Hasanpasa Kofte – Meatballs topped with potato purée

I know, I’ve been the laziest blogger lately, but I am back and full of hope that you my dear readers will forgive me. It’s already May and spring isn’t here yet, around 10 degrees Celsius in Istanbul, the humidity makes it feel even colder, there is even snow in some other parts of the country.

I’ve been sick for almost 4 times in a row, each episode lasted like 10-15 days with horrible sore throat and fever. Oh spring, please come, before antibiotics destroy my body and everything “bio” in it.

Yesterday, with all this in mind I decided that eating more fish would do me good and convinced my husband and sister to go to Garipce, a small village that lies along Bosphorus’ shoreline, near the north end where the strait meets the Black Sea, to have  pan-fried Black Sea turbot, my favorite, well, one amongst a dozen of my favorites.

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Piyaz – Lima Bean Salad With Olive Oil, Sumac and Tahini

Spring is around the corner and one of the most exciting things about spring, to me, is a generous serving of kofte eaten outdoors accompanied by the sea-view and iodine smell. The best thing to go with that drizzling kofte (meatballs) platter is piyaz. Kofte-piyaz duo is like the Laurel & Hardy of Turkish Cuisine and of course ayran (the infamous yogurt drink) always accompanies the feast.

There are various ways to make piyaz, here goes my favorite:

Ingredients:

2 cups of dried lima beans, soaked overnight, then boiled in 3 liters of salted water, or 400-500 g canned beans

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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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Fellah Kofte – Bulgur Gnocchi In Garlic Tomato Sauce

Bulgur was never a favorite ingredient for chefs in the Ottoman palace. They preferred white rice over this nutritious cereal, whereas bulgur was a staple food item for the general public in the Ottoman land. Bulgur is simply parboiled, dried and partially de-branned wheat. It is available in most Western countries in natural and organic food stores, some mainstream supermarkets, Turkish, Arab and Greek grocers. It’s high in fiber and protein, makes a wonderful ingredient for a lot of vegetarian dishes.

Fellah Kofte is a widely known recipe in Eastern Mediterranean region of Anatolia in places such as Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Adana, Mersin and Hatay. The recipe calls for fine-ground bulgur, (“#1 Fine Grind” in the U.S. and “koftelik bulgur” in Turkey). It’s easy to make and the outcome is definitely worth the effort.

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