All posts filed under: Turkey

Sweet Apricot Bites - Turkish stuffed apricots

Turkish Stuffed Apricots – Sweet Fairy Food

These golden morsels are inspired by a place where giant fairy chimneys rise above yellow brick roads, leading travelers past a network of underground cities. It sounds like fantasy. But this surreal scene lives – as real as you and me – in Cappadocia, Turkey. What are Fairy Chimneys? The fairy chimneys of Turkey (Peri Bajası) are geological remnants created by volcanic debris. These colossal outcrops can be as tall as the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil and almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty on the eastern US coastline. But unlike those human made structures, fairy chimneys were sculpted over millions of years by rain and wind, in the end weathering the elements better than the dinosaurs. This not to say humans never set chisel to chimney; over the last millennia humans carved into the fairy chimneys to create secure homes and places to worship. These weren’t basic dugouts – many of the cave dwellings are connected with a network of tunnels and vent shafts, and decorated with mosaic floors and frescoes. The underground …

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Monday Meal Review: Turkey

After my crazy weekend in Portland speaking in front of 3,000 people, I needed some time to unwind. I was like a hot, thirsty wanderer, begging for a glass of water. But in my case, the “water” was my husband and daughter. I wanted to soak in their company, I wanted to be quenched by their spirits. Because, even if every stranger in the world could hug me, there’s nothing cozier than the embrace of my husband and little girl. And that’s why, when my little four year-old said “I’m glad you’re home, mama,” I can say, with all honesty “me, too.” The only catch? I didn’t have time to mellow. Not completely. You see, I’d planned a big party for Ava’s Fourth Birthday. The party was scheduled four days after I got home. It was about 35 minutes away, at Lake Oologah. So… yes, I could soak up my family… and enjoy their love… but it had to be in those snapshot moments … in between all the birthday planning chaos. Oh boy. Having a birthday …

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Turkish tabbouleh | Kisir

What happens when you eat a lot of international food, but still get in a rut? Is it like when you live by the sea but get tired of looking at the lapping waves (is that even possible?). It’s so easy (and delicious), to return to old favorites like stuffed grape leaves, hummus and tabbouleh, but sometimes a little shakedown is in order. We’re big tabbouleh eaters in this house, so when I found out there’s a Turkish version of this popular bulgur salad, you can bet I jumped on board. This guy knows what I’m talking about… He’s been waiting for a bite for nearly three centuries. What makes kisir different from mainstream Tabbouleh is the addition of two ingredients: tomato paste and pepper paste. These stain the bulgur grains orange-red, and gives the finished dish a rich, earthy flavor. If you use hot pepper paste, the kisir will also go down with a lovely burn. And then there’s a bit more red, too. Say “Merhaba,” or “hello” to a couple of tomatoes from my garden… I was so …

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Turkish Flatbread “Pizza” with Spiced Lamb | Lahmacun

Lahmacun is Turkey’s answer to pizza. The flavors are rich and deep, like an old love story. And, like any good love story, each bite makes my knees sink a little closer to the floor. Why? Because of the layers of flavor. This is no “jarred sauce” affair. This is no mess of waxy cheese. Lahmacun is pure, unadulterated ingredients – as fresh and intense as mother nature grew them. The version we made today includes lamb, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, paprika, mint and parsley. There’s even a gated onion to provide a sweet background note. The flavors come together to create an unbelievable explosion of flavor. Once baked, Lahmacun is a DIY dream. Diners choose their own toppings and pile them on.  In Turkey, you can find everything from pickles and lettuce, to onions and lemon juice. It’s an awesome way to get kids involved and to work through dinner party doldrums. Ava had great fun adding onion, parsley and lemon juice to hers… plus a few sprinklings of sumac (a spice with a …

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Menu: Turkey

“In a flat country, a hillock thinks itself a mountain” Proverb from Turkey Friends, let’s knock the hillocks of life to the ground. And let’s do it with Turkish food. This week, I created a fun party menu – a Turkish meal that can be enjoyed on a balmy summer evening, under starlight, with a few close friends and family.  It’ll inspire laughter, some much needed spice, and full hearts. After all, isn’t that what we all need? A little time to chill out with our loved ones, and get some perspective on the bumps and bumbles (and hillocks) of life? All recipes and meal review will be posted throughout the week. Lamb Flatbread “Pizza” | Lahmacun [Recipe] Lahmacun is an incredible spiced lamb pizza. There are so many flavors, you might not be able to see beyond the fireworks in your mouth. Somewhere in that explosion of deliciousness, I promise you, there’s tomatoes, onion, paprika, parsley, mint, and more. Not to mention the DIY toppings: red onion, parsley, mint, lemon juice, and sumac. Yessss. Turkish …

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Town of Ortahisar in Cappadocia, a region in central Turkey. Photo by Brocken Inaglory.

About the food of Turkey

Turkey walks the line: her western borders dip into Europe, while the rest lounges in Asia. Indeed,  Istanbul – is the only large city in the world to span two continents. Pretty awesome. Her extensive mountains cradle many small villages and cities, but it is her coastal plains and valleys that produce the most luscious produce. There’s everything from citrus to corn, and olives to barley. The food will fill your spirit as well as your mouth. A few years ago I watched a show about Turkey and in it, I saw someone eat what looked to be a pizza. But they rolled it up like a burrito.  They call it Lahmacun [Recipe]. Epic. The list of popular dishes is like a who’s who of my favorite dishes: all manner of meaty, spiced kebabs, glorious stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh (called kisir) [Recipe], lovely pide bread, sweet, nutty baklava. Much of this can be enjoyed as part of meze, or a meal of many small plates (similar in theory to Spanish Tapas). Just about everything can …

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