Binnur's Turkish Cookbook - Delicious, healthy and easy-to-make Ottoman & Turkish recipes

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Tomatoes with Feta Cheese in the Oven

(Firinda Peynirli Domates)

Tomatoes with Feta Cheese in the Oven
4 large tomatoes, insides* only, cut in small pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut in round shape, slices separated
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 tbsp basil, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp peppercorn
3 tbsp bread crumbs

2 individual Pyrex (oven proof) dishes, oiled

Saute the onion and garlic with 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Place the onions equally at the bottom of individual oven dishes. Spread the tomatoes on top of the onions. Season it with salt and peppercorn. Cover tomatoes with feta cheese, basil and parsley. Sprinkle breadcrumbs all over the top.

Preheat the oven to 400 F and bake for about 25 minutes. Serve this very tasty dish immediately as a light lunch or as an entre.

Makes 2 servings.

* Use the insides from Tomato Dolma to cook this dish :)

Meal Ideas:
- Lamb Tandir, Apricot Couscous and Revani.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tomato Dolma

(Domates Dolmasi)

Tomato Dolma
4 large tomatoes

1 medium size onion, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
200 gr medium ground beef
2 tbsp rice, boiled, if you have pilaf, use that
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
2 tbsp dill, chopped
4 tbsp crushed tomato, in a can
1 tbsp red pepper paste
1/2 + 1 cup beef stock
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1-2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Prepare the filling first: Saute the onion with butter and olive oil in a pan for 4-5 minutes. Then add the ground beef, salt and pepper, stir and cook together until the colour of the ground beef turns to light brown. Add crushed tomatoes and red pepper paste with 1/2 cup beef stock and pour into the ground beef. Put the lid on, cook for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat. Drain the juice of the ground beef with a strainer on a small bowl and keep it. Add the rice, parsley and dill into the ground beef and stir in another bowl.

In the meantime, cut off the tops of the tomatoes 3/4 of the way horizontally, leave the rest attached. Discard the inside of the tomatoes* with a teaspoon, put them aside.

Fill the tomatoes with the filling using a spoon and close the tops over. Place the filled tomatoes in an oven-proof dish. Pour beef juice you put aside earlier and 1 cup hot beef stock and chopped parsley all over.

Set the oven to grill (broil) and place the oven dish on the middle rack, cook for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven to 400 F and cook for another 25 minutes. Serve Tomato Dolma with yogurt with garlic.

Makes 2 servings.

* Cook "Tomato with Feta in the Oven" using the insides of the tomatoes, coming this week...

Meal Ideas:
- Turkish-style Zucchini Gratin and Creamy Pudding.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Grape Jam

(Uzum Receli)

Uzum Receli
500 gr green seedless grapes, washed, drained, stems removed, choose the smallest ones:)
1/2 of a red apple*, peeled, thinly grated
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly roasted
1/2 of lemon juice

Melt the sugar, vanilla and water in a medium sized pot. Add the grapes and apple, and cook for about 45-50 minutes. Put a drop of jam on a cold plate, if it is not runny and stays, then it's done. Add the lemon juice and pine nuts, stir. After 2 minutes turn the heat off. Place into a clean jar, wait until it cools down, then close the lid tightly. Store in a dark and cool place.

This delicious jam belongs to the Eagean Region, like fig and mastic jam....

* Red apple gives the right consistency to grape jam, otherwise it gets runny.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Turkish-style Breakfast Buns

(Kahvalti Corekleri)

Turkish-style Breakfast Buns
7 gr instant yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2/3 cup feta cheese, grated
1 medium sized potato, boiled, peeled, grated
2 1/2 cup flour, after 2nd cup, add flour slowly, the dough shouldn't stick to your hand but it should be soft
1 tsp salt

1 egg white, lightly beaten
Nigella seeds (black sesame seeds)

Mix the yeast and sugar with lukewarm milk in a large bowl. Stir well until both dissolve. Add sunflower oil, feta cheese and potato, stir. Then add flour and salt slowly, knead. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap over the rim and let it rest for about 2 hours until the dough rises to double its size.

Using your hands, create 12 small balls with the dough. Brush egg whites and sprinkle Nigella seeds on top.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place parchment paper on an oven tray and arrange the Corek on it. Bake for 25 minutes until the tops take a golden colour.

Corek is a lovely breakfast. Serve them with butter and jam or as a supper treat with Turkish Tea.

This recipe makes 12 Corek.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pan Borek with Ground Beef

(Kiymali Tava Boregi)

Pan Borek with Ground Beef
6 sheets Phyllo Pastry

150 gr lean ground beef
1 small onion, sliced
1 fresh green onion, chopped
1 small tomato, peeled, cut in small cubes
1/4 cubanelle pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1 tbsp crushed tomato

1 egg
100 ml milk
100 ml water
50 ml sunflower oil

Cook the ground beef in a medium sized pot until the colour turns to light brown. Then add the rest of the filling ingredients. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat until the peppers are softened. Put aside. Whisk all sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

Take 2 sheets of the phyllo pastry and place over a large pan, leave the sheets hanging over the rim of the pan. Put some sauce with a spoon all over the sheet (picture). Take 2 more sheets and place on top and put a few more spoons of the sauce. Then spread the cooked filling all over this layer. Arrange the last 2 sheets on top of the filling and put some more sauce again. Then fold over the sides of the bottom layer. Pour the rest of the sauce over the surface (picture). Leave in the fridge for about an hour.

Put the pan on the stove to heat it up for a minute over medium heat, then turn the heat to very low. Cook one side slowly, then slide it on a plate. Cover the plate with the pan, turn it upside down and cook the other side until it's light golden brown.

This recipe goes well with cherries on the side or Ayran. You can have it as a main dish or with afternoon tea as a snack, or even weekend breakfast.

Makes 2 servings.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Classic Turkish Breakfast

(Klasik Turk Kahvaltisi)

Classic Turkish Breakfast
Breakfast is very important in Turkish cuisine and has a rich variety. Butter, cheese (Beyaz Peynir, Kasar, Tulum etc..) black or green olives, eggs; soft or hard-boiled, marmalade or recel (recel is different than marmalade, fruits are preserved as they are in recel, they are not mashed as in marmalade).

Other items in a classic Turkish Breakfast are contain Tarhana Soup, which is great for winter mornings, as is Tahini & Grape Molasses. Also Sucuk (Turkish Sausage, seasoned with garlic and spices), Pastirma (similar to prosciutto or pastrami, also seasoned with garlic and spices), Borek, and other pastries are very popular. Weekends especially are a good time to gather the family around and have it brunch-style. We love to have conversations while eating every meal, and there is no rush to leave sofra (dining table). Our wildly large cuisine's gift to us is having long, lovely sofra basi muhabbeti (chat) :)

I hope you will enjoy our style of breakfast as much as we do.... Afiyet olsun (Bon Apetit). I am also going to post more breakfast ideas soon.

Turkish Tea
Soft or hard-boiled eggs, sizzled with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle some oregano and red pepper on top, or have it plain:)
Stuffed or regular green olives
Black Turkish olives in extra virgin olive oil, a little bit of lemon juice, some oregano and crushed red pepper on top
Feta cheese (Beyaz Peynir), plain or some sizzled olive oil on top
Homemade jam, any kind
Cubanelle Pepper, washed
Red Pepper, washed
Tomato, washed and sliced
Cucumber, washed and sliced
Pide or Turkish Bread

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Orange Cake

(Portakalli Kek)

Orange Cake
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup cake & pastry flour
4 orange zest
1 tbsp Orange Blossom Liqueur

6-7 large oranges' juice (~2 cups)
9 tbsp sugar

Loaf Cake Mold

Whisk the eggs and sugar with an egg whisker until foamy. Add orange zest and flour, continue mixing. Pour into the oiled loaf cake mold.

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Check with a toothpick to see if it's done, bake until it comes out clean. It takes about 45 minutes. Place the cake on the wire rack to cool it down. Meanwhile boil the syrup ingredients for a few minutes.

Slice the cake and place on the oven tray. Pour using a spoon the hot syrup all over the slices. Make sure the cake absorbs the syrup, if necessary make more syrup.

When you serve Orange Cake, squeeze chocolate Syrup (Smucker's Sundae Syrup) or home made Chocolate Sauce on top and sprinkle some pistacchios. Keep the Orange Cake slices covered in the fridge. It is more delicious when cold.

Chocolate Sauce

6 tbsp cocoa
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiled water
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp icy water

Put the cocoa, salt and boiled water in a pan and mix until it's paste-like. Turn the heat onto medium. Add the butter and sugar, and stir constantly. When the butter melts, cook for 8 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons of icy water and stir. Put aside, let cool.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pilaf with Lamb & Eggplant

(Patlicanli Etli Pilav)

Pilaf with Lamb & Eggplant
200 gr lamb cubes
1 cup hot water

2 Chinese or Japanese eggplants, washed
1/2 cup sunflower oil

1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic clove, sliced
5 tbsp diced tomato, in can
1 cup rice
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp butter
1 tsp salt

Peel the eggplant skin in strips lengthwise. Cut the eggplant vertically about 0.5 cm thick. Sprinkle some salt all over the slices, wait for 15 minutes. Then dry with a paper towel.

Pour the sunflower oil in a large skillet. Fry both sides of the eggplants until the colour turns medium brown. After frying, place the eggplants on a plate with a paper towel to soak up any extra oil.

In the meantime, cook the lamb cubes in their own juice. Then add 1 cup of hot water, cook over medium-low heat until most of the water evaporates and the lamb pieces soften. Add the onion, garlic, diced tomato, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes all together.

Place the eggplant slices diagonally in a medium sized pot (picture). Arrange the cooked lamb in the middle (picture). Cover with rice (picture). Pour 1 1/2 cup of warm water from the side and add butter. Cover the lid, simmer until the rice is cooked. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Take the lid off and place the service plate on the rim of the pot and turn the pot upside down.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Meal Ideas:
- Cacik, Flat Beans with Olive Oil and Almond Pudding.