Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weaved Puff Pastry Cheese Rolls - Örgülü Peynirli Puf Böreği

Weaved Puff Pastry Cheese Rolls

If you want a very easy recipe for borek, this is it!
You'll use puff pastry right out of the freezer.
It's not only easy to prepare, but it looks very appetizing.

  • 8 squares of puff pastry (mine measured 5"x5" ea)
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tea spoon water to thin the yolk
  • 1 tea spoon black caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
For the filling, mix cheeses and chopped greens in a small bowl, set aside.
Place frozen puff pastry on a clean flat surface to allow it to thaw just for a few minutes. You don't want it to thaw to room temperature since it gets sticky when as it gets warm, becoming hard to handle.
Leaving the middle 1/3 of the dough intact, cut 4 horizontal lines on both right and left sides of  the dough as shown in the photo below. Place a spoonful of cheese filling in the middle of the square dough. Starting at the top right, fold down the first strip on the right hand side towards the middle of the dough at a 45 degree angle, covering the filling. Then, do the same with the top strip on the left hand side. Repeat these steps until you wrap the strips criss-cross over the filling. Place the pastry on parchment paper. Prepare the other pastry squares the same way, set aside.

In a small bowl, using a whisk, thin the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water. Brush it over the pastry rolls. Sprinkle caraway seeds on top. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. First transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess grease, then transfer to a serving platter.
Serve hot or warm.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!
Cheeses, parsley, dill and egg yolk
Make cuts on each side 1 inch apart
Start folding down the strips at an angle over the filling
Fold down all of the strips and secure the end by pressing
Brush egg yolk and sprinkle caraway seeds
Weaved Puff Pastry Rolls with Cheese filling

Weaved Puff Pastry Rolls with Cheese filling

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Simple and Delicious Green Lentil Salad with Herbs - Maydanozlu Yeşil Mercimek Salatası

 Green Lentil Salad with Herbs

My friend Zinnur, ever so busy, somehow always finds time to get the friends together at her house. This salad was everybody's favorite at the last dinner party she had. Simple, yet delicious lentil salad. Cumin gives the salad its authentic Middle Eastern flavor and of course as a natural remedy for gas and indigestion, it goes very well with lentils as it does with beans. Cumin also has antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-diabetic properties. So, enjoy the flavor and feel good about eating this salad.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 tea spoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 table spoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 45-5 green onions (about 1/2 cup), finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Bring water to a boil in a pot over medium high heat. Add rinsed lentils and a teaspoon of salt, stir. When it starts to boil, reduce heat to low and let it simmer until lentils are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, do NOT rinse lentils; place them in a bowl. Add olive oil while lentils are still hot. This allows lentils absorb the flavor. Wait until lentils cool down to room temperature. Taste the lentils, if they need salt, add salt to your taste. Add all other ingredients, gently stir with a spoon. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with a few sprigs of parsley. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Afiyet olsun! Bon Appetit!

Dry Green Lentils

Green onions, parsley and cumin

Green Lentil Salad ready to be tossed

Green Lentil Salad with Herbs

Friday, November 7, 2014

Roasted Bell Peppers in Lemon Garlic Sauce - Tarator Soslu Közlenmiş Patlıcan

Tarator is a garlic-olive oil based sauce that is commonly used in summer salads in Western Turkey. Cooked long string beans (börülce), zucchini, peppers of all kinds are transformed into zesty salads simply by adding the tarator sauce to them. If you were to make it the old fashioned way, here's what you do: First garlic and salt are made into a paste with a mortar and pestle. Then in a bowl, as you continuously twirl this garlic paste in the same direction, you ever so slowly add small amounts of olive oil. This mixture slowly starts to thicken and starts looking like a creamy mayonnaise. When it is "just the right consistency", you add lemon juice and water to the sauce. Knowing when to stop adding olive oil is the tricky part. Because if you add more than you should, then the oil and garlic will separate and it will no longer look creamy. Back in the day, in our neck of the woods, this used to be a measure of how good a cook a woman is. Nowadays, one no longer has to master this craft thanks to blenders and food processors,

The sauce can be prepared in advance and can be stored in the refrigerator like any salad dressing.

If you like, you can roast fresh peppers and make it more authentic, however, roasted peppers that come in a jar work well since the sauce add plenty of flavor. Enjoy!

Roasted Bell Peppers in Lemon Garlic Sauce - Taratorlu Kozlenmis Patlican
  • 1 19oz jar or roasted bell peppers
  • 6-7 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1-2 lemons
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt to taste


  • ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped


Rinse and drain the roasted bell peppers, pat dry with a paper towel, cut into bite-size pieces, arrange them in a serving dish.
To prepare the dressing, mince garlic with a garlic press. Place garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt into a food processor or a blender. Blend until it is smooth. It will thicken as it emulsifies. Taste to see if you need to add more lemon juice or salt. Add water and mix again.
Pour dressing over the roasted bell peppers. Garnish with chopped walnuts. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Afiyet Olsun! Bon Appetit!


Roasted bell peppers cut into pieces

Roasted Bell Peppers in Lemon-Garlic Sauce