Okay, I’ll confess it. I absolutely love cooking. It’s a passion of mine that started at a young age. The last of 5 kids I had a working mama who was a strong believer in a home cooked meal. She’d come home from work, take off her heels, gather us in the kitchen and away we’d go cooking. Her favorite motto was “if you want to eat, you’ve got to cook!”
She was always a gem in the kitchen. A tender bundle of joy normally blasting some music or singing to make her own while we cooked. From the age of 5 I was in the kitchen with her and it was always such a joy for me and still remains a joy to this day. There’s something amazing about starting from nothing “scratch” and making something beautiful. I think within all of us there’s a desire for that in some form or fashion. For me, the kitchen is definitely a place that I explore this desire.
By the age of 15 I was working in fast food and found myself even more interested in cooking. Over the course of my teenage years and early twenties I worked in several restaurants, met amazing people, published recipes, pitched a cooking show (as the writer and host), attended restaurant openings, studied world cuisines from old ladies (they have the best cooking skills ever!) and travelled the world discovering new cuisines, traditions and tastes. By 25 I packed my car full of everything I owned and moved to the Hamptons to work in sales and marketing for the hospitality business. Of course my passion for food invaded everything and I ended up befriending several chefs, developing menus and cooking behind the line.
Food equalizes us all. It reminds us that we are but dust, fragile and in need. We cannot sustain ourselves and the need for food is just a glimpse of how much we need our Creator. If you’ve ever been amazed by anything in this world, you’ve got to know that there’s a God who made it and loves you passionately.
How to Make a Bechamel Sauce - Creamy and silky smooth, a delicious bechamel sauce is the perfect base to many culinary creations, especially a really quick and yummy stove top macaroni and cheese. Bechamel Sauce. From the moment I heard the name of this sauce as a kid, it sounded so fancy. It was something that I saw French chefs talking […] 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 […] Dolangel (Flakey Pastry with Pistachios & Cream) - Flakey, crisp and just sweet enough –dolangel is a must try Turkish dessert! If you like Turkish baklava, then you’ll love this dessert! It’s the type of dessert that when you take a bite, the flakey pastry bursts in your mouth. Crispy and so light, it’s so delicious. The yufka (a dough similar to phyllo […] Homemade Mashed Potatoes - Creamy, smooth and so delicious — there’s nothing like mashed potatoes made from scratch! Mashed potatoes is one of the most quintessential foods of my childhood. Thankfully, in my house it was not just reserved for holidays but also for Sunday suppers or even for weekday dining. I learned how to prepare mashed potatoes through […] Red Lentil Meatless Meatballs (Malhitali Köfte) - A tender, delicious, savory, meat-less version of a meatball backed with bulgur, lentils and veggies. Yet again, this is another great köfte (Turkish for “meatball”) recipe. Instead of meat, it’s packed full of bulgur, red lentils, vegetables and spices. They are a flavorful addition to your menu for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Here’s the […] DIY Self-Rising Flour - Don’t forsake your favorite recipe that requires self rising flour, thanks to this simple DIY recipe to make self rising flour in a flash! Growing up, my mom always had two containers of flour. On one container she labeled it “All Purpose Flour” and on the other she labeled it “Self Rising Flour.” I noticed […] Peynirli Künefe - A sweet delicious dessert packed with sweet cheese, pistachios and a crunchy base and top layer! A Mediterranean classic dessert. Okay so I’ll admit that way before I started learning about Mediterranean cooking, the idea of cheese in a dessert (besides marscapone) didn’t sound so appetizing to me. It wasn’t until a friend took us […] Gavurdağı Salad (A Traditional Turkish Salad) - A fresh & delicious Turkish salad with the perfect balance of savory and sweet with an olive oil and pomegranate molasses dressing. This salad was love at first bite. One of the beautiful things about Turkish food is the vibrant and fresh ingredients that are used in every facet of traditional cooking. […] Ali Nazik (Roasted Eggplant topped w/ Seasoned Ground Beef) - A creamy, savory and flavorful entree, Ali Nazik is light and delicious. A traditional Turkish dish, it tastes and looks like a work of art. I have tried many variations of Ali Nazik and I must admit that they were all good in their own unique way. I’ve even created my own recipe for Ali […] Turkish Green Bean & Yogurt Soup - Savory and flavorful, this soup packs a punch. Creamy and thick, it’s packed with meat, chickpeas, vegetables and saffron. Here’s the recipe: Turkish Green Bean & Yogurt Soup 500g stew beef chunks 500g green beans (blanched) 1400g suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt) 1 egg 4 scallions (white parts only) 1 1/2 c chickpeas (canned […] Stuffed Zucchini with Saffron & Pistachios (Kuzu Icli Kabak Dolmasi) - The perfect balance of a savory ground beef filling with aromatic spices, pistachios and almonds. In Turkish cooking, I’ve been learning about the myriad of different variations on stuffed vegetables. There are many variations. This is already the third variation of stuffed zucchini and it tastes completely different than the last recipe I learned. The […] Curry Chicken - Tender marinated chicken coated in a creamy flavorful curry sauce with mushrooms and sweet red peppers. I love curry chicken. And I know that curry in general is one of those spices (although it’s actually a combination of spices but that’s a whole other story) that people seem to love or to hate. As a […] Oven Roasted Potato Wedges - Crispy and flavorful on the outside, tender and delicate on the inside–these oven roasted potato wedges are cooked to perfection to make a delicious and simple dish. I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like a good potato wedge. As a kid, wedges were my favorite way to eat potatoes. I loved the fact […] Turkish Abugannuş - Lusciously creamy, thick and with a hint of garlic, this is a beautiful and simple preparation of the classic Babaganoush. It’s true. I’ve tried so many different variations of Babaganoush that they all tasted like a completely different dish. They all had eggplant but everything else about them was very different. Some had tomatoes, while […] Savory Bulgur with Caramelized Onions (Sade Simit Asi) - Creamy and smooth bulgur, packed with flavor and topped with caramelized onions. If you love polenta, then you will love this bulgur dish. The bulgur is simmered in a delicious tomato broth until it is tender and creamy. Then it topped with caramelized onions and ready to enjoy! Here’s the recipe: Sade Simit Asi […] Tasty Tabbouleh Salad - A delicious Mediterranean twist on your salad night, try this Tasty Tabbouleh Salad! Tabbouleh is a common salad eaten throughout many countries in the Mediterranean and Middle East. It is a simple salad but packed with flavor in every bite. It starts with fresh veggies that are mixed together with bulgur and tossed with […] Turkish Meat Pie (Sini Köfte) - Flavorful ground beef, pistachios, walnuts and almonds are layered between finely ground bulgur to make a savory meat pie. Here’s the recipe: Sini Köfte 1.5 lbs lean ground beef 3 c finely ground bulgur 4 onions (finely diced) 2 T red pepper flakes 1 tsp saffron 1 T raw pistachios 1 T raw walnuts 1 […] Roasted Rib Rice Pilaf (Kapamali Pirinc Pilav) - Tender saffron yogurt coated ribs are tenderized and roasted to perfection to top a plate full of rice pilaf. For this recipe, the ribs do most of their cooking in a pressure cooker. Then they are coated with a mixture of yogurt and saffron and roasted until perfection. Meanwhile, the rice pilaf is […] Cumin & Herb de Provence Roasted Carrots - Light, delicious and full of flavorful–these cumin and herb roasted carrots make the perfect side item to compliment any meal. Making vegetables delicious is often as simple as adding a little herbs or spices. This dish, is a great example of the big difference a few herbs can make. A blend of purple and orange […] Beef & Onion Stew (Salçali Soğan Aşı) - Tender chunks of stew beef are sautéed to perfection and then braised with pearl onions and quince until tender and succulent. Growing up, beef stew was a staple in my house, especially during the winter time. It was a hearty stew, paired with rice and perfect for warming up on a cold day. This beef […] DIY Pasta Making: Orecchiette - Italian for “little ears” this unique pasta shape is perfect for scooping up delicious sauce. Orecchiette is one of a kind. Sure, there are similar pastas but there is not one quite like this one. When my local grocery stores stopped selling it, I resorted to making my own from scratch. The most […] Chicken Tikka Masala - Creamy, flavorful and seasoned masala sauce with tender pieces of marinated chicken. The perfect blend of spices with tomatoes create a delicious “masala” or sauce for this dish. The chicken is marinated in a thick yogurt mixture and is tender, flavorful and so good. If you think marinades are not worth the work, then you’ll […] Chicken Turkish Pizza (Tavuklu Lahmacun) - A different spin on the traditional Turkish pizza. Instead of ground beef, ground chicken is used in this variation of a classic recipe. Thin, crispy crust topped with a thin layer of the toppings, lahmacun, or Turkish pizza, is a one of a kind dish. Served with fresh parsley, lemon and sometimes a myriad of […] Dad’s Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Oatmeal - Creamy, rich and delicious oatmeal, with cinnamon spice and everything nice! Growing up, I never realized how blessed I was that both of my parents could cook. They each had their specialties but they always managed to make a great meal to feed our family of seven. Looking back, I am so grateful […] Lamb Chop & Quince Stew (Ayvali Taraklik Tavasi) - Savory and a bit sweet, this dish will make you say Mmmmm. If you’ve ever had pork chops and apple sauce, then this recipe is a comparable dish. Packed with flavor, the lamb chops are slow roasted in the oven and then added to a savory tomato and red pepper spiced broth […] Onion & Herb Frittata - Simple, elegant, quick and delicious — this frittata recipe is so good. It’s perfect for any breakfast or brunch! I love frittata! It’s all of the delicious flavor of an omelette with less work! I love the fact that I have the freedom to customize my frittata based on my favorite veggies or whatever I […] Homemade Tomato Soup - This tomato soup recipe is a simple and delicious classic recipe. It’s versatile, simple and oh so good. There’s nothing quite like a good bowl of tomato soup. It’s something so simple and so basic yet so comforting and delicious. To make the soup, it starts with really good tomatoes. I use a jar of […] Mini Turkish Meatballs (Arap Köftesi) - A delicious mini meatball that’s packed with so much more than just meat. Served with yogurt and a spice oil drizzle, it’s a beautiful and delicious creation! Essentially, I would consider this dish a meatball. Although the ratio of bulgur to meat is 2 to 1 so maybe it’s more like a bulgur & meatball […] Fried Eggs & Olives (Zeytin Mihlasi) - Zeytin Mihlasi is a delicious Turkish dish that predominately consists of olives and eggs. The ratio of olives to eggs is at least 2 to 1 so if you love olives, then you’ll love this dish. It’s like an olive omelette amplified. Here’s the recipe: Fried Eggs & Olives (Zeytin Mihlasi) 2.5 c green olives […] Shepherd’s Pie - Don’t let the name fool you; this pie is anything but sweet. A savory delicious blend of meat and veggies and topped with fresh mashed potatoes and then baked to perfection. Technically, this was the first home cooked meal I made for my husband. I had a limited amount of time but I wanted to […] DIY Fresh Ravioli - Light, cheesy, pillows of stuffed pasta. This fresh ravioli recipe is a must try. Once you’ve tried fresh pasta, you’ll never forget it! As a kid, I loved ravioli. Fortunately, they sometimes sold it at the supermarket or when we went out to eat, I would order it from our favorite Italian restaurant. Also, I’ll […] Rice Pilaf with Almonds, Pine Nuts and Dried Currants (Iç Pilav) - Savory and sweet — in the best possible way, this rice pilaf is packed with crunchy pine nuts and almonds and filled with tender pieces of dried currants. Iç Pilav, is literally translated as “Inner Rice.” It is the perfect combination of blending sweet and savory flavors into one dish. The cinnamon and the all spice […] Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (made from scratch!) - A good bowl of chicken soup warms your stomach, heart and soul. Homemade broth packed with tender chicken and flavorful veggies, it’s a delicious classic. Never underestimate the power of a good bowl of chicken soup. As a kid, I remember watching my mom make chicken noodle soup or more often turkey noodle soup (post […] Braised Chard (Pancar Kavurmasi) - This dish is simple but delicious. With minimal effort and ingredients, it creates a beautiful dish. The chard is the star of this recipe and paired with the thick creamy yogurt and bread, it makes this dish a complete meal. Here’s the recipe: 1 bunch of chard 1 onion (diced) 1 red pepper (sweet or […] Quick & Healthy Bulgur Bowls - Delicious nutrient packed bulgur paired with fresh veggies, egg, chickpeas and a simple tahini dressing makes this dish a perfect quick weeknight meal. If you’ve ever had a super long day (all of us had) and still wanted to enjoy a healthy and quick dinner, then this recipe is for you. To make bulgur, you […] Lamb Chop Soup (Ormon) - It all starts with roasted lamb chops. They’re browned to perfection and then added to a stock pot to create a delicious soup. Here’s the recipe: lamb chops 2 TBSP ground beef 6.5 c suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt) 1 egg 1 c chickpeas (frozen) 1 white onion (diced) 3 TBSP sunflower oil 2 […] Halva (Peynirli Un Helvasi) - Halva is a sweet dessert found throughout Central Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and many other parts of the world. There are a few variations of Halva including several variations of, a tahini (sesame seed paste) halva and a flour halva. Nowadays, it’s easily found in many stores throughout the world. But, making this […] Lamb & Rice Pilaf (Kapamali Firik Pilav) - A savory rice and bulgur pilaf packed with tender & succulent pieces of lamb. Under pressure. Why is it that some of the most beautiful things in life are created under pressure. Just think about it: Diamonds are formed… under pressure Pearls are formed…under pressure Kapamali Et (Lamb shanks) for this pilaf recipe is cooked…under […] Savory Turkish Turnovers (Pirincli Börek) - Flakey, crispy and backed with ground beef and saffron rice, these little turnovers are a must try recipe! One of the many things that I love about börek is that there are so many ways to prepare them. Börek, essentially meaning pastry, is applied to a myriad of delicious turkish pastries, both savory and sweet. […] Potato & Tomato Stew (Patates Tavasi) - A savory thick, tomato-based potato stew, Patates Tavasi warms the stomach and the soul. I’m not exactly sure if this dish is meant to be a stew, but the way I experienced it (in a bowl, served with rice, served with a spoon), it felt like a thick stew. Regardless, it’s delicious. Stew […] How To Make Roasted Garlic - Roasted garlic is so delicious & versatile to add to your favorite dips, garlic bread or any recipe! Roasting garlic is a super simple way to add additional flavor to your favorite recipe. If you don’t like the taste of raw garlic, then roasted garlic is a great substitute. The garlic become less pungent and […] Olive Stuffed Pastry (Sade Zeytin Boregi) - A delicious traditional, Turkish, olive pastry, bursting with flavor. I love olives and I love bread. So this recipe is delightful for me. The filling created it almost like a simple olive salad. Then it is tenderly baked to make these delicious little pockets. Here’s the recipe: Sade Zeytin Boregi 3 c green olives 2 […] Turkish Mixed Green Salad (Karışık Kış Salatasi) - A fresh, simple salad that’s perfect to add to any meal. This “mixed salad” is packed with a variety of flavors and textures. Here’s the recipe: 2 c green cabbage (cut into thin strips or shredded) 2 c red cabbage (cut into thin strips or shredded) 4 tomatoes 2 c romaine lettuce (cut into thin […] How To Roast Eggplant - The simplest, easiest and tastiest way to enjoy eggplant. Okay, so perhaps I talk about eggplant a lot but I think it’s only because I spent so many years trying to figure out the best ways to cook it. But ever since I started roasting my eggplant, I’ve never looked back since. With a few […] Corn & Tomato Salsa Recipe - The perfect blend of sweet and tangy, corn and tomato salsa is a delicious and quick recipe for game day or any day of the week. I love a great salsa. The music, the dance and of course the food. I also love the fact that there are so many different ways to make a […] Yumartali Pancar Kavurma (Sauted Chard w/ Eggs) - Light, flavorful and delicious — this dish is so simple but so good. Get your daily dose of greens with this flavorful chard dish. Packed with essential vitamins, nutrients and protein from the eggs, it makes such a delightful lunch or dinner. Here’s the recipe: 1 bunch of chard 7 oz ground beef 2 medium […] Strawberry Spinach Salad - Fresh, flavorful, delicious and healthy! This salad is so good and so simple to prepare! With a few fresh ingredients, you’re on your way to a quick meal! If you’re looking for a quick, delicious and healthy dinner, then this salad is a great option for you. The perfect balance of flavors with the savory […] Simmering Zucchini Dish (Kabak Kavurmasi) - With a savory and rich tomatoey flavor, this dish is beautiful and delicious. Zucchini is the star of this dish. But for this dish I don’t fry it or bake it or skewer it. Instead it is cubed into small pieces and simmered in a delicious tomatoey broth. The end product makes for a flavorful […] Turkish Okra Sauté (Bamya Tavasi) - The perfect balance of a savory ground beef filling with aromatic spices, pistachios and almonds. In Turkish cooking, I’ve been learning about the myriad of different variations on stuffed vegetables. There are many variations. This is already the third variation of stuffed zucchini and it tastes completely different than the last recipe I learned. The […] Havuc Salatasi (Turkish Carrot Salad) - Fresh, flavorful and light, this carrot salad is a pure delight. Shredded carrots meet yogurt and garlic to form a delicious, light salad. It’s perfect for a warm day or just to balance out a heavy meal. Here’s the recipe: 2 lbs carrots 1.5 c suzme yogurt (or any thick yogurt) 3 garlic cloves (minced) […]
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