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.
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) […] Yapma (Ground Beef & Bulgur Patties) - A tender, savory, crispy meat and bulgur pattie packed with Turkish spices! Yapma (pronounced “yaahp-mah”) is actually Turkish for “making.” It’s the perfect word to describe this dish because in essence it does require a lot of “making” to prepare the dish. Methodical and precise, this Turkish dish was fascinating […] Kabaklama (Winter Squash or Pumpkin Stew) - During the cold winter months, there’s nothing better like a delicious, hot stew or soup to warm up. This stew is made with a variation of pumpkin similar to the cheese pumpkin. Normally they are quite large but at my local market, they will slice pieces of it for you to buy. “Kabak” is Turkish […] Işkembe Çorbasi (Turkish Tripe Soup) - This traditional soup is creamy, thick and savory. With chewy bits of tripe and a spicy vinegar topping it is something worth trying. This soup starts with tripe. Tripe is a common ingredient that I’ve encountered through cooking many types of international cuisines. But still, the texture of tripe is something that I […] Savory Bulgur with Sautéd Ground Beef & Carmelized Onions ( Kiymali Simit Asi) - Similar to the Sade Simit Asi recipe, the main difference between them is that this recipe has caramelized onions and ground beef on top. It’s a little bit more hearty and it’s delicious! Here’s the recipe: Kiymali Simit Asi 1/2 lb ground beef 3.5 c simit bulgur (finely ground bulgur) 1 large onion (diced) 1 […] Dark Chocolate Pistachio Truffles - Velvety smooth chocolate with crunchy pieces of chopped pistachios. If you ever wondered how chocolatiers make delicious truffles, you might be relieved to find out that there’s a simple way to cook up a batch of truffles in your home kitchen. With just four basic ingredients, you’re on your way to creating a gourmet dessert! […] Turkish Borani (Spicy Chard Stew) - A thick, spicy, tomato flavored stew packed with leafy chard and black-eyed peas. As most people know Borani, it is an Iranian dish with vegetables and yogurt. But there are also some parts of Turkey that also have Borani but it looks completely different. The yogurt is only used as a topping in this version. […] Homemade Marinara Sauce - A classic & essential recipe for your cookbook! Growing up, my parents rarely bough pre-made pasta sauce. As a kid, I always noticed the difference between the times that they bought the pre-made pasta sauce and the times that they made it themselves. The homemade version always tasted better. Since then, I’ve been making my […] Anali Kizli Köfte (Stuffed Meatballs) - Large stuffed meatballs and small meatballs steamed and dropped into a tomato and beef broth is a hearty and delicious traditional meal. Anali Kizli Köfte, literally translates as Mom & Girl Meatball. Once you see the size of the two different meatballs it makes perfect sense. One is the perfect size for a little girl […] Maş Corba (Mung Bean Soup) - A savory, spicy and hearty soup, Maş Corba is truly a unique experience. I’ll admit that this is the first time that I’ve ever cooked with dried mung beans. I’ve seen them and heard of them before, but I never actually prepared them…until now. Maş Corba (pronounced “maah-sh chor-bah”) is a wonderful blend of a classic […] Ökge (Ötçe) (Turkish Vegetable Fritters) - Crispy, flavorful and light, these vegetable fritters are a delicious snack or accompaniment to any meal! While preparing this dish in class, I’ll admit that I had no idea what we were making. The vegetables were being chopped and in a separate bowl the eggs were being whisked. But I didn’t connect the dots until […] Kabak Oturtma (Stuffed Zucchini) - Fresh and succulent zucchini stuffed with flavorful ground beef and spices. If you love stuffed peppers, then you’ll love Kabak Oturtma, or Stuffed Zucchini. The inside of the zucchini is carefully removed, then it is lightly fried and stuffed with a flavorful ground beef that has been thoroughly seasoned with spices, onions, garlic, peppers and […] Fresh Pasta from Scratch - There’s nothing like homemade pasta! So light, delicious and simple it makes such a great meal! From the moment I tried homemade pasta, I could hardly believe it was the same thing. It tasted so distinctly different. Quite frankly, it just tasted fresh. The first time I made fresh pasta was for a Thanksgiving dinner […] Börek Corbasi (Dumpling Soup) - Delicious little homemade dumplings immersed in a velvety yogurt broth. Börek Corbasi or dumpling soup starts with the very basic element of making the dumplings. Petite and delicate, the dumplings are as small as a chickpea but with a softer texture that compliments and balances every component of the soup. Topped with a special mint […] Simple Homemade Babaganoush (Roasted Eggplant with Garlic & Creamy Yogurt) - Roasted eggplant and garlic mixed with a thick creamy yogurt makes for a delicious and simple meal or appetizer. Simply delicious babaganoush. Roasting eggplant is so simple. You literally pop it in the oven and let it roast and then the skin peels off so easily to make preparing any eggplant dish so simple. Paired […] Yoğurtlu Soğan Aşı (Turkish Onion & Yogurt Soup) - Creamy onion soup immersed in beef broth makes for the perfect winter meal. I’ve come to learn that yogurt is an essential ingredient in much of Turkish cooking and especially the soup recipes that I’ve been learning lately in my cooking course. Turkish yogurt is one of the best I’ve ever tried! There […] Shakshouka (Baked Eggs in a Tomato & Red Pepper Sauce) - Delicious savory baked eggs in a tomato and red pepper sauce. One bite and I’m hooked. From the first time I tried shakshouka at a Moroccan cafe, I’ve never been the same. It was so delicious that I decided to try and create my own version of this North African and Middle Eastern classic. Yum […] Tavuklu Pilav (Tender Chicken Rice Pilaf) - Fluffy and flavorful rice with tender chickpeas and large pieces of flavorful chicken piled on top. It’s so good and such a simple dish. It it all starts with a whole chicken and a big stock pot. This is a beautiful sight to see. It reminds me of watching my mom do this as a […] Börek with Antep Peynir & Parsley - A light, crispy, flaky pastry & packed with the perfect blend of Antep peynir and parsley! If you love a good savory croissant, then you’ll absolutely love this Börek with Antep Cheese & Parsley! It’s light and delicious and layered with flavor. Made with Yufka, a thin flaky dough comparable to phyllo dough that […] Pancar Sararsi (Fresh Stuffed Chard Rolls) - If you’ve ever tried stuffed cabbage and liked it, then you’re going to love this recipe. Pancar Sarasi is Turkish for “stuffed chard.” The big, leafy green chard is blanched and then carefully stuffed with a bulgur and meat mixture, rolled and steamed. Recipe: 1 kilo fresh chard 250 g ground beef 2 cups of […] Quick Homemade Hummus - Smooth, thick and full of flavor! This homemade hummus is so simple and quick to prepare! Who doesn’t love a delicious hummus? It’s just good! My favorite way to eat is warm and topped with toasted pine nuts! But the best part of making hummus is that it’s simple. If you have a food processor […] Soganli Lahmacun (Onion Turkish Pizza) - A twist on the traditional Turkish pizza, this Soganli Lahmacun, is packed with flavorful finely minced onions, meat and more! I love Lahmacun. But I mean who wouldn’t? It has a very thin, perfectly crispy around the edges and it’s packed with delicious fresh flavor. While the traditional Lahmacun is amazing, I must say that […] 10 Spice Roasted Potatoes - Crispy on the outside, soft and delicate on the inside, these spiced roasted potatoes are so delicious and full of flavor! Ten is the magic number for these potatoes. A blend of some of my favorite spices, these potatoes pack a punch! Roasted to perfection with a drizzle of olive oil, they are crispy and […] DIY Buttermilk - Need buttermilk in a pinch to complete your recipe? This DIY recipe is a simple solution. With just two ingredients, you’ll have a fresh batch of homemade buttermilk. As a kid, my mom always had buttermilk in the refrigerator. It was essential. She used it mostly in baking, pancakes and corn bread and so she […] Su Böreği (Cheesy Flakey Pastry) - Flaky and crispy on the outside. Melted cheesy and herb goodness on the inside. Imagine a really good croissant, but crispier, flakier and cheesy. The first time I heard a description of Su Böreği, I expected it to be soggy and not so great. Literally, Su Böreği means “water börek.” Börek is a delicious pastry that comes in […] Vanishing Candied Almonds - All natural almonds with a crunchy and sweet coating, baked to perfection! These candied almonds are called “vanishing” for a reason. Quite simply because they vanish. Whether you make them for yourself or if you make them for gift giving, one thing is for sure, these almonds will vanish. They are such a delicious gourmet […] Quick Skillet Pita Bread - Crispy on the outside, light and soft on the inside, this skillet pita bread is a quick and easy way to make a delicious bread to accompany any meal. There’s nothing like a batch of warm bread! I must confess that when I go to one of my favorite restaurants with a glass kitchen, I […] Patlican Salatasi (Eggplant Salad) - Tender, roasted eggplant is mixed with fresh vegetables and an olive oil and lemon dressing. One of my favorite ways to enjoy eggplant is roasted. It’s so simple and it always comes out delicious and ready to complete any meal. The first step to this salad is roasting the eggplant. This immediately brought a smile […] Get Local, Get in Season - A fresh look on cooking with sustainability and a budget! Every season has a unique range of fresh produce to offer depending upon where you live in the world. Although it’s wintertime in the Mediterranean region of the world, there’s still a plethora of delicious, affordable and seasonal produce available at the grocery stores and […] Kiymali Zeytin Börek (Beef & Olive Börek) - A little savory baked pocket packed with tender ground beef and flavorful olives. What is Börek? In the simpliest terms, they are a variety of stuffed pastries generally with a thin and flaky dough. The dough is normally either a phyllo dough or yufka. They are the type of pastry that has that soft “crunch” as […] Şiveydiz - Şiveydiz, pronounced “she-vey-diz,” is a beautiful Turkish soup. Creamy from fresh yogurt that’s blended into the soup it makes for a flavorful meal. Creating this soup is like creating a work of art. All of the ingredients are perfectly crafted together to form a delicious blend of flavors. And of course, it is stunning to […] Savory Stuffed Mushrooms - Bursting with flavor these Stuffed Mushrooms make the perfect light meal or appetizer! Great for entertaining or for your next Potluck dinner, you’ve got to give these a try! Plus they are friendly for vegetarians and meat eaters alike! As a kid, stuffed mushrooms were always a favorite of mine. Although my mom and I […] Dolma (Turkish Stuffed Peppers, Squash & Eggplant) - Packed with flavor, meat and rice are stuffed in eggplant, peppers and squash to create an indescribably delicious Gaziantep classic dish. Dolma. From the moment I tried them at a friend’s house, I never forgot them. They seemed so simple and yet so delicious. Sure, I had tried and even made my own […] DIY Brown Sugar - Who knew that making your own brown sugar was so simple? With this 2 ingredient recipe, it’s a lifesaver if you need brown sugar in a flash. Okay, so as much as I try to keep a well stocked kitchen, at times I just run out of some of my essentials or forget […] Lor Çökelek Böreği - Little of pockets of deliciousness packed with lor peynir (a cheese similar to ricotta), spices, onions and garlic! There’s nothing like a delicious böreği! And with all of the different types there’s so many to try. This böreği is not made with the traditional yufka but it still delicious and full of […] Beyran (Traditional Turkish Lamb Soup) - Bubbling with a delicious, spicy tomato flavor and tender bits of lamb and rice from the first bite to the last, Beyran is undeniably delicious! I never tasted Beyran until I actually made it for myself. As one of the recipes in my Turkish cooking course, I was eager and excited to learn more about […] Quince Turkish Pizza (Ayvali Lahmacun) - If you love pizza then you must try this dish! Lahmacun or “Turkish Pizza” is traditionally prepared as a bread dough rolled out until it is really thin and then packed with finely diced tomato, peppers and meat. It is absolutely delicious. But this variation of lahmacun is superb! Slightly sweet from the quince and […] Sehriyeli Bulgur Pilavi (Turkish Rice Pilaf with Bulgur) - This dish combines the best of both worlds. The delicious elements of a classic pilaf meet the nutritious and fluffy bulgur to form a main course or side item to compliment any meal. Vermicelli, the type that is already broken into smaller pieces, is what gives this pilaf such an irresistibly delicious texture. With one […]
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