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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Cacık (Creamy Yogurt with Garlic, Lemon, Cucumber & Mint)

A refreshing, delicious and light addition to compliment grilled meats, salads or just simply served as a classic meze (appetizer).

I have had the pleasure or eating Cacık numerous times and what I have found is that no recipe tastes the same. In culinary school, we made it with a thick yogurt and most of my colleagues ate it as a side item. Some of my friends prepare it with yogurt and water to make it literally the consistency of a soup and it is eaten as so. The store bought variety is somewhere in between but lacks the burst of freshness from the lemon, garlic and using fresh mint. 

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My recipe is a bit different from them all. I use a thick yogurt but then I really infuse it with the fresh flavors of the lemon, garlic and mint that makes it undeniably delicious. Quite frankly, I love Cacık with grilled meats or to dip toasted bread. Yum! 

Here’s the recipe:

Cacık (Creamy Yogurt with Garlic, Lemon, Cucumber & Mint)

  • 1 c thick yogurt (Suzme, Greek or your favorite strained yogurt) 
  • 1/3 c finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh mint + a sprig for garnish
  • 1 large garlic clove (crushed)
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. 

Add in the lemon juice and salt and whisk again.

Stir in the cucumber, garlic and fresh mint. Taste to see if more salt is needed.

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Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

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Photos & Recipe by EE Winkler

©All Rights Reserved

Donauwelle: A Traditional German Sheet Cake with Fresh Cherries, German Buttercream & a Chocolate Topping

A modern twist on the traditional German sheet cake, with layers of chocolate cake, vanilla cake, fresh cherries, German buttercream and topped off with a chocolate topping.

Although from the sounds of the ingredients, it may seem that you have heard of this cake before or it may seem similar to the Black Forest Cake. But in as many ways as it is similar it is also unique.

The cake batter is essential comprised of a chocolate cake layer and a vanilla cake layer but when the cherries are placed on top, they fall into the cake as it bakes thus creating a wavy cake on the inside.

Topped with a decadent German buttercream and a chocolate glaze (that gets better with time) it is a treat that is easy to serve to friends or enjoy for a special occasion.

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Here’s the recipe:

Donauwelle

For the cake:

  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c sunflower oil (or an neutral oil)
  • 1 c all purpose flour
  • 1 c thick strained yogurt (Greek or Suzme)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 c cocoa powder
  • 1.5 – 2 c pitted fresh sweet cherries
  • 2 TBSP butter (for greasing the pan)

For the German Buttercream:

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/3 c corn starch
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 c softened butter

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C & grease a small cake pan with butter.

For the cake: whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs until well combined. Add the vanilla extract and then whisk again. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Alternating between the flour mixture and the strained yogurt, add them to the cake batter, while whisking well with each addition. Divide the cake batter in half and whisk in the cocoa powder into half of the cake. Starting with the chocolate cake batter, pour it into the cake pan. Then add the vanilla cake batter on top creating a nice even layer. Then layer the pitted cherries on top of the cake to completely cover the cake in neat rows. Bake the cake for approximately 40 minutes and allow to cool.

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To make the German buttercream: Heat the milk in a medium saucepan just until hot, but not boiling. In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, cornstarch and sugar until smooth and well incorporated. Temper the egg mixture by slowly adding the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until completely combined. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until it thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Then pour the mixture onto a plate, and cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface of the cream. Chill for a couple of hours to overnight.

Once cooled, whisk the softened butter in a large bowl and then whisk in the pastry cream mixture into the butter until completely combined.

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Top the cake with a thick layer of the German buttercream and spread it evenly over the cake (Note: you might have some left over).

To prepare the Chocolate glaze: melt the chocolate over a double boiler until it is melted. Stir in the oil and set aside for about 5 minutes.

Once the chocolate has slightly cooled, pour it over the German pastry cream.

Then using a fork or a butter knife, create the waves on top of the cake allowing some of the pastry cream to be shown through the chocolate.

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Serve immediately or pop it in the fridge for a special treat for later.

Guten Appetit!

Fresh Stuffed Grape Leaves (Taze Yaprak Sarmasi) – Vegetarian Version

Tender fresh grape leaves stuffed with a flavorful vegetarian filling.

I will never forget the first time I tried stuff grape leaves. I cannot remember exactly how old I was but I was a small child. It was a new taste for me. The leave reminded me of an undercooked collard green but I thought the filling was quite tasty.

Flash forward a couple of decades and I would say I’ve eaten my fair share of stuffed grape leaves in many different countries, prepared a myriad of different ways. Although they do require some time to actually roll and stuff the leaves, they are well worth the effort. I love that they can be eaten hot, cold or at room temperature so there’s no need to fuss with this aspect. 

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Traditionally, they are prepared with meat, but I don’t miss the meat when I prepare them without it. I created this recipe because I did not have meat on hand and I used bulgur instead of rice simply because I really love bulgur. 

I think that everyone that has ever eaten a stuffed grape leaves, knows them immediately when they see them. And if they are like me, then seeing them will surely bring a smile to their face.

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Here’s the recipe:

Fresh Stuffed Grape Leaves (Taze Yaprak Sarmasi) – Vegetarian Version

  • 20-30 fresh grape leaves
  • 1/2 c dry fine bulgur
  • 1 small onion (finely diced; about 1 cup diced)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 lemon (sliced)
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To blanche the grape leaves: Clean the grape leaves thoroughly. Then prepare a large pot of boiling water. Working in batches, blanche the grape leaves for about 30-60 seconds. Then remove from the water and place into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the grape leaves and set aside.

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To prepare the filling: Prepare the bulgur by placing it in a bowl and adding one cup of boiling water. Stir and then cover with plastic wrap or a plate to allow it to steam for 10 minutes. 

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Then add the tomato paste and stir well, adding a little water as needed. 

Then mix the bulgur and the tomato paste mixture in a large bowl. Season with the oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh parsley just until it is incorporated.

In a large stock pot, line the bottom with about 4-5 grape leaves (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan).

To roll the grape leaves: One by one, place them on a flat surface. Starting at the wide bottom part of the grape leaf, place about half a tablespoon of the filling on the leaf and spread out into a thin line. Fold in the sides of the leaf and gently roll it until it is completely rolled. Continue until all of the grape leaves are rolled.

Place each of the stuffed grape leaves seam side down in the pot, side by side, very close together. Top with the lemon slices and enough water to fill the pot half way up (but do not submerge the grape leaves. Place a heavy ceramic plate of bowl on top of the grape leaves and cover with a lid. Allow the grape leaves to cook for about 45 minutes, adding more water as needed. 

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Once cooked, gently remove from the pot.

Serve and Enjoy with a lemon slice.

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Afiyet Olsun!

 ©All Rights Reserved

Photo Credit: EE Winkler

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! 

 

Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel)

A flaky, thin, buttery crust filled with apples, cinnamon sugar and raisins! An Austrian delightful recipe!

I don’t know what there is not to love about apple strudel. It is so delicious and although the dough is an essential formula to this recipe, the dough does not steal the show away from the natural delciousness of the apples.

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Here’s the recipe:

Apfelstrudel (Apple Strudel) 

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
  • 2 TBSP melted butter (or any neutral oil) + 1 tsp for oiling the bowl
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • 2-2.5 c sliced apples (I used Golden Delicious)
  • 1/3 c raisins
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon’

For topping the strudel:

  • 2 TBSP melted butter

Preparation:

To prepare the dough: Mix together the egg, oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Then add the flour and the salt and stir well until the mixture forms a cohesive dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes until the dough is smooth. Grease a bowl with butter or oil and then place the ball of dough in the bowl, cover with a damp dish towel and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours.

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To roll out the dough: Cover a large countertop or table with a clean tablecloth. Dust with flour and roll out the dough into a very thin rectangular piece. The dough should be thin enough for you to see your hand through it and it will be very, very delicate.

To make the filling: Mix together the apples, raisins, cinnamon and sugar.

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To assemble the strudel: Pile the filling in a line along one of the shorter sides of the dough leaving about 2-3 inches of space from the edge of the dough.

Lift up the edge of the dough to partially cover the filling and then using the tablecloth, lift it up so that the strudel naturally rolls up.

Once rolled, tuck the ends under each side and brush liberally with the melted butter.

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Carefully lift the strudel on to a baking sheet lined with parchment and lightly greased.

Bake the strudel in a pre-heated oven on 375F until the strudel is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and brush with a little extra butter (if you choose; I did).

Serve and Enjoy warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Absolutely divine!

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Guten Appetit!

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Kohlrouladen (German Stuffed Cabbage) – Abendessen für Zwei (Dinner for Two)

Tender ground beef, seasoned to perfection and wrapped in a large cabbage leaf, Kohlrouladen is an edible gift that your tastebuds can unwrap.

This dish is a favorite of mine and I think it is because it is such a simple but delicious German comfort food. The meat is kept tender and juicy thanks to the cabbage and in my version, I season it with spices and a bit of dijon mustard.

It also is perfect for preparing ahead of time and/or making for guests because everyone gets their own individual serving. Paired with some boiled potatoes and steamed veggies, this is the type of meal that makes a great day even better.

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I tailored my normal recipe in this case to make Abendessen für Zwei or Dinner for Two. It is perfect for enjoying a meal at home with the one you love.

Here’s the recipe:

Kohlrouladen (German Stuffed Cabbage)

  • 2 large cabbage leaves (about 8-9 inches)
  • 1/3 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 c finely chopped white onion
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3-4 TBSP plain bread crumbs
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 c fresh chopped parsley
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

For the cooking process:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 c beef broth

For the gravy:

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
  • remaining beef stock/cooking liquid

Preparation:

Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling water by placing them in the water for 15-30 seconds and then placing in a cold water bath to immediately cool the cabbage leaves. NOTE: the cabbage leaves should be soft and tender but still quite green.

To prepare the meat: place all of the ingredients (except for the cabbage) in a bowl and mix it together with your hands until it is well incorporrated.

Then divide the meat mixture in half and create two large meatballs.

Lay the cabbage leaves open and place one meatball at the bottom (near the stem) in each of the pieces of cabbage. Fold the sides in on top of the meatball and then roll the cabbage to create a little package for the meatball.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot. Then add the kohlrouladen, seam side down and lightly brown them on both sides.

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Then add 1 cup of the beef broth and cover with a lid and allow the kohlrouladen to cook for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is well done, adding more broth as needed.

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When they are done cooking, remove from the pan and make the gravy.

Melt the butter, then sprinkle over the flour and whisk until smooth. Then add the remaining beef stock and/or cooking liquid and keep whisking to make a smooth gravy.

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Plate each of the kohlrouladen and top with the gravy.

Guten Appetit!

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©All Rights Reserved

Mushroom Lo Mein (Asian Stir-Fry Noodles w/ Soy Sauce & Veggies)

Tender eggs noodles, with sautéed mushrooms, veggies and coated with a homemade soy based sauce.

       One of my favorite take out cuisines has always been Chinese food. But sometimes when you’re craving take out but there is no take out in sight, it is time to get creative in the kitchen and whip up your own creation.

      This recipe is my version on a classic dish. The perfect balance of soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar, the flavor of these noodles is undeniably delicious.

While I created a vegetarian mushroom Lo Mein, this recipe can most certainly be customized to suit your dietary needs and wishes by swapping a vegetable protein, like tofu, or poultry, meat or seafood. Regardless what you use, it is going to be delicious!

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Here’s the recipe:

Mushroom LoMein

  • 1 T sunflower oil
  • 1 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 c carrots (juliened)
  • 1/3 c white onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 scallions (finely chopped)
  • 1 c cooked egg noodles

For the sauce:

  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T sesame oil

Preparation:

In a wok or a large frying pan, add the oil, mushrooms, carrots and white onion and sauté until the vegetables are tender.

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To make the sauce: stir together the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and set aside.

Then add the pre-cooked egg noodles and pour over the sauce and toss thoroughly to ensure that the sauce covers all of the vegetables and noodles.

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Pour onto a serving platter and garnish with the scallions.

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Serve & Enjoy!

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Bon Appetit!

Ayran: a Healthy Yogurt Beverage

A refreshing yogurt beverage that is delicious and healthy! It is the perfect thing to keep you hydrated for any hot day!

      If you are not so acquainted with drinking unsweetened yogurt based drinks then Ayran will be be considered an “acquired taste”. I will admit that the first time I tried it, I didn’t like it at all. The very idea of drinking an unsweetened yogurt beverage somehow did not sound appetizing to me. But after many opportunities to try Ayran, eventually the drink that I didn’t like, soon became a staple and favorite.

      Supposedly, it is the perfect drink to staying hydrated during the summer because of the salt content providing much needed electrolytes lost on hot days.

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The delightful Ayran fountains that are commonly found during the summer months in Turkey are a welcome sight for me to see. The Ayran is fresh and bubbly, just the way I like it.

Here’s the recipe:

Ayran

  • 1/3 c thick yogurt
  • 6 oz carbonated (soda) water (for foamy ayran– sub: flat water)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 sprig fresh mint (optional garnish)

Preparation:

Place the yogurt, carbonated water and salt in a bowl.

Using an electric mixer, whisk until it is smooth and foamy.

Pour into a glass, topping it with the foam.

Garnish with fresh mint (if using).

Serve & enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

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Bratkartoffeln (German-Style Home Fries)

      Literally translating as fried potatoes, these German fried potatoes are far from ordinary. Crispy potatoes and onions and topped fresh herbs and spices, they are delicious any time and any day.

     Their name says it all “Bratkartoffeln.” “Brat” is German for frying and “kartoffeln” means potatoes. This dish is literally translated means fried potatoes but the potatoes are not simply fried. They are enhanced with onions and herbs to make this a delicious side dish or main meal.

     Traditionally, Bratkartoffeln also includes bacon or speck. Although my recipe is the vegetarian version of this classic dish, they are still just as delicious.

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Here’s the recipe:

Bratkartoffeln

  • 1 potato (pre-boiled)
  • 2 TBSP sunflower oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 scallion (finely chopped)
  • 2 TBSP white onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 T fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Boil the potato until it is tender. Drain, pat dry and then cut into squares.

Heat a frying pan with oil and then add the potatoes and let them brown for 2-3 minutes.

Then add the white onion and scallion and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

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Season with the oregano and salt and cook for another couple of minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned and crispy.

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Then plate up the potatoes on a dish, sprinkle with the remaining scallion and the chopped parsley.

Serve & Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

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Pavlova with Fresh Cherries

A crispy sweet layer of meringue, topped with light whipped cream and then covered with fresh sweet cherries.

      Named after the Russian ballet star, Pavlova is a heavenly delicious dessert. But honestly, how can you possibly go wrong when you match meringue, whipped cream and fresh cherries into layers of beautiful delicious bliss.

Enough said…

Here’s the recipe:

Pavlova with Fresh Cherries

  • 1 c fresh black cherries (pitted)
  • 1/4 c fresh whipping cream
  • 2 TBSP powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 pre-prepared meringue circle (2 egg whites, 1/4 c white sugar, 1 tsp white vinegar)

Preparation:

For the meringue: Whip together 2 egg whites with 1 tsp of vinegar until it forms soft peaks. Then add in 1/4 cup of white sugar slowly while continuing to whisk the meringue until it forms stiff peaks.

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On a parchment lined baking sheet, spoon the meringue to form a circle about 6 inches in diameter and flatten in an even layer. Bake on 100C until the meringue is firm and then turn off the oven and let the meringue set in the oven overnight.

For the pavlova: Clean and remove the pits from the cherries.

Place the cherries in a bowl and add 1 tsp of sugar and stir well and set aside.

In the meantime, whip the cream, adding in the powdered sugar slowly, until it forms stiff peaks.

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Spoon the whipped cream on top of the prepared meringue.

Then spoon the cherries on top.

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So delicious with the cherries and the juice and whipped cream piled high on the meringue!

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Serve and Enjoy!

Heavenly…

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!

 

Baked Alaska (Elegant Ice Cream Cake w/ Meringue) + Culinary Torch from my Husband

Layers of ice cream, sponge cake and topped with lightly browned meringue! 

      Baked Alaska is like an ice cream cake, only better. With a layer of cake, two layers of ice cream and covered with a luscious and light meringue that is torched to golden perfection.

What can be more fun than having a culinary torch and using it to make delicious desserts?

For our wedding anniversary, one of the gifts that my amazing husband got me is a culinary torch. This special culinary gadget is what makes the Baked Alaska get perfectly browned and honestly, it is my favorite part of making this dessert. The culinary torch is also especially useful for making creme bruleé. It is responsible for creating that crispy caramelized sugar layer that makes it so special.

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What I love about Baked Alaska is that it really looks so beautiful and it tastes so good. With a little prep ahead of time, it is also great to make ahead of time and then just add and torch the meringue when you’re ready to serve it.

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Alaska (Elegant Ice Cream Cake w/ Meringue)

For the Cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 c sugar

For the ice cream:

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream (softened)
  • 2 cups chocolate ice cream (softened)

For the meringue:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 c white sugar

Preparation: 

Pre-heat the oven for 180C/350F. Grease a springform pan and set aside.

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For the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until well incorporated. Then add the almond extract and continue to whisk just until is mixed in. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Then add half of the flour mixture at a time into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring well in between each addition.

Pour the cake into a springform pan and pat it against the counter to release any air bubbles.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Note: I use a toothpick to test to make sure the cake is done. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done. If not, it needs to bake a little longer.

Allow cake to cool overnight (if possible) and then using the base of the bowl that the ice cream will be filled in, cut out a circle piece of the cake. Note: it is kind of like tracing, think of the bowl as the tracing paper for your cake.

To prepare the layers:

Remove the ice cream from the freezer about 30-40 minutes ahead of time (depending on the weather where you live it might melt faster or slower).

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Then line the bowl with plastic wrap ensuring that the plastic wrap is firmly pressed against the bottom and sides of the bowl and that there is sufficient plastic wrap hanging over the sides. Note: don’t omit this step. It is a lifesaver when you actually go to remove the ice cream cake from the bowl.

Then spoon the softened ice cream into the bowl allowing each flavor to create its own layer.

Then take the circle piece of cake and firmly press it on top of the ice cream. Cover the cake with the plastic wrap overhanging on the sides of the bowl. Then place it in the freezer for a minimum of 2 hours or for several days (depending on when you want to serve the cake.

To make the meringue:

Place the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a light simmer, stirring constantly to ensure that the sugar does not stick. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the egg whites and white vinegar in a very clean bowl and whisk until it forms soft peaks. Then while the beaters are still running, slowly pour in the sugar syrup mixture and continue whisking until stiff peaks form.

Take the cake out of the freezer and peel back the plastic wrap. Using a serving platter or plate, turn the bowl over and then gently lift the bowl. Then remove the remaining plastic wrap.

Using a butter knife (or a pastry bag if you prefer) spread the meringue on top of the cake until it is fully covered.

Then using a culinary torch, torch the meringue until it is evenly golden brown.

Serve and Enjoy immediately!

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Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

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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How to Make Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza) at Home

A perfectly, thin, crispy crust coated with a mixture of veggies, spices and ground meat. Turkish pizza is the ultimate, traditional Turkish street food.

The Legend of the Turkish Pizza

I have been told that the Turkish pizza was the creation of baker that visited the coast of Italy. He saw the people eating and enjoying pizza and he tasted it and enjoyed it too. So as the story goes, he brought the concept back to his homeland but put a local spin on it infusing Turkish spices and seasonings to make it such a beloved Turkish dish. 

I do not know if this legend is true or if my friend was only trying to play a joke on me, but it does make for a really great story, if you ask me.

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There’s nothing like going to the Firin (Turkish for bakery) and to see that they are making Turkish pizza*. Hot and fresh out of the wood-buring oven, the pizza is the perfect food to eat for lunch or dinner. In many ways, it reminds me of my years in New York City, when I would go and grab a slice from Joe’s Pizza, and stand outside or grab a seat at the counter and eat my slice.

Needless to say, no matter where I am in the world, I make friends pretty quickly with the bakers and the people who sell food. Lol! And no matter how long I’ve been gone, if they are still there, they remember me, lol! So do yourself a favor, and either go to enjoy a Lahmacun from your favorite place or make this beautiful recipe. Because, who doesn’t like pizza?

Here’s the recipe:

Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)

For the topping:
  • 1/4 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 c tomato (chopped)
  • 1/4 c sweet red pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 c tomato paste
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 T olive oil
For the dough:
  • 1 cup of flour (+1/2 c more for kneading)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1.5 tsp yeast

Preparation:

Place all of the topping ingredients in a food processor (except for the ground beef) and blend it until it forms a smooth mixture. Add in some olive oil if needed and continue blending.

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Then mix in the ground beef with a fork and spatula until it is well incorporated.

Set the mixture aside and roll out the dough.

Pre-heat the oven for 220C/428F.

For a large lahmacun, take half of the dough and roll out into a long, thin, oval piece.

Gently transfer the dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Then take about half of the topping and spread it evenly on top of the dough to create a nice thin layer, being sure not to leave too much empty space.

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Bake the lahmacun in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is browned and crispy and the toppings cooked.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

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Afiyet Olsun! 

*In some cases, they are making it for a special order, because you can bring them all the ingredients and they will assemble and bake the pizzas for you, but in the heart of the city centers, it is quite common to find them bakers making them for individual sale.

 

Quarkspitzen (German Doughnut Holes)

An irresistible German treat, Quarkspitzen are like German doughnut holes. Golden brown and crispy on the outside but delicate and tender on the inside. 

A visit to the German Christmas markets or to the annual Kat (a large local carnival with rides, games and food) would not be complete without buying a few Quarkspitzen. Before I even knew what they were, I was interested just from the very smell of them cooking. Made from quark, a type of dairy that is the consistency of a thick yogurt or sour cream.

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Although Christmastime is more than six months away, there’s nothing like recalling this and the myriad of marvelous Christmas treats from the German Christmas markets.

Here’s the recipe:

Quarkspitzen (German Doughnut Holes)

  • 3 T melted butter
  • 300g quark
  • 3 T corn starch
  • 1.5 – 2 c all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • oil (for frying)
  • powdered sugar (for dusting the quarkspitzen after frying)

Preparation:

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and the sugar.

Then add the eggs and continue to whisk.

Mix together the corn starch, baking powder and flour.

Gradually add in the flour mixture and the quark, half at a time, rotating between the two of them.

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Then add the lemon juice and stire just until it is combined.

Set the batter aside for 10-15 minutes and fill a large stock pot with oil.

To fry the quarkspitzen, dip a spoon in the oil and then into the quarkspitzen batter and place into the fryer to create a roughly oval shape. Fry until golden brown on each side and then place on a paper towel lined plate.

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Continue until all of the dough has been used.

Dust the quarkspitzen with powdered sugar, or if you prefer, granulated sugar.

Serve & Enjoy warm.

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YUM!

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Guten Appetit!

Fröhe Weihnachten!

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!

Turkish Cabbage Rolls (Lahana Sarmasi) –Vegetarian Version

Savory, succulent and delicious, these stuffed cabbage leaves make a great meal. Paired with some crusty bread they’re so good for lunch or dinner.

     The first time I had stuffed cabbage leaves, my husband and I were traveling with a friend. We went to visit several of his family members and when we went to his aunt’s house we had lunch together. At first, I didn’t know what I was eating so I didn’t know what to expect but with one bite, I was pleasantly surprised. The cabbage is tender and lightly stuffed with a tomatoey meat and rice mixture. Delicious.

The first time I made them for myself, I realized that making these are indeed a labor of love. But they are so worth it in the end, especially if you’re cooking for a crowd.

My version is vegetarian but I find that they are still just as full of flavor as the traditional method of making them with meat. Here’s the recipe:

Turkish Cabbage Rolls (Lahana Sarmasi) –Vegetarian Version

  • 5-10 large cabbage leaves
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 2/3 c rice (soaked and drained)
  • 3 T fresh parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (pull biber or Aleppo pepper –if possible)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1/4- 1/2 c hot water

Preparation:

To prepare the cabbage: Remove the cabbage leaves from the head of cabbage and clean thoroughly.

Boil water in a large pot and working in batches, add the leaves to the water and cook them for 2-3 minutes (or just until they are tender and soft enough to roll).

Then place the leaves in a large pan of cold water and continue until all of the leaves are prepared.

thumb_DSC05087_1024To make the stuffing: Sauté the onions with the olive oil until tender. Then add the spices and stir well and cook for a minute or so (or until fragrant). Then add the rice, tomato paste and hot water and stir well. Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes until there is no water remaining. Then add the chopped parsley and stir. Set aside.

 

To stuff the cabbage leaves, lay out a small piece of a leaf. Cut off the hard stem part and then add about 1 TBSP of the filling in a straight line. 

Fold the sides and then roll the cabbage, being sure to continue to tuck in the sides as you roll it (as if you’re rolling a burrito).

Continue until all of the cabbage leaves or stuffing is used (whichever comes first).

In a large stock pot, place enough cabbage leaves to cover the bottom of the pot. Then layer the cabbage leaves in the pot, side by side, tightly together.

Using a kitchen weight or a “make-shift weight*” place it on top of the cabbage rolls. Cover with hot water just barely reaching the top of the cabbage rolls. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes or until the cabbage and the rice are tender.

When the cabbage rolls are done cooking, drain the excess liquid and reserve* it for later. Serve the cabbage rolls immediately.

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Afiyet Olsun!

*The excess liquid is a great base to add to a soup, stew or rice. Or it’s great to dip your bread in as you eat your stuffed cabbage leaves.

Homemade German Pretzels (“Bretzels”)

Soft and tender, freshly baked pretzels. It is like taking a trip to Germany without stepping foot outside of your kitchen.

Pretzels are one of  the first snack foods that I remember eating as a kid outside of my favorites (cucumber & bell peppers — don’t judge me, I’ve always loved my veggies, lol!). My parents would buy these massive five pound bags of pretzels and I used to love to grab a handful of them.

Well, not much has changed from my childhood days. I still love pretzels. Every time my husband and I go to Germany, I always have to get at least one during our trip. Hey, we even had pretzels served during our “Kaffee und Kuchen” (German for “Coffee and Cake”) on our wedding day. After our wedding we were still eating all of the leftover pretzels and you know what, they were still so good (thanks to our lovely local German bakery).

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Plus, if you have not seen the episode of Mister Roger’s neighborhood when he goes to the pretzel factory, do yourself a favor and watch it. It inspires me and makes me smile today just as it did when I was a kid. Mister Rogers was a brilliant person, that I am still learning from to this very day. He had such a sincere compassion and love for people and also for pretzels too!

 

Well, as you can see, I am a pretzel fan to say the least. But without further adieu, aahhhemm, the recipe…

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade German Pretzels “Bretzels”

  • 1.5 c flour
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2/3 c warm water
  • 1 T honey
  • 1.5 T oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T baking soda
  • corse sea salt (to taste, sprinkled onto of the pretzels just before baking.

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, honey, 1 T of oil and warm water. Stir well and set aside.

In the meantime, combine the flour and salt in a bowl.

Then add the flour mixture into the yeast mixture and stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and stops sticking to the bowl.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for about 8-10 minutes.

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Then lightly oil a bowl with the remaining half a tablespoon of oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel and place the dough in a warm place to rise for one hour.

After one hour, it is time to shape the pretzels.

 

Take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball and roll into a ball.

Then roll it out into a long thin rope.

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Make a U-shape with the rope and then fold one end over the other to create an “x.”

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Then flip this “x” shape over to the other side of the dough and set aside.

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Continue until all of the pretzels are shaped.

Then boil a large pot of water and add the baking soda.

Place each pretzel in the water for 20-30 seconds, turing them halfway in between.

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Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sprinkle the course sea salt on top of each pretzel and bake them on 200C/392F for about 15 minutes (or until they are golden brown).

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Serve & Enjoy Warm.

Guten Appetit!

 

 

Italian Homemade Lasagna with Ground Beef

Layers of delicate noodles, tender ground beef, rich ricotta cheese and savory marinara sauce make this lasagna a flavorful dish for any night of the week.

I grew up eating a lot of Italian food and I’ve found that it has shaped and impacted my cooking in such a positive way. Lasagna was definitely a meal that we prepared at our home and I remember always wanting to eat it right out of the oven, but we always let it set for 15-20 minutes in order to ensure that the lasagna doesn’t fall apart as you cut it.

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This recipe is my variation of Mom’s classic recipe. I make it with homemade ricotta cheese and it really adds such a nice flavor to the dish.

Here’s the recipe:

Lasagna

  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 48 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 12 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 c shredded mozzerella cheese
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 2 T dried basil
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

To make the marinara sauce: sauté the onions with olive oil until tender. Then add the crushed tomatoes and stir well. Season with half of the dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat.

To make the ground beef: place the ground beef  in a large pan and sauté until it is browned. Then add the garlic and the rest of the dried oregano, dried basil, salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

To make the lasagna: Place about 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan. Then layer the noodles.

Then add more marinara sauce, ground beef and top with another layer of noodles.

Add some more marinara sauce on top of the noodles and then add the ricotta cheese.

Layer with another layer of noodles and add some marinara sauce the remaining ground beef.

Add another layer of noodles and cover with the marinara sauce and mozzerella cheese.

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Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese on top is melted.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

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Note: This can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the refrigerator to bake later.

 

 

 

German Meatballs in a White Caper Dijon Sauce (Königsberger Klopse or Kochklopse)

     Tender & flavorful German meatballs, boiled in a seasoned broth and doused in a delicious dijon mustard and caper white sauce. Paired with boiled potatoes, this is one of my favorite German comfort food dishes. 

I love that there are so many practical and yet delicious recipes in German cooking. The more I learn about this beautiful cuisine, the more I am delighted to cook it.

This recipe just so happens to be a favorite of my hubby. He doesn’t always make requests for certain meals, but this one, I noticed he liked it a lot. That makes me even happier to make it for him. And you know what, I like it too. I hope you do as well.

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Here’s the recipe:

German Meatballs in a White Caper Dijon Sauce or Kochklopse or “Königsberger Klopse

For the stock:

  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10-12 capers
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • salt (to taste)

For the meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 large onion (finely diced)
  • 3-4 T dijon mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3-1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

For the gravy:

  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • cooking stock (that the meatballs cooked in)
  • 2 T dijon mustard
  • 15-20 capers 
  • salt & pepper  (to taste, if needed)

Preparation:

Start by preparing the stock: Fill a large stock pot with water. Then add the bay leaves, capers, onion and salt. Place on the stove and bring to a boil.

In the meantime, prepare your meatballs. 

To prepare the meatballs: Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Add the onion, dijon mustard, eggs, breadcrumbs, oregano, salt and pepper. 

Then mix together the mixture using your hands until it is well combined.

Then shape the meat into large balls and gently drop into the boiling stock.

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Allow the meatballs to cook for about 40-45 minutes, monitoring the water levels occasionally to ensure that there is sufficient liquid (if not, then add some more water).

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Pre-cooked…
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The meatballs are done boiling & it smells so good!

Once the meatballs are done cooking, remove them from the pot and place them on a plate.

Then place a colander in a bowl and drain the stock. Set the stock aside for the gravy.

To make the gravy: Start by making a roux. Melt the butter in your stock pot and then add the flour and whisk constantly until it comes together. Then add the stock liquid while whisking constantly until smooth.

Bring to a boil and add the dijon mustard, capers, salt and pepper and whisk for anotherr minute or two.

Then add the meatballs back into the gravy.

Serve with boiled potatoes and enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

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Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese

Rich, velvety, smooth ricotta cheese — made from scratch. 

I never knew until about 5 years ago just how simple some cheeses are to make. The first cheese I ever made was Paneer for making the beautiful Indian dish, Saag Paneer. It was truly such an exciting process because I love making new discoveries in the kitchen (new for me).

Ricotta is just like making Paneer except without the excess draining, pressing, waiting and cooking, lol! It is simply the result of a beautiful reaction when simmered milk meets an acid (lemon juice or vinegar) and magic starts to happen in the form of curds separating from the whey.

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Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 liter whole milk (the fresher, the better*)
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice (substitute white vinegar)
  • pinch of salt (optional)

Supplies:

  • 1 fine seive
  • 1 cheese cloth or a clean tea towel or thin cloth
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 large bowl

Preparation:

Pour the milk into a large pot. Place over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a simmer.

Remove the milk from the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir and set aside for 10-15 minutes.

After 10-15 minutes you should see the curds separating from the whey.

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Line the seive with your cheese cloth or clean tea towel and place over a bowl.

Carefully pour the “pre-cheese” (Lol!) mixture into the cheese cloth or clean tea towel.

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Allow it to drain until it reaches your desired consistency. (Note: If it drains to much, add some of the whey back to the curds and Voila! You’re in business!

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Use immediately or tuck it away in the fridge to use in 1-2 days.

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*Unfortunately, shelf stable (UHT) milk will not work for this recipe. 

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.

How to Make Sauerkraut (from Scratch)

German cuisine would not be complete without sauerkraut. There’s nothing better than a grilled bratwurst, brötchen and sauerkraut. Or really, sauerkraut with anything is always a good idea for me.  

My first recollection of sauerkraut is when I when I was seven years old, I remember seeing my dad pile it high on his hot dog. I was curious about it but when I tried it, it was not something that I liked.

Fast forward to adulthood and I finally tried sauerkraut again and this time, I really enjoyed it. I think it took a while for my taste buds to catch up to the delicious flavor of sauerkraut.

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I am fascinated with the process of fermenting and pickling anything. I have been told that my grandmother used to pickle just about everything and although I never knew her so well, I have a feeling that a smile would stretch across her face to see me making sauerkraut. Imagining this makes me smile when I make it and I hope this recipe gives you a smile too.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Sauerkraut

  • 15 c thinly sliced cabbage (about 3 lbs)
  • 2 TBSP salt

Tools:

  • A large glass jar
  • A small glass jar (that fits into the large jar)
  • 1-2 small, stones (that fit in the small jar)

Preparation: 

Thinly slice your green cabbage and place it in a large bowl.

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Sprinkle over the salt and using your hands, knead the cabbage for about 10 to 15 minutes until it considerably reduced in size and develops a lot of liquid in the bottom of the bowl.

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Before kneading the cabbage…
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…after kneading the cabbage

Taking a large jar, stuff the cabbage in the jar being sure to stuff it down and pack it in the jar. Cover the cabbage with the remaining liquid, being sure that the cabbage is completely submerged with liquid.

Place two clean stones in a small container that fits in the jar.

Place the container in the larger jar to weigh down the cabbage.

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Place the lid on the sauerkraut and leave the jar on your kitchen countertop for two weeks. Everyday, open the lid and press down on the sauerkraut to ensure that it remains completely submerged.

After two weeks, it is ready to eat and/or you can pop it in the fridge to use later.

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Guten Appetit!

 

Cocoa Coffee Brownies “Caffeinated Brownies”

An energizing and chocolatey twist on your next coffee break — Cocoa Coffee Brownies “Caffeinated Brownies.”

I have heard it said that coffee truly does enhance the flavor of chocolate. But even if it didn’t, I think somehow I would still manage to combine them together in some form or facet. I rarely bake anything chocolatey without adding a little espresso and this recipe is no exception.

Brownies are my go-to recipe when I need to “bake something really quickly.” I always have the ingredients on hand and they are so simple to whip up in a flash. This recipe is one that I love eating and love sharing.

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Here’s the recipe:

Cocoa Coffee Brownies “Caffeinated Brownies”

  • 1/2 c oil
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c white sugar
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 T espresso (or 2 espresso packets with 3 T hot water)
  • 1 egg

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F

Grease an 8×8 baking pan and set aside.

Whisk together the oil and the sugar until well combined.

Then add the eggs one at a time, whisking in between each addition.

Add the vanilla extract and espresso and whisk.

Then add the flour and cocoa powder in 2-3 batches, whisking well between each addition.

Pour into the greased baking sheet. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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Homemade Simit: Turkish Bagels (Authentic, Crispy & Delicious)

Crispy on the outside, coated with toasted sesame seeds, but soft on the inside; there is nothing quite like a Simit (Turkish bagel).

There is nothing quite like a fresh-baked Simit (Turkish bagel). You can find them in most Turkish bakeries but also from street carts selling them from just 1 or 2 lira. It is a quick and simple breakfast or snack and one of my favorites.

The art of making a Simit is beautiful. The bread is rolled out into long thin ropes, twisted and then shaped into a circle. Then it is dipped in molasses water and toasted sesame seeds and baked to crispy perfection. Making Simit at home is so much fun and so rewarding especially when you take that first bite. Yum.

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Here’s the recipe:

For the dough:

  • 2 c flour (plus more for dusting & kneading)
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 2/3 c warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil

For topping the simit:

  • 1 c sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1 T molasses
  • 2 c warm water

Preparation:

To make the dough:

To make the dough, place the flour and salt in a bowl and stir. Then mix together the water and yeast in a separate bowl and add it to the flour mixture.

Stir until well incorporated and then pour onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel or piece of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Meanwhile, place the sesame seeds onto a dry frying pan and toast until fragrant and lightly browned. Then pour them onto a plate and cool.

In a shallow bowl, mix together the molasses and the water.

To roll out the simit:

Method #1 The “Two Rope Method”:

Take 2 golf ball size pieces of dough and roll them out into a thin rope about 8 inches long. Then wrap them over each other and form into a circle.  Press the ends together (securing with a bit of water if needed) and then roll the circle against the palm of your hand.

Method # 2 “The One Rope Method”:

Take 1 piece of dough about twice the size of a golf ball and roll it into a long rope about 16 inches long. Holding it in the air, fold it over and then spin into a twist. Press the ends together (securing with a bit of water if needed) and then roll the circle against the palm of your hand.

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To top and bake the simit:

Pre-heat your oven for 200C/392F.

Take each simit and dip it on both sides into the molasses water and then dip into the toasted sesame seeds and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Continue until all of the simit have been coated.

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Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the simit are nicely browned.

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Serve & Enjoy (preferably while they are still warm with a glass of Turkish cay).

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Afiyet Olsun!

 

 

 

Spätzle (German Egg Noodles –Homemade)

Love at first bite, there is nothing quite like homemade Spätzle. Spätzle are delicious German egg noodles and simply delicious. This recipe captures the essence of the homemade Spätzle making process combining a blend of traditional and modern methods.

The first time I tried Spätzle was the day after I got married. My husband is from Germany and we went out for lunch and had Spätzle. From the first bite, I was hooked.

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Light, luscious egg noodles tossed in butter and garnished with herbs. It is so simple but so good. 

Here’s the recipe:

Spätzle (German Egg Noodles)

  • 1- 1.5 c flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk.

Sprinkle over the flour and salt and with a wooden spoon whisk the dough until smooth (about 5-10 minutes). Note: As you whisk, the air bubbles will start to form in the dough; this is a good sign, continue whisking.

Allow the dough to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Boil a large pot of water and season with salt. Follow one of the methods below:

Traditional Method (w/ small cutting board and a knife)

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Dip the cutting board in the water.

Spoon on the batter and then quickly dip in the boiling water.

Smooth the batter evenly on the cutting board with a knife.

Then scape off long pieces into the water to create the noodles.

Allow the noodles to boil for 3-5 minutes or until they rise to the surface.

Scoop out with a colander and place in a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.

Repeat until all your batter is used.

Block Grater Method

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Dip the block grater in the water sideways while holding onto the top handle.

Then spoon in the batter and using and wooden spoon, glide it back and forth until the noodles drop into the water.

Allow the noodles to boil for 3-5 minutes or until they rise to the surface.

Scoop out with a colander and place in a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.

Repeat until all your batter is used.

Plastic Colander Method

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Dip the colander in the boiling water.

Then holding it above the water, spoon in the batter and using a spatula, run it against the batter in circles until it falls into the water to create the noodles.

Allow the noodles to boil for 3-5 minutes or until they rise to the surface.

Scoop out with a colander and place in a cold water bath to stop the cooking process.

Repeat until all your batter is used.

To make the Butter & Herb Spätzle:

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Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan.

Add the Spätzle and sauté for a few minutes.

Season with salt and add fresh herbs and remove from the heat.

Serve & Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

 

Strawberry Sorbet (Made from Scratch)

A refreshing, healthy & cool treat — this strawberry sorbet recipe is so simple and so good. Just a few simple ingredients!

As a kid, we not only went for ice cream but also we went out for frozen yogurt and sorbet. It was always an experience that I loved especially for the fact that I love soft serve frozen desserts.

This strawberry sorbet recipe is a throwback to my childhood because it is smooth and delicious just like I remembered eating the soft serve sorbet as a kid. Plus, it is so simple to make and it can be made using a plethora of different fruits.

 

 

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It is all natural and healthy because it is pretty much entirely just fruit. Plus, you can customize it to your desired sweetness using sugar, agave or another sweetener.

Here’s the recipe:

Strawberry Sorbet (Made from Scratch)

  • 2 c frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 T hot water
  • 1 T sugar (or honey, agave or sugar substitute)
  • 1 T lime juice

Preparation:

Place the strawberries in a food processor.

Add the hot water, sugar and lime juice.

Blend until smooth.

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Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap or an air tight lid and place in the freezer.

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Guten Appetit!

 

 

Menemen: Turkish Egg Scramble with Tomatoes, Onions & Peppers

Fluffy scrambled eggs cooked with tender tomatoes, onions, peppers and Turkish spices; A hearty and delicious breakfast meal.

     The first time I tried Menemen was at Turkish breakfast one day at a restaurant. I love egg dishes so I have tasted and cooked my fair share of eggs. Although this dish is so simple, it is also so tasty and packed full of flavor. It will easily become a favorite on your recipe list.

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Here’s the recipe:

Menemen: Turkish Egg Scramble with Tomatoes, Onions & Peppers

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c white onion (diced)
  • 1/4 c sweet green pepper  (diced)
  • 1/2 c tomato (diced)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T oregano
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • salt (to taste)

Preparation:

Dice the onions, peppers and tomatoes.

Place the onions and peppers in a frying pan and sauté them until they are tender.

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Then add the tomatoes, oregano, paprika and salt. Stir and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and scramble them together with a fork or whisk.

Pour the eggs on top of the sautéed vegetables and return to the stove*.

 

Scramble everything together until the eggs are cooked through but still tender.

Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!

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*Note: if you are preparing this dish in a Traditional Turkish copper pan, add a little oil to the pan, then add the sautéed vegetables and the eggs. Scramble everything together on the stove & serve in the pan it was cooked in.

 

Brötchen (Traditional German Bread Rolls–Homemade)

Brötchen, literally translated means “little bread.” These delicious traditional German bread rolls take me back to Germany every time I make them. 

I’ll never forget my first trip to Germany. We arrived at the airport and I was so excited. I was getting to see my husband’s homeland for the first time. When we arrived, the first thing we ate was a Bratwurst and from there, the delicious food never ceased.

I am so blessed because my Schwiegermutter (German for mother-in law, but we prefer mother-in-love) and my husband’s Oma (German for grandma) are such amazing cooks! I never leave Germany with an empty stomach and we always take some delicious edible goodies with us.

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It is natural that I love Brötchen simply because I love good bread; and Brötchen are very good! Breakfast always includes at least one. So, since we don’t live in Germany, it was only natural for me to make my own Brötchen at home. I always enjoy making them and it is such a special experience for me. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do.

Here’s the recipe:

Homemade Brötchen (Traditional German Bread Rolls

For the dough:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c – 1 c warm water

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 T water

Toppings:

  • sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • rolled oats

Preparation:

In a measuring cook, stir together the water, honey and yeast. Let set for 5-10 minutes.

Place the flour in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt on top and stir.

Pour over the yeast mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Then pour the dough onto a clean, floured workspace.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Roll into a ball and place the dough into a bowl or place it on the floured surface and cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.

Knead the dough again for a couple of minutes and then divide the dough into equal size portions.

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Shape the dough into small ovals (for the traditional bread rolls) and small circles for the “modern style” bread rolls with the toppings.

Place the bread rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper dusted with flour.

Cover the bread rolls with a kitchen towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

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

With a sharp knife, cut the baking slits in the top of each bread roll.

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To make the egg wash: whisk together the egg and water.

Brush the top of each bread roll with the egg wash.

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For the round bread rolls, top with the toppings of your choice.

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Bake in the oven* for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

*Wink Hint: When you pop the bread rolls in the oven, take a spritzer spray bottle and spray a little water at the bottom of the oven (then close it immediately) to create a little steam-action. This helps the bread rolls achieve their nice and crispy crust.

Serve & Enjoy!

Guten Appetit!

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Fresh & Simple Guacamole

Oh guacamole, you taste so good. With fresh ripe avocados and a pico de gallo it’s the perfect balance to make this dish taste delicious like it should.

Although I am definitely a big fan of eating guacamole with some pita chips or tortilla chips, there are truly a plethora more ways to enjoy it. I love it with grilled fish or chicken. It also tastes great with baked potatoes or even french fries. Of course, with beans and rice, guacamole balances out the meal perfectly. This list can go on and on because guacamole tastes good with so many different things.

Here’s my recipe:

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Fresh & Simple Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados (peeled and diced)
  • 1/2 c pico de gallo (see the recipe here)
  • 2 T lime juice
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Place the avocado in a bowl and mash to your desired consistency (I like my guacamole a bit chunky).

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Add the lime juice and pico de gallo and continue to mash.

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Season with salt & pepper and stir well.

Serve & Enjoy!

 

Roasted Eggplant Salad

A refreshing salad packed with tender pieces of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions.

Ever since I started roasting eggplant, it has brought such joy to my recipes. Roasting eggplant is super simple, it pretty much guarantees that the eggplant will be tender and perfectly cooked and it is so delicious.

This salad is great to make ahead of time because you can put all of the ingredients together and pop it in the refrigerator. As all of the ingredients meld together, the flavor gets better and better.

Here’s the recipe:

Roasted Eggplant Salad

  • 5 large eggplant (the long variety, sometimes referred to as “Japanese eggplant”)
  • 2 large tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 large cucumbers (halved & sliced)
  • 1 sweet red pepper (diced)
  • 1 sweet green pepper (diced)
  • 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 c chopped parsely
  • 1.5 lemons (juiced — approx. 1/2 c juice)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried cumin powder
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Pre heat the oven for 375 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the eggplant on the paper. Coat the eggplant with 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until tender.

Allow the eggplant to cool and then peel off the skin and chop the roasted eggplant into bite size pieces (discard any excess liquid from the eggplant).

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Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, parsley and onions.

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In a large bowl, combine the chopped vegetables with the roasted eggplant.

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Drizzle over the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Toss thoroughly, then serve and enjoy!

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Oma Erika’s Pilz (Mushroom) Pasta: How to Cook Like a German

There’s nothing like a recipe from a grandma and this recipe from Oma Erika is so good and yet so simple to prepare.

As a kid and even to this day, I have always heard the marvelous stories about my grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They were marvelous cooks and just marvelous women in my opinion. But unfortunately, I never really got to know them because they passed away when I was relatively young.

I love grandparents and elderly people in general. I believe they have such a wealth of knowledge to share with the younger generations.

I am so blessed to have another grandma and this time it is through marriage. My husband’s grandma, Oma Erika, is wonderful. Plus, we just so happen to share the same name, lol! I admire many things about her including her amazing cooking skills. This recipe is one that she prepared for us while we were in Germany and we ate so much because it was so good. There’s nothing like a recipe by Oma.

Here’s the recipe:

Oma Erika’s Pilz (Mushroom) Pasta

  • 3 c sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion (finely diced)
  • 1 c dry spiral pasta
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 T flour
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 T oregano
  • salt & pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Slice the mushrooms and finely chop the onion.

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Boil the pasta in salted water until it is tender. Drain, rinse and set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and olive oil. Add the onions and saute until transluscent.

Then add the mushrooms and saute until browned.

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Sprinkle over the flour and stir well. Then add the chicken broth and keep stirring until it is well incorporated.

Bring up to a light simmer and then cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Season with salt, pepper and oregano and cook for another minute.

Remove from the heat.

To serve: plate the pasta and then top with the mushrooms. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy!

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Guten Appetit!

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

The Simplest Lentil Soup (Just 3 Ingredients)

Making lentil soup is as easy as 1, 2, 3 with this great recipe. Everything goes in one pot and it is minimal prep, minimal clean up but with maximum flavor and taste.

I have more than one lentil soup recipe but I love this one because it is much simpler than my other one (made with brown lentils, tomato, onion, garlic, etc.) All you need are the lentils, chicken broth and an onion.

It’s quite a healthy soup, low in fat and packed with nutritious vitamins and fiber. Plus it’s really affordable to make especially if you’re feeding a crowd. Also, it’s so simple. Even if you despise cooking, I think you might like this recipe.

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Here’s the recipe:

Simple Lentil Soup (Just 3 Ingredients)

  • 1 c dry red lentils
  • 4 c chicken broth*
  • 1 onion (diced)

*Vegetarian? No problem, just substitute the chicken broth for veggie broth.

Preparation:

Sort through the lentils to ensure that there are no small stones or anything else (yes, it can happen).

Finely dice the onion and set aside.

Pour the chicken broth in a large pot.

Add the lentils and the onion. Season with salt and pepper and stir well.

Cover partially and allow it to simmer for 15-25 minutes or until the lentils and the onions are tender.

Then using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.

Garnish with some red pepper flakes and a lemon wedge.

Serve & Enjoy!

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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!

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!