This is a great winter fruit dish, using fruit that was harvested and then dried while in season. Hoşaf is considered a drink, a dessert or a side. It can be made with a variety of fruits such as dried raisins, apricots, plums, pears, cherries, etc. My father-in-law used to drink it in the summer when he was young, before soft drinks were popular. This drink is incredibly refreshing in the summer and a nice treat with or after dinner. This is also traditionally served as a side with börek.
4 cups of Dried fruits (mostly Apricots but it is nice to add dried plums) 8-10 cups of water 1 cup of sugar *Optional (add as much or little as you like)
Rinse fruit thoroughly. Bring 8-10 cups of water to a roiling boil. When it is boiling add the dried fruit to the water (and sugar if using) and shut off the heat.
Let the fruit sit in the water until the water cools. Once the water has cooled, place the pot in the fridge. Let it sit a few hours, a day is better, before eating the hoşaf. The longer the hoşaf sits the tastier it becomes.
I prefer a main component of apricots with some plums thrown in, the apricots release their sugar more than the plums do so you end up with a sweeter juice. I do not usually add sugar.
1 kilo of leeks, washed well and chopped in 1/3 inch rounds 1 big onion, finely chopped 3 carrots, chopped in rounds or half moons 1/4 cup rice 1/3 cup olive oil Juice of one lemon 2/3 – 1 cup hot water 1 tsp. sugar Salt Pepper 1-2 garlic cloves (optional)
Chop onions, and sauté in oil oil for about five minutes, until translucent. Cut off the tough outside parts of the leeks, wash thoroughly and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Peel carrot and chop into 1/4 inch slices. Add the carrots, leeks and garlic and sauté gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until all ingredients are tender.* It is best served cool or at room temperature. Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice on top, add lemon slices for a garnish.
*Sometimes a 1/4 a cup of rice is added with the rest of the ingredients.
Hmmm…Maybe not the best idea. I have been seeing lots of yummy winter vegetable recipes online. One of them was for roasted root vegetables; beets, carrots, rutabaga, parsnips and turnips. YUM! In Turkey, from that list we only have carrots and beets. There are some turnip varieties, but they are usually only used raw. So I decided to try out what was available in the market. I used carrots, black turnips, onions, beets, and celeriac. I brought some to school for lunch yesterday, it was tasty. Cue a sleepless night and intestinal distress. I thought maybe it was the fiber causing indigestion. So I kept food light today and packed chicken soup. It was all homemade, down to the stock. At lunch I ate my beautiful homemade soup, and vicious intestinal distress ensued. Just in time for my most challenging classes. Hmm. So since I knew exactly what went into everything, I figured out the common denominator. BLACK TURNIP. I checked it out online and apparently it increases acid and bile production in the intestinal track, great for people with sluggish systems. But eating too much causes over production and irritation of the digestive tract. Bummer. So watch yourself with the black turnip. It might get you. Root Vegetable Roulette…almost as dangerous as the version with guns. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it is definitely no fun.
I love hot pepper jelly. It is great served with cream cheese (or labne) on crackers. It also is a nice addition to vinaigrettes. There is a permanent link to the recipe under Close to the Kitchen –>Appetizers
12 oz. jalapeño peppers (about 12 medium or 16 small) 2 cups of apple vinegar (apple cider vinegar in the U.S.) 5 cups sugar 1 25g bag of Dr. Oetker Reçelyap 5 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with fresh lids (usually available at the pazars or at the Japon Pazari)
1.) Get your water canner boiling (I just use a REALLY HUGE pot).
2.) Sterilize your jars and lids in simmering water. Do not boil.
3.) Seed the peppers (leave some if you like it spicy) and then puree the peppers in food processor or blender. I like to use a mix of colors and leave some chunks for visual interest.
4.) Combine the pepper puree with the 2 cups of cider and bring to a simmer.
COMBINE purée with remaining 1 cup cider vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
4.) Add Dr. Oetker Reçelyap. Continue to boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add food coloring, if using, and skim foam if necessary.
5.) Pour hot jelly into jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
6.) Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to keep your hands from being burned.
We came back to Ankara the Saturday before school started. We had been away from the house for so long there was a lot to do, cleaning, food shopping, and getting ready for work the next day. Since we went vegetarian we pack our lunches, so we also had to do some food preparation. Due to the time constraints, it took a while to get back into the normal swing of things. But by last weekend we were back, and by that, I mean I was back at the pazar.
I wanted to make some hot pepper jelly, and found a great hot pepper stand. I spent quite a while tasting this pepper and that pepper. I bought some really spicy green peppers and he gave me quite different kinds to try. Just as I was leaving I realized there was another type of pepper at the stand. I hit the jackpot! He had a couple of plastic tubs of fresh jalapeños! Normally you can only get jalapeños pickled, which do not have the full flavor of fresh. I immediately started picking out the best ones, and chatting with him about the peppers. The pazarci gave me some more peppers as gifts (probably five different types), and then a mandarin orange as he was concerned about how many hot peppers I had tasted. I told him about my plans to make hot pepper jelly and he was very interested. We talked some more and then I headed off to scour the pazar for the best figs for jam.
Yesterday I got around to making the jalapeño pepper jelly. I haven’t tasted it yet, but at least it jelled, so that is a step in the right direction. Yum! I can’t wait to try it with some labne. I left some seeds in so it actually should be pretty spicy.
It only took two weeks for life to get back to “normal” in Ankara. I am glad we got there because our schedules are pretty packed for the next two weeks. Bülent’s sister is getting married this month. She is doing the nikah (legal marriage contract) with her friends and co-workers in Antalya next weekend, and the weekend after that is having the reception in Ankara. We are looking forward to celebrating both with her.
This weekend Bülent and I were craving some naughty food, so I pulled out all the stops! I usually can’t eat chocolate desserts here due to cross contamination with hazelnuts. However, if I make it myself with bitter chocolate, I am safe. So this weekend I made some really rich, decadent, chocolatey brownies.
They were practically black with chocolate.
For fun I threw in some chunks of 70% Cocoa dark chocolate!
Super Chocolate Brownies
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar 3/4 cup baking cocoa 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 2 tablespoons water 3/4 cup butter 2 teaspoons vanilla
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Grease your baking pan. Combine the sugar, cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs, water, butter and vanilla and stir well. Optional: Add nuts or chocolate pieces. Spread into pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, until knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out cleanish. Let cool before slicing. DEVOUR!
I posted two new salads under Ev Yemeği, Mezeler. These dishes are both variations of vegetable yogurt salads. They are striking because of their coloring and depending on their garlic content, sometimes I serve them as a side or a condiment.
A while back I created an Ev Yemeği/Home Cooking page, which has been sadly neglected, thought I cook all the time. When I post recipes, I have been doing so in a haphazard way. So over the next few weeks I will try to dedicate some time and energy to both posting more recipes and organizing the page itself. I spend a significant amount of my time cooking, and eating, as evidenced by this blog. So here is the beginning of this new branch of Far From the Sticks:
Oh, figs! My favorite summer fruit. Fresh figs are best enjoyed when they almost look too soft to eat. Stay away from the firm ones. Look for the figs that are starting to split at the bottom..just barely. Sometimes there will be a tiny glistening drop emerging from the star shaped fissure, that means it is perfectly ripe. The issue with figs is that many ripen at the same time, and if you eat too many you will clean your system right out, whether you want to or not? So what to do with over-ripe figs? A little too mushy eating means great for cooking. Jams, compotes, breads, wherever you can put fruit you can use figs.
This morning I used them in pancakes. The pancakes themselves had a mixture of ripe peaches and figs in them. I roughly chopped the over-ripe figs and threw them in a saucepan with a little water and lemon juice while I was cooking the pancakes. I used the fig compote as a syrup for the pancakes. I have to say, for a 20 minute cooking project (only as long as it took to mix and cook the pancakes) the results were delicious.
In Turkey, fruits and vegetables are rarely available while out of season. This can be a little disappointing when you are craving a particular dish, but in reality creates a smaller carbon footprint and is better for the environment. This means that will there is only about a four week window for figs, during that time the figs are fresh and delicious, abundant and cheap. While I would love figs all year long, they seem just a little bit sweeter since they are so special now.
Now that it is summer I have been craving some light salads. I have also been away from Turkey long enough I have been craving Turkish food. I was talking about this dish with my friend the other day and started drooling. I will be making this soon. It is pretty versatile. If you want a side salad make it a little chunkier, if you want to use it as a dip blend it a little more, like salsa
1 large eggplant or 3 or 4 smaller ones (I like the small ones myself)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic (mashed or pressed)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup of yogurt
A splash of olive oil*
1 tomato diced
Salt and pepper to taste
Poke holes in the eggplant(s) before you roast them. I use the grill but you could roast them on the grill, the stovetop (over the flames) or broil them in the oven. Whatever the method-roast the eggplant until it is soft about a half hour or so depending on the size. After they are done, let them cool and then peel off the skin. Dice the eggplant small ad toss in a bowl. Dice the tomato and throw that in the bowl too. Mash one or two cloves of garlic, to taste, remember it will be in the salad raw. Add that to the mix as well as the juice of the lemon the yogurt and the oil if you want it. The oil makes it taster but without it the salad is pretty light calorically, cooked eggplant has about 35 calories per cup. I also use light yogurt. Add about a 1/2 tsp of salt to start with and a little pepper. Salt to taste, you may want to add more salt (I do) but I do a little at a time or to my serving on my plate as I am always afraid to over salt the whole batch.
Mix well and chill, serve cold. It is best served after an hour or two when the flavors have time to meld.