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Everything posted by sazji

  1. They were slightly oily, not like a french roast, not even quite as much as Peet's espresso roast (which I do like). I did it once more last night, didn't get to a shiny stage but it had started cracking. It smells better. I'll try it a little later. It still took a little over 15 minutes to get there. I'll try it really hot next time. It also occurs to me that one of the reasons the coffee tasted like nothing is that even though I opened the windows, the kitchen was still a little smoky; I wonder if my nose was zapped anyway? I'll do a compare and contrast today. Geez, a friend is coming from Dubai tonight, I should have thought to have him pick up some good green beans for me there. Next time...
  2. Tired of the boring coffee I get here (I live firmly within the Nescafe Belt), and unable to pay the prices Gloria Jeans and Voldemor...um...I mean Starbucks demands for coffee beans, I decided to try roasting at home. I got 500 grams of beans from another chain here, "Coffee World." I don't really know much about their beans; they say they are arabica, their roasts are all medium brown (no shiny beans there) and they also sell flavored coffees... Mostly I find their coffee uninspiring to say the least but figured why not try it. I tried about 3/4 cup of beans, I used a small heavy cast iron pan on the stove, windows wide open, kept the beans moving, and brought them to a shiny dark brown in about 20 minutes. I did hear cracking; earlier on just one or two here and there, then as it got darker, an almost constant cracking. I took it off as soon as that was done. What I got was basically like not very good Folgers, and when I drank it I felt more jittery than I had in a long time, making me wonder if what I got was even arabica. What do y'all think? I have seen some people talk about doing it in 10 minutes. Is it better to do it fast, or slow, or does it make any difference? Or did the Folgeresque aroma come from the quality of the beans?
  3. I just found out that Çiya restaurant in Kadiköy has a web site. Though it's all in Turkish, it's worth taking a look at just to drool at the food pictures. Click on the "yemek ve serbet" link and then on the pictures... http://www.ciya.com.tr
  4. Just a note, this pide recipe is not the same as the pide that has a meat filling - this is the one that is like a rich bread. You can see the finished product in an article I sent to http://www.bookofrai.com. (October 27) The dough for the filled pides (also known as "Karadeniz" (Black Sea) pide is more like a pizza dough. They vary from place to place, some are even yeastless. I'll get back with a couple.
  5. I like Lora Brody's "Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet." Even if there weren't great recipes, it would be worth reading for the stories.
  6. I have to admit to being one of those who will eat animals, even clean animals, but I don't like to kill them, and don't like to watch it happening. I had to help slaughter rabbits once (my job was to hold their feet) and I still get the willies thinking about it. But once it's done, I have no problem cleaning it, cutting it up and making stifado. One thing that still gives me the creeps, and which I can't watch, is when they are cleaning lamb heads at the market. They're dead, they don't feel anything, but when they slice those lips off, I feel it inside me somewhere... Oddly, for that job, I think I could handle it if I were doing it myslef, but don't like to watch someone else doing it. Am I weird?
  7. They definitely did not arise in bagel country. When I was young, a friend of ours would bring us several dozen bagels when he went to New York. Aside from a Jewish schoolmate, nobody had even heard of them. Even in 1986, there was only one place with any real bagels in Seattle -- they were fluffy. And we certainly got the blueberry stuff first.
  8. Just take a knife and go at it. When I get it sliced here, they just use a big sharp knife. If you get small pieces, no problem, they taste just as good! By the way, in Turkish the word is pastirma, which originates in "bastirma," coming from the Turkish word "basmak" which means "to press." The meat is salted and pressed prior to being covered with the "çemen" (pron. "chemen"). The best pastirma in Turkey is considered to come from Kayseri, and though it is made by Turks as well, much of the best was considered to be made by Armenians. (Who have a reputation of being the best cooks...the old saying was, "For a converstation, go to a Turk, for a woman, go to the Greeks, to eat, go to the Armenians." The çemen also contains fenugreek, which, aside from a stew here in there in some areas, is hardly used in anything else. I see bunches of it for sale in a market held by farmers from the Kastamonu area; most of my friends have no idea what it is. The common knowledge about the çemen is that it's great but if you eat much of it you end up stinking of pastirma. A half Armenian friend of mine here from France, when young, got interested in that part of her heritage; her father wanted to just be French and wasn't encouraging her. She got involved with an Armenian youth group and one day after some activity, they went to an Armenian restaurant, where she first tasted pastirma. And tasted it, and tasted it, and tasted it.... The next day her father walked into her room, sniffed the air a couple times, and said "You've been eating PASTIRMA!" It doesn't smell nearly so nice in its "recycled" form...
  9. Pide Recipe Found this one on a Turkish recipe exchange site. The dough info was strange and missing information so I'm not bothering with it, but the filling looked both typical and good. You could do it with ground meat as well. http://www.tarifdefteri.com/phpBB2/ 500 gr diced meat) 2 tomatoes 2 green stuffing peppers [these are not nearly as large as green peppers in the US, and are thin-walled. A few "sivri" peppers would do well too - these are the long thin green ones common in Turkey.] 10 gr cumin 10gr black pepper 20 gr red flake pepper 20 gr red pepper powder [sweet or hot according to taste] 20 gr salt 1/4 c vegetable oil
  10. The US. I had gotten a couple of guanabanas but they were checking everyone as they went into the airport and they told me I could only bring pineapples. So we went to a corner and I snarfed one.
  11. I would sure expect them too, but perhaps they are better about control? When I went to Puerto Rico, the only fruit I was allowed to bring back was pineapple, no mangos, guanabana, anything. Yet mangos obviously show up in the US; it must have to do with quarantine practices/controls.
  12. Sucuk and pomegranate molasses! That sounds evilly good.....so much for the diet... (I had grilled whole onions drizzled with pomegranate molasses recently...wow...) As someone mentioned, oregano water ("Kekik suyu") is mostly medicinal. Last time I got a narsty cold my friend made me hot oregano tea (actually it's wild thyme). They made it strong, the tea was very dark, and actually made my mouth numb. It was at least as nasty as the cold. But made lightly it could be nice. Sucuk can be sliced thin as a meze, or quickly grilled (don't overdo it, it will just get very hard). It's also sliced and lightly fried and eaten with breakfast. Also you can use it for "menemen," an egg dish. Sautee half an onion in a couple t of oil, add an inch or two of sliced sucuk, some red pepper if you like, and once it's heated through, add three medium tomatoes, chopped (or grate them in). Let that cook till the tomatoes are sauce, but it will be fairly wet. We aren't going for thick tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat down, break in two eggs and stir them as much as you like (some like it more mixed up, others like more pieces of egg), cook till egg is done, and eat with good bread. If you want, you can add some kashar or white cheese (feta) as well. Everybody has their favoriet menemen. (And if you can get pastirma, try it with that...) Sucuk is also used on pide (sort of like a Turkish pizza). Parsley - it's used in many, many dishes, almost difficult to think of one that doesn't have parsley in it! It's so ubiquitous that the word, "maydanoz," is also a slang term for a person who always is in your business, turning up everywhere... Dill - use in cacik (yogurt/cucumber soup), salads, and in many of the cold "olive oil" dishes (zeytinyaglilar), especially artichoke, celeriac and jerusalem artichoke.
  13. Very, very true. Nearly all the cookbooks I've seen focus on Ottoman cuisine, and are the same things that every other one publishes. There is a couple here who wanted to do an Istanbul cookbook, drawing from all the different peoples here; they came up with 4000 recipes. And decided to open a restaurant instead...I hope they continue with the book though. Most of the existing books also ignore the rest of the country. It's also true that lots of ingredients are hard to find unless you actually go to a particular region, especially local cheeses and herbs that are used. And there is a green long/stubby medium hot pepper they serve at one Urfa style restaurant here that I've never seen for sale *anywhere* in Istanbul except at a vegetable seller on the same block. Every time I serve it to friends they say "oh-my-god...ow....hot....wow...where can I find those?" Amazing though. Now there are some cookbooks coming out here (but only in Turkish) that are taking on some other regions, but most of them are overviews, trying to take on the whole country with maybe one or two recipes from each area. Still it's a start.
  14. Oh, well, I'll stay away from it and ther'll be that much more "boklu sandviç" for you, how about that? Büryan...very nice. The meat market by the aqueduct is great; most of the people selling there are from the Siirt region and you practically hear more Arabic than Turkish there. There are some amazing cheeses sold there, made up in the mountain meadows of the region and several interesting local ingredients that are hard to find elsewhere. And if you feel profligate, you can get some really good honey there too.
  15. Eeeeeew, kokoreç. Or, as my friend Brenna calles it, "shit sandwiches." Actually I liked it in Greece, and exactly once here, when it was gotten from a Turkish immigrant from NE Greece. But the common version in Istanbul had a thick core of pure fat down the middle. Can't do it. One Turkish cookbook that I really did like was "Classical Turkish Cooking" by Ayla Algar. It has recipes for several things that nobody ever includes but which many Turks might really miss, like Kandil Simidi. (yum.) Beware the boza recipe though; the advice to "get the fermentation started" by using regular yeast is a bit of (mis)information that has been repeated several times, probably by people who are just using boza as a starter. The fermentation in boza, which creates acid, is a completely different one from that in bread/wine, which creates alcohol. I'll post a recipe for getting it going in anyone is interested. The info about Ashure was interesting! The Armenians make a similar one called Anoushabour (sweet soup). But for Muslims and especially the Alevis, Ashure is a holy dish, made in huge quantities (may as well, it's complicated) during the month of Muharrem and shared with all the neighbors, many of which are also making it and sharing it. The Great Ashure Exchange. Many of these are not nearly as sweet as the pudding shop variety. By the way, there is pita in Turkey, they call it pide, and many döner (gyros) and nearly all kebap places serve it. A bit different but still a flat bread about half an inch in thickness, small and round for the single-döner-sandwich version. It's sliced through the middle (there is no pocket), it's very chewy and spongy. Pide is also one of the few breads that have not been horribly altered due to 90s economics and the bread mafia, which has caused the once wonderful bread in Istanbul to change to a fluffy product similar to supermarket "French" back in the US. There is a govt. regulation that says a loaf of a particular size must contain a certain amount of flour but they use more yeast and other additives and make it balloon to the desired size; it's all air. If some bakery makes it according to regulations, he starts receiving threats. It's gotten a little better but people now seem to have developed a taste for it... Souvlaki/lamb -- Another one of those oft-repeated things. Greeks eat lamb and lamb and lamb. You can get lamb souvlaki in restaurants, but lamb is expensive, even in Greece. (Or post Euro, perhaps "especially" in Greece.) I don't think I've ever seen a street version that is anything but pork.
  16. sazji

    Pumpkin Season

    There is a recipe for pumpkin creme brulee in Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand's "Butter, Sugar, Flour and Eggs." I haven't tried it but am tempted to now.
  17. sazji

    Pumpkin Season

    I love pumpkin or squash soup (after all, pumpkins are a kind of squash). My favorite one is made with a pumpkin/squash puree, to which I add fresh orange juice to consistency, a little salt, enough red pepper to give it a little zing, and either cream or coconut milk. The proportions differ a bit each time but trust yourself, you'll find the blend that suits you.
  18. Don't know if anyone is still reading this thread, but there are some interesting things here. I wrote a lot about Turkish vs Greek food in a discussion on raki elsewhere, but I'll just say one or two things: Turkey is a huge country, and Istanbul is the center of what was a huge empire that went far beyond the borders of what is Turkey today, and included Greece, the Balkans, the Levant, Egypt.... All these cuisines share certain things, and were influenced by Istanbul, but maintain distinct regional differences. And Istanbul cuisine, for its part, was enriched by all of these areas. The modern border of Greece, Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Bulgaria etc. say a lot about political developments at the turn of the century but very little about who actually lived/lives where and where cultures blend or are defined. In addition to those who identify as Turks and speak Turkish as their mother tongue, there are Greeks, Kurds, Zazas, Circassians, Laz, Roma, Arabs, Georgians and Armenians here, and I've left out lots, like Greek-speaking muslims from Crete... Even within Turkey itself, cooking varies extremely from region to region. What people are most accustomed to thinking of as "Turkish Food" is that of Istanbul - dare I reiterate, the center of an empire - and home to many different ethnic groups. The population of Istanbul in the early 1900s was around 600,000, and at least 250,000 of these people were ethnic Greek. There were (and are) also large numbers of Armenians and Jews, and Armenians in particular are noted for being fine cooks, both of the traditional Ottoman cuisine as well as some interesting things that are uniquely their own. (Topik, for instance...) So though many Turks and Greeks are always trying to claim and distinguish what is "uniquely theirs," I think "Ottoman" cuisine is a more appropriate term for the cuisine than any one ethnic term, because it was shared by all of these peoples. Of course pork doesn't show up in the cookery of Jews or Muslims, whatever their mother tongue may be. The range of ingredients available in Istanbul is still tremendous. But there are many things commonly used in other regions that are hard to find here. When your average Istanbullian goes to the Çiya restaurant, an Antep/Kurdish restaurant in Kadiköy, he doesn't recognize most of the dishes. Heck, most have never heard of hummus or baba ghanouj, much less ever tasted it. But they are both common in Antep. Once you leave Istanbul and head out into the various provinces, things change incredibly. Probably the richest of the other areas is the southeast, especially the cities of Antep and Urfa, known as the center of kebab cookery, as well as the best baklava. Cooking in the Black Sea is heavily based on fish, especially hamsi, a small sardine-like fish. They also use lots of corn and kale, and have some interesting cheeses including some string cheeses. Central Anatolia is overall a little less interesting though there are good things. Bulgur is a staple. I spent a week in Arguvan, near Malatya, and ate bulgur pilav, bulgur pilav with boiled mutton, boiled mutton with bulgur pilav, yogurt with bulgur, ayran (yogurt with water), ayran soup (ayran with chickpeas, bulgur and mint), some cheese. Aside from some parsley and tomatoes and cucumbers, that was about it, though there are a few other dishes that change from place to place. They also have dishes based on hulled wheat, one of which is ashure, a pudding with pretty much every dried fruit and nut you can think of in its rich versions. When large numbers of Greeks left Istanbul at various times and went to Greece, they kept cooking their favorite dishes, giving rise to many dishes there known as "politiko" (Istanbul style), but the dearth of ingredients took its toll; and many of these dishes never made it outside of their homes. But Greek women from Istanbul are renowned as cooks. The rest of Greece changes extremely from region to region. The north has the greatest variety of foods, as they are closer to Istanbul; and Thessaloniki was also a major urban center. But overall I think of the cooking traditions of Istanbul as "cuisine;" that of Greece as "food." (Lest I be thought biased...well I guess I am but I'm also part Greek...) They make some damn good food in Greece though. Still, most of the country was rural, and in the south, dirt poor. Olives, bread, cheese and wild greens formed the staples for much of the population, lamb on Easter perhaps. The bechamel on mousakka is a fairly recent development by a chef named Tselemendes, who thought Greek cooking needed changing, lightening up (and he did this by putting bechamel on a dish that probably contains a good cup of olive oil in it...?) Regarding the pita/bread thing: In Greece, pita is for sandwiches made of gyros, souvlaki, keftedes etc., period. I have never seen served in a restaurant to be eaten with "mageirefta" ("cooked" foods - that is, moussaka etc.). Most Greeks can't fathom the idea of eating without a hunk of good bread, and it was the thing I most missed in the US after living there for 4 years. In Seattle, I went to a Greek restaurant with some friends and was shocked to see that they had NO BREAD! The said "we have pitta." Bleah. It would be like going to a good restaurant in the US and being told that they had no bread but could heat up some hot dog buns. Only worse, because bread is SO central to Greek eating. But the spread of gyros in the US, incidentally made in a way that would also be unrecognizable to most Greeks in Greece and which I call "Greek Spam" (and this is an insult to the Spam company) has given people the idea that Greeks sit around and eat pita all the time. Even the pita is different in Greece; it tends to be very chewy; the stuff they pass off as pita in the US is like flat round Wonder Bread. Anyway, I have eaten in exactly one Greek restaurant in the US that served something that really tasted Greek, and that was the Parthenon in Chicago. That was a long time ago and I have no idea how they are doing now. There must be plenty of others, especially in New York, but I can't speak of them. Mostly it's a watered-down version, changed to fit American tastes. (Like Gyros with globs of cucumber filled sour cream and lettuce...I mean what the hey?) I would dearly love to say that I had eaten at even one good Turkish restaurant in the US but I haven't, which isn't again to say they don't exist, and New York probably is as good a bet as any. The pictures looked pretty decent... I've seen lots of them start out okay, then as soon as they get a bit of a following, start cutting corners on quality and ingredients to save money, and end up going out of business. But I did have one of the best lahmacuns of my life from an Armenian bakery in Hollywood. Oh, I've enjoyed this rant!
  19. My favorite ways are to boil them in broth with a bit of tomato and pepper paste (if you can't find it, use some marash pepper) till tender, then either: 1. put them plain in the bowl and cover them with yogurt, and over this drizzle melted butter to which you've added some marash pepper, then add more pepper and mint, or 2. put them with broth in the bowl add not quite so much yogurt, and do the same treatment with pepper and mint to taste.
  20. Unfortunately many tropical fruits are not availabe fresh in the US becasue of Mediterranean fruit fly and other pest fears. (Evidently medfly incidents in Florida are common during Vietnamese New Year because people want their familiar fruits, and smuggle the fruits down from Canada.) Durians are all frozen. I remember seeing frozen sweetsops in asian markets; disgusting. Some things do show up - lychees and a few mangoes other than the fibrous Mexican ones. However Canada is another story. Not having any tropical agricultural zones, they are much freer. When I lived in Seattle, I would go up to Vancouver with Cambodian friends, and we would all pitch in our money and buy a S_ _ _ load of whatever looked good and in season in Chinatown. Rambutans, durian, longans, mangosteens...oh...mangosteens... This thread did get me going...I really did find myself checking airline ticket prices from Istanbul to Kuala Lumpur (and not that bad actually....hmmm...). If I go in February, what's in season? Is it worth it? When's the best time to go for the biggest variety?
  21. How about orchid (or "fox testicle" if you will) ice cream? http://www.salon.com/wlust/feature/1998/11/17feature.html On the other end of the scale was durian ice cream I got in a Vietnamese place back in Seattle. I actually love durian but wasn't sure about that, probably because it was with artificial durian flavor. A friend told me a riddle once: Q: "What's the difference between shit and durian?" A: You can make ice cream out of the durian.
  22. I think the bacon and cheddar bagels I saw in Iowa somewhere probably top the "sinful and simply wrong bagels" category....
  23. Well, Julia said it was supposed to brown! But it sure was good! Yeah, poor ol' Lurch. He works with a gas canister, does the best he can. The oven's electric though. Reminds me of a sort of on-topic joke: A man has a terrible fear of heights, and decides to overcome it by taking skyjumping lessons. He does very well, and having conquered his fear, it's time for his first solo jump. Out he goes, armed with all his knowledge. He watches his altimeter, pulls the ripcord, and....nothing. "Don't panic" he reminds himself, "there's the spare parachute." He pulls the emergency ripcord, and....nothing. Now he's starting to panic, fumbling with his pack, trying to get something to open, when suddenly he notices a woman, flying up towards him from below. Thinking she may be his savior, he shouts out, "HEEEEY! YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT PARACHUUUUUTES?" "NOOOOOOO!" yells the woman back, "YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GAS OVEENNNNNS?"
  24. Perfect! Mind if I use that as my signature quote?
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