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sazji

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Posts posted by sazji


  1. In Istanbul we have the usual McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Bird. Some people really love them. Voldemort's (aka Starbucks) is all over now; the main pedistrian street in Beyoğlu has THREE of them. Close behind is Gloria Jean's -- it's hard to tell who's really ahead but where there's a Starbucks there's a Gloria Jean's close by. (More expensive..they seel 50 gr of whole beans for 5.25 YTL, about 4 dollars - that's about 40 dollars a pound!)

    There are also some Turkish chains - one that is really uniquely Turkish is Simit Sarayı (and several imitations). Simit is a chewy sesame-coated bread ring sold all over the city. Simit Sarayı (Simit Palace) opened several years ago and in addition to regular simits, they sell (not-ring-shaped) simits stuffed with kashar cheese, olive paste, sucuk and kavurma, as well as a host of sweet pastries, some good some inedible.

    Another more and more common one is "Ayvalık Tostçu," which sells variations on grilled sandwiches. The typical ones here are kashar, kashar and turkey ham, kashar and sucuk, and kavurma; Ayvalık tost has strips (weird) of "sosis" which is basically hot dogs, cheese, "American Salad" (it used to be "Russian Salad" until they decided they wouldn't eat anything communist - it's mayonnaise with vegetables in it) or just mayonnaise and ketchup. There are more variations too.

    The malls have other western chains as well but my brain automatically goes into auto-delete mode after I go into a mall and I honestly can't remember anything except the colors and noisy "food court." :wacko:


  2. Any further updates? I'm spending (alas) only 24 hours in Istanbul in June and the pressure is on for a romantic Turkish dinner - with live music would be nice.

    I was the one who did the blog, the title is "Istanbul Glutfests."

    I think Kumkapı would be the place to go if you want music and food. It's not low-key music though - it's Roman (Gypsy) musicians playing their own take on Istanbul music. Kör Agop is decent. As for prices, wine is what they'll get you on; it's heavily taxed here. If you like anise, get rakı, it's great with fish. It's not really high fish season but certain things are available all year round. Çiya is good for just really good food, no alcohol; you get to do a ferry across the Bosphorus to get there which is sorta romantic... I just did a post on Çiya in the Middle East section.

    Another really good kebab place is Antep Sofrasi in Yusufpaşa. Ιt's very easy to get to if you are staying in Sultanahmet - just take the tram away from the point (i.e. not towards Sirkeci/Galata but in the opposite direction, past the Grand Bazaar etc.) and get off at Yusufpaşa. That's 5 stops out of Sultanahmet. When you get off, continue up the street in the same direction and you'll see on your right the Hotel G. Sunay. Antep Sofrasi is there. It's slightly formal, white tablecloths and waiters with bowties; the kebab is really wonderful there.

    Edited to add: D'oh! Also very nice, but no music, is "Melengeç" which is right on the square in Arnavutköy. Taxi is the easiest way to get there if you don't know Istanbul. It is in an old restored house with a nice view of the Bosphorus. The owners are really sweet people too. It's food is based on wild herbs of Turkey's Aegean region and the area of Tire in particular; they also have a couple of meat dishes. They also have wine and rakı. I just happened to translate their menu recently (but they haven't put it on the website yet); here it is. It's closed Mondays.

    -------------------------

    Useful as a rootstock for grafted pistachio and mastic trees, the Melengeç, or Terebinth tree produces brilliantly colored shoots in the spring. In the Aegean region, these are gathered and prepared with olive oil as a unique and delicious appetizer.

    Here at “Melengeç,” we present the delicious flavors of the wild herbs which hold such an important place in the Aegean and Mediterranean regional cuisine.

    Since ancient times, man has used wild herbs both for food and as medicine for his ailments. Our country also has a rich tradition of herb cuisine, but the changes in our society have all but annihilated it in the cities, and in the country it has lost much of its former importance. It was this that inspired us to open Melengeç, where our aim is to introduce the flavors of the Aegean and Mediterranean. Everything you eat here has been collected in the wild and prepared fresh before losing any of its freshness. Thus our foods are light, and imbued with the healing properties of the herbs on which they are based. We hope you will leave Melengeç with many fond memories.

    Starters

    101 Terebinth in Olive Oil

    Terebinth shoots, lemon, salt, olive oil

    102 Wild Chicory in Olive Oil

    Wild Chicory, lemon, salt and olive oil

    103 Wild Radish Greens in Olive Oil

    Wild Radish Greens, lemon, salt and olive oil

    104 Wild Mustard in Olive Oil

    Wild Mustard Greens, lemon, salt and olive oil

    105 Glasswort in Olive Oil

    Glasswort, vinegar (lemon) and olive oil

    106 Rock Samphire in Olive Oil

    Rock samphire, vinegar and olive oil

    107 Wild Amaranth in Olive Oil

    Wild amaranth, lemon, salt and olive oil

    108 Wild Cranesbill Sautee

    Wild cranesbill, onion, sun-dried tomato paste and olive oil

    109 Lamb’s Quarters Sautee

    Lamb’s quarters, onion, bulgur, sun-dried tomato paste and olive oil

    110 Hawkbit Sautee

    Hawkbit root, onion, sun-dried tomato paste and olive oil

    111 Mixed Herb Sautee

    Wild fennel, mallow, wild cranesbill, nettle, amaranth, onion and olive oil

    112 Wild Amaranth Sautee

    Amaranth, onion, sun-dried tomato sauce and olive oil

    113 Wild Vine Asparagus Sautee

    Wild vine asparagus, onion, sun-dried tomato paste and olive oil

    114 WildAsparagus Sautee

    Wild asparagus, onion, sun-dried tomato paste and olive oil

    115 Greenbriar Sautee

    Tender greenbriar tips, onion, sun-dried tomato paste and olive oil

    116 Beet Greens Sautee

    Beet greens, onion, sun-dried tomato paste and olive oil

    201 Stuffed Squash Blossom

    Squash flower, rice, onion, parsley, dill, fresh mint, tomatoes and olive oil

    202 Stuffed Vine Leaves

    Vine leaves, rice, onion, parsley, dill, fresh mint, tomatoes and olive oil

    203 Nettles in Yogurt

    Nettles, drained yogurt with garlic, olive oil

    204 Eggplant in Yogurt

    Eggplant grilled over hot coals, drained yogurt with garlic, olive oil

    205 Carrots and Walnuts in Yogurt

    Carrots, walnuts, drained yogurt with garlic, olive oil

    206 Manca (Smothered Eggplant)

    Eggplant cooked over hot coals, peppers, tomatoes, vinegar, garlic and olive oil

    207 Spicy Grilled Peppers

    xxx pepper cooked over hot coals, hot pepper sauce and walnuts

    208 Fresh Black-Eyed Peas in Olive Oil

    Green blackeyed peas, lemon, tomatoes and olive oil

    209 Aegean Style Artichokes in Olive Oil

    Small wild-type artichokes and broad beans, onion and olive oil

    210 Okma

    Tomatoes, peppers, nettles when in season, çökelek cheese, onion, cucumber and olive oil

    211 İzvar

    Tomatoes, peppers and pickled cheese

    213 Tulum Cheese

    A sharp local cheese aged in a skin bag

    Hot Appetizers

    Eggplant “Filets”

    Eggplant fried in a special batter

    Keşkek

    Aegean style hulled whole wheat berried and meat

    Spinach Crepe

    Crepe filled with spinach, onion, sun-dried tomato sauce and olive oil

    MAIN DISHES

    Tire Köfte in Special Sauce

    The famous Tire-style köfte with tomatoes, peppers and butter

    Hand-Cut Noodles with Walnuts

    Village-style noodles, walnuts, grated tulum cheese and butter

    Beef Flank with Almonds

    Beef flank, special sauce, almonds and pearl onions

    Fish of the Day

    (Varies according to season.)

    DESSERTS

    Şahtutlu

    Black Mulberrıes from Tire’s Cambazlı Village with a special local cream cheese.

    Lavender Ice Cream

    BREAKFAST

    Tire Regional Breakfast

    Omelet

    Menemen

    DRINKS

    Soft Drinks

    Spring Water

    Ayran

    Fruit Sherbets


  3. Did the chef make all those foods, or does he have helpers?

    Please tell more about the sherbets.  When I think of sherbet I think of a frozen dessert - like ice cream but without the dairy product.  Your descriptions of the flavors sound like they'd make great frozen desserts, but you described these as drinks, and they looked like drinks.  Is this a different meaning of the word "sherbet" than I'm used to, or were these drinks more solid than they looked?

    Finally, about those stuffed peppers.  What type were they?  What might be a close equivalent in the U.S. for stuffing peppers like that?

    I'm not sure who makes what really, I'm sure that it's more people than the one guy out front! Some of those dishes take a lot of time - stuffed intestines, analı kızlı (even if they didn't make the "mothers" this time), long cooking times for hulled wheat dishes like keledoş and keşkek.

    The world "sherbet" originally comes from Arabic, "sharbat," and is based on the verb to drink. The original meaning is a drink made from fruits or herbs, often dried, then boiled and with the addition of sugar. Sometimes this is made into a concentrated syrup; to make the drink you put some syrup in the bottom of the glass and add water. Many housewives make morello cherry sherbet this way, also lemon, sour oranges, tamarind (not as known these days in Turkey). My neighbor makes a lovely one of fresh red plums, the drink comes out pink. I also make a mint one - 6 c sugar to 3 cups water, bring to a boil, add two largish bunches of mint (about all you can easily submerge in the syrup), simmer till the mint is dried, add the juice of one or two lemons, simmer another couple minutes, then strain and bottle. It's wonderful on hot summer days. Another one I've been in love with lately is poppy syrup. I have a picture of it in my Blog.

    The peppers most commonly used for stuffing here are a small bell pepper type with thin walls. The dried ones are available in long wreaths (see my foodblog, "Istanbul Glutfests" egullet for a picture). You might be able to purchase them from some of the Turkish food supply stores online. The dry ones I've found can be sweet or hot and often both turn up in a string. I don't know of a type readily available in the US that is really an equivalent. If you have a good source of eggplant, you can dry your own! (They hollow out the insides first.)

    I'll post a recipe soon for stuffed peppers (vine leaves, zucchini, eggplant, whatever) with meat as they are mostly made in the southeast. Those are good with fresh vegetables as well.


  4. Dolma, Mardin-Style

    Serves 10 as Main Dish.

    Mardin is a city in Southeast Turkey very close to the northeastern border of Syria, populated mostly by Arabs, Kurds and Assyrian Christians. The cuisine is heavily meat-based (an Arab friend from there said if you gave his mother a pile of vegetables but there was no meat there, she'd have no idea what to do!). I call this "Mardin Style" because I learned it from a friend from that area but really this approach is fairly common throughout the area. One thing that sets these dolma apart from others is that they use chopped meat, not ground. This makes a huge difference in texture.

    This can be made with fresh or dried peppers and eggplants. If using dry, bring water to a boil, add the peppers and eggplants (remove from string first!) turn off heat and wait 5 minutes or so. Retain water for cooking. Turkish stuffing peppers are a bell type usually about half the size of those used in the US, with thin walls, so you'll have to adjust according to what size peppers you have.

    It can also be made with vine leaves; in short, for any kind of dolma/sarma.

    People are sometimes surprised at the short-grain rice, but this is generally what is used throughout Turkey, both for stuffing as well as for pilaf.

    Spicing should be seen as "suggested proportions." The friend who showed me this said "the more sumak, the better." This is not necessarily true. ;)


    Vegetables

    • 20 Small stuffing peppers, tomatoes, eggplant sections, vine leaves...

    Filling

    • 350 g beef or lamb, cut apprs. pea-size
    • c chopped parsley
    • c chopped fresh tomato
    • T isot pepper (heaping)
    • T ground sumak*
    • T dry mint
    • T tomato paste
    • T pepper paste
    • T margarine**
    • c washed short-grain rice (Calrose is good)
    • tsp salt, or to taste, black pepper to taste

    Cooking Broth

    • water to cover
    • T margarine
    • tsp tomato paste
    • beef boullion cube (optional)***

    * More traditional is to soak about 3/4 c whole sumak berries (if you can find it) in warm water overnight, then strain and add this liquid to the cooking liquid. But if you can't find whole sumak, adding dry to the stuffing works too.

    **Traditionally rendered tail fat would be used.

    ***Sometimes lamb ribs are placed on the bottom of the pan; the marrow adds flavor to the dish. In the absence of this, I use boullion. Be aware of the extra salt.

    ====================================================

    Cut tops out of peppers and removed seeds/pith. If using tomatoes, choose firm ones. Hollow them out. Eggplant - use the long thin variety, cut in half, remove pith from inside for stuffing. Vine leaves - if fresh, cut off stems, blanch in boiling water; if in brine, wash well in fresh water and remove stems.

    Mix all the stuffing ingredients well. Spoon filling into prepared peppers/eggplants/tomatoes and close tops. If using dried peppers/eggplants, leave a bit of a margin and fold the loose end to close. Often you will have missing bits of a dried pepper, no matter, just patch it (from the inside) with another piece. You can even take large fragments and roll them as if they were grape leaves. If using grape leaves, roll them in your favorite manner.

    Pack the stuffed vegetables into two layers in a 6-qu pot. If you have extra, put them in another saucepan to make a single layer. It's preferable not to have open areas as this means a lot more water will be added.

    Add water to cover, add the tomato paste, boullion and margarine. If you are using dried peppers, use the soaking water; if you soaked whole sumak berries, strain and add this water to the cooking liquid. Cover with an inverted plate that fits fairly well into the pan. Cover pot, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, checking water. There should always be a bit of water there but toward the end it should be much less; this will absorb during the resting time. Cook for around 25-30 minutes till rice is tender or until the rice has reached the consistency you like. (Some like firmer, some like softer rice. Both of these people will almost certainly be members of the same family and one person or another will complain that it is either too firm or too mushy, or the salt isn't right, or there could have been more sumak, or...). Turn off heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes or so before serving.

    Keywords: Main Dish, Middle Eastern, Intermediate, Lunch, Dinner

    ( RG1980 )


  5. Analı Kızlı (Stuffed Bulgur Köfte in a Tart Sauce)

    Serves 12 as Main Dish.

    The name of this dish means "Mothers and Daughters," which refers to the larger stuffed bulgur köfte and the smaller plain ones. It is mostly known from the E. Mediterranean region of Turkey, in the area around the cities of Mersin and Adana.

    This is a large recipe; I generally halve it and it still makes a lot. Bulgur swells....!

    Don't let the "expert" classification put you off; learning to form and stuff the köfte does take some practice but you will have plenty of practice.


    Bulgur Shell

    • kg fine bulgur
    • g pounded meat (beef or lamb)
    • c flour
    • T pepper paste
    • tsp salt
    • egg
    • black pepper, cumin to taste

    Meat Filling

    • kg finely ground meat (beef or lamb)
    • kg finely chopped onion
    • T pepper sauce (or less)
    • g butter
    • salt, black and red pepper to taste

    Sauce

    • c meat broth
    • c cooked chickpeas
    • T butter
    • T dried mint
    • med. lemons, juiced
    • 2 Tomatoes, grated

    Bulgur Shell

    Moisten bulgur with water just even with surface of bulgur, let stand 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cumin and pepper paste, and knead until mixture begins to hold together. Add Meat, flour and egg, continue kneading till the mixture holds together and is easy to form. It will take around 15 minutes.

    Filling

    Sautee meat with a very little bit of oil until the liquid is absorbed/steamed away, add onion. When it has stopped releasing water, add salt, black pepper, pepper sauce, butter and red pepper to taste, mix and sautee well, then remove from heat, cool and refrigerate until it sets hard (this will make the stuffing process much easier).

    Make the "mothers and daughters." Some make them larger, some smaller. Ideally they should be the size of a large shooter marble, i.e. about bite size but I tend to make them larger because I don't have a week to devote to it... It's better if you have a couple people to do it, one to make the shells and another to stuff and close.

    With wet hands, take pieces of the dough a little smalle than a walnut. Open by poking a finger into the center, then with thumb and forefinger (you can use whatever finger you want!) pinch the walls to thin them. Ideally they should be quite thin, half a centimeter or so especially if you make them small. It should be slightly oblong. Put in a teaspoon of the filling, close and smooth into a round ball.

    Continue till the meat is gone; with the remaining bulgur make small köfte about the size of hazelnuts (daughters).

    Sauce

    Grate tomatoes into a bowl. Grate them with the skin on and the stem side in the palm of your hand; the flesh will go into the bowl and the skin will remain in your hand.

    Put the broth in a large pot, add the cooked chickpeas and bring to a boil, add grated tomatoes. Add lemon, salt and pepper. Reduce heat, add small kofte and allow to simmer gently.

    Meanwhile, in a small sautee pan, melt butter, and add the pepper paste and mint and add to the broth. Some people like to add a tablespoon of flour to the butter and toast a bit before adding the other ingredients.

    You will cook the large köfte in batches, because there is no way they will all fit. Add around 1/3 of the köfte to the broth and simmer 10 minutes, carefully remove. Repeat with remaining köfte. Feel free to add more broth/lemon, pepper paste etc. if you like. I like a lot of sauce and generally make more. It should be like a slightly thick soup, tart and peppery but not burning with pepper. To me, what really makes this dish is the combination of red pepper, tartness and mint.

    Keywords: Main Dish, Expert

    ( RG1979 )


  6. I spent a lot of time with Cambodians and among their table manners two things stand out - 1, never get rice from your plate via your spoon into a common dish, and 2, take a bit of a dish and eat it with your rice before taking something else. Loading up your plate is considered very rude; it's as if you are hoarding / trying to get things before someone else does. I understand this is the traditional way of eating in Thailand as well though I haven't been there. And now it drives me nuts when I go out with American friends for Thai and as soon as the food arrives, everyone starts loading up their plates from everything. I keep my mouth shut though. Actually the "proper" way is more logical as well because many of their sauces are quite runny and if you load up your plate, you just get lots of mixed-up sauces.

    Another thing that bugs me with some Americans at asian places is, they hardly eat rice. I really like rice! So I'm enjoying my rice with dishes and I go for a dish but it's all gone because they've wolfed it all down with no rice. So I guess I'll have to start loading my plate... :huh:

    Pizza with a fork. Yeah, they do it all over Europe. I use the knife and fork when I'm with other people, but when I'm back in the US I do feel a nice kind of comfort in being able to freely pick up a slice of pizza and eat it out of hand!


  7. I have several friends in town who are leaving in a few days, so we decided to do a nice sendoff dinner. I took them to Çiya restaurant in the Asian side district of Kadıköy. It's a restaurant that specializes in home cooking of Eastern Anatolia, especially the area of Antep. Sorry if a couple of the pictures are slightly blurred because of depth-of-field problems. We were sitting at the table in half light and I couldn't really get good distance and angles.

    There is a cold salad/appetizer bar, so we started with that. Clockwise from top is a salad with wild thyme, another with an unidentified wild green, a mushroom and yogurt dish, muhammara, hummus, meatless stuffed dried peppers and eggplants, and in the middle, cold bulgur köfte in a tart peppery sauce.

    gallery_38081_3012_44371.jpg

    Here's a closeup of the peppers. They have pepper paste and likely some tahini in the filling, and are simmered in water in which sumac berries have been soaked.

    gallery_38081_3012_58242.jpg

    The easiest way to order is to just see what the chef, Ali Usta, has ready, and ask for explanations. There is almost always something there that is unfamiliar to me.

    gallery_38081_3012_7367.jpg

    I had keledoş, a dish with lamb, boiled whole hulled wheat, chick peas and yogurt. There were also black, delicately crunchy seeds in it where were slightly sweet. I asked their identity, and the waiter said "kendir." I thought he said "kenevir" (hemp), but he said "no, kendir." Redhouse's Turkish/Ottoman English dictionary reveals that they are the same thing. My friends all decided that out of all we chose, this was the best "comfort food." Must have been the hemp seeds! :cool:

    gallery_38081_3012_5800.jpg

    We had one vegetarian among us, and there was exactly one vegetarian dish, purslane cooked with garbanzos, beans and tomatoes. It was also lemony-tart.

    gallery_38081_3012_38146.jpg

    Our visiting musician George had a güveç of tomato, lamb and eggplant.

    gallery_38081_3012_73459.jpg

    Our music student Ted chose one of my favorite dishes, Analı Kızlı ("Μothers and Daughters"), which consists of köfte with a bulgur shell filled with a meat mixture (the "Mothers") and smaller pure bulgur köfte (the "Daughters"). The sauce is peppery/tomatoey/lemony with mint. I was a little disappointed to see that instead of actually making the "mothers" (which are admittedly a hassle but they used to), they just added chunks of meat.

    gallery_38081_3012_22698.jpg

    Ted's wife Carla chose lamb cooked with cherries. The cherry flavor was not obvious, but the dish had a fruity tartness.

    gallery_38081_3012_53290.jpg

    For drinks there was a choice of two local specialties, and our waiter kindly brought us samples of each. On the left is a sherbet made from sumac berries soaked in water and lightly sweetened; on the right is tamarind sherbet.

    gallery_38081_3012_34579.jpg

    Of course we had dessert. We first planned to go to Köşkeroğlu which I think has some of the best baklava in the city, but unfortunately they were closing up. So we headed up to Taksim to Sütiş, an old and very good "muhallebici" (pudding shop). Nowadays they sell more than puddings or even just sweets, but it's the puddings that they to best.

    I had fırın sütlaç, rice pudding that is thickened with soaked-then-pulverized rice (the result is much smoother than if rice flour had been used), then baked in the oven to get a crust. It is smooth and creamy, not dense with rice.

    gallery_38081_3012_32454.jpg

    The rest of use had keşkül, a pudding made with finely ground bitter almonds and pistachios (in the pudding; the garnish is ground pistachios and coconut),

    gallery_38081_3012_33791.jpg

    and künefe (the Turkish equivalent of the Arabic word konafa). In this incarnation, the kadayif "strings" are placed in two layers with a layer of a special cheese in the middle and baked. Then syrup is added and it is topped with ground pistachios.

    gallery_38081_3012_51204.jpg

    There was a creme caramel but y'all seen that before. :raz:

    Edited because evidently my hands don't know the difference between "bulgur" and "bulgar."


  8. This is precisely why eating Chinese food in Holland depressed me. We had 6 dishes for 4 people (and today's dishes weren't impressive ). In Holland, I'd have just one dish to eat with rice (which is OK and everything but I somehow find it very unsatisfying).

    Total cost of dinner: RM63 (about US$18!). Cheap,huh?  :smile:

    Oh no! You mean everyone just orders one thing like in a western restaurant? Come to think of it, that's what we did when I was a kid and my grandfather would take us out to a chinese place. But after that it was just a given (whether with Asian or non-Asian friends) that we would get several things and share them all.

    Malaysia has been No. 1 on my wishlist of places to visit for a long time now...amazing food, culture, and amazing botanical treasures all in one place. Maybe next year...I refuse to make my first trip there outside of durian season!!


  9. A lot of people from this part of the world (I'm in Turkey but I'm including the Balkans and Mediterranean too) have trouble with the heavy use of sugar in American foods. Salad dressings seem like dessert sauces to them, they don't get it. Sweet meat dishes also are generally not appreciated. Baked beans loaded with molasses, sweet potaotes with marshmallows, ketchup...well, thanks to Burger King and McDonalds they are now becoming accustomed to sweet hamburgers. :/ The idea of putting sweet fruit on yogurt is strange here too, though rarely they'll eat it with honey. In the U.S. most people can't stand yogurt unless it's sweetened.

    Of course it's not just Americans that like sweet foods. I had assumed that all the sweetness in Thai food was an American thing, but a friend told me they actually sprinkle sugar on some foods there; he found things much too sweet.

    As for coffee... I don't like black coffee. I've tried over and over, and have pretty much given up on it. I can drink it with milk and sugar, and with milk alone, but I find coffee with sugar and no milk even worse than black. (I can drink medium-sweet Turkish coffee though.) The extra bitter dark chocolates that are popular now I can handle but only in very small quantities. Which isn't a bad thing I suppose!


  10. Anyone else familiar with this technique?  Anyone tried it?  I plan on making it this evening.

    I did a some google searches on it; what I found was (aside from the Toddy brewer folks' stuff) mostly negative. One person wrote that he was surprised at hearing people say the coffee lacked flavor; he was using a typical store-bought autodrip type (robusta beans). When he tried it with "pricier arabic beans," he was completely disappointed with the flavor.


  11. Breakfast (kahvaltı) in Turkey is interesting. I think it's my favorite meal of the day here. The most basic Turkish breakfast is bread, tea, cheese (white cheese/feta, kashar, fried hellim/haloumi, etc), olives, cucumbers, tomatoes and some jam/preserves. In some areas there will always be some yogurt, or kaymak (clotted cream). Some like an actual salad at breakfast, others like a plate of parsley with lemon squeezed over it. It could also include boiled eggs, an omelet or "menemen" (beaten eggs poured into a sauce made from tomatoes), fried peppers, and various spreads made with red peppers, walnuts, cheese, herbs... And then there are different sorts of buns/rolls like poğaça, çörek and açma that might show up, as well as börek and, if your hosts are from some Sivas or Erzincan, a bread/bun called kete, which has layers of dough filled with a thin layer of butter-enriched lightly toasted flour. Sounds weird, but it's good! Plus any number of other local specialties. The more variety the better.

    Actually you could almost say the word "kahvaltı" refers to a type of meal more than a particular time of day. If you go to someone's house and they want to make a meal on the fly, it will very often be "kahvaltı," because it's composed of staples that are always around. Or it could be a "stretcher" on top of some other dish that they had but wasn't enough for everyone.

    I don't know if there is a taboo per se but at a morning breakfast, actual sweets (as in dessert type things) would probably be seen as odd. My friends all loved American pancakes with maple syrup, but really felt the need for something savory alongside them to cut the sweet. And bona fide "dinner dishes" (meat, vegetarian) would probably not appear. What almost never shows up is fresh fruit. Several times I've had friends over for breakfast and I almost always cut up an orange or some other fruit; it almost always remains untouched.


  12. Yes, my fingernails have saved me on more than one occasion. You look down and say "omg that was close, what was I thinking?!" Although the experience was not in the kitchen, I do know what it feels like when something goes through the nail... I play a type of Greek fiddle where you stop the strings with your fingernails. One string (metal) got a rough spot right where the middle finger did a lot of slides. I was playing for dancing, and was vaguely aware that it was "scraping." But not aware that it was...em...eroding the nail. It suddenly penetrated, and you never saw someone stop playing so fast! :shock: I still get the willies thinking about it.

    Back to the kitchen (and thankfully, not to the emergency room) - yesterday I made red poppy jelly from poppies in my garden. I only had about 100 gr of petals as it was, not something you want to waste. As it cooked, it wasn't thickening so I decided a bit more pectin would be a good idea. I tossed it in while it was still on the flame...fastest boilover I've ever witnessed, by the time I could react, a good half a jar was on the stovetop. A bit later I decided to add a bit more sugar, and what did I do? (Um....see earlier post about "Alzheimer's Lite"....) I would have gotten four jars, but....


  13. what a great experiment sazji!  thanks for posting the photo of your garden "before" you ravaged it for the jelly  :wink:

    have you had hibiscus?  is it anything like that?  hibiscus is very tart and often found (dried) around here at mexican/latin american markets.

    Yeah, it was good timing. We just had two days of rain and some strong winds and half of the poppies got windthrown. (That, and the local male cat population has been holding its gladiator tournaments out there...it's that time of year...)

    The petals themselves are actually a bit sweet, not much tartness to speak of. Any tartness in the jelly comes from the added lemon. The poppies have a very intriguing, musky fragrance that is very difficult to describe. It's not sweet/floral. One of the reasons I wanted to try it was that I found myself unable to "mentally mix" their scent with sweetness. In a way I still can't! I suppose if I had to advertise it and needed a slogan, it would be "a little bit of conflict in every bite!" :laugh:


  14. So if you saw the picture first, you might be thinking "why a garden picture?" What I made yesterday isn't exactly dessert, though it certainly could be used in a dessert. In another forum I came across a reference to red poppy jelly. I'd had rose petal jam and it always seemed much too cloying but poppies have such an odd fragrance that I couldn't let the opportunity pass. I have rather an "invasion" of poppies in the garden this year...

    gallery_38081_3012_34126.jpg

    ...so I raided them! This was my haul - about 100 gr of petals. (Here is the garden after the raid...next morning brought a hundred or so more.

    gallery_38081_3012_37548.jpg

    Luckily mine have very little black on them (where the petals have lots of black, they cut that portion out and I am not so patient...)

    I didn't have a recipe so I pretty much winged it.

    I added the juice of a lemon and about a cup of sugar at first, and kneaded/crushed the petals. After letting them sit for a couple of hours, I added water and simmered them for around 10 minutes.

    gallery_38081_3012_6566.jpg

    I'm sorry I can't give an exact recipe. I strained the poppies, added sugar and a bit more lemon till I got something sweet-tart, but without obscuring the aroma of the poppies. Added pectin (sure-jell, brought by kind friends from the US) and poured it into jars. Here's the finished product:

    gallery_38081_3012_25601.jpg

    The flavor is best described as "intriguing." Everyone I have fed it to so far says "oh...that's really different...but it's good!" On the island of Bozcaada/Tenedos (and in various parts of Greece) they make a syrup of red poppies, which is basically the same thing minus the pectin. It's mixed with water as a summer drink, or poured over a white milk pudding. Some also make a jam, leaving the petals in. I'm definitely going to make a few more batches of this!

    By the way, if you want to try growing your own field of poppies and make poppy jelly, the seed to by is not the one you put on bread - that's opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)! I don't think the opiates are very concentrated in the petals but depending on where you live, the law might look askance... Look for Papaver rhoeas, alternately known as corn poppy or Flanders poppy. Shirley poppies are the same species but multicolored; they won't give you the deep red color.


  15. Here are a few that I've come across in Greece and Turkey:

    Peppers stuffed with oil

    Grun beans

    Horse bean smash

    Roll with sesame semen

    Chicken in pyrex

    Unadorned spaghetti

    Bowels in spit

    Blundy Mary

    Soda divers

    Folded sweat pastry

    Burnt pudding with thoraxic of hen

    Chicken translation

    I've heard several waitresses say "The soup du jour for today is...."


  16. How about cutting lettuce? Lettuce must always be torn, not cut. Here and in Greece they often cut it very finely for a salad. I never noticed any deleterious effects.

    Some local food taboos - there seems to be an attitude among many people here that you should "never put lemon on grilled fish." But it's mostly with nouveau riche folks who have read this somewhere (I'm trying to find out where it started) and have taken it to be gospel.

    In Greece, a common one is "Never use lemon and tomato together in the same dish." In Mediterranean Turkey there are many dishes with a tart sauce made tomatoes and lemon however.

    Leaving food out - for me it's fine, I've never poisoned myself. But the chance that a guest might get sick keeps me from serving food that's stayed out to anyone else.

    Unsalted butter - I agree completely. Especially since most of the recipes that have unsalted butter in them have salt in them as well!

    Organic - I think tomatoes grown in good soil enriched with manure taste better than those in poor soil, fertilized with chemical fertilizers. I'm not such a tomato freak that I grow them myself, but tomatoes brought from the villages where they fertilize this way do seem to be a lot better.


  17. I'm mostly an ornamental gardener but I always grow sugar snap peas, rainbow chard (beautiful and good to eat), and winter squash. This year I planted Turk's turban (brought from the US ironically), and butternut. There is a very good local one, "Adapazarı," which looks like a big deep-channeled gray pumpkin, but they are huge, and cutting into one is like slaughtering a calf! I end up distributing it to all the neighbors. This year I'm trying some sweet potatoes (brought from a farm in Virginia) also because they are completely unknown here. I always have parsley out there as well as cilantro (another thing I can't find here).

    I'm planting three kinds of Indian basil (tulsi) - Krishna, Rama and Vana. I've never used them in cooking but they smell *so* good!

    Oh - also have planted seeds of American persimmon, but it will be quite a while before I get any fruit from those!


  18. I don't know if this counts, but when I was up in the mountains in the Black Sea a few years ago, I saw porcini (boletus) mushrooms everywhere. Huge, firm, perfect porcini. I asked the folks in the villages if they used them. They said, "No, we're afraid of those." They eat other mushrooms, most of which are considered mediocre in some areas, but nobody eats the boletes. I told them they were very highly valued in the west, especially in Italy. One man said, "Yeah, now that you mention it, a few years back some Italians came up here and filled the back of a truck with them..." He couln't believe that they probably made a couple thousand dollars from that truckload. The problem is that it's very difficult for the people up there to dry and preserve them in the mountain villages, because they live right at cloud level.


  19. I tend not to like the oily, "fishy" flavor of canned sardines, mackerel, anchovies, kippers, etc. I like those fish fresh, when they're really good, though fresh specimens that aren't very good tend to start tasting like their canned brethren. What's strange is that I like canned tuna just fine. I guess I acclimated to it so early, through such repeated exposure, that I somehow make an exception for it, even though it's very similar in aroma and oiliness to things like canned sardines and mackerel. I also like anchovies fine when they're incorporated into other things, like Caesar salad dressing -- again, at some point I accepted that flavor in that format, even though I can't stand whole canned anchovies.

    Yes, it must have to do with the oils in the skin of sardines and mackerel. With anchovies for me it's not so much the fish flavor as just the intensity of it. When it's cut, in a sauce, in a salad, I'm fine. But sardines in the can I find disgusting. It's also a texture thing.

    Ditto on tuna though, canned tuna (and salmon) is just fine. to me it's a completely different thing.

    Cilantro - I first tasted it when I grew it n the garden because I couldn't find it anywhere in Iowa City. This was mid 80s I suppose. I tried the first leaf that came up, and *bleah* I thought I was eating soap. But what's strange is that later, tasting it in Vietnamee food, I liked it. Now I can't do without it, I always have it growing in the garden (cause I can't find it in Istanbul either!).

    There's another herb used in Vietnamese cooking though - I only know the Latin name, Hoyttunia. It has heart shaped leaves. It's often referred to as "Vietnamese coriander" but to me the flavor is more like the worst part of the "fishy" taste of sardines. And I guess I've come full circle now. :)

    P.S. Tripe is what I will have to thrive on if there is a hell and I get sent there.


  20. I promise, I swear, I covenant that I will never again pan roast something, put it in the oven, take it out of the oven, remove the meat, and begin to deglaze the pan while grabbing the (DAMN, THAT'S REALLY HOT) handle.

    what varmint said.... i can't tell you how many times i've done this!

    I've done it too...I learned a good solution from this site (possibly this thread actually but don't feel like searching): as soon as you take it out, leave a towel or potholder on the handle. "Hmm...why is that there....oh yeah!" ;)


  21. Ha ha ha... this happened to my eggplant that I roasted over my gas burner. it exploded, spraying me with eggplant bits all over.

    Heheh...here there's a built-in prevention mechanism for those who speak Turkish - the name, "patlıcan" is associated with the word "patlamak," to explode. ;) I'm not sure this prevents all incidents of eggplant bombing though...

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