Hörnchen Little German Crescent Rolls

Soft, fluffy and a simple bread to prepare at home today.

There are truly a plethora of different types of German breads. If you have the opportunity to visit Germany, do yourself a favor and don’t pay for a hotel breakfast. Instead, do what the locals are doing and head to a Bäckeri (German for bakery).

For the recipe video, click the image below! 

Inside the bakery you’ll find plenty of bread rolls, loaves and sweet pastries for an affordable price. Even in big cities like Köln and Berlin, you can buy 4 or 5 Brötchen for only 1 Euro! Amazing!

However, the hörnchen is a little bit more expensive, but definitely worth giving a try, because it’s not that much more expensive. The texture is quite soft and fluffy. The taste is buttery with a hint of sweetness. With a bit of honey, marmalade, or nutella — it is a wonderful treat!

Not in Germany? No problem! This recipe is quite simple to prepare just about anywhere in the world. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry now. So what are you waiting for, let’s make some hörnchen!

Erica’s Hörnchen Recipe

  • 2.5 tsp dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm milk
  • 3 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP melted butter
  • 1.5 to 2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)

For the egg wash:

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 TBSP milk

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, warm milk, salt and melted butter. Stir well.

Continue to stir and gradually add in the flour, little by little. Keep stirring until the dough no longer sticks to sides of the bowl.

Then turn the dough over onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, only adding flour if the dough is sticky.

Shape the dough into a ball and using a mezzaluna or a knife, cut the dough (like a pizza) into 8 equal portions.

One by one, roll out each portion into a long triangle, about 6 to 7 inches (15-17cm) long.

Then starting with the widest end of the triangle, roll the dough up until you meet the smallest end.

Then fold the dough to create the horn-shape or the shape of the letter “U.”

Continue until all of the hörnchen are shaped (grab some little helping hands if you have them:).

Then place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover them with a dish towel and allow them to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until they have doubled in size.

Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 375F/190C.

Once the hörnchen have risen, remove the towel and prepare the egg wash by mixing the egg and milk in a small bowl.

Using a pastry brush, brush each of the hörnchen generously with the egg wash.

Then place them into the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve and enjoy while they are still warm or save some for later.

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Guten Appetit!

P.S. Hörnchen literally translates to mean “little horns.” This of course is in reference to their size and shape.

P.P.S If you google Hörnchen from an English speaking country, Google might show you a picture of a squirrel. It’s because the word actually has more than one meaning. Go figure, lol! But not to worry, no squirrels were harmed in the production of these bread rolls. 

Sending you lots of love for reading this far 🙂 You’re amazing!♥

 

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How to Make Turkish Coffee

There’s a saying that says, “One cup of Turkish coffee means 40 years of friendship…”

A robust, strong & flavorful coffee, Turkish coffee is must try drink!

The first time I tried Turkish coffee was in New York City at a Turkish restaurant. They served it in a beautiful manner with traditional cups and a traditional cezve (a Turkish coffee pot) but truth be told, it was nothing compared to trying Turkish coffee in Turkey.

Not only does Turkish coffee have a beautiful preparation, it has an exquisite taste, especially if you like a strong cup of coffee. Like espresso, it is served in a small cup but it serves a powerful punch of flavor. I love to drink it in the mornings or afternoons but most days, I drink it at both times of the day.

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How to Make Turkish Coffee

Ingredients/Materials Needed:

  • Turkish coffee
  • cold water
  • cezve
  • 1 small wooden spoon
  • 1 teaspoon

Preparation:

Measure out 2 TBSP of Turkish coffee per cup and place it in the cezve*.

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Then take your coffee cup and use it as a measuring cup to measure out enough cold water to fill the cup. Then add the cold water to the cezve.

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Stir it together for a few seconds and then move the cezve to a low flame.

Stirring frequently and watching it carefully, wait for the Turkish coffee to develop a layer of foam on top.

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Once the foam develops, take a tea spoon and gently scrape the foam off the top and place it into your coffee cup. (Note: repeat this step if you are making a second, third or fourth cup of coffee.)

Then place the coffee back on the flame and stirring occasionally, wait for the coffee to come up to a rolling boil and then quickly remove from the heat.

Gently and slowly pour the coffee into the cup being careful not to lose the foam (the foam should come to the top of the cup.

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Serve with a couple of pieces of Turkish delight or chocolate and enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

*Substitute a very small sauce pot if needed.

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German Plum Cake (Pflaumenkuchen)

The plums are the star of this recipe! There’s nothing better than a recipe with the simplest, natural ingredients!

A sweet, yeast dough, layered with ripe plums and sprinkled with a pinch of cinnamon! 

Pflaumenkuchen is one of the first cakes I tried on my first trip to Germany. It was the first of many delicious cakes that I got to try all made by my Schwiegermutter (mother-in-love).

What I love about this cake is that is indeed quite simple to prepare, but it looks so elegant especially when you are serving it and you can see the beautiful ruby red plums layered on top of the dough.

The dough is a simple, sweet yeast dough but the plums are definitely the star of this show, so it is best to make this cake during plum season for optimal quality.

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Here’s my recipe:

Pflaumenkuchen (German Plum Cake)

  • 1.5 -2 kilos plums (3-4lbs)
  • pinch of ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top after baking
  • 1 TBSP vegetable oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 2 TBSP softened butter (for greasing the pan)

For the dough:

  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • 2/3 c warm milk
  • 2 TBSP melted butter
  • 1 whole egg (large)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 2/3-3 cups white flour (plus a bit more for kneading)

For the streusel:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Preparation:

To prepare the dough: In a large bowl, combine the yeast, warm milk, melted butter and 1 whole egg, stirring well with each addition. Then continue stirring and gradually add in the sugar and then the flour. Keep stirring until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl and forms a ball, adding more flour as needed. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 to 5 minutes and then shape into a ball.

Lightly grease a bowl with 1 TBSP of vegetable oil (or any neutral oil) and place the dough in the bowl, flipping over to ensure that both sides are coated with the oil. Then cover with a damp kitchen towel and place it in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size.

While the dough rises, line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and grease with 2 TBSP of softened butter.

After the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and gently stretch the dough out onto the greased parchment paper.

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Cover the dough again and allow it to rest again for 25-30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven on 375F/190C.

Meanwhile, de-pit the plums and cut them into quarters of leave them as halves if you prefer.

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Then layer the plums, flesh side up on top of the dough and set aside.

To make the streusel: combine the flour, sugar and softened butter in a large bowl and with your clean hands, crumble everything together to form the streusel crumbs.

Immediately, layer the streusel on top of the plums and then place the Pflaumenkuchen in the oven to bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the dough is lightly browned.

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The plums are the star of the show! 

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with just a pinch of ground cinnamon.

Allow the Pflaumenkuchen to cool for 30-45 minutes and then cut into squares and enjoy!

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Can you see the sprinkle of cinnamon on top?
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The beauty of the slice of Pflaumenkuchen! 

 

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Guten Appetit!

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Fresh Fig Tart Recipe

Ripe & sweet fresh figs, layered on a butter-crust and drizzled with a cinnamon-honey butter!

Figs are one of the oldest fruits recorded in human history and I think one of the most underrated. They are sweet and satisfying to eat a couple but I also love creating recipes around them.

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For this recipe, it is important to have fresh figs so if you cannot find them, try substituting another fruit like apples, peaches or plums.

Here’s the recipe:

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Fresh Fig Tart

  • 15-20 fresh figs (cut into quarters)
  • 1 pre-prepared pie crust
  • 4 TBSP melted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • flour (for dusting & rolling out the dough)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C.

Cut the figs into quarters.

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Dust a large countertop with a bit of flour and proceed to roll out your pie crust until it forms a nice circular shape (approx. 14 inches in diameter).

Then brush 1 TBSP of butter onto a parchment lined baking sheet and transfer the dough onto the parchment paper.

Brush the center of the dough with 1 TBSP of melter butter.

Then arrange the fig quarters to create a beautiful design. Note: I like to go in a circular shape with the figs facing flesh side upward.

Then in a small bowl, whisk together the honey, butter and cinnamon. Using a pastry brush, brush the figs with the cinnamon-honey butter.

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Then fold up the sides of the tart, piece by piece towards the figs. Note: there’s no science to this but I love to overlap of the dough as I fold. I think this creates a really rustic but beautiful end product.

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Then bake until the dough is lightly browned and the figs are bubbly and delicious (approximately 20-30 minutes)

Allow the tart to cool for about 10-15 minutes and then cut slices (like a pizza), enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream (if you wish) and enjoy!DSC09286IMG_5260

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Fresh & Simple Creamed Corn

Tender, sweet, fresh corn with just a touch a milk and cream. A delightfully simple & delicious dish!

 

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Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Creamed Corn

  • 2 ears of fresh corn (approx. 2.5 cups if using frozen corn)
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP flour
  • 1.5 cups of milk (slightly warmed)
  • 1-2 TBSP cream
  • salt & pepper (if desired, to taste)

Preparation:

Shuck the husks from the fresh corn and rinse thoroughly to remove the stringy pieces. Pat them dry gently.

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Then place the corn in a large bowl and carefully with a knife, cut off the corn kernels from the cob. (Note: it is good to do this in a large bowl or else the corn kernels will fly everywhere, lol!)

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Once all of the corn kernels are removed, use the back of the knife (the dull side) and scrape it against the cob to remove some of the natural “milk” from the corn. Set aside.

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In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Sprinkle over the flour and whisk quickly to form a roux. Then gradually add about 1/2 cup of warm milk, while continually whisking. Remove from the heat and add in the corn. Pour over the remaining milk and stir thoroughly.

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Place back on the stove and cook over medium heat for just 10-15 minutes or until the corn is tender. Then add the cream, salt & pepper (if desired) and enjoy immediately.

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It is simply splendid.

Enjoy!
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Baklava: How to Make it at Home (Simple & Delicious)

Layers and layers of flaky crispy dough filled with pistachios and walnuts and covered with a perfectly sweet glaze. 

Baklava making is indeed an art. In the large businesses you will find huge, cold rooms reserved for rolling out he dough (called yufka, also known as phyllo) and preparing this delicious dessert.

Although baklava is found throughout the world especially in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, it is almost always prepared differently. No matter who I ask, they always tell me that the baklava from their country is the best and proceed to explain to me why.

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As for me, I find it a beautiful thing to simply appreciate the differences. Yes I have my favorites but at the end of the day, how it is prepared is a beautiful reflection of collective cultures and societies.

Making baklava at home is actually quite simple especially if you buy the pre-prepared dough like I did. Essentially, it just takes time and patience to carefully and steadily build layer upon layer of this dessert.

Here’s the recipe:

Baklava

  • 200 g melted butter
  • 400 g yufka or phyllo dough
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 lemon

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven on 200C/392F.

Grease your baking dish with butter using a pastry brush. (I used a glass 8 inch x 8 inch baking dish; this is not the traditional type of pan but it works well)

Then keeping the yufka covered with a damp kitchen towel, peel layer by layer and carefully place it in the dish, brushing the dough gently with butter after each addition.

After about 15 layers, it’s time to add the nuts.

On one side I added the pistachios and on the other side I added the walnuts.

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Then I continued layering about 18 more sheets of the dough, adding butter after each addition.

Once the final layer is added, gently cut the baklava into diamond or square shapes, being careful not to tear the dough.

Cover with the remaining melted butter and place the baklava in the oven.

Meanwhile, to make the simple syrup combine the sugar with 2 cups of water and the the lemon wedge and simmer on low heat, stirring frequently for about 8-10 minutes.

Once the baklava is golden, remove it from the oven and pour over the simple syrup on top. The baklava will rise and sizzle and it will look and smell absolutely delicious.

Allow to cool and then serve and enjoy warm or at room temperature.

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Eier Frikasse (Eggs w/ Vegetables & Creamy White Sauce)

A simple, classic and traditional German recipe, Eier Frikasse is a great go-to meal with minimal ingredients and prep time.

Some of the best recipes are the simplest recipes. The ones that don’t even require you to leave your house and go to the market for additional ingredients. These recipes are some of my favorite. With non-complex ingredients, easy preparation and great taste, they are by far some of the best everyday recipes that every good cook should have in their recipe file.

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Here’s the recipe:

Eier Frikasse (Eggs w/ Vegetables & Creamy White Sauce)

  • 4 hard boiled eggs (sliced)
  • 1 c chopped carrots (cooked)
  • 1 c frozen green peas
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 2 c chicken stock (or veggie stock)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

In a large sauce pot, melt the butter and then sprinkle over the flour and whisk until smooth.

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Keep whisking frequently until it turns light brown in color.

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Add the chicken stock and keep whisking until smooth.

Bring to a boil and then season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetables and lemon juice and stir well.

Then add the eggs and stir gently

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Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Garnish with parsley & enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

 

Garlicky Good Green Beans

Simple, healthy and delicious green beans sautéed with garlic, olive oil and seasoning!

A good side dish recipe can be difficult to create but well worth the effort. This recipe was birthed nearly 10 years ago when I wanted to make green beans in a quicker way than how I grew up eating them. And so, with a bit of garlic, olive oil, seasoning and green beans, this recipe idea became a reality. It is still a go-to recipe for me to prepare a simple and quick side dish. It is perfect for everyday whether it is just a weekday or a holiday.

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Here’s the recipe:

Garlicky Good Green Beans

  • 1.5 c green beans
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (crushed and minced)
  • 1-2 T olive oil (or butter)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Clean and trim the ends of the green beans.

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Mince the garlic until it forms a paste (rubbing the flat part of a knife back and forth on a cutting board with a bit of salt will achieve this paste consistency).

Place the green beans and garlic in a frying pan with a little bit of water. Simmer them for about 2-3 minutes and then drain the excess water.

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Drizzle over the olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano and sauté the green beans for just a couple of minutes before the garlic starts to brown too much.

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Serve immediately and garnish with fresh parsley.

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Bon Appetit!

Bazlama: Turkish Yeast Flatbread (Light, Fluffy & Simply Delicious)

A fluffy & light yeast-based Turkish flatbread, Bazlama is a classic and simple bread. Cooked until puffy and thick and coated with a little butter or olive oil, it is so delicious and perfectly compliments any meal.

Bazlama is a combination between a flat bread and a traditional bread similar in texture to Naan. It is thick and fluffy, making it perfect to serve with meals with sauces or gravy because it can soak up the excess liquid.

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With minimal prep work, the dough can be prepared ahead of time and then the Bazlama can be prepared just before you are ready to eat.

Here’s the recipe:

Bazlama (Turkish Yeast Flatbread)

  • 1 c flour (plus more for kneading and dusting)
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1/3 c warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1.5 TBSP olive oil +more for brushing the bread after cooking (if desired)

Preparation:

In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, warm water and 1 TBSP of olive oil.

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Then add the flour and the salt and stir until thoroughly incorporated.

Then transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.

With the remaining half a tablespoon of olive oil, grease a bowl and place the dough in the bowl. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel, place it in a warm place and allow it to rise for one hour.

After the dough has risen, knead it gently again for one minute. Then shape into a ball and cut into two equal pieces.

Roll out each piece to make a large circle (like making pizza dough).

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Place the rolled out circles on a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour and cover again with the damp kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for an additional 30 minutes.

To cook the bazlama: Place each piece one at a time on a crepe pan or large frying pan. Allow the bazlama to cook on both sides (about 3 minutes each side on medium high heat). Note: The dough will start to puff up a lot and this is a very good sign. When it starts to lightly brown, it is ready to be flipped.

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To serve, brush with olive oil or butter and sprinkle with salt (if desired).

Break bread and enjoy with your loved ones!

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Afiyet Olsun! 

 

Gözleme (Turkish Flatbread with Melted Cheese)

Light and flaky homemade dough, packed full of melted cheese. Gözleme is the ultimate version of a grilled cheese sandwich but better!

If you’ve seen Gözleme prepared once, chances are that you won’t forget it. It is such a beautiful traditional preparation with a large circular board that sit upright like a small table, a long rolling pin and a large dome cooking surface.

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I love watching Gözleme being prepared because it is prepared with such excellence and speed, not to mention, it tastes great! Many consider it even to be the “fast food” of Turkey because it is so common to find Gözleme throughout the country.

But the great thing is that it can certainly be prepared at home, even without all of the extra equipment. If you have a counter space, a rolling pin and a frying pan, then you an also make Gözleme at home.

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Here’s the recipe:

Gözleme (Turkish Flatbread with Melted Cheese)

For the dough:

  • 1 c flour (+ more for kneading)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3-1/2 c warm water
  • 1 T olive oil

For the filling/cooking:

  • 1.5 c shredded mozzarella cheese (or any cheese that melts well)
  • 2 T olive oil

Garnish (optional):

  • 1/4 tomato (sliced)
  • 5-6 cucumber slices
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley

Preparation:

To make the dough: Combine all of the ingredients (except reserve 1/2 of the olive oil) together in a bowl and stir well until it forms a dough, adding more flour if it is too sticky or more water if it is too dry. Then turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 5-6 minutes. Then shape the dough into a ball and use the remaining olive oil to grease a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30-60 minutes.

To make the Gözleme: Take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and place it on a floured surface. Dust the dough and your rolling pin with a little more flour and proceed to roll the dough into a very thin circular piece. Note: It should be thinner than a thin crust pizza dough where you can see your hand through the dough but not to thin for the dough to tear.

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Then place some of the shredded mozzarella cheese in the middle of the piece of the dough and fold the sides of the dough on top to create a square shaped package.

Then brush a little olive oil on a crepe pan or frying pan and place the Gözleme on the pan. Brush the top with a little more olive oil and allow the Gözleme to cook over medium heat until it starts to puff up and lightly brown. Flip and repeat.

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The dough really starts to puff up as it cooks!
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Nice and golden brown!

Remove the Gözleme from the pan, cut into triangles and serve with the granishes.

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It is Best Enjoyed When it is Warm!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

Berliners (German Yeast Doughnuts w/ Oma’s Marmalade)

Light, fluffy yeast doughnuts, dusted with sugar and filled with Oma’s marmalade.

There is nothing quite like a Berliner! I will never forget the first time I tried one. It was my first time in Germany and my husband and I visited a bakery in Leipzig and introduced me to this beautiful German specialty.

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Germany has so many wonderful varieties of breads, cakes and baked goods. I am always so thrilled to visit bakeries in Germany because it is always such a delightful experience.

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But, living outside of Germany means that many of these beloved baked goods are not so easily accessible. But this recipe, and many of my other German recipes are a great solution. I love to prepare them for my husband and I hope that you like them and this recipe too!

Here’s the recipe:

Berliners (German Yeast Doughnuts with Oma’s Marmalade)
For the dough:
  • 2 2/3 c all purpose flour (+more for kneading and dusting)
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c melted butter
  • 2/3 c warm milk
  • 3 tsp (10 g) dry active yeast
  • 2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
  • 1 – 1.5 c Oma Erika’s marmalade (or your favorite jam)

For the topping:

  • Powdered sugar or granulated sugar (dusted according to your preference)

 

Preparation:

To prepare the dough: in a large bowl, combine the yeast, warm milk and sugar and stir well. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk together the eggs.

Add the melted butter to the yeast mixture and stir well. Keep stirring and add the eggs. Then mix together the flour with the salt in a separate bowl. Stirring constantly, add the flour mixture in batches to the yeast mixture.

Continue stirring until a dough forms (it will start to get difficult to stir by hand at this point but don’t worry). Then place the dough on a floured surface and knead it well for 7-8 minutes. Then cover it with a dish towel and let it rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.

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Once the dough has risen, cut the dough into even pieces and roll them each into a ball.

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Place the balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, dusted with a little bit of flour. Then cover the dough balls again with a dish towel and place them in a warm place and allow them to rise again for another 30 minutes.

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Heat a large heavy stock pot with oil. Test the heat of the oil using a wooden spoon. If bubbles start to form around the spoon, then the oil is hot enough.

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Carefully place each of the doughnuts in the oil and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes or until browned.

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Then place them on a paper towel lined plate and allow the excess oil to drain.

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Continue until all of the doughnuts are fried.

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Then using a “donut jelly filler” proceed to fill each doughnut with the jam, being careful not to overfill.

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Then dust the doughnuts with powdered sugar, serve & enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

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Homemade Apple Sauce (Simple & Delicious)

Just apples, a hint of sugar and a few of my favorite spices and you’re on your way to making homemade apple sauce.

I love applesauce. It was one of those things as I kid that I used to love to have as a snack. It just tasted so good; and honestly, I still love it. For years I never knew that it was so simple to make. I just relied on the store-bought kind until I moved to countries that don’t sell apple sauce. Lol! That’s when I go to my kitchen laboratory and get to work creating.

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The recipe is so simple. I mean, really simple. If you can cook apples and then pop them in a food processor — well, you have apple sauce.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Apple Sauce

  • 3 apples (I used Golden Delicious because they are sweet and delicious!)
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 T white sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cardomom pods
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 c water

Preparation:

Peel, core and slice the apples.

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Place the apples in a large stock pot. Add the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves and water.

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Simmer for about 20 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until the apples are tender.

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Remove the cinnamon sticks, cloves and cardamom pods.

Transfer the apples to a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve and Enjoy warm or pop it in the fridge for later. (It is really good cold, especially on a hot summer day! Simply refreshing!) 

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Guten Appetit!

Çılbır (Poached Eggs w/ Garlic Yogurt)

Tender eggs poached to perfection in a bed of creamy garlic yogurt and with a drizzle of olive oil and red pepper flakes.

This dish is such a prime example of the beauty of Turkish cooking. It is true that there are some Turkish dishes that are complex and laborious to prepare but this one is quite the contrary. Perhaps some might argue that poaching the eggs is the hardest part but even this step is not as difficult as you think.

Paired with a Turkish chai, this dish is so satisfying and delicious for breakfast or for any time of day.

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Here’s the recipe*

Çılbır (Poached Eggs w/ Garlic Yogurt)

  • 1 fresh large egg
  • 1/8 c thick yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove (crushed into a paste)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • salt (to taste)
  • chopped parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Boil a pot of water and then reduce to a barely a simmer. Add the vinegar and stir.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic (crushed into a paste by sprinkling salt on top of chopped garlic and using the flat part of a knife to rub against the garlic until it forms a paste) and the yogurt. Season with salt & stir. Place the yogurt on a plate.

To poach the egg: crack the egg in a measuring cup with a handle. Lower the measuring cup into the water and gently drop in the egg. Allow it to cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs.

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This is how the egg looks when it is first dropped into the water.
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After a few minutes of cooking it will start to rise to the surface.

Gently pat the poached egg dry and then place on top of the garlic yogurt. Drizzle over the olive oil and red pepper flakes. Garnish with parsley.

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Serve & Enjoy!

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Afiyet Olsun!

*Note: this recipe is for one. For more servings, multiply it accordingly.

So Crispy & Tasty Potato Latkes

Who needs french fries when you have potato latkes? No, this is not an exaggeration. Trust me, with one bite you too will be a latke fan.

I realize more and more as an adult, how blessed I was to grow up in such an international and intercultural community. It expanded my world so much to think different thoughts, see new perspectives and of course taste and variety of delicious foods. Plus, my parents have a fine appreciation for different cultures and this definitely positively impacted my life to this very day.

Thanks to one of my friends in first grade, I learned how to make (and of course taste) potato latkes for the first time ever. I was seven years old and it is truly a memory I will never forget.

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Flash forward 15 years later and I am re-learning, or perhaps learning a different way, to make potato latkes by one of my student colleagues from Belarus.

Now, I am still learning and open to learning and I love cooking and eating potato latkes. It is such a good recipe, and I have quite frankly met someone who doesn’t like latkes. It would be like trying to find a person that doesn’t like french fries; do they exist? Maybe, but maybe on Mars or something. Lol!

Here’s the recipe:

So Crispy & Tasty Potato Latkes

  • 2 potatoes (small to medium size)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 T flour
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • oil (for frying)

Preparation:

Shred the potatoes and the onions.

Then place them in a tea towel or a piece of cheese cloth and drain out the excess liquid. (Note: the potatoes and onions should be fairly dry after this process. You don’t want to omit this step because this step is what makes the latkes able to get so crispy during the frying process).

Crack the egg and scramble it lightly in a medium size bowl. Add the potatoes and onions. Stir until well combined. 

Sprinkle over the flour, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly with a fork. 

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Heat the oil in a large frying pan. 

Take a spoonful of the potato mixture and flatten it in the palms of your hand to form a little flat pancake. (Alternative method to fry on the fly, take a “fork-ful” of the potato mixture and gently place in the oil. Once it is completely submerged, flatten it with another fork until it’s a flat shape resembling a circle.)

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Gently place the potato pancake into the hot oil and fry until it is browned on both sides.

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Remove from the oil and place it on a paper towel lined plate. 

Season with a little salt. 

Serve and Enjoy Warm (if possible*)

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*I prefer eating my potato pancakes warm, like french fries, lol! But you know, they still taste good when they are at room temperature.

Topping Suggestions:

The potato pancakes are good on their own but try these toppings for a bit of extra flavor:

  • Fresh chives
  • Sour cream
  • Thick yogurt
  • Apple sauce
  • Cheese

Omelette with Garlic Yogurt (Cilbir)

A delicious plain omelette cooked to perfection and served on plain yogurt garnished with red pepper flakes.
Cilbir is traditionally made with poached eggs but this alternative is a welcome embrace for a simplier version. But if you prefer, you can prepare this recipe the same way, except poach the eggs instead of preparing an omelette.

The idea of eating plain yogurt with savory food was something I was not 100% on board with. Sometimes I would make chicken salad with yogurt or top my tacos with a dollop of yogurt or place a dollop of yogurt in a bowl of tomato or potato soup. But the yogurt in Turkey is some of the best I’ve ever tried in all of my travels around the world. It’s thick, creamy and rich. So delicious!

So the idea of eating an omlette with yogurt now, is an idea I openly embrace.
Here’s the recipe:
Omelette with Thick Yogurt (Cilbir)
  • 10 eggs
  • 3 T butter
  • 4 c süzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
In a large frying pan, melt the butter.
Meanwhile scramble the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
Place the eggs in the frying pan and prepare the omelette.
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Remove the omelette from the pan and break into smaller pieces.
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Add the crushed garlic to the yogurt and whisk together.
Place the yogurt on a platter and top with the omelette.
Garnish with red pepper flakes.
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Serve immediately and enjoy!
Afiyet Olsun!

Authentic Pico de Gallo (Fresh Mexican Salsa)

Fresh, vibrant and full of flavor; there is nothing quite like Pico de Gallo. With only a few simple ingredients, you’re own your way to Pico de Gallo paradise.

I honestly can’t recall the first time I tried Pico de Gallo. I grew up eating Mexican food so much that it is such an integral part of the food that I crave from my childhood onwards.

I still have a lot to learn about Mexican cooking and the beauty of the variety of dishes, but what I have learned along the way, I absolutely love.

Pico de Gallo is almost like a salad to me. If it’s placed in a bowl, I can dig right in with a spoon or a fork. But truly, it is so full of fresh ingredients that it not only pairs well with tortilla chips (no shame in tortilla chip dipping) but also it tastes really great on top of grilled chicken or fish. Yum.

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Here’s the recipe:

Pico de Gallo (aka Salsa Fresca)

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 T lime juice
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 Serrano, habanaro or jalapeno (if spicy salsa is your sort of thing. For me, it’s not so I omitted the peppers)

Preparation:

Finely chop the tomatoes and onions and place them in a bowl.

Add the cilantro and stir.

Drizzle over the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately or pop it in the fridge for later.*

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*From my experience, I find my Pico de Gallo to be better the next day or even two days later. At this point, the onions have mellowed out a bit more and all of the ingredients have “marinated” together and become well acquainted with each other.

 

Soy Tahini Rice Noodle Salad

Light and tender rice noodles coated with a soy-tahini dressing and packed with fresh veggies.

I love noodles. But I love noodles with soy sauce and tahini (combined or separately). There’s just something about the flavor of this type of food that I absolutely crave and love. This rice noodle salad was inspired by wanted to make something quick and delicious with my leftover rice noodles. Thus, this recipe was created and it’s really so, so good. Perfect for picnics? Of course! Perfect for potluck dinners? Absolutely! Perfect for a packed lunch? Certainly! Perfect for anytime? Yep, without a doubt.

Here’s the recipe:

Soy Tahini Rice Noodle Salad

  • 1.5 c rice noodles (pre-cooked)
  • 2 scallions (chopped)
  • 1 small carrot (peeled & shredded)
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper (chopped)

For the dressing:

  • 1 T tahini
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1.5 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 T rice wine vinegar

Preparation: 

To make the dressing: pour all of the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth and well incorporated.

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Add all of the veggies to the dressing and stir well.DSC03134

Place the rice noodles in a large bowl.

Pour over the veggies and the dressing and toss well to insure that the noodles are well coated.

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Serve & Enjoy immediately or pop in the fridge for later. Sooo good.

*Note: This recipe makes one (1) big salad or two (2) small salads.

Guten Appetit!

Lemon & Dill Tuna Salad

Protein packed, simple and delicious –this is a healthier twist on the classic tuna salad recipe. All the flavor you crave but without as many calories.

I love making salads. But not just traditional green salads, but rather salads that I can make ahead of time, pop them in the fridge and that last for several days. They are also perfect for if you work late or need a quick lunch to bring to work because they are available when you need them.

This recipe, is a creation that I made for this purpose. To make sure that we have a healthy and delicious meal on hand in a pinch, whether it be for a packed lunch or a dinner meal. It’s simple, quick and easy.

Here’s the recipe:

Lemon & Dill Tuna Salad

  • 1 c light tuna (in water, drained & rinsed)
  • 2 T fresh dill (chopped)
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • 1/2 lemon(juiced)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Drain and rinse the tuna and place it in a bowl.

Add the chopped dill and scallions.

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Drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper and stir well.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

Fresh Mint Lemondade (All Natural, Healthy & Kid-Friendly)

Refreshing, cool & so good! This mint lemonade is a twist on a classic recipe. Full of fresh chopped mint it is a cool delightful beverage for any day of the week.

As a kid, summertime always meant Mom’s Lemonade. Homemade with simply lemons, water and sugar and with the perfect ratio of all ingredients to make it not too sweet and not too sour.

This recipe adds some fresh mint to the mix. The mint adds just a subtle layer of flavor and it pairs so lovely with the lemons.

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Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Mint Lemonade

  • 5-6 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/2 c fresh mint (finely chopped)
  • 1.5 c white sugar
  • 1.5 L water

Preparation:

Juice the lemons and pour the juice into a measuring cup.

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Add the sugar to the lemon juice and stir vigorously to make a “lemony slurry.”

Pour the lemon and sugar mixture into a pitcher of water (half filled).

Finely chop the fresh mint.

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Stir well with a wooden spoon and then add the remaining water to fill the pitcher.

Add the fresh chopped mint on top and stir again.

Garnish with a few lemon slices.

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Serve & Enjoy!

 

Red Lentil Soup (Eksili Malhita Çorbasi)

A creamy lentil soup, blended to perfection and topped with mint, it’s so delicious and satisfying without feeling overly full.
The best part of this recipe is that it’s a one pot recipe and the lentils are the star of the show. You literally place the lentils and rice in a large stock pot and simmer them until they are tender and then let an immersion blender do the rest of the hard work.
It’s a classic Turkish soup that’s delightful to compliment any meal or even serve as a meal itself with a fresh garden salad.
Here’s the recipe:
Red Lentil Soup (Eksili Malhita Çorbasi)
  • 2.5 c red lentils
  • 1 c rice
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 T mint
  • 2 T red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
Preparation:
In a large stock pot, simmer the lentils, rice and garlic in 2 liters of salted water or broth.
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Once the lentils are tender, use an immersion blender to blend them until they are smooth.
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Then add the tomato paste and lemon juice. Stir well and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
In a separate frying pan melt the butter and olive oil. Once it is simmering, add the mint and red pepper flakes. Then pour it into the soup and stir.
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Serve & Enjoy!
Afiyet Olsun!

Mini Meatballs in a Garlic Yogurt Sauce (Cacikli Arap Köfte)

      Delicious mini meatballs made of ground beef and bulgur nestled in cacikli a thick yogurt sauce with parsley, garlic and spices. 

Here’s the recipe:

Mini Meatballs in a Garlic Yogurt Sauce (Cacikli Arap Köfte)

  • 4 c thick yogurt
  • 2 bunches of parsley (finely diced)
  • 10 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 10 oz ground beef
  • 3 c finely ground bulgur (simit bulgur)
  • 2 onions (finely diced)
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)

    Preparation:

    In a large, shallow bowl knead together the beef, bukgur, onions, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Knead for approximately 10 minutes.

    Then roll the meat into balls (about twice as big as a chickpea).
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    Place the mini meatballs in a steamer (or a collander that rests in a pot with a little water underneath and cover with a lid). Steam for about 10 minutes.
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    In a frying pan melt the butter and add the olive oil. Heat until hot and then add the meatballs. Sauté until lightly browned.
    To make the cacikli:
    Meanwhile, place the yogurt in a bowl and whisk it until smooth.
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    Chop the parsley and mince the garlic and add them to the yogurt.
    Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
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    To serve:
    Plate the cacikli on a platter. Then top with the meatballs.
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    Enjoy

How to Make a Bechamel Sauce

Creamy and silky smooth, a delicious bechamel sauce is the perfect base to many culinary creations, especially a really quick and yummy stove top macaroni and cheese.

Bechamel Sauce. From the moment I heard the name of this sauce as a kid, it sounded so fancy. It was something that I saw French chefs talking about on television.

But when I finally made bechamel sauce myself, I was relieved to discover that I already knew how to make it. If you can make gravy, then you can make bechamel sauce and as a kid I learned early on from my mom who to make a really good, yet quick gravy.

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So here’s the recipe:

Bechamel Sauce

  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T all purpose flour
  • 2-3 cups of milk
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.

Bechamel STEP 1 Melted Butter

Then sprinkle the flour on top and whisk thoroughly. Keep whisking until the mixture is smooth and lightly toasted (Note: it will become a little fragrant and you will smell especially the butter).

Bechamel STEP 2 Flour

Bechamel STEP 3 Whisk

Then slowly add in the milk as you keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth.

Bechamel STEP 5 Add Milk

Bechamel STEP 6 Whisk Milk

Bring back up to a light boil, whisking frequently, until it is thickened.

Bechamel STEP 7 Final Whisk

Then immediately remove from the heat, unless you’re making Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese, then you’ll want to keep it on the heat but reduce it considerably.

Enjoy!

Homemade Baked Pita Chips

Crunchy, flavorful and so good. These homemade pita chips are super simple and super delicious.

I love pita bread but sometimes I find it difficult to consume it all before it spoils. So, these pita chips are the perfect solution. Once they are baked I toss them in a sealed plastic bag and they stay fresh (although most times they don’t last for more than a few days).

Plus, these pita chips are super affordable. For the price of one bag of chips I can make at least 3 bags. Another bonus, no artificial ingredients. When you make your food at home, you get to decide what goes in and what stays out.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Baked Pita Chips

  • 8 pieces of pita bread
  • 4 T olive oil
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Preheat your oven to 375 F (approx. 160 C) & line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

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Cut the pita bread into triangle pieces (or whatever shape you like. You can be creative here because they will taste great regardless of their shape).

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Divide the two layers of the pita bread to create single layer thin chips.\

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Place a handful of the pre-baked pita chips on the baking sheet.

Drizzle with half a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Toss until well combined and spread out to form an even layer.

Bake for 7-8 minutes (may vary depending on your oven).

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Place on a serving platter & enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

DIY Self-Rising Flour

Don’t forsake your favorite recipe that requires self rising flour, thanks to this simple DIY recipe to make self rising flour in a flash!

Growing up, my mom always had two containers of flour. On one container she labeled it “All Purpose Flour” and on the other she labeled it “Self Rising Flour.” I noticed that there was always less self rising flour than all purpose flour and the main reason for this was simply because she used the self rising flour a lot more. Quite frankly, when she took out the self rising flour, I knew she was going to be making something I loved (e.g. cakes, pumpkin bread, biscuits, etc.)

Living abroad, is always a good reminder for me that it’s important to know how to make self rising flour. So, thus this recipe. It really is quite essential; not only if you can’t find it at your local grocery store but also for the simple reason that if you run out, you do’t have to run to the store right that moment in order to finish off the recipe.

Here’s the long and short of it (“The Recipe):

Self Rising Flour

  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation: 

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl, stir, and add to your favorite recipe.

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Note: If you need multiple cups of self rising flour, you can multiply this recipe based on your baking needs.

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So simple.

I love it.

Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

Gavurdağı Salad (A Traditional Turkish Salad)

A fresh & delicious Turkish salad with the perfect balance of savory and sweet with an olive oil and pomegranate molasses dressing.

      This salad was love at first bite. One of the beautiful things about Turkish food is the vibrant and fresh ingredients that are used in every facet of traditional cooking.

This salad is so fresh, flavorful and delicious. Frequently it is served as an appetizer or to compliment a main dish but I eat it as a main dish because I love it so much.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and discover for yourself why it is a favorite of mine.

Here’s the recipe:

Gavurdağı Salad

  • 1 large tomato (diced)
  • 1 large cucumber (diced)
  • 1 sweet red pepper (diced)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (finely chopped)
  • 10 walnuts (finely chopped)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T pomegranate molasses*
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Combine all of the vegetables together in a bowl.

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Drizzle over the olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Season with salt and pepper and add half of the chopped walnuts.

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Toss the salad thoroughly.

Garnish with the remaining chopped walnuts.

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Serve & Enjoy!

*Searching for Pomegranate Molasses??? If you can’t find it at your local market, then you can either make your own (just combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a 2 to 1 ratio) or substitute a fruity vinaigrette. But pomegranate molasses is so, so good! One taste and your salads will never be the same without it. Trust me 😉

Turkish Green Bean & Yogurt Soup

Savory and flavorful, this soup packs a punch. Creamy and thick, it’s packed with meat, chickpeas, vegetables and saffron.

Here’s the recipe:

Turkish Green Bean & Yogurt Soup

  • 500g stew beef chunks
  • 500g green beans (blanched)
  • 1400g suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 scallions (white parts only)
  • 1 1/2 c chickpeas (canned & drained or pre-boiled)
  • 1 TBSP saffron
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

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

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Add the chickpeas and continue to boil for 10 minutes. 20180112_094655

Then add the green beans, scallions and saffron and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

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In a bowl, whisk the yogurt and the egg until smooth. Transfer to a sauce pot and warm the yogurt mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Add a few ladles of the soup into the yogurt, stirring constantly (to temper the yogurt). Then pour the entire yogurt mixture into the soup, stirring constantly.

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Serve and Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

 

 

Curry Chicken

Tender marinated chicken coated in a creamy flavorful curry sauce with mushrooms and sweet red peppers.

I love curry chicken. And I know that curry in general is one of those spices (although it’s actually a combination of spices but that’s a whole other story) that people seem to love or to hate.

As a kid, I had the opportunity to try many different cuisines and flavors. From the first time I tried curry chicken until now, I feel the same — I love it. But I do understand that others don’t love it.

This recipe is simple and delicious. The focus is on the tender marinated chicken and the curry sauce. The combination of these two things makes an unforgettably delicious meal.

Here’s the recipe:

Curry Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 c thick yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 red pepper (sweet or bell)
  • 1.5 inch piece of ginger (minced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1.5 onion (diced)
  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1.5 T curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 4 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 3 T sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To marinate the chicken: Mix together the yogurt, 1 T oil, half an onion, half an inch piece of ginger, lemon juice, 2 tsp of cumin, salt, pepper and 2 tsp of oregano. Stir and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator overnight to marinate.

To prepare the curry chicken: Toast the spices until fragrant (cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano and turmeric).

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Sauté the onions, ginger & garlic.

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Sprinkle over the cumin, red pepper flakes, turmeric, curry powder, salt & pepper.

Add the chicken and sauté.

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Add the diced red pepper & stir until well combined.

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Add the cream and keep stirring until warmed all the way through.

Serve & Enjoy!

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Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

Crispy and flavorful on the outside, tender and delicate on the inside–these oven roasted potato wedges are cooked to perfection to make a delicious and simple dish.

I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like a good potato wedge. As a kid, wedges were my favorite way to eat potatoes. I loved the fact that you really get to taste more of the potato flavor in a wedge than your average french fry.

Although there are a plethora of frozen or fast food options to pick up potato wedges, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover just how simple they are to make at home.

Here’s the recipe:

Oven Roasted Potato Wedges

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • parsley (optional garnish)

Preparation:

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

Thoroughly wash the potatoes and then pat them dry.

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Slice them into thick wedges and place them on the parchment lined baking sheet.

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Drizzle them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the potato wedges to liberally coat them.

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Then place them in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes, flipping them over on the other side halfway along the way.

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Plate the potato wedges and garnish with parsley. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

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Mmm…DSC00697

Mmmmmmmm….

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Guten Appetit!

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!

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.

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!

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!

 

 

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.

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!

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!

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!

 

 

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!

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!