Tasty Tabbouleh Salad

A delicious Mediterranean twist on your salad night, try this Tasty Tabbouleh Salad!

     Tabbouleh is a common salad eaten throughout many countries in the Mediterranean and Middle East. It is a simple salad but packed with flavor in every bite. It starts with fresh veggies that are mixed together with bulgur and tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. Finally, it’s seasoned with a little salt and pepper and Voila! You have a delicious and quick salad that makes the perfect side item or meal!

Here’s the recipe:

Tasty Tabbouleh Salad

  • 1 bunch of parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 small cucumber (finely chopped)
  • 1 small tomato (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 fresh mint (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 c (dry) finely ground bulgur
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Finely chop the parsley, mint, cucumber and tomato.

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To prepare the bulgur: place the bulgur in a bowl and add 1 cup of boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and let “cook” for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl mix together the parsley, mint, cucumber, tomato and bulgur.

Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss everything together until it is well combined.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

Turkish Meat Pie (Sini Köfte)

Flavorful ground beef, pistachios, walnuts and almonds are layered between finely ground bulgur to make a savory meat pie.
Here’s the recipe:
Sini Köfte
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3 c finely ground bulgur
  • 4 onions (finely diced)
  • 2 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 T raw pistachios
  • 1 T raw walnuts
  • 1 T raw almonds
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 T butter
  • 4 T tomato paste
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
Sauté the ground beef until browned. Then add the onions, pistachios, walnuts, pistachios, olive oil, saffron, salt and pepper and stir. Set aside.
Meanehile, add 1 cup of water to the tomato paste and stir. Pour into the simit and knead together. Divide the mixture in half.
In a large circular pan, layer half of the simit on the bottom. Flatten like a pie crust.
Then add the beef mixture evenly on top.
Then shape the rest of the simit into a flatten circle on a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper(the size of the pan).
Place on top amd press gently.
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Then cut into squares using a sharp knife and dipping it in water with each cut.
Bake in the oven on 375 for 15-20 minutes.
Spritz with water and then bake again for 15-20 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
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Afiyet Olsun!

Never Again

An original poem inspired by #NeverAgain 

Never Again 

by EE Winkler

Now ain’t the time to stay seated

we’re rising up…

Now ain’t the time to stay silent

we’ve had enough

Haven’t enough lives been lost

Isn’t it time we count the cost

If we really want to live a life that matters

Then we need to start speaking up

Never again are we going to let this happen

Never again on our watch…

 

 

©All Rights Reserved

Roasted Rib Rice Pilaf (Kapamali Pirinc Pilav)

Tender saffron yogurt coated ribs are tenderized and roasted to perfection to top a plate full of rice pilaf. 

     For this recipe, the ribs do most of their cooking in a pressure cooker. Then they are coated with a mixture of yogurt and saffron and roasted until perfection.

Meanwhile, the rice pilaf is prepared and complimented by a few chickpeas to enhance the flavor and texture.

Once the ribs are done, they top the pilaf and create a satisfying and hearty meal.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Rib Rice Pilaf (Kapamali Pirinc Pilav)

  • 3 lbs beef ribs
  • 3 c rice
  • 4 T butter
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 2 T thick yogurt
  • 3/4 c chickpeas
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Place the ribs in a pressure cooker and cover with water. Cook for 60-90 minutes.
In a small bowl mix together the yogurt and the saffron.
Remove the ribs from the pressure cooker. Drain the liquid and reserve.
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Coat the ribs with the saffron yogurt and place in a 375 F oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Place 6-7 cups of the reserved broth in a large stock pot.
Add the rice, chickpeas, salt and pepper. Stir & cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
To serve, plate the pilaf and top with the ribs.
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Afiyet Olsun!

Cumin & Herb de Provence Roasted Carrots

Light, delicious and full of flavorful–these cumin and herb roasted carrots make the perfect side item to compliment any meal.

Making vegetables delicious is often as simple as adding a little herbs or spices. This dish, is a great example of the big difference a few herbs can make.

A blend of purple and orange carrots are roasted to perfection in a blend of cumin and herbs de Provence to create a sweet and fresh flavor!

Here’s the recipe:

Cumin & Herb Roasted Carrots

  • 2 orange carrots
  • 2 purple carrots
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T herbs de Provence
  • 2 tsp dried cumin
  • 2 T fresh parsley

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.*

Peel and slice the carrots into half an inch size pieces and place them on the baking sheet.

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Drizzle over the olive oil, herbs de Provence and cumin. Toss the carrots to ensure that they are fully coated with olive oil and the spices.

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Place the carrots in the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on your oven) checking halfway through to toss the carrots.

To serve, plate the carrots on a large platter or decorative bowl. Garnish with some fresh parsley.

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Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

*For an easy and simple clean up & to keep the carrots from sticking to the pan.

Beef & Onion Stew (Salçali Soğan Aşı)

Tender chunks of stew beef are sautéed to perfection and then braised with pearl onions and quince until tender and succulent.

Growing up, beef stew was a staple in my house, especially during the winter time. It was a hearty stew, paired with rice and perfect for warming up on a cold day.

This beef and onion stew is a blend of savory and sweet with tender pieces of beef and quince that make this hearty meal. It’s packed with flavor! Although it is very different from the beef stew I grew up eating, I appreciate and welcome this new flavor.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 12 ounces stew beef chunks
  • 20-25 small red onions or pearl onions (or a small variety of onions) (peeled)
  • 2 quince (cored & chopped)
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3/4 c tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper paste
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, sauté the stew beef until it is browned. Add the butter and olive oil and stir.

Then add the onions and toss the pot gently in order to make sure the onions are well coated.

Then add the quince, red pepper paste, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and enough water to cover the stew (approximately 2 liters)

Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the beef and quince are tender.

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Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

DIY Pasta Making: Orecchiette

Italian for “little ears” this unique pasta shape is perfect for scooping up delicious sauce. 
     Orecchiette is one of a kind. Sure, there are similar pastas but there is not one quite like this one. When my local grocery stores stopped selling it, I resorted to making my own from scratch.
The most beautiful thing is how minimalistic this recipe is. With very few ingredients and utensils, you can create a beautiful pasta.
Here’s the recipe:
Homemade Orecchiette (from scratch!)
  • 2 c flour (plus more for kneading and preparing the pasta)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1.5 c water (added little by little)
Preparation:
To make the orecchiette pasta dough: Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl.
Pour it onto your workspace and create a little mound.
Using a small cup or your hands, create a little well.
Slowly pour half a cup of water into the well.
Gently incorporate the water and the flour.
Using one hand to mix and the other hand to pour the water, add enough water until the dough is moist but not sticky.
Continue kneading for 10 minutes and roll the dough in a ball.
Flatten the ball to make a disc shape and wrap the dough in plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
Then start making the orecchiette.
HOW TO Shape the Orecchiette:
Take a golf ball size piece of dough and roll it into a long piece (like a snake) about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
Cut 1/4 inch pieces from the roll and then roll them into small balls.
Using the dull side of a butter knife, press it into the ball of dough and roll it towards you until you reach the end of the piece.
The dough should be stuck to your knife now.
Pick up your knife and gently roll the dough away from the knife and both sides to form a “little ear.”
Place the “little ear” on a floured piece of parchment paper and continue making the rest of the orecchiette.

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Sift the excess flour from the pasta.

Boil your pasta and eat immediately or place on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Then transfer the orecchiette to a ziplock bag and freeze.

Guten Appetit!

A Journey Along the Silk Road

Explore the modern world like an ancient merchant along one of the routes of the historic Silk Road.

Imagine what it would have been like to travel along the ancient Silk Road. Extending from Asia, into Europe and North Africa, the trails of the Silk Road are still known to this day. It’s not a coincidence that the cities along the Silk Road are still some of the largest places for commerce and trade and housing populations of millions of people.

While many modern cities have started recognizing and memorializing this ancient trade route, not all of them have a replica depiction of the experience.

 

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Along a modern-day highway, a pack of life-size camels carrying loads of goods and supplies trek along the median. Followed by one merchant, this illustration gives us an idea of what it could have looked like to journey along the Silk Road as a merchant.

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While many experiences about traveling on the Silk Road might remain unknown, this journey takes an imagined inspired approach to attempt to understand this part of the journey.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

Creamy, flavorful and seasoned masala sauce with tender pieces of marinated chicken.

The perfect blend of spices with tomatoes create a delicious “masala” or sauce for this dish. The chicken is marinated in a thick yogurt mixture and is tender, flavorful and so good. If you think marinades are not worth the work, then you’ll love how simple this one and the final result of the tender chicken.

A classic Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala is found on restaurant menus all over the world. But making it at home is a rewarding and delicious treat and perhaps not as complicated as you imagined.

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Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • 1 lb boneless skin-less chicken breasts (diced)
  • 1/2 c thick yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1.5 onions (diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1.5 inch piece of ginger (diced)
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 2 T cumin powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c cream (if desired)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To marinate the chicken: place the chicken, yogurt, lemon juice, half of an onion, a half-inch piece of ginger, 1 T cumin powder, 1 T dried oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine and then cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

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To make the chicken tikka masala:

Place the spices in a dry frying pan and toast just until they are fragrant.

Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger in a frying pan with the sunflower oil until tender.

Add the spices and stir thoroughly.

Add the chicken and sauté  until cooked through.

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Then add the tomato paste, season with salt and pepper and stir until well coated.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and 1.5 cups of hot water. Stir and then cover with a lid. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.

Serve over a bed of rice or with bread.

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Enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

 

 

Chicken Turkish Pizza (Tavuklu Lahmacun)

A different spin on the traditional Turkish pizza. Instead of ground beef, ground chicken is used in this variation of a classic recipe.

Thin, crispy crust topped with a thin layer of the toppings, lahmacun, or Turkish pizza, is a one of a kind dish. Served with fresh parsley, lemon and sometimes a myriad of other vegetables (e.g. pickled red cabbage, raw turnips and tomato salad), the pizza is topped with fresh veggies (if you wish) and then rolled up before enjoyed!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1.5 lbs ground or finely minced boneless chicken
  • 4 scallions (chopped)
  • 2 bunches of parsley (chopped)
  • 5 tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 red pepper (sweet or bell)
  • 1 green pepper (sweet or bell)
  • 2 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Chop all of the ingredients except for the chicken and place it in a bowl.

Add the chicken and stir until well incorporated.

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 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/500F  (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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This recipe was learned from the culinary classes at the Gaziantep Mutfak Sanatları Eğitim Merkezi. For more information or to take a class, visit their website

Dad’s Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Oatmeal

Creamy, rich and delicious oatmeal, with cinnamon spice and everything nice!

     Growing up, I never realized how blessed I was that both of my parents could cook. They each had their specialties but they always managed to make a great meal to feed our family of seven. Looking back, I am so grateful for this. It really taught me so much!

When my Dad was cooking, breakfast dishes were some of his signature items. In particularly, his cream of wheat or oatmeal. You could always smell it cooking throughout the house because of the aroma of the cinnamon and nutmeg. His dishes were not without flavor and this oatmeal recipe is an excellent testimony.

     I know you might be thinking, what’s so special about oatmeal? Well, I will tell you. It’s simply the way my Dad prepares oatmeal. I actually never had oatmeal any other way until I was much older and I really appreciated his oatmeal even more. 

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     It all starts with milk. Instead of water, he always uses milk and that’s what makes the oatmeal so creamy. To the milk, he adds brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. This combination on it’s own is so good that you could pour it in a glass and drink it as a warm beverage. 

     Once it’s had time to simmer, not boil, he adds the oats and stirs. Then he covers it with a lid and allows it to cook for 5-10 minutes. At the very end, he stirs in some raisins and then it’s ready to enjoy. Creamy and delicious, it’s just sweet enough and so good. 

So, thanks Dad for making great food like this oatmeal recipe and teaching me what you know. I would not be who I am today without you, so thank you for all that you are and all that you’ve done!

Happy Birthday!

Here’s the recipe:

Dad’s Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Oatmeal

  • 1 c oats
  • 2 c milk
  • 1/2 T ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 T – 1/3 c brown sugar (depending on the sweetness level you prefer)
  • 2 T raisins

Preparation:

Pour the milk into a sauce pot and place over medium heat.

Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar and stir until the brown sugar has dissolved.

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Keep stirring frequently until it comes to a light simmer. Then pour in the oats, stirring constantly.

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Reduce the heat and allow the oatmeal to simmer for 7-15 minutes*

Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins.

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Pour into a large bowl (or two).

Serve and Enjoy!

Soooo good! I made this yesterday and ate the oatmeal so fast I even surprised myself, lol!

Sheer delight!

*The cook time depends on whether you use quick cooking oats or old fashioned oats. Adjust the cooking time depending on which one you use.

I’m Speaking for Her (a poem inspired by International Women’s Day 2018)

Although one day is designated to celebrate International Women’s Day, this is something we can choose to see, embrace, support and celebrate every single day of the year.

I wrote this poem on International Women’s Day 2018. I am inspired by the movement of so many women who have come before me and paved the way and I’m ready to lay some pavement for my generation to make this world a better place for those after me.

I’m Speaking for Her

by: EE Winkler

Every woman has a voice

Every woman has a name

Every woman has a purpose to fulfill today

It’s time we start embracing the truth within our hearts

You were created so beautiful with a purpose, a role, a part

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

If we want to make this world a better place

Then it’s going to have to start with us today

We’re going to speak out for justice

We’re going to speak out in love

We’re going to speak with compassion

We’re going to shine with a light from above

We’re done with the sidelines, we’re kissing them goodbye

Cause I have a voice and I’m using it tonight

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

We are not guaranteed tomorrow

We only have this day

It’s time we seize this moment

And make the most of this day

What are we doing that matters?

What are we doing that counts?

We’re speaking out against injustice, and we’re speaking out right now

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

© All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit:

Photo by Lui Peng on Unsplash

Photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Photo by Doug Linstedt on Unsplash

Photo by Doug Linstedt on Unsplash

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

Lamb Chop & Quince Stew (Ayvali Taraklik Tavasi)

Savory and a bit sweet, this dish will make you say Mmmmm.

      If you’ve ever had pork chops and apple sauce, then this recipe is a comparable dish. Packed with flavor, the lamb chops are slow roasted in the oven and then added to a savory tomato and red pepper spiced broth to simmer until finally the quince slices are added and cooked just until they are tender and a bit sweet.

Perfect for a cold day outside, this stew is satisfying and a comforting Turkish classic meal.

Here’s the recipe:

1 kilo of small lamb chops (about 4 inches long)

  • 2 medium white onions (diced)
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP red pepper paste
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 quinces (cored and sliced into sixths)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 190 C (375 F).

Place the lamb chops on a baking sheet in one even layer. Coat with olive oil and place in the oven until browned (approximately 30 to 45 minutes).

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While the lamb chops are roasting, melt the butter in a large stock pot and add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent.

Sprinkle in the flour and sugar and stir.

Remove the chops from the oven and add to the pot. Fill the pot with boiling water (just enough to completly cover the chops) and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Stir in the red pepper paste, crushed tomatoes and salt and pepper. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

Add the quince slices and simmer for another 15 minutes until the quince are soft but not soggy.

Serve and 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

 

 

Onion & Herb Frittata

Simple, elegant, quick and delicious — this frittata recipe is so good. It’s perfect for any breakfast or brunch!

I love frittata! It’s all of the delicious flavor of an omelette with less work! I love the fact that I have the freedom to customize my frittata based on my favorite veggies or whatever I have on hand. No matter what, it always comes out so good!

For this recipe, I used a few basic ingredients. Some sautéed onions, fresh herbs and dry herbs make this frittata come to life!

Here’s the recipe:

Onion & Herb Frittata

  • 1/2 small white onion (finely diced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP fresh parsley
  • 1 TBSP fresh mint
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • ricotta (garnish)

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

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Lightly grease a small baking pan with 1/2 TBSP of olive oil.

Finely dice the onion. Sautee the onion in 1/2 TBSP of olive oil until translucent.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add salt & pepper.

Roughly chop the parsley & mint and add them to the eggs. Then add the oregano and cilantro and whisk.

Stir in the sautéed onion.

Then pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 7-10 minutes.

Garnish with ricotta, if desired.

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Serve & Enjoy!

Homemade Tomato Soup

This tomato soup recipe is a simple and delicious classic recipe. It’s versatile, simple and oh so good.

There’s nothing quite like a good bowl of tomato soup. It’s something so simple and so basic yet so comforting and delicious. To make the soup, it starts with really good tomatoes. I use a jar of crushed tomatoes that a friend of mine jarred during the summertime, but I’ve also made this recipe many times with crushed tomatoes. Of course, you can also use fresh tomatoes, I would recommend peeling them first and chopping them up or placing them in a food processor.

Whatever tomatoes you use, it’s going to be delicious!

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Tomato Soup

  • 4 c crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 c tomato sauce
  • 1-2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 4 c chicken broth*
  • 1 large carrot (finely chopped)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped) 
  • 5 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c heavy cream 
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 TBSP dried basil
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

* Or 2 chicken bouillion cubes with 4 cups of water)

Preparation:

In a large stock pot, sautee the onions, garlic and carrots in a little olive oil until the vegetables are tender.

Then add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir until well incorporated. 

Then pour in the chicken broth. Stir and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure it does not stick. 

Add the cumin powder and crushed tomatoes and stir. Cover and simmer for 30 more minutes. 

Then remove from the heat and stir in the cream (if using).

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Serve & Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

Mini Turkish Meatballs (Arap Köftesi)

A delicious mini meatball that’s packed with so much more than just meat. Served with yogurt and a spice oil drizzle, it’s a beautiful and delicious creation!

Essentially, I would consider this dish a meatball. Although the ratio of bulgur to meat is 2 to 1 so maybe it’s more like a bulgur & meatball but regardless, it’s delicious.

While it is a bit of a labor of love to prepare them, the lovely end product is what makes it all worth it. It’s a good dish to make with friends or with kids because it requires a lot of kneading and rolling into the small balls.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 6 oz ground beef
  • 1.5 c simit bulgur (a fine, small bulgur variety)
  • 1 small red onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 TBSP dried tarragon (crushed)
  • 2 TBSP red pepper flakes (non-spicey)
  • 6 1/2 cups of yogurt
  • 0.5 c water
  • 0.5 c sunflower oil (or any neutral oil: vegetable, canola, etc.)
  • 0.25 c olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large shallow bowl mix together the ground beef, bulgur, red onion, garlic, tarragon, salt and pepper. Knead together for 5 to 10 minutes, adding the water tablespoon by tablespoon as needed.

Then add the finely chopped parsley. Continue kneading for 5-10 minutes, adding the water tablespoon by tablespoon as needed until the consistency is moist enough to roll into balls without falling apart or sticking to your hands.

Taking piece by piece of the mixture, roll it into small 1 inch balls.

Once all of the balls are made, pile them into a steamer basket and place on the stove to steam for about 10 minutes.

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Remove from the stove and set aside for 10 minutes.

Fill a frying pan with the sunflower oil and olive oil. Once it is hot, add the meatballs and fry until lightly browned.

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Stir in the red pepper flakes and remove the pan from the heat.

To serve, plate 1 TBSP of yogurt on each plate and then top with several meatballs and a light drizzle of the red pepper oil.

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Serve and enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

 

 

 

Fried Eggs & Olives (Zeytin Mihlasi)

Zeytin Mihlasi is a delicious Turkish dish that predominately consists of olives and eggs. The ratio of olives to eggs is at least 2 to 1 so if you love olives, then you’ll love this dish. It’s like an olive omelette amplified.

Here’s the recipe:

Fried Eggs & Olives (Zeytin Mihlasi)

  • 2.5 c green olives (pitted & roughly chopped)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 T red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

In a medium frying pan, add the butter, olive oil and onions. Sautee the onions until they are tender.

Then add the olives, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Sauté for a few minutes until the paste is well incorporated with the olives.

Then crack 5 eggs directly on top of the olive mixture in different corners of the pan like a clock. Cover with a lid and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the eggs are done. NOTE: “Done” depends on whether you like your eggs runny or fully cooked so cook them according to your personal preference.

Serve immediately & 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.

Shepherd’s Pie

Don’t let the name fool you; this pie is anything but sweet. A savory delicious blend of meat and veggies and topped with fresh mashed potatoes and then baked to perfection.

Technically, this was the first home cooked meal I made for my husband. I had a limited amount of time but I wanted to make something really good. This meal was a good choice. He really liked it and it’s still a great meal that I keep in my cooking rotation.

I love Shepherd’s Pie because it’s a great meal to make when you’re not sure what people like to eat. It’s meat, potatoes and vegetables all packed into one dish. Plus, it’s a natural comfort food. You just take a bite and your taste buds will dance with glee. Creamy mashed potatoes with savory ground beef, Mmmm. It’s so good and uncomplicated.

For My Vegetarian Friends, here’s my proposed vegetarian version:

Sautéed mushrooms instead of ground beef. True, you’ll need a lot of mushrooms. But, I think mushrooms make the perfect meat-less alternative and they will undoubtedly taste amazing with the veggies and mashed potatoes.

Here’s the recipe:

Shepherd’s Pie

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 c fresh parsley
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1/2 c milk or cream
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 3 large potatoes
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation: 

To make the mashed potatoes: peel and chop the potatoes. Boil them until they are tender and then drain and rinse them. Heat the milk or cream with the butter in a saucepan until hot. Then pour over the potatoes and mash thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

To make the meat & veggie base of the Shepherd’s Pie:

In a large frying pan, cook the ground beef until browned. 

Add the olive oil and the chopped onion. Sauté until the onion is tender.

Then add the carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Sprinkle in the cumin, oregano, salt and pepper.

Then in a small bowl add 2 TBSP of water to the flour and whisk until smooth to create a little roux. Pour it over the beef and veggies and bring back to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.

Using a large baking dish, pour the beef and veggie mixture in one even layer.

Then top with the mashed potatoes, spreading them evenly over the meat and veggies.

Bake in the oven on 350 F for 15-20 minutes.

Serve & Enjoy!

DIY Fresh Ravioli

Light, cheesy, pillows of stuffed pasta. This fresh ravioli recipe is a must try. Once you’ve tried fresh pasta, you’ll never forget it!

As a kid, I loved ravioli. Fortunately, they sometimes sold it at the supermarket or when we went out to eat, I would order it from our favorite Italian restaurant. Also, I’ll admit like many kids from my generation, there was a particular canned ravioli that I liked. Lol! The truth.

But, once I learned how to make fresh pasta, making ravioli was the next assignment. It seemed only natural. Ravioli making is indeed a labor of love. You roll up your sleeves and roll out your dough and stuff delicious pasta pockets of goodness.

But the end product, is so worth it because they are just that good.

Oh, and if you’re on a budget, then this recipe is much more affordable than buying it. With minimal ingredients, you’ll find most everything you need, you already have. The filling is totally up to you but since I love ricotta, I stuffed my ravioli with ricotta. But if you have some spinach or mushrooms, these are so great pasta stuffing ideas.

Happy Ravioli Making. You’ve got this!

Here’s the Recipe:

Fresh Ravioli

For the pasta dough:

For the Ravioli Filling:

  • 1.5 c ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To make the filling: mix together the ricotta, parmesan, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Set aside.

To make the pastaFollow the Recipe for Fresh Pasta from Scratch

Roll out the pasta dough into long sheets.

Cut the pasta dough into 5 inch x 2 inch pieces.

Take 1 tsp of the cheese filling and place it about half an inch from the bottom of the pasta.

Take a little water and rub it along the outer corners of the ravioli. (Note: The water serves as the adhesive)

Fold the top part in half. Then using a fork, press down around the pasta to crimp the edges. Dip your fork in water 2-3 times to keep it from sticking to the pasta.

Place the ravioli on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper and continue making the ravioli until they are all complete.

 

To cook: Boil a large pot of water. Add salt (to taste) and one by one, carefully add the ravioli to the pot.

Note: They will cook quickly so keep an eye on them.

Once the ravioli has risen to the surface of the pot, you know it’s time to remove them from the water.

Using a large drainer spoon, remove the ravioli and place them on a serving platter.

Enjoy them with your favorite pasta sauce.

An alternative to boiling the ravioli is Fried Ravioli. They are a light and crispy version of the traditional pasta.

To fry the ravioli, shake off the excess flour and one by one, place them in a frying pan to shallow fry in a little oil. When they are browned, flip them over and brown of the other side. Serve with a little fresh marinara sauce!

Rice Pilaf with Almonds, Pine Nuts and Dried Currants (Iç Pilav)

Savory and sweet — in the best possible way, this rice pilaf is packed with crunchy pine nuts and almonds and filled with tender pieces of dried currants.
Iç Pilav, is literally translated as “Inner Rice.” It is the perfect combination of blending sweet and savory flavors into one dish. The cinnamon and the all spice add the perfect blend of spices to this dish.
Here’s the recipe:
Rice Pilaf with Almonds, Pine Nuts and Dried Currants (Iç Pilav)
  • 3 c rice (soaked in water, drained & rinsed)
  • 1/2 c blanched almonds
  • 1/2 c pine nuts
  • 2 TBSP dried currants (rehydrated in water)
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp all spice
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
In a large stock pot, add the butter and oil.
Pour in the almonds and pine nuts and toast them for 1 minute. Then add the rice and toast for another 2-3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and then add the currants.
Add 6 cups of hot water and stir. Simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
Sprinkle in the cinnamon and all spice. Stir until well incorporated. Put the lid back on the rice and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
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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

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (made from scratch!)

A good bowl of chicken soup warms your stomach, heart and soul. Homemade broth packed with tender chicken and flavorful veggies, it’s a delicious classic. Never underestimate the power of a good bowl of chicken soup.

As a kid, I remember watching my mom make chicken noodle soup or more often turkey noodle soup (post Thanksgiving & Christmas). It was always amazing to me to watch her make such a delicious soup out of such minimal ingredients. She would take a whole chicken (or whatever was left from it) and place it in a pot and let it simmer until the meat was falling off the bones.

I follow Mom’s example because quite frankly, she’s an amazing cook so I’d be crazy not to, lol! I normally just make less soup, so thus I don’t use a whole chicken but essentially, I follow the basic principle of using bone in and skin on chicken. In regards to flavor, it makes a BIG difference. Trust me on this one. You’ll taste the difference.

Plus the aroma that fills your home when you make chicken noodle soup is irresistible. Like baking a loaf of bread or a batch of chocolate chip cookies, it screams one word, H-O-M-E. When you smell chicken noodle soup, you know that it’s going to be a good day, even if you’re under the weather.

Here’s the recipe:

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (from scratch)

  • 2 lbs bone in & skin on chicken
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-2 c chopped fresh spinach
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • 1 c egg spiral noodles (dry)
  • 1 chili pepper (omit if you don’t like it spicy!)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T black pepper
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Peel and cut the carrots and onion in half.

To make the chicken stock: In a large stock pot, add the carrots, onion, garlic, 1/4 c parsley, chicken, chili pepper, oregano, black pepper and salt. Add 2 liter of water and cover. Simmer the stock for about 1 hour (adding more water as needed).

Meanwhile, boil the spiral egg noodles until al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Drain the stock and place back in the pot. Discard everything else except for the carrots and chicken. Cut the carrots into round pieces and shred the chicken (discarding the skin and bones). Then add them back to the stock.

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Chop the spinach and scallions and add them to the soup.

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Pour in the noodles and stir.

To serve, ladle to soup into bowls and top with some fresh parsley.

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Enjoy!

 

 

Braised Chard (Pancar Kavurmasi)

This dish is simple but delicious. With minimal effort and ingredients, it creates a beautiful dish. The chard is the star of this recipe and paired with the thick creamy yogurt and bread, it makes this dish a complete meal.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 bunch of chard
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 red pepper (sweet or bell, diced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 3 c suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
 
Preparation:
Clean and thinly slice the chard.
Place the chard in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Then remove from the water, drain and set aside to cool. Once cooled, squeeze out the excess water.
In a large stock pot, melt the butter and add the oil. Add the onion and red pepper and sauté until they are tender.
Then add the tomato paste and chard. Stir until well combined.
Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
To serve, plate the chard on a serving dish and place the yogurt around the edges of the dish.
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Enjoy!
Afiyet Olsun