Season of Salad

While summer is usually when you’re looking for something cool and refreshing like salad, most greens flourish in the winter months. 

 I’m a huge lover of salad.  All salad. Beet salad, bean salad, potato salad, cease salad, dinner salad, chicken salad…  Come at me bro.  One thing I had never tried before coming to Turkey, however, was boiled celery salad. 

And was I missing out! 

What is actually found in Turkey is celeriac, a type of celery grown for it’s root rather than the stalks (the latter being the one we know and love in the US).  There is a slight taste difference (in that the celeriac has a stronger flavor) and I think I like celeriac better. 

Much more interesting! Because: salad! 


Ingredients

1 celery root/stalks, chopped 

1 carrot, chopped

4 cloves garlic, grated 

Salt to taste

Olive oil to taste

Lemon juice to taste 

Preparation

1. Boil the chopped celery root and stalks (or just the leftover stalks if you need the root for something else) and chopped carrot together.  Boil until soft. 

2. Drain the water (which can be reserved for soup if you like). Let the celery and carrot cool in a bowl/on a plate. 

3. Grate your garlic onto the boiled veggies.  Don’t limit yourself.  The only thing better than 4 cloves of garlic is 5 cloves of garlic. Add olive oil, lemon juice (from a lemon! That preserved stuff is gross), and salt. 

4. Mix well and serve luke warm or cold. 

Afiyet olsun! 

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Dried eggplant dolmas

While I do enjoy a chill in the air, I am not a winter person.  During the dog days of summer I always convince myself that winter is something to look forward to.  The only real benefit to this season is cute sweaters, layered looks, and a few foods like ayva and chestnuts.

Yesterday we had a call back to summer, enjoying the fruits of our favorite season.

Dried eggplant dolma!

My favorite food has got to be fresh pepper dolmas.  Oh yes, delicious goodness.  But that’s not a viable option in the winter when the price of tomatoes, peppers, and other necessities triple in price!

Although it’s still not expensive compared to US food prices

As I talked about before, back in August when we first came back to Turkey, the joys of summer can be preserved in jars or on strings in dried form.  As the winter begins to wane, enjoy this recipe while you await the first signs of spring!

As always, measurements are approximations made by eye.

image

Ingredients:

20 dried eggplant halves
5 dried peppers (mild), chopped
Approx 200g ground beef
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp pepper paste
4 tbsp olive oil
2.5c rice, washed
4 green onions, diced
Dill and parsley, diced
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried mint
Cumin
Black pepper

Preparation
1.  First,  rehydrate the eggplant in slow boiling water until pliable. Remove from water and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
2.  Meanwhile, cook dried peppers in olive oil.  Add meat and cook to completion. Add 1 tbsp tomato paste and pepper paste, stirring to incorporate into the oil.  Add rice and simmer in the oil and natural juice for for 10 minutes,  stirring.
3. Cut the heat and add herbs, spices (only 1 tbsp salt.  Adjust salt to your preference!) , and green onion. Using a spoon or your fingers, fill eggplant halves approximately 2/3 full. Squeeze the opening closed with your fingers. If eggplant is torn, patch with other strips of eggplant.
4.  Layer evenly in a pot.  I will typically keep the thicker portions of the eggplant on the bottom of the pot (such as the bottom halves as opposed to the top halves).  Lay the eggplants on their sides and fill in a spiral fashion, keeping the sealed mouths of the eggplant closed with the bottom of the next one. Drizzle the final layer ever so lightly with olive oil.
5.  This step is where I’ve been messing up my whole life.  Put the water you will cook the dolma in into the pan/pot where you prepared the filling.  Further season the water with the remaining tbsp of paste and salt.  Bring water to a brief boil. *if you don’t season the water, a flavor osmosis will occur.  All the goodness of the filling you just prepared will leak into the water… This will ruin your dolma!!!
6.  Fill the dolma pot with water until it covers the dolma with approximately half an inch extra.  If you have it,  cover the dolmas with a cabbage leaf or something, then weigh them down with a terracotta lid with holes (I have no idea what it’s called). Let simmer on low for half an hour to 40 minutes (starting at the time of simmering).

Let sit after removing from water.  Serve with yogurt and lemon.

Afiyet olsun!

*dolma is something unique to each city, so everyone has a different recipe. How do YOU make dolma?

Anne’s fried kofte

Bügün farklı bir köfte yaptık

Today we made a different kind of köfte than I’m used to.  Four years ago I had prepared a fırında (baked) köfte with Anne, and I basically stuck with that method of preparation in the US.  But this time- we made köfte for frying.

I have no complaints!  Being a southerner, I cannot say no to fried food!  This köfte was incredibly tasty- and the cooked tomatoes made a deliciously sweet garnish on top.  We prepared this köfte with potatoes as a hearty dinner the last night my friend was staying with us.  I asked Anne to help me write down the ratios so you can impress your own guests with this mouth watering dish!

kofte

Ingredients

5 potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 medium onion, grated

3 tomatoes, chunked

2 slices stale crumbled bread

1lb ground beef

1 egg

1 bunch chopped parsley

2tsp dried thyme

Salt, as desired

Black pepper, as desired

1tsp apple cider vinegar

2tsp Cumin

1tsp flour

Sunflower or canola oil, for frying

1tsp olive oil, for dabbing

Preparation

Place meat, grated onion, crumbled bread, egg, flour, and spices (including vinegar) in a large bowl and mix well.  Treat the mixture like dough, kneading it thoroughly.  Form a large ball out of the mixture and throw it forcefully into the bowl.  Do this several times until the mixture is soft and homogenous

Put a dollop of oil and a little vinegar into a small dish to wet your fingers as you form the köfte.  Pinch off ping pong ball sized balls of meat and pat them into oval patties, and flatten with your hands.  Keep them at approcimately at one finger thickness.  It is very important to make the köfte all the same size, so they can cook together.

Heat your drying oil in a deep pan with a flat bottom. Cut potatoes at medium thickness and fry them in one layer in the pan. Remove the potatoes when soft and golden brown, letting them rest with a sprinkle of salt on a serving dish.

After all potatoes are done, fry your köfte.  Put them side by side in the pan and flip them when the fried side is a dark coffee brown, and slightly crunchy.  Place köfte as desired with potatoes on the serving dish.

Lastly, dump the tomatoes in the remaining oil.  Add salt and don’t be shy. Cook until the tomatoes become a sauce.  Use this sauce as garnish for the köfte when serving.

Serve with pilaf and cacık or ayran (cacık recipe coming soon!)

Afiyet olsun!

French Bread

Yes, yes I know…I should be making turkish bread not french.  But oh how I love french bread!!! Instead of slicing diagnal gashes into the bread, you can drag one gash from end to end (long ways) to make it look like turkish bread.

french bread!
Ingredients:
  • 5c bread flour
  • 2c warm water
  • 1tbsp yeast (I prefer Fleischmann’s bread machine yeast)
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 1tbsp oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1 egg white
  • salt to taste
  • cornmeal
  • butter for greasing
Preparation:
  1. Put the warm water in a bowl, mix in the yeast and sugar and let it proof (get a bit foamy)
  2. Mix all the bread flour with some salt. Form a well in the center of the flour.
  3. Add the oil to the proofed yeast mix and pour it into the well.  Knead until most of the flour has been picked up.  Cover and let it rest for a few minutes.(5mins)
  4. Continue kneading until it begins to appear smooth.  Cover and let rest a few minutes (5mins)
  5. Finally, knead until completely smooth (5 min)
  6. Cover and allow the dough to rise until doubled (about 1-2hrs)
  7. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into two even pieces.  Roll the two pieces into balls and let the rest, covered, on a floured surface while preparing the remaining steps.
  8. Grease a large pan with butter and sprinkle a handful of cornmeal on it.  Also, beat egg whites with some water until no longer gloopy.
  9. Now, take one ball of dough and stretch it into a rectangle.  Roll the Rectangle (long ways) tightly, sealing the edge at the end.  Make sure it is fully sealed.  Taper the ends and tuck them tightly as well.
  10. Repeat for the second loaf.
  11. Set both loaves on the greased/corn mealed baking tray. Brush them with the egg white and cover with a wet paper towel, then a dry cloth towel, and let sit for approx. 30-40mins.  Preheat the oven to 375F with a tin bowl at the bottom.
  12. Remove the coverings, the bread should have risen again.  Brush on more eggwhite and score the bread with a knife.  Place the bread in the oven.  Pour hot water into the preheated tin to make steam.
  13. Allow bread to bake for 20 minutes.  Brush on the final layer of eggwhite then place bread back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Afiyet olsun!