New Meze Posts

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. 

Yoğurtlu Pancar Salatası (Beet and Yogurt Salad)

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Yoğurtlu Havuç Salatası (Carrot and Yogurt Salad)

Revised Cooking Page!

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:

 Close to the Kitchen: Ev  Yemeği 

RULING TURKEY

Dinner Ala Turk

When I invite guests over, normally I cook a mix of Turkish and American foods.  My repertoire of food is what I learned from my mother and the Joy of Cooking.  When I have dinner parties the main dish is usually something American-ish, because I am more comfortable cooking it, and confident a that it will turn out well.  However, the other day I had some friends over, they were both foreigners and did not have the same ample opportunities to eat Turkish home cooking.  The home style of Turkish cooking is very diverse, and particularly tasty.  It is also not usually served in restaurants, so when both members of a couple are not Turkish, they have fewer opportunities to eat what I consider real Turkish food.  I made three vegetable side dishes and one main dish.  I also made cheese cake which I served topped with sour cherries, which I dropped on the kitchen floor trying to put it away. (3/4s was left.  I was fairly irritated.)

Yoğurtlu Pancer Salatası/Beet and Yogurt Salad

Cooked beets, shredded, minced dill and garlic yogurt.

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Zeytinyağlı Pırasa/Leeks in Olive Oil

Leeks and carrots sautéed with olive oil and tomatoes served room temperature.

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Yoğurtlu Havuç Salatası/Carrot and Yogurt Salad.
Sautéed carrots mixed with garlic yogurt.

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Hünkar Beğendi/Sultan’s Delight

OHHHHHH…One of my favorites.  Slowly stewed lamb or beef chucks with tomatoes and peppers on a bed of roasted eggplant that has been whipped with cheddar cheese.

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Dinner was really fun because my friends had never had any of these dishes and were really surprised.  It was also very tasty if I do say myself.  I am getting more confident with my Turkish cooking.  There are still occasional mishaps and my börek is weak, but in general I am coming along.  My Turkish cooking is definitely more developed than my language fluency.

Lamb, Eggplant and Potato Casserole

This dish is super delicious. Not particularly health conscious, but incredibly tasty

You will need:

250 grams of cubed lamb

4 or 5 eggplants (longer skinny type)

fewer if you use the fatter shorter type
6 potatoes

8 or 9 cloves of garlic

6 spicy Turkish peppers

5 tablespoons of tomato paste (preferably Turkish)

3 tablespoons of pepper paste

The amounts are vague, but it is not rocket science, don’t sweat it.

Peel the eggplants, alternating peel and no peel (aesthetics)

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into quarters, then cut it into about 1/2 inch chunks.

Once you have done that, soak the eggplant into a water bath with about two teaspoons of salt in it. Swish it around a few times.

I happen to like alot of garlic, so don’t feel turned off. You don’t need to use as much as I do. Peel the skins off and reserve for later. Cut the peppers into inch long chunks.

Throw the lamb into a pot put the lid on and cook over a low heat. No oil will be needed, there will be enough later. When you add the lamb to the casserole dish later you can deglaze it with a little hot water.

Now cut the potatoes into about the same size as the eggplant pieces. Depending on the size of the potatoes you make want to quarter them. They too go in a water bath with a bit of salt.

Now we fry. You will want to fry the eggplant until soft, and the potatoes until crispy. Use a oil with a higher heating temperature. After you fry, drain the eggplant and the potatoes.

Mix the tomato paste and pepper past with water until it is the thickness of a thin gravy.

After all the eggplant, potato and lamb is cooked throw it into the casserole dish.

Now mix it all up.
Yummy!

Pour the tomato/pepper paste over the mixture.

Put the peppers and the garlic on the top of the casserole.
Put it in the oven at about 350 (F) for about 40 minutes

Super Tasty!

Hoşaf aka Delightful and Refreshing

I am tasting so many new things over here (the scale with confirm this) I want to be able to take back my favorites and integrate them into my cooking. So instead of just writing about food I have eaten, occasionally I will be posting recipes as well. This first one is one of my favorite dishes I have had so far. It actually pretty healthy too. Hoşaf (horshaf) is actually a compote or stewed fruit dish. It can be made with a variety of fruits such as dried raisins, apricots, plums, pears etc.
Dried Fruit

Two types of apricot, plums, pears.

First get your fruit together, 4 cups or so. Pick through it making sure there are no unwanted elements (stones, sticks etc), then rinse your fruit thoroughly.

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.
Then (a hard task) get a large pot of water to a roiling boil. When it is boiling dump your dried fruit in the water and shut off the heat.

Let the fruit sit out in the water until the water cools. Once the water has cooled put the pan in the fridge. Wait at least a day before eating the hoşaf, don’t worry about using it all up. The longer the hoşaf sits the tastier it becomes. You could ad sugar (this should be done when the water is hot) but I think it is unnecessary. Hoşaf can be served as a side (usually with börek) or as a dessert. It is light and refreshing and is fabulous in hot weather.