Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BULGHUR PILAF WITH VEGATABLES-SEBZELİ BULGUR PİLAVI


Bulgur is a whole grain. Bulgur is confused with cracked wheat, which is crushed wheat grain that has not been parboiled. Production of bulgur starts by soaking and cooking the whole-wheat kernels. After that the drying process takes place. Then the wheat kernels are cracked into small pieces. In the United States bulgur is produced in four distinct grinds or sizes (#1 Fine, #2 Medium, #3 Coarse and #4 Extra Coarse grinds). Whole-grain high-fiber bulgur can be found in natural food stores, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Turkish markets. Number 3 and 4 can be used for pilaf. In LasVegas, I get mine from Mediterranean Market (Jones/Spring Mountain).



Ingredients:

2 cups coarse bulgur (#3 or #4 work well for pilav)
4 cups boiling hot water
2 diced onions, about 2 cups
1 can petite diced tomato (14 oz) or 2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp pepper paste
2 tbsp olive oil
2 bell pepper (use one green one colored). If you like spicy add one jalapeno pepper, seeded chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
 
Directions:

  • In a non stick pot sweet the onion with 2 tbsp olive oil in medium low heat and cook about 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the bell pepper and cook about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes. 

  • Pour in the bulgur and then mix very well.

  • Add hot water, bring the mixture to a boil and put the lid on the pot.  Lower the heat, cook for 20-25 minutes or until the bulgur has absorbed all the liquid (stir a couple of times during this period). Important note: Bulgur is like rice. There are different brands with different cooking time. Normally bulgur cooks in 15 to 25 minutes.

  • Stir in the butter and chopped parsley. Put a paper towel between the lid and the pot. Put the lid on half covered.

  • Let the pilav stand for about 5 minutes; then stir, garnish with parsley and serve. With salad or Cacik (seasoned, diluted yogurt with chopped cucumber and mint) it is a good lunch dish. Also make very balanced meal as a side dish with meat dishes.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

MY MOTHER’S MEATBALLS-ANNEMİN KÖFTESİ


For most people mother’s food is very special and almost everybody loves mother’s food. Everyone who tastes my mother’s food loved it. This recipe is one of her specialties. Try it and see the difference with your meatball recipe. Even you love your own recipe, why not try something different. What.  make this recipe special? Maybe baking powder and lemon juice make meatball or combination of spices. I had to modify the recipe a little. Difference is; she was making her own bread crumbs from day old Turkish bread. Since I could not find Turkish bread in USA, I tried different options and I found that Panko Japanese bread crumbs works very well. It has soft flakes and makes meatballs soft and fluffy.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (used Costco organic 85% lean ground beef)
  • 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
  • ½ cup of finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano   
  • 1 tsp of Hungarian or Spanish paprika (these are sweet paprika)
  • 1/2 tsp of dry mint
  • 1 tsp of double acting baking powder
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine and mix bread crumbs, egg, onion, parsley, cumin, oregano, mint, paprika, baking powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Add ground beef, mix well. Take a walnut size of the mixture, place it in your palm, dip your fingers to olive oil and make little meatballs (walnut size) then press on the top like little hamburgers. Do the same for the rest.
  •  Use a nonstick pan and cook both sides on medium-low heat without any oil or butter. Serve with rice, pasta or bulgur pilaf.
    KÖFTE and Turkish Rice
  •  It goes well with white bean salad-Piyaz (recipe coming soon, picture is below).
Bean Salad-PIYAZ




KÖFTE over Pasta with Tomato Sauce
           

Serve for 8 people.
  • Note: You can bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes or 385 F for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MOIST CAKE WITH SEMOLINA AND PISTACHIO (FISTIKLI REVANİ)

Triangle (pizza slice) cut Revani served with ice cream or cream

FOR THE CAKE

Ingredients:
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup semolina (Semolina made from durum wheat and is yellow in color)
½ cup plain yogurt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp powdered vanilla
1/3 cup all purpose flour
½ cup pistachio or hazelnut, chopped
½ tsp lemon zest (optional)

FOR THE SYRUP

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ cups water
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest (optional)
First make the syrup and let it cool


Directions:

  • For Syrup: Stir sugar and water and bring it to boil in medium high heat. Add 1 tsp lemon juice, lower the heat and simmer 5-7 minutes.
  •  
  • For Cake: Beat the eggs with sugar until creamy. Add yogurt, lemon zest, oil, and vanilla mix it well.  Add baking powder pistachio, and flour then mix them all with a whisker or a mixer. Cake batter will be a consistency between crepe and pancake. 
  •    
  • Grease a deep (8 or 9 inch) circle or square pan.
  • Pour the batter and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for approximately 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a toothpick to make sure the cake is done. Tooth pick should come out clean.
  • Take it from oven make holes with tooth pick (this speeds up absorption of syrup). Pour the cooled syrup on top with a scoop slowly, waiting the cake to soak the syrup. Save 1 cup syrup in order to add lather to make top part get enough syrup.

  •  Let it cool down then put in fridge.
  • When Revani is still in the pan cut in into squares, diamond shape, or pizza slices depending on your pan shape.
  • Revani tastes better the next day because it soaks all the syrup.
  • Serve with ground pistachio, walnut or coconut on top. You can serve with ice cream or thick Turkish cream (Kaymak) on the side or top.    
Square cut Revani, topped with walnut and pictachio

RED LENTIL SOUP (ÇESMİ-NİGAR ÇORBASI-SÜTLÜ KIRMIZI MERCİMEK ÇORBASI

Eating soup is an excellent way to stay hydrated and get most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Soups also warm the body and help hydration. Soups that contain legumes, whole grains, barley, brown rice or vegetables contain high dietary fiber. Dietary fiber can help maintain bowel health, regulate cholesterol level and blood sugar and help weight loss. Eating soup helps cut your intake of food. Soup can act as an appetite suppressant because it fills you up. If you have a bowl of low-calorie soup prior to a meal, you can reduce your total mealtime intake of food and calories.

A Turkish meal usually starts with a soup (çorba). Soups are generally named after their main ingredient. The most common soups are Red Lentil Soups (Kırmızı Mercimek çorbalari). 
I have diverse lentil soup recipes and will post them in the future.

My kids love this soup. Actually my younger son, Emre’s favorite soup is this red lentil soup. This is absolutely very delicious, nutritious, easy, economic and quick soup. I guarantee you will love it. Just try this recipe you won’t regret it. 



Ingredients:
1 cup red lentil (washed, drained)
1 large onion (2 cups chopped)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp all purpose flour (use whole wheat if you have)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
4-5 cup hot water (chicken/meat stock or can be half water half stock).

Lemon, egg and milk sauce: (This mixture called Terbiye)
1 cup of milk
1egg yolk
2 tbsp lemon juice

Topping: 2 tbsp butter, 1tbsp mint, and 1 tsp Turkish red pepper (Pul biber) or paprika for top


Directions:

  • Sweet the onions with some salt in saucepan or pressure cooker with 1 tbsp olive oil 5 minutes. Then add 4 cups hot water or stock, black pepper and paprika. Stir in the washed, drained lentils bring it to boil cover and simmer 30-35 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lentils are very soft. If you cook in pressure cooker and turn the heat off 8-10 minutes after it whistles. Remove from heat and use a submerging hand blender to make the soup smooth.

  •            To make sauce; in a small bowl whisk the egg yolk, flour, milk and lemon juice. Add some hot soup into the egg mixture (tempering) and then pour the mixture slowly into the soup while stirring constantly. Boil couple more minutes and keep the soup warm.  

  •             Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir in paprika or Turkish red pepper flakes and mint. Stir the mixture until it sizzles. For family type serving just add the butter mixture the soup or for a fancier look just before serving, drizzle hot butter mixture over each serving.See below the pictures.

Hot butter mixture on top of each serving or mixed
Soup topped with Turkish red pepper (Pul biber)
  •  Note: This soup thickens with time and can be thinned with water, milk or chicken broth. 
  •  Serve 6-8 people. ENJOY.