Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Garbanzo Bean Dip with Cumin and Dill

Garbanzo Bean Dip with Cumin and Dills

This is a dip similar to hummus, except that it does not have tahini (sesame paste) in it. Not having sesame paste in it, this version is lighter than hummus. Cumin and fresh dill gives its special taste. It goes great with pita bread wedges.

  • 1 15 oz can organic garbanzo beans
  • 2 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 table spoons lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or hot chili powder, or a mixture of the two
  • Salt to taste
  • Olives, slices of tomoto and a few sprigs of dill or parsley for garnish (optional)
Drain garbanzo beans. In a food processor combine all ingredients, puree well until it is a smooth paste. Add 1/4 cup more water if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with olives, slices of tomotoes and sprigs of fresh dill or parsley.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Poğaça - Savory Pastry with Cheese Filling

Poğaça - Savory Pastry with Cheese Filling

Poğaça is a delicious little pasty which usually accompanies tea coffee in the morning or in afternoon. It is unresistable especially when it is hot out of the oven. Simple savory dough is filled with cheese and herbs or with sauted ground beef and onions, sometimes with olives or mashed potatoes. Regardless, it is a favorite with most, children in particular.

There are two versions of the dough, one with yeast, one without. This recipe does not use yeast. Yeast version (recipe to follow in the future) is a bit softer.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (separate and set aside 1 yolk for glazing)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2-3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Separate one yolk, place it in a small bowl, add a tablespoonful of water, mix with a spoon and set aside for glazing.

In a large bowl, mix olive oil, butter, milk, baking powder, salt and the rest of eggs with a whisk. Add 2 cups of flour and continue mixing with a spoon. Slowly add more flour and knead the dough until the dough has the consistency of an ear lobe. Yes, an ear lobe! This description is commonly used in Turkish recipes. When making dough, one is always instructed to "add flour and knead until the dough is soft like an ear lobe". Soft, yet firm enough that it can be shaped and will keep its shape. Cover the bowl with a wet towel and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. It will be easier to handle when it is chilled.

Take a golf ball sized piece from the dough. Shape it into a ball by rolling it between your palms. The flatten the dough on a clean, flat surface. Press a small cup upside down, cutting a perfect circle out of the dough. Place a teaspoon full of cheese/parsley mix filling in the middle of the circle shaped dough. Fold it in half, giving it the half-moon shape, gently press the edges with your fingers to close the sides. Repeat this until all of the dough is used to make poğaças. Place the half circle shaped pieces on the lined cookie sheet. These pastry pieces will rise and expand in the oven, therefore, when placing on the cookie sheet make sure they don't touch each other. Brush egg yolk over the poğaça pieces.

Place the cookie sheet in the oven. Let it bake until poğaças are golden brown.
They taste great fresh out of the oven, but, they can be served at room temperature. Great with tea, coffee or lemonade.
Start with 2 cups of flour in the dough first

Dough is ready

Dough coverered with a wet towel before put in the refrigerator

The Filling: Grated cheeses and chopped parsley mixture

Golfball size dough will be flattened by hand

By pressing a glass cup upside down, dough is cut in a circular shape

Filling is placed in the middle of the dough

Fold the dough in half, press to close the sides

Pogacas are place on a cookie sheet

Brush egg yolk on the poğaças, sprinkle caraway seeds or sesame seeds

Poğaças fresh out of the oven

Tea Time!

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Carrot Salad with Garlic Yogurt - Yoğurtlu Havuç Ezmesi

Carrot Salad with Garlic Yogurt

"Raki" is an anise based drink that is unofficially considered to be the national drink of Turkey. Raki is not just a glass of liqueur. There's a culture of how one drinks raki. It is served in small narrow glasses. You fill half of the glass with raki and you add water to it. It is transparent until you add water, then it becomes milky. It is called "lion's milk" perhaps because you roar like a lion if you drink a bit too much. Typically, raki is served with a variety of appetizers called "mezes". Feta cheese, melons, a variety of salads, hot and cold appetizers accompany dinner when raki is served. You drink raki slowly, but more importantly you drink it with friends. Traditionally people savor the food and slowly sip their raki, spending long hours talking, laughing and reminiscing with their friends.

Carrot salad with garlic yogurt is one of popular mezes that accompany a "raki table".  
In the original recipe, carrots are sautéd.. However, I have tried making this with steamed carrots and it works OK. Original version is tastier, but steamed version could do. If you choose to steam the carrots, then I suggest that you add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the mixture and drizzle another tablespoon on the top to enhance flavor.

  • 4 cups of grated carrots (about 5 medium to large carrots)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek Style or whole milk yogurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat and add grated carrots. Stirring continuously, sauté carrots until they are tender and wilted.

Put cooked carrots in a strainer to drain extra oil.

In a large bowl, mix yogurt, garlic and salt with a spoon. Add drained fried carrots to the bowl.Mix well with a spoon. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with fresh herbs.
Peeled carrots

Grated carrots

Sautéd carrots placed in strainer to drain excess oil

Carrots, yogurt, garlic and salt mixed together
Carrot Salad with Garlic Yogurt

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!