Kabak Tatlisi – Candied Pumpkin

Fall is over already and yet, I am not over with pumpkins and chestnuts. I even invested in a handful of pumpkin seeds which I’ll be planting this summer and hopefully enjoying my mini-pumpkins end of next year, here is a picture of what I am hoping to achieve:

For now, I’ll have to suffice with squares of candied winter squash, Turkish style of course. Some recipes from the southern part of Turkey also call for soaking the pumpkin slices into edible lime before cooking, so that the dessert turns translucent and attains a crunchy feel when cooked. This recipe here is the wider used version. (more…)

Kestane Corbasi – Chestnut Soup

This chestnut soup recipe is nearly forgotten in the cities but in some rural areas, families still make it in cold winter days. Nutty, earthen flavors of chestnut and poultry match great with the juicy, sweet, acidic aroma of sour apples.

Ingredients:

1/2 kg of chestnuts

2 tablespoons of butter

1/2 apple, sour type, peeled, cored and grated

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

2 cups of chicken broth

1 tablespoon of corn/wheat starch

1 teaspoon of salt

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Published in: on December 23, 2010 at 1:43 am  Comments (1)  
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Etli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves With Meat

Here comes another star of a typical Turkish feast: Etli Yaprak Sarma – Stuffed Vine Leaves, this time  not in olive oil, but cooked in a rich tomato and butter sauce with a delicious meat and rice stuffing. When people click on our link through Foodista.com on Wednesday (remember we are going to be the featured blog of that day), I want them to land at this post. What do you think? It feels like I am hosting a dinner party and it’s important to greet the guests with our nicest offering.

Ingredients:

60-70 grape vine leaves (fresh leaves are better, those in brine are OK)

2 medium size yellow onions, finely chopped or grated,

1/2 kg of ground beef+lamb, (around 10-15% fat would be fine)

1 1/2 cups of rice,

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Humus – Chickpea Spread With Tahini

Humus, originally a Middle Eastern meze, “is high in iron and vitamin C, and also has significant amounts of folate and vitamin B6. Garbanzo beans make it a good source of protein and dietary fiber; the tahini consists mostly of sesame seeds, an excellent source of amino acid, complementing the proteins in chickpeas”, says Wikipedia. Humus is a very convenient food for those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet and like other combinations of grains and pulses, when eaten with bread it serves as a complete protein. It’s great for your digestive system as well.

Its creamy texture and earthy, yet rich, flavor balances great with the mild and acidic flavors of olive oil and lemon juice. I am always up for regional staple food recipes as they are usually amazingly well balanced both in terms of health and taste. I am not a drinker at all, but some say, humus when eaten with alcoholic beverages helps avoid a nasty hangover.

Here goes the recipe for humus:

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Tulumba Tatlisi – Fluted Fritters In Syrup

While we were in Kahramanmaras, we went on a day trip to a place called “Icme” which literally means “drinking / to drink”.  No no, it’s not a bars street, there is a spring resort in “Icme”. People travel to the place from all over South Eastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean region just to drink and possibly take back home as much mineral water as they can to restore or  preserve their health.

The mineral water in Icme is quite bitter and not very pleasant to drink. Locals came up with a solution to this. Just next to the main spring, there are dozens of stalls selling sweets, especially in-syrup types, providing the visitors with a chance to get as thirsty as possible. They serve generous  amounts of sweets followed by bottles of mineral water, fresh from the springs. So if you survive the glucose coma,  you’ll have drunk lots of water from the fountain of health. Yeah, I am all for healthy living, so give me more of that dessert!

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Lorlu Biber Mezesi – Stuffed Red Capsicum With Ricotta and Pine Nuts

I love cold dishes in summer, that’s why I keep coming back with more meze recipes. This light and easy but still elegant recipe looks really good. If it looks good, it tastes good. Of course, there are a few exceptions to this, e.g. the previous monstrous looking samphire meze.

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Taratorlu Deniz Borulcesi – Marsh Samphire With Tartar Sauce

Meze dishes are the stars of Ottoman cuisine. The word meze refers to side dishes that accompany alcoholic beverages or main dishes. The other day, I saw a news report on a national TV channel saying that some freaks (yeah I am jealous, I should have thought of that before those guys) decided to take the Guinness challenge of cooking 1500 mezes in one day, original recipes from Ottoman cuisine and they succeeded. I am sure this samphire meze was one of those 1500 dishes. It’s a widely available dish in Turkey, especially at seafood restaurants. I suppose the plant is also quite common in the UK and Australia, I don’t know about the US though. In  Turkey the best deniz borulcesi, i.e. marsh samphire, is available in spring through early summer. The greener the better, as it reddens it gets saltier and coarser, you wouldn’t want that on your plate, considering the stringy bits in the cores of the stalks. Another trick is buying or picking them with the roots still intact, as this makes the process of removing the strings easier. If you ever decide to make this into a salad or meze, make sure that you season it with garlic, the two go really nice together.

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Enginarli Ispanakli Tavuk Pidesi – Chicken Pide With Artichokes and Spinach

Pide is Turkish pizza. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate artichokes into your diet and don’t know how, here’s a free-of-guilt way of eating pizza, ooppps sorry, I was supposed to say, “here’s a healthy dinner recipe” instead.

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Visne Pelteli Irmikli Muhallebi – Semolina Pudding With Sour Cherry Jelly

I made this one up, but both semolina pudding and sour cherry starch pudding are traditional Turkish recipes. Ottomans began using fish-gelatin in the 19th century (remember the surprise book my hubs gave me?), before that, they used fruit pectin (quince seeds in particular) and starch in dessert recipes as thickeners, to achieve that jelly-like texture.

It’s quite easy to make this naturally colorful sweet and sour dessert. For the base, I used digestive biscuits, simply lined them up to the base of the tray. For the white pudding layer, you can find the semolina pudding recipe here.

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Etli Kabak Dolmasi – Stuffed Zucchini

Yesterday, my husband and I were both out, me shopping, him working. He called me on the phone close to our meeting up time and told me that he had a surprise for me. A surprise?! I was really surprised, my hubs had a surprise for me. Thank God he didn’t tell me what it was on the phone, because he always does that and ruins the surprise, he calls up and tells “hey honey I am on my way home and I got flowers for you” and he turns up at the door and says “surpriiise!!” with a big and cute smile on his face, and I am like “duh?!” This time he kept it to himself that he bought me a book on Ottoman Cuisine. The book contains some very interesting info on 19th century dining habits of the Ottoman elite.

Anyways (thanks to the person who invented this word), back to our recipe… Stuffed vegetables, poultry and meat are very popular in Turkish cuisine. Zucchini comes the third on the list of things-to-be-stuffed, I suppose, after vine leaves and capsicum. 8-ball zucchini is one of the cutest things you can find in a garden, imho. We call them Cretan Zucchini, I don’t know why and feel quite lazy to look it up on the internet. If you have minced meat, rice, zucchini and tomatoes in your kitchen, this recipe is pretty much ok to play around with depending on your liking of herbs and spices.

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