Kasarli Kofte – Beef/Lamb Patties with Kashar Cheese

Eid is almost here. In Istanbul, people are running around in a crazy pace to complete their preparations for the upcoming festive days. Shopping, cleaning, cooking, last minute travel arrangements.

Today, I woke up around 7 (very unusual for me on a Sunday morning) to pick up the cleaning lady. I helped her and together we made our flat squeaky clean. Usually, as soon as the cleaning is over I declare martial law at our place, no walking around with wet hands, no water drops on the bathroom mirror, no nothing nowhere! Poor hubs has to abide by my rules at those times, as acting any differently will result in nasty repercussions.

Anyways, I was as happy as a clam at high tide when we finished cleaning, until my husband almost puked on the carpet. I have to admit I was sorry that he was sick, sorrier that the happy-clean feeling was over. Apparently he had food poisoning, as anything could poison him, even chips, pickles and things like that. We had to rush to the hospital, spent the evening there. Thank God he is alright now, sleeping peacefully. I tease him by saying, “see your tummy is now so used to having high-quality meals served by me and it won’t accept anything lesser”.

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Sucuklu Yumurta – Eggs With Sujuk

Sujuk or soudjouk is Turkish sausages, somewhat like Hungarian sausages, sujuk smells and tastes very much like those. Here is a Sunday brunch classic: Eggs With Sujuk. If there is nice and fresh bread accompanying this dish, nothing can compare to it, especially in winter mornings. Sujuk is available in Turkish grocery shops in most Western countries, particularly in suburbs  populated mostly by Turks. It keeps quite long in the fridge too.

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Pacanga Boregi – Fried Pastry With Pastrami and Kashar

As a dance, pachanga has been described as “a happy-go-lucky dance” of Cuban origin. There is also a borek named pacanga -pronounced “pachanga”- in Turkish cuisine. I don’t know if or how the two are related in any way. What I know is this crispy borek recipe is a perfect appetizer. Once you have access to the ingredients, it’s fairly easy to make.

Pastrami (pastirma – “pressed”) was obviously brought by the Turkic tribes from the Asian steppes. Apparently Turkish horse rider men would carry the pastrami between their leg and the horse’s back and this way the meat would be cured. You can substitute this with beef prosciutto as well.

Kashar cheese is one of the most consumed cheeses in Turkey and it is a semi-hard cheese produced by heating and stretching the curd. It is classified as fresh and mature in terms of ripening level. Its taste is somewhere in between sweet provolone and cow’s milk caciocavallo, the latter is also a commonly used ingredient in Turkish cuisine. I heard that 1 kg of fresh kashar cheese is produced from 12 liters of cow’s milk in average. You can easily find this type of cheese in Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Georgian etc. shops or substitute with mozzarella, if not available.

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