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sazji

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Everything posted by sazji

  1. Pasta with a cream sauce made from porcini I collected myself, and pumpkin pie!
  2. Wow...one dish that looked like it came out of a dog, and another that looks like it came out of a dead dog!
  3. I made a chestnut cheesecake that was really nice. I used puree which I made myself, but what's chestnut flour other than....rather dry chestnut puree? Of course the puree was from boiled chestnuts. I'm sure you could adapt. The recipe's in recipe gullet.
  4. As far as I know this has been standard practice in Turkey for a long time. For types such as "bülbül yuvası" there is no other way to achieve it (imagine brushing individual sheets, wrapping them around a dowel and compressing them...you would end up with a mess!).
  5. Cake Wrecks blog. http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/
  6. Another mathematical progression one here is Pişmaniye, also made with sugar syrup that is placed on a broad smooth surface that has a generous coating of pounded (and lightly toasted?) flour. It is pulled and doubled in the flour, and eventually looks like cotton candy. It is a specialty of the city of Izmit, and people who take a bus through there feel obliged to buy some to treat their hosts. It's now commonly found in other areas to had has become sort of a "standard travelers' gift" unless you are going through some other place with a local specialty, say Malatya, in which case you will be expected to bring apricots or something made therefrom. The name, by the way, comes from the word pişman, "regretful." They say you are regretful if you don't eat it, and regretful if you do" (presumably because the thicker strands tend to prick the mouth).
  7. I remember Mandarin Chocolate Sherbet! It was one of my favorites, back around 1978 or so. Really dark deep chocolate but orangy.
  8. I'm bad...I bring lots of plants, seeds and foods every time I come back to Turkey from..wherever. That said, I always bare-root any plants (no soil) and am careful what seeds I bring. There have even been a couple of times where I reconsidered something (even though I may have been able to buy it here) and tossed seeds. This last time I brought back a salmonberry plant, which so far seems quite popular with the small green caterpillars that regularly decimate roses here, purple potatoes (for planting, they are doing great - here they don't even have red potatoes), and a sweet potato which unfortunately rotted before it could sprout. But though they probably should be more strict, Turkish customs never even asks. About the only thing they're interested in on the border with Greece is illegal amounts of alcohol, which they check for by lifting bags and checking for inordinate heaviness or clinking of bottles. I always bring cheese from Holland, and bacon from Greece. No fresh meat though. I don't do it much when traveling to the US, and always declare what I have. Even commercial seeds are not legal to bring into the US without a phytosanitary permit any more, which I find silly, so I mail those freely. My one big smuggling act however, was bringing a fresh durian from Vancouver's Chinatown to Seattle. We'd been there playing music for a folk dance party. I hadn't planned to smuggle it but I'd paid 30 Canadian for it and then not had a chance to eat it! I also had some seeds and a start of a plant from a friend there. I wrapped the durian in about 15 plastic grocery sacks, one inside the other, put it in my small suitcase, and put that under all the rest of the suitcases. By the time we got to the border, the smell was already starting to leak out into the car. We got up to the US side, and we got a customs agent that playing classic tough guy border ranger, with all the long pauses and suspicious long leers from behind his orange sunglasses. He asked, "Where you been?" Our driver: Vancouver. "How long ya been there?" - We went up yesterday. "Whad'ja do there?" - Went to a party. "Party, eh... ..... ....Pretty wild party?" - No, mostly middle-aged folk dancers. (Trying to inject some humor. Didn't work.) "Whad'ja buy?" - Nothing. "You were in Vancouver for 3 days and you didn't buy anything?" - Yeah...um, no, not 3 days, just one day. "I'm gonna have you drive around the back there and have your IDs checked." So we're all going "goddam...shit...f---ing Nazi..." as we drive under the sign saying, "It is forbidden to bring fruits (Bob!), seeds (Bob!) and plants (Bob!) into the United States." We went in, they took our IDs (during which time we were full expecting to come out and find them dismantling our car). Finally the guy came back looking puzzled and asked, "why did he send you here?" We said we had no idea. "Whatever, there's no reason for you to be back here, you can go on." One of our group was all huffy, as we went to the car, he started walking back towards the customs booths. "Where are you going?" we asked. "I'm gonna go ask him why he sent us over there!" All three of us said "The hell you are! Get back over here!" The ultimate act of stupidity was a friend of mine who was going to Canada, and they found an old joint in his glove compartment. The customs agent asked if he had anything else...my friend said "Oh...let's see...well, let's see, I have some mushrooms...." (And we're not talking about porcini.)
  9. What a great thread. Lots of unusual fruit on my list, but mostly they are ones I haven't heard of yet. So I can't list them. But naranjilla, jaboticaba, langsat and red durian come to mind. Meats I want to try: Rattlesnake Horse N. California Wild Pig Porcupine (hunted here and said to be delicious) Alligator Other items: Truffles Foie gras Deep-fried scorpions (do they taste like seafood?) Tarantula Real wasabi (most wasabi in the US is colored horseradish) Garo, a paste made from salted kolios (a type of mackerel) once made on Marmara Island where my Grandfather was from. Baklava, muhammara and zaater in Aleppo One item I recently did check off my list but which wasn't really high priority was real beluga caviar. A couple of friends were visiting Istanbul from Spain, and had been instructed to get 200 gr of caviar for a rather wealthy friend back home. I can't remember how much it cost now, around 200 Euros seems about right. The salesman gave us each a taste - I guess we ate about 5 Euros worth just then. It didn't make me do back flips. It was good, but worth endangering sturgeons over?
  10. Since I love unusual flavors, I would tend to go for things that grow well in your area but either are expensive or unavailable commercially. It drives me crazy when people are planting an apple tree and end up putting in something like red delicious! There are lots of nice apple varieties commercially available in the US now, but so many more that you can't find in the stores, for all sorts of uses. One fruit I haven't seen mentioned is mulberries. Since you are in Atlanta, you can grow black mulberries (Morus nigra). I grew up in Iowa where we had the common red mulberry - a misnomer because the fruits are dark puple when ripe - and white mulberries, both of which are a bit insipid with the red being more flavorful. I first tried black mulberries in Greece years ago. They are an incredible blend of sweet and tart, the berries are large and almost nothing but brilliant red-pink juice. They are great for eating fresh or in preserves, and they make a great liqueur. This year I'll try cooking them with peaches for crisp. You don't want to plant a mulberry in an area where you will be sitting - keep them away from the patio, because when they fruit, they really fruit, and you'll never keep up with them. Plop. As for figs - Yeah you need to keep up with the trees, they definitely aren't an "easy ornamental." But to me it's worth it - I love fresh figs, and you can make preserves with the first crop that generally doesn't ripen, when they are still small and hard. I also love the smell of the leaves in the heat of summer. They are really easy to propagate. Sample around; when you find a tree you really like just beg a couple cuttings in late October or November. My grandfather would just bury them in the ground about half way (take the current year's growth) and they would root and grow by spring. Can't kill 'em with a stick... Another fruit I really love is Morello cherries. These are a sour cherry but unlike the pale Montmorency, these are deep red all the way through. The make the most amazing cherry pie. They are puckery fresh but I still eat them, if not in great quantity. They make wonderful preserves, or you can boil them down with sugar to make a syrup. You pour some of this into the bottom of a glass and then add cold water for a really lovely cherry drink that's a favorite in Greece and Turkey.
  11. Here during certain times of the year vendors with cards sell whole garbanzo plants covered with the fresh beans, usually one or two to a pod. People buy them and eat them fresh as is. They are very nice. I've never tried cooking them but that might be good too.
  12. I just did a google search for mümessek (which on its own simply means "musk scented" with no specific reference to coffee). But aside from statements that it existed, which seem to be based mostly on references to it in Ottoman poetry, I can't find any actual recipe. They evidently added musk to certain halvahs as well. I'll do a little asking around. Have you heard of this being made currently in any countries besides Turkey?
  13. The onese he makes are easy - but they are only "hand pulled" in the sense that he's cut up pieces of rolled-out dough and then stretched them out once. that sort of noodles (and some requiring more work as well) are made in homes all over China. It's a very different thing than starting with a thick piece and using pulling as the only way of thinning them down - for that, not only must the consistency of the dough be right, but you also need to get a definite skill down and do it without missing a beat. Like learning to flip a pancake just by tossing it and not having half of it land on the floor. Of course like many skills with a learning curve, it's not impossible by any means; it's just that most people won't take the time to master such skills, either because the preparation necessary isn't worth it for small amounts of final product, or because along with the skill you need large/expensive equipment to pull it off. (Tissue-thin baklava phyllo rolled thirteen sheets at a time comes to mind, or kadayif, which requires both skill and a huge honkin' griddle!) So a specialization is born, and people who do it all the time refine their skills even further. Still I do think about noodles often and will probably play with it some more the next time my housemate will be away for a few days and won't be shocked by a kitchen covered with flour and bits of snapped noodle!
  14. I got myslef a Fujicolor Finepix F30 a year and a half ago and am really happy with it. I haven't done lots of food photography with it, but you can see some pictures I took with it in my food blog (I was just learning to use it then). I also have lots of closeup botanical stuff at http://picasaweb.google.com/dolichos. It cost about 325 then, and there was a 50 dollar rebate. The way things are going, there is probably something even better for the same money.
  15. Can you describe it, or provide a drawing of the general shape of the leaf, how big was it? Mangold I think is the same thing as chard (silq is the one Arabic word I know for it but there may be more of course).
  16. I can't think of any biting flies that would breed in compost. Mosquitoes certainly can't breed anywhere there is not standing water. But they might hang out there during the day if it's moist. I've always been a lazy composter - I take what I got, throw it on the pile, turn it when I remember to, and let it rot. It sometimes takes a while. I just moved and am training my housemate to put rottable things in a separate bin for compost. One of the best deals I ever had was in my last place - I lived near several neighborhood street markets. They get their artichokes, cabbages, cauliflower etc. "in the raw," and trim off all the unsightly leaves for the display, clean the artichokes to the hearts, shell the fava beans...this results in huge piles of vegetable refuse. I recruited my upstairs neighbors and we went down with large plastic garbage bags and begged their refuse. Most of it would eventually go to feed livestock later, but not their livestock, so after the initial weirdness of the request they were fine with it. I had lots of compost then! One note on container growing: Many old gardening books (and many newer ones who copy the information) say to line pots or containers with a thick layer of pebbles or crocker for "drainage." It sounds logical, but in reality, it has exactly the opposite effect. Why? Think of the soil as a sponge. Or better yet, picture a sponge in a jar with an inch of pebbles on the bottom. Now slowly add water to the sponge from the top. What happens? The water does not flow through the sponge into the pebbles. It collectes at the bottom of the sponge and only flows when completely saturated. The same thing happens in pots filled with crockery or pebbles, until (after just a few waterings) the soil washes in to fill the gaps anyway. So better to just fill your pots with soil and learn not to overwater. A good method for checking is to take a bamboo chopstick and stick it down to the bottom of the container like a dipstick, let it sit for 15 seconds, then pull it up and look. Depending on the plants, let the moisture level go down about half or two thirds of the way, then water well. It's amazing how fast plants will suck that water out in hot weather!
  17. sazji

    Banana

    I think this is something we will see more and more of as commercial export crops push out local production. Here in Turkey you have so many different local varieties of fruits and vegetables but farmers are now ripping out their old trees in favor of the one or two varieties that they can sell (for higher prices, driving prices up here as wel) to the EU. Then a disease comes around and because they are engaged in monoculture, the whole crop is gone. It's both fascinating and scary how this thing has progressed. The original idea was to get fruits and vegetables from one area to people in areas where they could not be grown, or were available only for a very limited time. All well and good. I grew up hating tomatoes, but learned to love them in Greece in the 1970s because they were amazingly flavorful, sweet. Now you can't find a good tomato in Greece and Turkey is going the same way. Even the seeds commercially available are limited; to have really good tomatoes, you now have to go to a farmer's market or a village, get seeds from what they have and then raise your own. I suppose soon enough we'll just bag it and survive on soilent green.
  18. Strange that sumak is so expensive in Israel. In Turkey it's one of the cheapest spices. Istanbul is a long way from zaatar country, so I have to settle for a commercial one here. I get it at an Antakya food store, and it comes from Aleppo. The brand is Al-Seran. The ingredients listed are: Thyme Hims (?) Coddle Flour (?) Anise Coriander Cumin Sumac Sesame Salt Pistachio Seed and...... Acid I'm pretty sure the "seed" was once connected to "sesame" and fell victim to left-right dirctional text on a word processing program. Anyone know what "hims" and "coddle flour" are? The package does show chickpeas in the picture of ingredients so perhaps chickkpea flour? This stuff tastes really good. I can sit and eat it by the spoonful. But I'm sure that when I finally get to Syria and have it homemade (or get a friend to send me some), I won't be able to eat the commercial stuff agian. As for other uses - anyone ever try it on popcorn?
  19. Hi, Just in case anyone's been wondering why I've been so scarce for the last several months, it's because I've been translating a web site on Turkish cuisine. It's finally up (with one or two articles on the way). It is not only a cooking site, but also has articles on eating habits, food history, Ottoman cooking, other cuisines in the Turkic world, food and social life, etc. I would give it mixed reviews myself. The articles are by many different people. Some really did turn out some great articles, others approach the subject in a dry academic style and yet others are more than a bit nationalist in their views. I did edit the the extent allowable (I won't name names but my favorite line was "The Chinese learned to eat oil from the Turks.") Why should I deprive anyone of that? However there were conflicting views on just how much editing was allowable. I can say more in private if anyone wants to know... As for the recipes - those in the actual recipe section I tried to edit as much as possible to make them comprehensible. Many (taken unedited from various Turkish-language websites, mistakes intact) assume a lot of knowledge, and I spent hours editing and consulting with various people, especially Tijen Inaltong (who I'm sure began to dread the sound of her cell phone!) to check on details that would not be obvious to one not already familiar with a dish. As for the descriptions in the regional/sister/folk cuisine sections, many are quite basic and there only to give an idea of what the food is like, not to provide an exact recipe. http://www.turkish-cuisine.org/ Many of the projects by the Turkish Cultural Foundation are ongoing, with new material being added as more work is submitted. So you might check back from time to time for something new.
  20. In Turkey, unless otherwise specified, et (meat) is red meat. One might talk about "tavuk eti" (chicken meat), but the fact that it generally is understood to mean "red meat" is illustrated by the frequency with which vegetarians in Turkey, when they ask for something other than meat, are offered chicken. Beef or lamb is the default. Though kebab is mostly lamb (some mixtures contain a mixture of beef and lamb), usually one has to specify - dana eti (lit. "calf meat" but it is the catch-all for beef, the technically more correct "sığır eti" is almost never used), or "kuzu eti." And of course there is the forbidden meat, "domuz eti" (pig meat). Definitely not the default here!
  21. I did a Turkish search, and found this recipe. I've never made it but it sounds similar to some things I've heard. One thing you may have trouble finding is red carrots. These are known mostly as "black carrots" in Turkey; they are very very dark red. I have seed if you want to try growing them. ŞALGAM SUYU INGREDIENTS: 2 kg bulgur flour (this is the finest dust that is left after bulgur is milled and graded. You can grind regular bulgur to make it) 13 lt water 200 gr sourdough starter 2 kg red carrots 200 gr kosher salt 300 gr turnips 2 lt şalgam (you will have to buy some for your first batch) Mix all the bulgur flour with the starter and 50 gr salt. Add enough water to make a dough, let ferment. This takes 3-5 days at room temperature. During the fermentation the dough will rise, and eventually cracks will begin to appear in the surface. This is the time to stop the fermentation. Put the dough into another container, add four parts water to the 1 part of dough, and stir 5-10 minutes. At the end, the pieces that don't dissolve will settle to the bottom. Pour off the liquid above and pour into another container. Do this three times, but the second and third time, add one part per thousand salt. I.e. during the second and third settling you will add 10 parts per thousand of salt. Then the liquid is poured off once more, leaving any sediment. To this liquid, add the sliced carrots and turnips, and the previously-made şalgam, and leave to ferment for 7 days at 25 C. Strain the red liquid into another container, leaving the vegetables and sediment behind. Store in the refrigerator. Not: • If you can't find sourdough starter, you can allow bulgur to sit in water overnight - 2 kg bulgure and 3 lt water. • In cold weather, for a different flavor, place the carrot in water and bring to a boil once before adding to the rest of the liquid. • If possible, it is recommended to make şalgam in a wooden barrel. AFİYET OLSUN
  22. In a similar vein, I've seen a recipe for hummus topped with quickly fried pastırma in a cookbook of foods from the Adana / Çukurova region of S. Turkey. It was quite good. I have never seen it with kavurma (awarma is the Levantine pronunciation of that word by the way < kavurmak, to fry/sautee) but it also sounds like a winner! I know what I'm going to be doing when I get back to Istanbul in a few weeks....
  23. Make sure you pick the green flowerheads (before they start blooming) and eat them, they are delicious. I boil water and throw them in (shock boil). When they are tender - it won't take long - drain and serve with lemon and olive oil, and salt if you like. Crushed garlic is another option.
  24. True, but it's still more expensive in Greece and Turkey than Beef is. Pork is also cheaper in Greece. (In Turkey pork, if you can find it, is quite expensive, but for other reasons.) Here there are several different kinds of sheep. Some are only considered desirable at a young age, some are grown more for wool than for meat, some of them are really gamy. People who like mutton still sometimes talk about meat so gamy you "feel like you're kissing the sheep." If you compare veal with beef, veal will be more expensive. Lamb is the equivalent; and even people who like mutton usually like lamb better.
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