you’ll taste the robust flavor and thick foam. It’s so good. Savor every sip until you reach the thick layer of grounds, which concludes the cup of coffee.

So if you’re looking to experience the best of traditional and modern, then a visit to Tahmis Kahvesi is a must. It’s a one of a kind experience for coffee lovers everywhere.

P.s. Also try the Menengiç coffee (made from the roast berries from pistachio trees) or a classic cup of Turkish tea! Or buy some coffee to take home with you!

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Lamb & Rice Pilaf (Kapamali Firik Pilav)

A savory rice and bulgur pilaf packed with tender & succulent pieces of lamb.

Under pressure. Why is it that some of the most beautiful things in life are created under pressure. Just think about it:

Diamonds are formed… under pressure

Pearls are formed…under pressure

Kapamali Et (Lamb shanks) for this pilaf recipe is cooked…under pressure

It’s true, the lamb goes into a pressure cooker for about an hour until it is tender and delicious. Then it’s coated with a saffron yogurt and baked until the skin is brown and crispy. Then the meat pulls off the bone and is added in large chunks to the bulgur and rice pilaf. One word, YUM.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1.5 kilos of lamb shanks
  • 3 c white rice
  • 1.5 c medium sized bulgur
  • 2 TBSP suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Place the lamb in a pressure cooker and cook for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt and the saffron and set aside.

Remove the lamb from the pressure cooker and place on a baking sheet. Spread the saffron yogurt over the top of the lamb.

Place in the oven on 375F until the skin is brown and crisp.

Remove from the oven and let rest.

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Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Pour in the rice and bulgur. Stir for 2-3 minutes to toast, then pour in about 8-9 cups of hot water.

Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Then reduce the heat to medium low and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the rice and bulgur are tender.

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Pour the rice and bulgur pilaf onto a serving plate.

Shred the lamb into small pieces and place on top of the rice and bulgur pilaf.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

 

 

Savory Turkish Turnovers (Pirincli Börek)

Flakey, crispy and backed with ground beef and saffron rice, these little turnovers are a must try recipe!

One of the many things that I love about börek is that there are so many ways to prepare them. Börek, essentially meaning pastry, is applied to a myriad of delicious turkish pastries, both savory and sweet.

This börek recipe uses yufka, similar to phyllo dough or puff pastry, and it’s packed with ground beef and saffron rice.

Making and tasting these delicious börek, I was immediately reminded of the stories I heard about my grandmothers making “fried pies.” This börek recipe is what I would call a savory fried pie. It’s absolutely delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 6 oz white rice
  • 3.5 c flour
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil plus 3-4 c more for frying
  • 1 TBSP suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 1-2 c water (for the dough)
  • 1.5 c water (for the rice)
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To make the dough: 

Place the flour in a bowl and make a little well in the middle. Add the yogurt and slowly add the water until the dough is shaggy but not sticky.

Turn the dough over on a floured workspace and knead it for 5-10 minutes until smooth.

Shape it into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with plastic warp.

Let the dough rest for 30-45 minutes.

To make the rice:

Rinse and drain the rice.

In a large stock pot add 2 TBSP of sunflower oil.

Once the oil is hot, add the rice and toast it for 2-3 minutes.

Add the saffron, salt and pepper and stir.

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Cover the rice with 1.5 cups of hot water.

Reduce heat to low, cover the rice with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes.

To make the ground beef:

In a small frying pan, sautee the ground beef until it is browned.

Add the olive oil and then the onions and stir.

Season with salt and pepper (to taste).

Once the rice is done cooking, combine it with the beef mixture and set aside.

To make the börek (turnovers):

Take golf ball size pieces of dough, roll them into a ball and set them on a flour sheet pan.

One by one, roll out each ball until it’s about 5-6 inches in diameter.

Place 1 TBSP of the beef and rice filling in the middle of the dough.

Fold over the dough to create a half circle.

Cut off any excess dough with a pizza cutter or knife.

Crimp the edges with your finger or a fork (similar to when you make a pie crust)

Fry in a large frying pan or a deep fryer until it is browned.

Serve and Enjoy while warm.

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Potato & Tomato Stew (Patates Tavasi)

A savory thick, tomato-based potato stew, Patates Tavasi warms the stomach and the soul.

     I’m not exactly sure if this dish is meant to be a stew, but the way I experienced it (in a bowl, served with rice, served with a spoon), it felt like a thick stew. Regardless, it’s delicious. Stew beef is the basis of the dish and gives a basic flavor element to it. Coupled with the tomato paste, red pepper paste, onions and garlic, it is so full of flavor and so delicious!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 300g stew beef chunks
  • 1 small white onion (diced)
  • 4 small red onions (diced)
  • 10 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 5 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 TBSP red pepper paste
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP black pepper
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Sauté the beef chunks in a pan until browned. Then add the butter and keep sautéing.

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Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are translucent.

Add red pepper paste, tomato paste, black pepper and 2 liters of hot water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Add the cubed potatoes and cook until tender.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun

 

How To Make Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic is so delicious & versatile to add to your favorite dips, garlic bread or any recipe!

Roasting garlic is a super simple way to add additional flavor to your favorite recipe. If you don’t like the taste of raw garlic, then roasted garlic is a great substitute. The garlic become less pungent and a bit sweet when it’s roasted. That means you get all the flavor of the garlic with a reduced bitter or spicy taste.

I love to just place a bulb of garlic on a baking sheet and rest in knowing that the oven will do the rest of the work. If you love garlic, then you’ll love this recipe.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt (to taste; just a sprinkle)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

Take your garlic clove and cut off the the very top portion of the bulb just to enough to expose the cloves.

Drizzle the top of the cloves with olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt.

Place the garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and wrap it up like a baked potato or like a little gift (ensuring that the garlic is completely covered by the foil.

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Place in the oven on a baking sheet and roast the garlic for 45-60 minutes, or until the cloves are tender. (Note: the cook time may vary depending on the size of your garlic bulb. I normally use really large bulbs of garlic.)

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Allow the garlic to cool for 10-15 minutes and then unwrap it.

To remove the cloves, simply squeeze the sides of the garlic and you’ll find that the bulbs will easily squeeze right out.

At this point, you can mince the garlic and toss it into anything you like (e.g. hummus, garlic bread, garlic butter, babaganoush, etc.)

Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

Olive Stuffed Pastry (Sade Zeytin Boregi)

A delicious traditional, Turkish, olive pastry, bursting with flavor.

I love olives and I love bread. So this recipe is delightful for me. The filling created it almost like a simple olive salad. Then it is tenderly baked to make these delicious little pockets.

Here’s the recipe:

Sade Zeytin Boregi

  • 3 c green olives
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 3 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1.5 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 TBSP pomegranate molasses
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
Chop the olives and set aside.
In a small frying pan, sauté the onions and garlic with the sunflower oil and olive oil until the onions are translucent.
Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper and stir until well combined.
Remove from the heat and add the onion mixture to the olives.
Drizzle the pomegranate molasses over the mixture and add the walnuts.
Stir until well combined. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and bring it to the FIRIN.
If you don’t have a FIRIN or local baker to prepare the boregi for you, then follow the bread dough recipe below.

Bread Dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 2 tBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water
  • 1 TBSP sugar

Combine the sugar, yeast, and water together in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Allow the yeast to activate by allowing it to set for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then add 2 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP salt and whisk together. Slowly add in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until well combined.

NOTE: You may not need all of the flour so add it cup by cup to ensure that the dough is not too dry.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Coat a bowl with 1 TBSP of olive oil and place the ball of dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. Then punch it down and allow it to rise for another 30 minutes,

Then roll out the dough into a 12 inch long piece. Fill one side with the mixture and then fold over. Crimp the edges together and then bake in a 400F oven for 10-15 minutes or until browned.
Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

 

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Turkish Mixed Green Salad (Karışık Kış Salatasi)

A fresh, simple salad that’s perfect to add to any meal. This “mixed salad” is packed with a variety of flavors and textures.

Here’s the recipe:

2 c green cabbage (cut into thin strips or shredded)
2 c red cabbage (cut into thin strips or shredded)
4 tomatoes
2 c romaine lettuce (cut into thin strips or shredded)
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 carrots (thinly sliced)
1 green pepper (sweet or bell)
1 red pepper (sweet or bell)
2 lemons (juiced)
3 TBSP olive oil
salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Clean all of the vegetables.

 

Thinly slice the green cabbage, red cabbage and romaine lettuce. Place them in a bowl.
Finely chop the tomatoes and add them to the bowl.
Pick off the leaves of the mint and the parsley and add them to the salad.
De-seed and thinly slice the peppers and add them to the salad.
Peel the carrots and thinly slice them. Add them to the salad and toss everything together.

Squeeze the lemons and mix their juice with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).


Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the salad. Toss the salad to thoroughly coat the entire salad with the dressing.

Serve and Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

How To Roast Eggplant

The simplest, easiest and tastiest way to enjoy eggplant.

Okay, so perhaps I talk about eggplant a lot but I think it’s only because I spent so many years trying to figure out the best ways to cook it. But ever since I started roasting my eggplant, I’ve never looked back since.

With a few minimal ingredients and a hot oven, you’re on your way to fool proof eggplant roasting success.

The finished product is a tender and delicious eggplant that’s versatile enough to use in any recipe for any cuisine.

Roasted Eggplant

  • 3-4 large eggplant (Note: this will yield about 3-4 cups of roasted eggplant once it’s peeled and chopped)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven for 375F.

Place the eggplant on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Rub the olive oil on the eggplant until they are fully coated.

Using  a sharp knife, cut small slits into the eggplant.

 

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Place in the oven for 45-60 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and the skin is wrinkled.

Let the eggplant cool. Then peel off the skin, chop the eggplant and continue using to prepare your favorite recipe.*

*Hint: check out the Babaganoush recipe

Guten Appetit!

Corn & Tomato Salsa Recipe

The perfect blend of sweet and tangy, corn and tomato salsa is a delicious and quick recipe for game day or any day of the week. 

I love a great salsa. The music, the dance and of course the food. I also love the fact that there are so many different ways to make a great salsa according to your tastebuds and the ingredients that you have on hand.

If you need to make something quick for last minute guests or to bring to a party, why not whip up a batch of corn and tomato salsa. The perfect balance of tangy and sweet, it pairs perfectly with grilled chicken, fish, chili con carne, tacos or just some tortilla chips.

This recipe is simple, quick and delicious! I hope you give it a try and that you love it!

Corn & Tomato Salsa

  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 c parsley
  • 1/2 c frozen corn (defrosted)
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 TBSP dried cilantro
  • salt & pepper (to taste)Preparation:

Finely dice the onions, tomatoes and parsley and place it all in a bowl.

Add the corn, lemon juice, dried cilantro, salt and pepper.

Stir until well combined.

Serve immediately or place in the refrigerator and enjoy later.

Guten Appetit!

Yumartali Pancar Kavurma (Sauted Chard w/ Eggs)

Light, flavorful and delicious — this dish is so simple but so good.

Get your daily dose of greens with this flavorful chard dish. Packed with essential vitamins, nutrients and protein from the eggs, it makes such a delightful lunch or dinner.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 bunch of chard
  • 7 oz ground beef
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (finely chopped)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation: 

Sauté the ground beef until browned. Season with salt and then add the olive oil, sunflower oil and chopped onion. Stir until well combined.

Then add the red pepper and cook until it is tender.

In a separate pot, boil some water and add the chard to the boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes and then remove from the water. Drain, rinse and squeeze the excess water from the chard.

To the beef, peppers and onions, add tomato paste, red pepper paste and the 1 cup of hot water. Then add the chard, stirring frequently as the chard wilts into the mixture.

Season with the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Then crack the eggs into the chard. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

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Serve and Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Fresh, flavorful, delicious and healthy! This salad is so good and so simple to prepare! With a few fresh ingredients, you’re on your way to a quick meal!

If you’re looking for a quick, delicious and healthy dinner, then this salad is a great option for you. The perfect balance of flavors with the savory spinach, sweet strawberries and crunchy pistachios– this salad creation is a keeper!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Serves 1 or 2 (for a small salad)

2 c spinach
4 strawberries
1/4 c parsley
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP pomegranate molasses*
10 pistachios

Preparation:

Clean the spinach and remove the excess water by putting the spinach in a salad spinner.

Thinly slice the spinach and place it in a bowl.

Chop the parsley and add it to the bowl.

Slice the strawberries and add them to the spinach and parsley.

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Roughly chop the pistachios and then sprinkle them on top of the salad.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss it to ensure the salad is thoroughly covered with the dressing.

*Substitute pomegranate molasses for balsamic vinaigrette or make your own pomegranate molasses by simmering pomegranate juice with sugar until it forms a thick syrup.

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Serve & Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

Simmering Zucchini Dish (Kabak Kavurmasi)

With a savory and rich tomatoey flavor, this dish is beautiful and delicious.
Zucchini is the star of this dish. But for this dish I don’t fry it or bake it or skewer it. Instead it is cubed into small pieces and simmered in a delicious tomatoey broth. The end product makes for a flavorful and delicious dish.
Here’s the recipe:
Kabak Kavurmasi (Zucchini Sautee)
  • 3 lbs zucchini
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 2 green peppers (bell or sweet)
  • 1 red pepper (bell or sweet)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
Chop the onions, red pepper and green peppers and set aside.
Peel an chop the tomatoes.
Cut the zucchini into small chunks and mince the garlic.
In a large stock pot, sauté the onions in the sunflower oil and olive oil.
Add the red pepper, green peppers and garlic. Stir and sauté until the vegetables are
tender.
Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Then add the chunks of zucchini. Cover with water, approximately 4-6 cups and stir.
Cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently.
Serve and Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Turkish Okra Sauté (Bamya Tavasi)

The perfect balance of a savory ground beef filling with aromatic spices, pistachios and almonds.

In Turkish cooking, I’ve been learning about the myriad of different variations on stuffed vegetables. There are many variations. This is already the third variation of stuffed zucchini and it tastes completely different than the last recipe I learned.

The ground beef is seasoned with cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper. Then pistachios and almonds are added to create a unique and delicious texture to the overall dish.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 25 zucchini
  • 8 oz ground beef
  • 1/2 c white rice
  • 3 TBSP pistachios
  • 2 TBSP almonds
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 c sunflower oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Clean the zucchini and cut into thirds. Core the inner part of the zucchini and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan with sunflower oil. Once hot, fry the zucchini in batches until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place them on a cooling rack.

Rinse and drain the rice. Set it aside for later.

In a small frying pan, sauté the ground beef in 2 TBSP of olive oil.  Add the rice and stir.

Then add the cinnamon, saffron, salt, pepper, pistachios and almonds and stir for 2-3 minutes more until well incorporated.

Remove from the heat.

Using a tablespoon, fill the zucchini until it’s two-thirds of the way full. Press the top together and place in a large stock pot.

Cover the zucchini with a large ceramic dish (to weigh them down in the pot) and add about 2-3 cups of hot water.

Cover and cook on medium low heat for 10-15 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Havuc Salatasi (Turkish Carrot Salad)

Fresh, flavorful and light, this carrot salad is a pure delight.

Shredded carrots meet yogurt and garlic to form a delicious, light salad. It’s perfect for a warm day or just to balance out a heavy meal.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 lbs carrots
  • 1.5 c suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP butter oil
  • 3 TBSP walnuts (shelled & diced)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Peel and grate the carrots.

In a large frying pan, add the olive oil. Then add the grated carrots and sauté until they are tender (about 5-7 minutes). Place the carrots in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic, salt and pepper.

Add the carrots to the yogurt and stir until well combined. Pour the salad onto a platter.

In a small frying pan, melt the butter, then add the walnuts and the red pepper flakes.

Pour the butter mixture over the carrot salad.

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Serve & enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Yapma (Ground Beef & Bulgur Patties)

       A tender, savory, crispy meat and bulgur pattie packed with Turkish spices!

     Yapma (pronounced “yaahp-mah”) is actually Turkish for “making.” It’s the perfect word to describe this dish because in essence it does require a lot of “making” to prepare the dish. Methodical and precise, this Turkish dish was fascinating to learn.

Yapma is essentially a beef and bulgur pattie that is spiced, seasoned and fried until crisp. In some ways, it is similar to a meatball or “kofte” but in others it is completely it’s own unique dish and worthy of it’s name.

The meat is soft and tender since it is grinder and kneaded repeatedly (see photos below of me learning how to knead the meat mixture correctly).

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Although it is an intense process to prepare Yapma, you will surely not regret the end product.

Here’s the recipe:

500 g ground beef

3 c kofte bulgur (small ground bulgur)

1 1/2 c dried bread flakes (different than bread crumbs but you can substitute bread crumbs if needed)

1 medium white onion (minced)

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 TBSP all spice

1 1/2 TBSP cumin

1 1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes (non-spicy variety)

1 1/2 TBSP salt

1 TBSP black pepper

Preparation:

Measure out all of the ingredients (except the bulgur) in a large round serving dish or a big bowl. Mix with your hands until well combined and then incorporate the meat mixture with the bulgur.

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Place the entire mixture through a meat grinder (substitute a food processor if needed) and process until smooth (once or twice).

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Now, it’s time for some serious kneading action. Roll up your sleeves and imagine that you are kneading a batch of bread. It takes some practice, but essentially you want to pull the meat towards you, then push it outwards repeatedly with your wrist and then pull it back towards you. Practice makes perfect so don’t give up!

After about 10-15 minutes of kneading, it’s time to shape the meat into little patties. As explained by the chef, there are two ways of doing this. Firstly, you can do it perfectly by hand or secondly, you can take a small circle cookie cutter and use that to shape the meat. But since we are making “Yapma” and it’s all about the making, give it a try by hand. You’ll be relieved that it’s much easier than the kneading, lol!

How to Shape a Yapma

Take a golf ball size piece of meat.

Roll it into a ball with the palms of your hands.

Flatten it with your palms until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.

Shape and smooth the edges by running the sides of the yapma against the palm of your hand like a little wheel.

Keep making your yapma until all of the meat is used.

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Using a deep fryer or a heavy pot filled with oil, carefully fry the yapma in small batches, being sure to shake them up a bit while they’re cooking to ensure that they don’t stick together.

Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.

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Keep frying until all of the yampa are cooked.

Serve hot and enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Kabaklama (Winter Squash or Pumpkin Stew)

During the cold winter months, there’s nothing better like a delicious, hot stew or soup to warm up. This stew is made with a variation of pumpkin similar to the cheese pumpkin. Normally they are quite large but at my local market, they will slice pieces of it for you to buy. “Kabak” is Turkish for pumpkin and this stew is packed with large chunks of savory pumpkin.

 

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Recipe:

  • 300 g beef stew meat
  • 1 kilo pumpkin (winter squash, cheese pumpkin or butternut squash) peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 cup chickpeas (pre-cooked or canned)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2-3 TBSP dried mint
  • 1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

In a large stock pot, add the 300g of stew beef chunks, add 1 liter of water, cover with a lid and bring to a boil for 10-15 minutes. With a slotted perforated spoon, skim the fat from the pot.

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Then add 2 diced onions and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and boil for another 15-20 minutes.

Add 3TBSP of tomato paste and stir until well combined. Then add 1 cup of chickpeas and the cubed pumpkin. Stir and bring back to a boil for 20 minutes (or until the pumpkin is fork tender)

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Then add the lemon juice and garlic cloves and stir. Cover and simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, melt 3 TBSP of butter. Once it is melted, sprinkle in 1/2 TBSP of red pepper flakes and 2-3 TBSP of dried mint.

Then pour the boiling butter mixture slowly into the stew. Then ladle one cup of the stew back into the frying pan and then pour it back into the soup.

Serve and enjoy!

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This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Işkembe Çorbasi (Turkish Tripe Soup)

     This traditional soup is creamy, thick and savory. With chewy bits of tripe and a spicy vinegar topping it is something worth trying.

This soup starts with tripe. Tripe is a common ingredient that I’ve encountered through cooking many types of international cuisines. But still, the texture of tripe is something that I still have not gotten used to. But after experiencing the careful preparation of this soup I was determined to try it. It’s a very traditional soup in Turkey and many other countries and I found it to be very interesting. I took a spoonful and was pleasantly surprised.  The broth is creamy, smooth and thick and compliments the chewy bits of tripe.

If you’re looking to try a little something new, then give this soup a try.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 750 g tripe
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 1 TBSP whole black peppercorns
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1 TBSP sunflower oil (or any flavorless oil –e.g. vegetable oil, canola oil, etc.)
  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 TBSP white vinegar
  • 1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 TBSP black pepper
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Rinse & drain the tripe. Boil the tripe for 5-10 minutes, then drain & rinse again.

In a large stockpot boil the tripe again with the sliced lemon and whole black peppercorns for 30-40 minutes.

Drain the tripe, reserving the liquid to use as broth.

Remove the lemon and black peppercorns and chop the tripe into small pieces.

Using an immersion blender, blend together the tripe broth, flour, oil and salt (to taste).

Add the blended liquid back to the stockpot and cook over medium heat, whisking frequently for 10 minutes.

Then add the tripe to the blended liquid. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, red pepper flakes, black pepper and crushed garlic. This is a topping that will be drizzled on top of each bowl of soup.

To serve the soup, ladle up the soup into bowls and then drizzle the vinegar topping.

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Enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Choose Love

“Love is a choice. Beyond feelings, beyond a moment in time, it’s a daily deliberate decision to choose to love.  But in order to be able to love like this, you must first know how much you are already loved by Him.”  -EE Winkler

Choose Love

An original poem by EE Winkler

Choose Love when your enemy spits in your face

criticizes you and calls you harsh names
Choose Love when hatred feels like a fiery flame
seeking to destroy you and your name
Choose Love when everyone else is choosing to hate
with excuses that seek to justify their pain
Choose Love when every door is closing to you
you can open a door with kindness to a stranger caught aloof
Choose Love when your soul is in pain
when loving seems to be all in vain
Choose Love when the world seems calm
and when life serenades over you like a pillowy balm
Choose Love when the sun sets on your season
and you have to find in hard work a brand new meaning
Choose Love when there is no friend in sight
and you find yourself crying through sleepless nights
Choose Love when it all closes in like a storm
and you’re left with a sadness like never before.
Choose Love when it’s hard and not easy to do
in choosing you’ve selected the greatest option for you
Choose Love when a day turns into a night
and the hardest thing to do is just stay alive
Choose Love when no one believes in the truth
listen closely Love is rooting and cheering for you
Choose Love when it’s not popular or in style
you’ll find it’s always the better choice to go the second mile
Choose Love when it’s hard to persevere
when the going gets tough and the end is near
Choose Love when things don’t go your way
there’s a plan for you just wait and pray
Choose Love when you’re ready to give up
hang in there a little longer – beyond the corner is the mountaintop
You can love because He has first loved you…
Photo by Magda Fou on Unsplash

Savory Bulgur with Sautéd Ground Beef & Carmelized Onions ( Kiymali Simit Asi)

Similar to the Sade Simit Asi recipe, the main difference between them is that this recipe has caramelized onions and ground beef on top. It’s a little bit more hearty and it’s delicious!

Here’s the recipe:

Kiymali Simit Asi
1/2 lb ground beef
3.5 c simit bulgur (finely ground bulgur)
1 large onion (diced)
1 1/4 c tomato paste
2 TBSP sunflower oil
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP red pepper flakes
salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
Sauté the ground beef and set aside.
In a small frying pan, sauté the onion in the olive oil and sunflower oil for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes and set aside.
Then in a large stock pot, add the tomato paste, 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir well.
Then pour in the bulgur and 6-7 cups of hot water.
Stir until well combined and simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes, adding more water as needed.
To serve, plate the cooked bulgur, then top with the onions and then the ground beef.
Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Truffles

Velvety smooth chocolate with crunchy pieces of chopped pistachios.

If you ever wondered how chocolatiers make delicious truffles, you might be relieved to find out that there’s a simple way to cook up a batch of truffles in your home kitchen.

With just four basic ingredients, you’re on your way to creating a gourmet dessert! Plus, they make great gifts to give to someone you love.

Hint: This makes a great gift for Valentine’s Day…no pressure though 😉

I also love this recipe because you can pop these truffles in an airtight container in the freezer and enjoy them anytime!

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Truffles

  • 1 c dark chocolate
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c chopped unsalted pistachios
Heat the cream on the stove just until it simmers, stirring frequently (little small bubbles will form along the sides of your pot).
Pour the chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
Pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate.
Allow it to set for 5 minutes. Then stir together until the mixture is creamy and well incorrporated.
Cover it with plastic wrap and cool for 1-2 hours.
In the meantime, chop the pistachios (if not already bought pre-chopped) and pour them onto a plate or leave them on the cutting board.
When the chocolate is cooled and firm, remove it from the refrigerator. Note: it should be firm enough in order to roll into a ball without sticking. If it is sticking, put it back into the refrigerator.
Using a spoon, scrape it across the chocolate.
Remove the chocolate from the spoon and using the palms of your hands, roll it into a ball.
Then roll the chocolate ball into the chopped pistachios and set aside. Note: I used a mini cupcake liner for each of my truffles. But you could also place them on a plate or serving dish.
Keep rolling the truffles until all of the chocolate has been used.
Serve & enjoy immediately or pop them into the freezer for a great go-to beautiful dessert for last minute guests or when you’re craving something chocolatey!
NOTE: No pistachios? No problem! Coat these delicious truffles with whatever topping you like! Toppings like sprinkles, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and chopped peanuts are all great ways to enjoy these truffles. Get creative & create your own spin on this recipe! 🙂
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Turkish Borani (Spicy Chard Stew)

A thick, spicy, tomato flavored stew packed with leafy chard and black-eyed peas.

As most people know Borani, it is an Iranian dish with vegetables and yogurt. But there are also some parts of Turkey that also have Borani but it looks completely different. The yogurt is only used as a topping in this version.

For this recipe, the chard is the star of the show. Although there are many flavors that fill the soup, it would not be complete without the leafy chard that melts into the stew as it simmers. It is flavorful and delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 300 g ground beef
  • 1 bunch of chard
  • 5 small red onions (chopped)
  • 2 sweet red peppers (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (sliced) + 10 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 1/2 c frozen black-eyed peas
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 TBSP black pepper
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 c yogurt

Preparation:

Rinse and clean the chard. Then stack the leaves on top of each other (about 4-5 at a time) and roll up like a burrito and slice into thin strips. Set aside.

Sauté the ground beef in a large stock pot.

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Add the onions, red peppers and garlic and sauté until browned.

Then add the tomato paste and 2 liters of boiling water. Stir until well combined.

Stir in the black-eyes peas, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt (to taste). Bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes.

Then add the chard, stir and place the lid on top.

Allow the stew to simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the garlic yogurt by combining the yogurt with the crushed garlic.

Top each bowl of soup with the garlic yogurt.

Serve & Enjoy!

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This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

 

Homemade Marinara Sauce

A classic & essential recipe for your cookbook!

Growing up, my parents rarely bough pre-made pasta sauce. As a kid, I always noticed the difference between the times that they bought the pre-made pasta sauce and the times that they made it themselves. The homemade version always tasted better.

Since then, I’ve been making my own pasta sauces. It’s not so complicated and the end result always yields a pasta that begs for second helpings.

Here’s how I make it:

Yum
Homemade Marinara Sauce

4 c crushed tomatoes
1 white onion
2 garlic cloves
1 TBSP dried oregano
1 TBSP dried basil
1 TBSP olive oil
salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil.

Add the fresh herbs and stir until well combined.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Allow the sauce to simmer on medium low heat for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite pasta for a simple and delicious meal.

Guten Appetit!

Anali Kizli Köfte (Stuffed Meatballs)

Large stuffed meatballs and small meatballs steamed and dropped into a tomato and beef broth is a hearty and delicious traditional meal. 

Anali Kizli Köfte, literally translates as Mom & Girl Meatball. Once you see the size of the two different meatballs it makes perfect sense. One is the perfect size for a little girl to make and the other for a mom. I love this name! But it is also known as Ekşili Akıtmalı Ufak Köfte. However you call it, one thing is for sure: it’s delicious.

Rolling out the meatballs is such a fun activity. It’s great to make when you have a group of friends over your house. You can all cook together and then enjoy a delicious meal.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 10 oz stew beef chunks
  • 0.25 lb lean ground beef
  • 0.75 lb ground beef (80/20)
  • 3 medium size red onions (finely diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 lbs simit bulgur (the smallest type of bulgur)
  • 0.5 c tomato paste
  • 0.5 c chickpeas (soaked & pre-boiled)
  • 2 TBSP walnuts (shelled and finely diced)
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 3 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 1 TBSP dried mint
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, bring to a boil the stew beef chunks, 2 liters of water, salt and pepper. Then add 2 TBSP of tomato paste, 1 diced onion, 2 TBSP red pepper flakes and the chickpeas. Simmer for 45 minutes.

In a separate frying pan, sauté the lean ground beef until browned. Add half of a diced onion, saffron, walnuts, salt and pepper. Sauté until the onions are tender and then transfer to a small bowl.

In a large shallow bowl combine 0.75lb of ground beef, 1.5 onions, garlic, bulgur, 1 TBSP of the red pepper flakes, 1 TBSP tomato paste, salt and pepper.

Knead for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is soft and very well incorporated.

Begin forming the large and small köfte.

For the large köfte: take a golf ball size piece of the mixture. Roll into a ball and then place your index finger in the ball and with the palm of your hand, move in a circular motion to create a little cup shape. Fill with half a TBSP of the sautéed ground beef mixture and then pull the sides over to close the köfte and roll into a ball. Continue until all of the sautéed ground beef mixture is used.

For the small köfte: Take small pieces about the size of a dime or a marble. Roll it into a ball and continue until all of the meat is used.

Using a steamer (or a large pot, filled with water and a large colander that doesn’t touch the water, place the köfte in the steamer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

To the simmering tomato and beef broth add the juice of 2 lemons, the small köfte and stir.

In a small frying pan melt 2 TBSP of butter. Once it is sizzling, add the dried mint and pour it into the soup. Stir gently.

To serve the soup, fill the soup bowls with the broth and then add one of the large köfte into each soup bowl.

Serve and enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Maş Corba (Mung Bean Soup)

A savory, spicy and hearty soup, Maş Corba is truly a unique experience.

I’ll admit that this is the first time that I’ve ever cooked with dried mung beans. I’ve seen them and heard of them before, but I never actually prepared them…until now.

Maş Corba (pronounced “maah-sh chor-bah”) is a wonderful blend of a classic Turkish soup that doesn’t include yogurt. I love that it includes the beautiful dried peppers and dried tomatoes that are such an essential part of Turkish culture in Gaziantep.

For a cold winter day, nothing beats a hearty soup. Why not try this one out today?

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 cups mung beans
  • 1 cup white rice (rinsed & drained)
  • 5 small onions (diced)
  • 1 long red sweet pepper (diced) (or substitute a small red bell pepper)
  • 5 dried tomatoes (rehydrated in water & drained)
  • 2 dried sweet red peppers (rehydrated in water & drained)
  • 15 dried bird’s eye peppers (rehydrated in water & drained) (optional, if you don’t like spicy food)
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 2 TBSP dried mint
  • 1/4 c dried tarragon (crushed with fingers)
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, boil the mung beans in 1 1/2 to 2 liters of water for 10 minutes.

20180122_091639.jpgStir in the rice and cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes.

Add the onion and red pepper and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Crush the dried tarragon with your fingers and set aside.

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Stir in the rehydrated dried tomatoes, rehydrated sweet red peppers, rehydrated bird’s eye peppers, 1 TBSP dried tarragon and salt & pepper (to taste).

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Simmer for 10-15 minutes, adding more water as needed (cup by cup)

In a small frying pan, melt the butter until it’s sizzling. Then fill a ladle with the remaining tarragon and red pepper flakes and hold it over the soup. Pour the butter into the ladle and let the spices and butter fall into the soup! So beautiful. Stir gently!

Serve and enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

 

 

 

Ökge (Ötçe) (Turkish Vegetable Fritters)

Crispy, flavorful and light, these vegetable fritters are a delicious snack or accompaniment to any meal!

While preparing this dish in class, I’ll admit that I had no idea what we were making. The vegetables were being chopped and in a separate bowl the eggs were being whisked. But I didn’t connect the dots until spoonfuls of the delicious mixture were carefully dropped into a frying pan of oil.

The first thing that came to my mind were the vegetable pakoras that I learned how to make many years ago when I was taking Indian cooking classes. However, pakoras are normally made with chickpea flour, while the Ökge or Ötçe (I’ve seen it spelled a couple of different ways) were made with all-purpose flour.

One thing is for sure, and that is that these are delicious. They’re the kind of food that you want to eat right out of the fryer until you realize they’re piping hot and you end up inward breathing to try to cool your mouth and chew at the same time, lol!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3 bunches of parsley
  • 6 scallions
  • 2 small sweet red peppers (e.g. bell peppers)
  • 2 small sweet green peppers (e.g. bell peppers)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 5 eggs
  •  1 1/2 – 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 TBSP black pepper
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • About 3-4 cups of Oil for frying  (e.g. canola oil, sunflower oil, vegetable oil)

Preparation:

Finely chop the parsley, scallions, tomatoes, red peppers and green peppers. Place in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs with the olive oil.

Pour the egg mixture over the chopped veggies and combine with clean hands or a wooden spoon. Gradually add the flour until it the consistency is still moist but holding together on the spoon.

Heat your oil in a frying pan and add spoonfuls into the oil. Then mash them down and flip to brown on both sides. Once they are browned, remove them from the oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels or a cooling rack.

Serve and Enjoy!

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This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Kabak Oturtma (Stuffed Zucchini)

Fresh and succulent zucchini stuffed with flavorful ground beef and spices.

If you love stuffed peppers, then you’ll love Kabak Oturtma, or Stuffed Zucchini. The inside of the zucchini is carefully removed, then it is lightly fried and stuffed with a flavorful ground beef that has been thoroughly seasoned with spices, onions, garlic, peppers and tomato paste.

Each zucchini is stuffed and topped with a small piece of tomato like a little red hat on top. It looks beautiful and tastes even better.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 12 oz ground beef
  • 20 medium zucchini
  • 3 small onions
  • 1 red pepper (sweet/ bell)
  • 1 green pepper (sweet/bell)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 0.5 lb fresh tomatoes
  • 1/2 c tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP  red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 cups sunflower oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven for 375F.

Clean and rinse all of the vegetables.

Cut each zucchini into thirds. Then using a spoon or a coring utensil, remove the inside flesh from the zucchini.

In a small frying pan, fry the zucchini in batches until lightly browned. Set aside.

Finely dice the onions, red pepper and green pepper. Mince the garlic and cut the tomatoes into eighths.

In a frying pan,sauté the ground beef until browned. Add the olive oil and then stir in the onions, red pepper, green pepper and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Add the 1/4c of tomato paste, 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat.

Using a spoon, fill each zucchini with the ground beef mixture about three quarters from the top. Add a piece of tomato on top and stack them upright in a baking pan.

Then fill a small stock pot with 2 cups of water, 1 TBSP of tomato paste, 1 TBSP of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (to taste). Simmer until the tomato paste is melted into the water. Pour this liquid over the stuffed zucchini.

Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes.

Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

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This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

An original poem by EE Winkler. Don’t ever, ever give up. 

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

EE Winkler

For all the times you hear “I can’t”
Stop for a moment and consider the ant
watch how steadily and diligent he moves
to carry up to 10 times his weight over hills and grooves
you won’t hear him whimper or complain
but slowly, slowly he builds his place
no matter how small each item seems
it all adds up in the greater scheme
For all the times you hear “I can’t”
Consider the smallest plant
that starts as a seed buried underground
concealed in darkness it can’t be found
yet diligently it extends its roots
then out from the ground it moves
just a little glimpse of green but everyday
you’ll see the plant growing in the sun rays
For all the times you hear “I can’t
Consider this little chant
I can, I can, and yes I will
onward I’ll tarry across rivers and uphills
until I’ve reached the end of the race
I can, I will for all my days.
In Video:

Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash (1st image)

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash (2nd image)

Fresh Pasta from Scratch

There’s nothing like homemade pasta! So light, delicious and simple it makes such a great meal!

From the moment I tried homemade pasta, I could hardly believe it was the same thing. It tasted so distinctly different. Quite frankly, it just tasted fresh.

The first time I made fresh pasta was for a Thanksgiving dinner with my friend from Italy. Together we rolled out long sheets of pasta dough using a wonderful pasta maker. It took some work but the end product was an amazing lasagna!

For this pasta recipe, it’s back to basics. No pasta maker. No food processor. Just two hands and a little determination.

Yum

P.S. To find out what I did with the pasta dough, check out my Homemade Ravioli video!

Homemade Pasta

2 c flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 TBSP olive oil

Preparation:

Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl.

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Then pour the flour on the countertop and create a little “hill.”

Using a small bowl or your hands, create a little well.

Crack the eggs and add them one by one into the well.

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Pour in the olive oil on top of the eggs.

Carefully, begin to incorporate the dough.

Note: It will start like a shaggy dough but keep kneading until it forms a cohesive dough.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes.

Roll the dough into a ball and flatten it with the palm of your hand to create a disc shape.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough into your desired pasta.

Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

Börek Corbasi (Dumpling Soup)

Delicious little homemade dumplings immersed in a velvety yogurt broth.

Börek Corbasi or dumpling soup starts with the very basic element of making the dumplings. Petite and delicate, the dumplings are as small as a chickpea but with a softer texture that compliments and balances every component of the soup.

Topped with a special mint butter that creates a lovely green mosaic, this soup screams delicious from the very first glance.

Here’s the recipe:

  • Börek dough (see the recipe below)
  • 250 g lean beef chunks
  • 2 medium onions (diced)
  • 1 c chickpeas (canned or boiled)
  • 1400 g suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 2 liters of beef broth (or water)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP dried mint

Preparation:

     Börek dough: mix together 3 cups of flour with 1 tsp salt and 1-2 cups of water (added little by little until the dough comes together).

Roll out the dough into thin strips (about 1/4 inch thick).

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Then cut the dough in 1/4 inch pieces and place on a floured baking sheet.

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Continue until there is no more dough.

Sift the flour from the dumplings and then pour the dumplings onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake on 190C or 375F until the dumplings are light brown.

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 Soup Preparation:

In a large stock pot, combine the beef chunks and 1 cup of water. Cook on medium high heat until the water is almost evaporated.

Add olive oil and onions and sauté until translucent.

Add the chickpeas, 2 liters of beef broth and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Then add the dumplings into the soup and simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt and egg in a bowl.

Transfer to a sauce pot and whisk until warmed. Add 2-3 ladles of the soup into the yogurt, stirring constantly.

Then pour the yogurt into the soup while stirring and turn off the heat.

In a small frying pan melt the butter until it lightly boils. Add in the dried mint (it should fizzle when you add it. If it does not, wait a little longer until the butter is hotter).

Pour the mint butter into the soup and stir lightly.

Serve & Enjoy!

Alfiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

 

 

Simple Homemade Babaganoush (Roasted Eggplant with Garlic & Creamy Yogurt)

Roasted eggplant and garlic mixed with a thick creamy yogurt makes for a delicious and simple meal or appetizer. Simply delicious babaganoush.

Roasting eggplant is so simple. You literally pop it in the oven and let it roast and then the skin peels off so easily to make preparing any eggplant dish so simple. Paired with roasted garlic, it makes this dish so flavorful.

My recipe is a twist on the traditional Turkish babaganoush recipe. With a few extra spices and a little flavorful tahini, it’s delicious and packed with flavor.

Here’s a video of my home kitchen preparation of babaganoush. Check it out below.

Here’s the recipe:

Simple Homemade Babaganoush

  • 2 large eggplant
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 3 TBSP & 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 TBSP (heaping) suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 1 TBSP tahini
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven for 200C of 392F.

Rinse and dry the eggplant. Coat with 1 TBSP of olive oil and place on a baking sheet.

For the roasted garlic, cut off the top part of the head of garlic (just enough to reveal the cloves. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and salt and wrap in a piece of foil. Place on the baking sheet with the eggplant.

Roast the eggplant and garlic in the oven for 45-60 minutes.

Allow the eggplant to cool and then peel off the skin. Then chop it into bite size pieces and set aside.

Open the garlic packet and squeeze out about 6 cloves (it will be very soft). Mince the garlic and add to the eggplant.

Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the eggplant.

Add salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1 TBSP of olive oil. Mash gently with a fork and then stir.

Then add the yogurt and stir.

Serve in a nice dish and garnish with parsley, red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy!

Bon Appetit!

Yoğurtlu Soğan Aşı (Turkish Onion & Yogurt Soup)

Creamy onion soup immersed in beef broth makes for the perfect winter meal.

     I’ve come to learn that yogurt is an essential ingredient in much of Turkish cooking and especially the soup recipes that I’ve been learning lately in my cooking course. Turkish yogurt is one of the best I’ve ever tried! There are so many different types but suzme, is my absolute favorite. It’s thick, creamy and delicious!

Through this course, I’ve come to learn exactly how to temper the yogurt to add it to the soup to keep it from curdling. It’s a beautiful, yet simple technique and worth applying to any recipe that requires cooking with yogurt (I think about a delicious butter chicken or curry chicken recipe).

This Turkish Onion and Yogurt Soup recipe is beautiful and delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 500 g stew beef chunks
  • 1 kilo small red onions (about the size of a golf ball)
  • 1 medium red onion (sliced)
  • 1 c chickpeas (frozen, canned &drained or soaked overnight)
  • 1 egg
  • 1400g suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP dried mint

Preparation:

Peel and remove the stems from the onions. Rinse and soak in water for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

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In a large stock pot, add the beef chunks, salt and 2 liters of water and boil for 15 minutes.

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Using a cheese cloth lined sieve, drain the beef stock into another pot. Add the beef back to the stock pot and then pour the sifted beef stock back into the pot. (NOTE: this help remove some of the fat that rises to the top during the cooking process).

Add the sliced red onion and chickpeas and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium high heat.

In another large pot, add the kilo of small onions and enough water, just to cover the onions.

Then pour the beef soup mixture over the onions and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt with 1 egg in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium low heat, whisking frequently. After about 5-7 minutes, temper the yogurt by adding 1-2 ladles of the soup while constantly whisking.

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Then pour the yogurt into the soup while stirring constantly.

In a small frying pan, melt the butter. Once it’s sizzling, add the dried mint.

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Pour the butter mint mixture into the soup stirring once or twice.

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Serve and enjoy!

 

Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Shakshouka (Baked Eggs in a Tomato & Red Pepper Sauce)

Delicious savory baked eggs in a tomato and red pepper sauce.
One bite and I’m hooked. From the first time I tried shakshouka at a Moroccan cafe, I’ve never been the same. It was so delicious that I decided to try and create my own version of this North African and Middle Eastern classic.

Yum

It’s so simple to prepare. It start with a sauce comprised of tomatoes, red peppers, onion, garlic and spices. Then the eggs are placed on top with a generous tablespoon of parsley. In the oven it goes and when it’s done, the finished product is a beautiful and delicious meal.
This dish is perfect for a brunch at home for several friends or a big family. Also, it makes a great option for “Breakfast for Dinner.”
Here’s the recipe:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 red pepper (sweet or bell)
  • 1 c crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 small white onion (diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 2 TBSP parsley (1 TBSP reserved for a garnish)
Preparation:
Preheat the oven for 375F. Grease a small baking pan with 1/2 TBSP of olive oil.
Dice the onions and red peppers. Mince the garlic and set aside.
Sauté the onions and garlic in a frying pan with 1 TBSP olive oil.
Add the cumin, oregano, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
Add the red pepper and sauté until tender.
Sprinkle in some salt (to taste) and stir.
Add the tomato paste and stir. Then add the crushed tomatoes.
Pour the tomato and red pepper mixture into the baking pan.
Crack the eggs on top of the mixture in the pan. Drizzle 1 TBSP of parsley on top.
Then bake for 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with the remaining TBSP of parsley. Serve & Enjoy!
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Don’t Let This Moment Pass You By–Making the Most of Time

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Photo by Crew on Unsplash
It’s gone. That moment when you first read this title. It has passed you by and it will never come back again. I think that we lose sight of the ugly truth about time. Time is the most expensive commodity in this world and yet we waste it. We find ourselves being distracted by things that don’t matter. Distracted by things that at the end of our lives, will not be something that we recall to mind. Yet although we know these distractions exist and we’re irritated that they exist, we still nurture or pacify their existence.
But what if we starting reclaiming the hours, minutes and seconds of our time back? What if we were more intentional about our investment in the way that we spend our time? Not for the sake of getting more done, but rather for the sake of living a life that brings more fuliment and meaning to our existence.
Time has no meaning outside of relating it to someone higher than ourselves. The Creator of time and the ruler of time. The One who designated a time for us to come into the world and a time for us to leave the world. The One who simultaneously sees our whole lives from beginning to end. At the end of our lives, what will He have to say about our investment of our time? What if the all the things we worked and strived for that we thought mattered, actually don’t?
If a rich man loses his wealth, his title and all material things, but looks around him and sees his beautiful wife and children, is he not still rich? Is his wealth determined by the material things or the people that surround him and love him?
We are each given a predetermined allotment of time on this earth. But do we live a life considering that there is an eternity that will follow this life?
How Do We Make the Most of Our Time?
  1. Take a Recap. Ask yourself the tough questions. What did I do with my time last year? Was it worthwhile? Was there anything I would have done differently? Be honest with yourself. If your recap doesn’t look the way you wanted it to look, then be joyful, today you can start making this a year that will be better than the last.
  2. Examine Your Life Story. If someone wrote a book about your life right now, would it be a story that you were proud of or would it be full of regrets? Would there be things you wish you would have done or did you take every opportunity to do good? Would it be full of excuses or would it show that you made the most out of what you had?
  3. Invest in People. This is the investment that will never be affected by a stock market or interest rate. The investment you make in the life of another person, is indispensable. We need each other. We were made for relationship with other people. No one is an island, nor is anyone a self made person. It was through the investments of many people that made us who we are. Parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, friends —they all made an impact in our lives to shape us into who we are today. So, how can we invest in other people?
  4. Seize the Day (and the hours, minutes & seconds). See beyond the mundane aspects of daily life and see what’s really there. If it was your last day on earth and you were ironing clothes would your attitude have been positive or negative? Can you see the beauty in the simplest tasks? Can you see the beauty in serving someone besides yourself?
  5. Know the Creator of Time. How can life really be meaningful if you don’t know the Author and the Finisher of life? If you were a computer engineer, and you had the opportunity to sit in a room and talk with Charles Babbage, the father of computing, would you? Wouldn’t your friends, family and colleagues think you were crazy if you passed up this opportunity? Yet, what if daily you’re passing up the opportunity to talk to the Father of life? He’s already extended the invitation. It was sent via an old wooden cross. If you thought it was just a story for the “religious,” think again when He said “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” What a joy it is to know, that includes you and me.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick…

Tavuklu Pilav (Tender Chicken Rice Pilaf)

Fluffy and flavorful rice with tender chickpeas and large pieces of flavorful chicken piled on top. It’s so good and such a simple dish.

It it all starts with a whole chicken and a big stock pot. This is a beautiful sight to see. It reminds me of watching my mom do this as a kid. The end product was always delicious. So I’m convinced, that if you start with a whole chicken in a big pot of water, you’re off to a good start. The chicken is boiled in the salted water until it is done and then its slathered with a saffron yogurt and roasted until tender. The chicken alone is worth trying but then when you have the fluffy rice and chickpeas, it’s divine!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 whole chicken (2 kilos)
  • 1.5 c frozen chickpeas
  • 4.5 c white rice
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 small red onions (peeled)
  • 2 TBSP suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt — e.g. Greek yogurt)
  • 0.5 TBSP saffron
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Place the whole chicken in a large stock pot with 2 peeled red onions. Season with salt, cover with water and boil for 1 to 1.5 hours. Note: Skim the fat off the top occasionally during the cooking process.

Soak the rice in a large bowl for 10-15 minutes. Then drain, rinse and drain the rice again. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, 1 TBSP of sunflower oil and saffron. Set aside.

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When the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the pot and place on a baking sheet. Drain the broth through a sieve and then put the broth back in a pot.

Rub the yogurt mixture over the chicken (front and back) then place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

While the chicken is in the oven, prepare the rice.

In a large stock pot, add 1 TBSP of olive oil and 1 TBSP of sunflower oil. Add the rice and stir for 2-3 minutes until the rice is toasted. Add the chickpeas and then pour over the chicken broth (approximately 10-12 cups or enough to cover the rice). Season with salt and pepper, stir and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and fluffy.

Remove the chicken out of the oven and using two forks, shred the chicken off the bones into large pieces.

To serve, place the rice on a large serving dish. Place the large pieces of shredded chicken on top of the rice. Enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

 

 

Börek with Antep Peynir & Parsley

A light, crispy, flaky pastry & packed with the perfect blend of Antep peynir and parsley!

     If you love a good savory croissant, then you’ll absolutely love this Börek with Antep Cheese & Parsley! It’s light and delicious and layered with flavor.

Made with Yufka, a thin flaky dough comparable to phyllo dough that comes pre-prepared, it’s a great item to whip up in a hurry in your home kitchen.

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Plus, the fresh flavors of Antep peynir and parsley make this a delicious and flavorful dish!

What is Antep Peynir?

Antep Peynir is a type of cheese produced in the city of Gaziantep in Turkey. It is a dense white cheese traditionally made from sheep or goat milk.

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Antep Peynir

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 package of Yufka (or phyllo dough) torn to pieces
  • 5 TBSP melted butter
  • 5 TBSP water
  • 2 c grated Antep Peynir (or a dense white cheese; mozzarella could work)
  • 1 c minced fresh parsley

Preparation:

Tear the Yufka into pieces, reserving two large pieces.

Mix together the cheese and parsley and set aside.

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In a circular pan, layer the Yufka on the bottom. Sprinkle with 2 TBSP melted butter and 2 TBSP of water.

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Layer the cheese and parsley mixture evenly on top.

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Cover with another layer of Yuka. Sprinkle with 1 TBSP melted butter and 1 TBSP of water. (Repeat 1 more time)

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Then take the two larger piece of yukfka and place on top. Cut off any hanging edges from the pan.

Then shape the sides of the dough into the pan.

Sprinkle with 1 TBSP melted butter and 1 TBSP of water. And cut it in quarters.

Cook the Börek on an open flame until browned on the bottom.

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Remove from the flame. Carefully cover the Börek with a plate and flip. Arrange the Börek back into the circular dish and return to the open flame.

Cook until browned. Then cut and serve immediately!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

The Vine

An original poem inspired by John 15

 

 

 

The Vine

The Vine called out to me the branch…
whatever you do, just don’t let go
I love you more than you could ever know
you don’t have to fret and fear
just look by your side
and you’ll see I’m near
I make the sun to shine upon your face
and I’ve given you everything you need by my glorious grace
my love it truly knows no end
I’m holding you together again and again
The branch replied…
But the wind it blows and it shakes my life
I try to hold on and I’m holding tight
but I feel like this storm is going to tear me apart
it’s hitting me to the core of my heart
The vine said…
Don’t worry about a single thing
In me you’ll find everything
even if the storm blows everything away
I will still be holding you at the end of the day
Your tears I’ve gathered like precious gems
In your ear I’m whispering sweet encouragement
If only you will just stay connected to me
You will find the beauty in everything
The branch it smiled and leaned in close
looking at the vine it could suddenly know
that every care and concern
the vine of course had surely heard
the branch experienced the love of the vine that day
when the fiercest storm came and threatened to blow it away
but as it held on to the vine it soon began to see
that the all along the vine was holding onto me.

Pancar Sararsi (Fresh Stuffed Chard Rolls)

20180117_105334.jpg  If you’ve ever tried stuffed cabbage and liked it, then you’re going to love this recipe. Pancar Sarasi is Turkish for “stuffed chard.” The big, leafy green chard is blanched and then carefully stuffed with a bulgur and meat mixture, rolled and steamed.

Recipe:

  • 1 kilo fresh chard
  • 250 g ground beef
  • 2 cups of pilav bulgur (a thicker type of bulgur)
  • 2 cups of short grain rice (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes (pull biber)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Preparation:

Wash the chard leaves carefully. Remove the stems and set aside.

Boil a pot of water and in batches, add the chard in the water. Boil for 1-2 minutes then remove the chard leaves and place them in ice water. Repeat until all of the chard has been blanched.

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Peel the stringy pieces off of half of the chard stems and slice thinly on an angle. NOTE: The other half will be used, so set aside for later.

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In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, onions, garlic, tomato paste, red pepper paste, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Once it is well mixed, separate it into two bowls.

To one bowl, add the bulgur and mix together.

To the other bowl, add the rice and mix together.

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On a large cutting board, lay out the pieces of chard one by one. NOTE: If they are large, then cut in half to be about 3 inches long.

Place about 1TBSP of the filling (rotating between the rice filling and the bulgur filling) and roll up like a burrito.  Continue until all of the leaves or filling has been used.

In a large stock pot, arrange the remaining stems to form a nice base layer. Then add the stuffed chard pieces in one by one, arranging them neatly and tightly together. Then add 3 cups of boiling water on top and sprinkle with salt. Arrange a terra cotta weighted plate on top to keep the rolls in place. Drizzle with olive oil and 1 more cup of boiling water and cover with a lid.

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Allow the stuffed chard to simmer on low heat for 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove the lid and pour in the lemon juice. Cover and allow to cooking for 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Remove from heat and with a plate, drain the juice from the pot carefully (ensuring that the rolls are not moved.

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Then place a platter on top of the pot and carefully flip it over to reveal a beautifully display of the neatly placed stuffed chard rolls.

Remove the stems that are layered on top and then drizzle with olive oil.

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Serve and enjoy!

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This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

 

Quick Homemade Hummus

Smooth, thick and full of flavor! This homemade hummus is so simple and quick to prepare!

Who doesn’t love a delicious hummus? It’s just good! My favorite way to eat is warm and topped with toasted pine nuts! But the best part of making hummus is that it’s simple. If you have a food processor or really good blender, then they do all of the work for you.

Simply add the ingredients in and give it a spin!

Here’s a video that shows you how I make my recipe. You can also find the recipe below.

Simple Homemade Hummus

  • 28oz canned chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 TBSP tahini
  • 3-4 TBSP olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Add the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Stir and enjoy!

Soganli Lahmacun (Onion Turkish Pizza)

A twist on the traditional Turkish pizza, this Soganli Lahmacun, is packed with flavorful finely minced onions, meat and more!

I love Lahmacun. But I mean who wouldn’t? It has a very thin, perfectly crispy around the edges and it’s packed with delicious fresh flavor. While the traditional Lahmacun is amazing, I must say that this Soganli Lahmacun is also delicious in it’s own unique way. All of the ingredients are minced together so finely that when you taste the pizza, you actually taste all of the ingredients all together. And, my oh my, how yummy they taste together.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 500 grams ground beef
  • 1 kilo of red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 medium red peppers (sweet or bell peppers)
  • 150 grams walnuts (shelled)
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 2 TBSP pomegranate molasses
  • 2/3 c tomato paste

Preparation:

Peel the onions, rinse and drain.

Peel the garlic cloves.

Wash, cut in half and remove the seeds of the peppers.

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NOTE: If you live in Turkey or a country that has wonderful FIRINS (bakers who will prepare the lahmacun for you as long as you bring them all the ingredients), then you will place all the ingredients in a pan, bring it to the Firin and voila! You’ll have dozens of lahmacun, hot and fresh!

If you don’t have a local FIRIN, here’s what you’ll need to do:

Chop all of the ingredients into large chunks. Place it in a food processor and blend it all together until everything is finely chopped (almost like a thick paste, but not quite that far).

Using the bread dough recipe below, prepare your lahmacun.

Bread Dough

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 2 tBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 cup of hot (not boiling) water
  • 1 TBSP sugar

Combine the sugar, yeast, and water together in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Allow the yeast to activate by allowing it to set for 10 to 15 minutes.

Then add 2 TBSP olive oil and 1 TBSP salt and whisk together. Slowly add in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon until well combined.

NOTE: You may not need all of the flour so add it cup by cup to ensure that the dough is not too dry.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. Shape into a ball.

Coat a bowl with 1 TBSP of olive oil and place the ball of dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and set it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. Then punch it down and allow it to rise for another 30 minutes,

Pour the dough onto a floured surface and divide it into golf ball size pieces. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece until VERY thin. NOTE: Lahmacun is a very thin crust Turkish pizza. It needs to be very thin but still able to hold onto the topping.

Next, take 2-3 TBSP of the quince mixture and spread it onto the the dough. It should form a nice and thin layer where you barely see the dough.

Transfer the lahmacun to a really hot baking sheet or pizza stone and bake on 250C  (or as hot as your oven can get) for 3-5 minutes. NOTE: Watch it closely because it will bake fast and it would be a shame for your hard work to go up in flames. I mean literally, it can burn.

Then remove from the oven, serve and enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

This recipe is from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

10 Spice Roasted Potatoes

Crispy on the outside, soft and delicate on the inside, these spiced roasted potatoes are so delicious and full of flavor!

Ten is the magic number for these potatoes. A blend of some of my favorite spices, these potatoes pack a punch! Roasted to perfection with a drizzle of olive oil, they are crispy and so delicious!

Don’t have 10 spices? No problem. You can customize this recipe to the spices you do have and the spices you like. Make this recipe your own and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Well done! Your hard work will pay off!

Check out this video below to see how I prepare them.

Spiced Roasted Potatoes

  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP cilantro
  • 1 TSP oregano
  • 1 TBSP curry powder
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 TBSP black pepper
  • 1/2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder
  • 1 TBSP curry powder
  • 1 TBSP tumeric
  • 3 scallions (sliced)
  • 2 large potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 2-3 TBSP olive oil
  • fresh parsley (optional: garnish)
  • yogurt or sour cream (optional: garnish)
Preparation:
Clean the potatoes and the scallions.
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Peel the skin off the potatoes and dice into small chunks. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry and place in a large bowl.
Slice the scallion into thin pieces and add it to the bowl with the potatoes.
Add all of the spices into the bowl with the potatoes and scallions. Then drizzle with olive oil.
Stir everything together until the potatoes are thoroughly coated with the spice mixture.
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Place the potatoes evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown, turning the potatoes halfway through.
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Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley and dollop of thick yogurt or sour cream.
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DIY Buttermilk

Need buttermilk in a pinch to complete your recipe? This DIY recipe is a simple solution. With just two ingredients, you’ll have a fresh batch of homemade buttermilk.

As a kid, my mom always had buttermilk in the refrigerator. It was essential. She used it mostly in baking, pancakes and corn bread and so she never was without it (because she’s an amazing lady!)

But there have been numerous times, when I started a recipe and looked in my fridge only to realize I’m all out of buttermilk but I still wanted to finish the recipe.

This 2 ingredient recipe is the simple solution. I even got out my culinary science equipment to prepare it (baking & chemistry are best friends).

Here’s the recipe!

Or, just watch the video below. I hope it’ll solve your buttermilk wishes or just make you smile.

 

DIY Homemade Buttermilk

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 TBSP white vinegar (substitute lemon juice if desired)

Preparation:

Pour the milk into a small container. Add the vinegar and stir.

Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes.

Voila! You have your buttermilk ready to use immediately!

So simple 🙂

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Su Böreği (Cheesy Flakey Pastry)

Flaky and crispy on the outside. Melted cheesy and herb goodness on the inside. Imagine a really good croissant, but crispier, flakier and cheesy. 

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The first time I heard a description of Su Böreği, I expected it to be soggy and not so great. Literally, Su Böreği means “water börek.” Börek is a delicious pastry that comes in a myriad of varieties but it is always normally made with yufka, which is similar in texture and taste to phyllo dough. So, this sounded like a watery

pastry, in my mind. Although I’ve seen it at one of my favorite local bakeries, I’ll admit, I was still apprehensive about ever trying it. That is until, my cooking course.

In the course, we prepared a Su Böreği that shocked my eyes and tastebuds. I guess there’s more than one way to make Su Böreği because this one was light, flaky, crispy and filled with gooey cheese and parsley on the inside. When it’s warm, you pull a square and the melty cheese stretches and it’s absolutely delicious.

So, perhaps this is not the traditional way of making Su Böreği, I’m actually not sure at all. But one thing is for sure, this recipe is absolutely delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 package of normal yufka (substitute phyllo dough or puff pastry)
  • 8 pieces of baklava yufka (substitute phyllo dough or puff pastry)
  • 1 lb. Antep peynir (substitute: mozzarella cheese)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (minced)
  • 12 TBSP oil
  • 7 TBSP water
  • 1 TBSP salt

Preparation:

Grate the Antep peynir (or mozerella cheese if using) and place in a bowl.

Mince the parsley and then add to the bowl with the cheese. Season with salt and stir.

Grease 2 large circular 15 inch pans with 1 TBSP of oil each. NOTE: One will be reserved for later when it’s time to flip the dish during the cooking process.

Layer 4 sheets of the baklava yufka in the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle with 1 TBSP of oil.

Take out the yufka and tear it into large pieces. Layer 1/3 of the torn yukfka in the pan and drizzle with 2 TBSP of water.

Layer another 1/3 of the torn yufka on top and drizzle with 2 TBSP of oil.

Then pour the cheese and parsley mixture on top and drizzle with 2 TBSP of oil.

Then add the remaining torn yufka on top, being sure to tuck it into the sides. Drizzle with 2 TBSP of water and 3 TBSP of oil.

Then take 3 more pieces of the baklava yufka and layer it on top. Sprinkle it with 1 TBSP of water and then add the final sheet of baklava yufka.

Press down and trim the edges with a sharp knife. Place the trimmed pieces underneath the top layer and drizzle with 2 TBSP of oil and 1 TBSP of water.

Then press the edges down again to ensure that they’re tucked in.

Using a sharp knife, cut the dish into 1 inch X 1 inch pieces. (Note: wet the knife by dipping it into a shallow bowl of water in between each cut)

Sprinkle with 1 more TBSP of water and then place the dish on an open flame. Cook until it is crispy and brown.

Remove the dish from the heat, cover it with the other greased pan and carefully flip it so that the cooked side is facing up.

Place back on the open flame and cook the other side until brown.

Serve and enjoy immediately! It’s so good when it’s warm!

Afiyet Olsun!