Thursday, March 20, 2014

Savory Cookie with Sesame Seed

Here I come with another cookie recipe that goes well with a glass of Turkish tea. But this time it will have a savory taste. It looks like crunchy but when you have a bite it will melt in your mouth.

In Turkey you can find them in pastry shops aspecially in holy nights of Islam. They are called "Kandil Simidi" and their shapes are bigger than I make.

What we need to make those cookies are;
- 1 stick butter
- 1 tea glass of oil (I use sunflower oil)
- 1 tea glass of plain yogurt (yeah... we consume yogurt a lot)
- 1 egg (yolk is used for the dough, white is use for outside of the cookies)
- 2 ts of sugar
- 1 ts of mahlab
- 1/2 ts of salt
- 1 pack of baking powder
- All purpose flour (3-4 tea glass of flour)
- Sesame seeds or nigel seeds if you prefer

Combine all ingredients except egg whites and sesame seeds in a bowl. Mix them well and knead it around 5 minutes.The dough should be soft and oily thus it will not stick to you hands. You can give shape either on your palms or on the counter. Take small balls like a pecan size and roll it with your hand. It should be around 2 inches long and than combie the two ends together. You will have a small circle. First dip this circle to egg white and than sesame seeds. You will see sesame seeds will stick to the dough easily. Place all of them to a baking tray and bake them around 400F for about 20 minutes. Timing may change per oven. You will have approximately 40 cookies with this recipe.
As always I would recommend you to prepare your tea while they are being baked :-)

Their crunchiness will last couple days outside if you keep them covered or in a tin container.

Afiyet olsun!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cookie or Biscuit ...

Hello all,

I hope you had a nice weekend. Mine passed so fast. And I feel busier over the weekends. Usually Sunday is the day that I cook or bake and think about the meals for the following week days. These incredible easy cookies were baked last Sunday. I can not tell you how good the smell was while I was baking them. Because I used mastic powder ;-)

Mastic is a resin extracted from a mastic tree. You can find its jars in international food stores in which Greek or Turkish food is sold. I brought mines from Turkey. It was combined with vanilla powder. Very smart idea... 

Here are the ingredients for making approximately 26 cookies;

- 1 stick butter
- 1 large egg
- 1 + 1/4 tea glass of sugar
- 1/2 tea glass of starch (wheat or corn)
- 2-3 tea glass of all purpose flour depending on the size of the egg
- 1 pack of baking powder
- 1 pack of vanilla powder mixed with mastic powder
(if you have 2-3 mastic crystals you can grind them in a mortar and get mastic powder ready)

Combine them in this order and after kneading couple minutes you will have soft dough. It will not stick to your hands and the container. I wanted to finish as soon as possible thus I didn't do anything different on shape. Take a peacon size of the dough (not walnut) and round on your palms and place it to the baking tray. They will melt and have this circular shape while being baked. Put the tray into the preheated oven in 350F and bake them around 15-20 minutes.
You can prepare your tea while they are being baked and after you take the tray from oven let it cool for 5 minutes. Then enjoy these wonderfull delicious cookies or biscuits.

The picture was taken on my husband's desk. Then I left the room and played with my son in living room. After a while I heard my husband's voice. He was telling me that he finished all of them ;-) And my son had two of them.That is enough for me to understand how successful was this recipe at my house.

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Cup of Turkish Coffee ?

Would you like a cup of Turkish Coffee ?
I would love to have one now ;-) I will not write here all the history of coffee but it would be better to give some facts about Turkish coffee.

It has been around 500 years that Turkish Coffee is consumed as the way it is prepared. (Coffee beans have been throughly ground and prepared with boiling water.)

It is an old custom to serve coffee to your guests at home. Always it is good to drink together which encourages the conversation.

Breakfast means in Turkish (kahvalti = kahve - alti) to eat something before having coffee.

You can not drink your coffee when you are in a rush. It will be hard to hold tiny cups otherwise. Since you sit down and drink your coffee it makes you relax ;-) It also helps to digest the food if you drink after a meal.

Preparing is not so complicated. You will need;

- Cezve ( small long handled pot)
- Ground Turkish coffee
- Tea spoon
- Water (I substitute water with milk to have less strong coffee aspecially at nights )
- Sugar (optional)

Put 1 full tsp of coffee to cezve for each cup. Add the desired amount of sugar per cup. I use 1/2 tsp per cup since I like medium. Than add cold water by measuring with cup that you are going to drink from. Stir them well with tea spoon before you put cezve to stove. (Do not stir after you put cezve to the stove) I prepare my coffee in medium heat. When the coffee rises take it from heat and try to distribute the foam into the cups equally with a tea spoon. Than let the coffee rises again over the stove and turn the heat off. You can pour the rest of coffee to the cups. And this is it. Your Turkish Coffee is ready to drink ;-)
It is always served with a glass of water. First you should drink water than start drinking coffee.Otherwise you can not have perfect coffee taste.

I forgot to put glasses in my picture, sorry about that ;-)
Afiyet olsun...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pogaca - Turkish Savory Pastry

Yes, this will be my fist recipe in this blog.

I cannot tell you how much I like to eat pogaca. It is very common food in Turkey for breakfast or tea time in the afternoon. To be honest I preferred to buy them from pastry shops when I used to live in Turkey. But here I have to do it by myself. It is definitely healtier.

The more you do it the better it gets. This is a main rule for yeast recipies. Please do not give up if your first or second trial did not work. The quality of flour and yeast are important to have fluffy pogaca. Here comes pogaca ingredient list;

For the dough
- 2 cups of lukewarm milk
- 1 cup olive oil/sunflower oil (these are the ones that I use)
- 2 eggs (whites are for dough and yolks are for brushing)
- 1 tbs sugar
- 2 ts yeast
- 1 ts salt
- 4 + 2/3 cups of all purpose flour (it depends of your egg's size.I would not pour the last 2/3 cup of flour at first)

If you are using mixer which is definitely time saving put lukewarm milk and add yeast and sugar than mix them 3-4 minutes. (I take milk from fridge and pour it to a container and warm it up in microwave for 1 minute before I use) Than add two egg whites and oil. So liquids are first to be combined together well. Than add 4 cups of flour. You can put the salt in this step. (salt should not be used the same time with sugar and yeast) If you still need more flour than you can add by using a spoon. There should not be remaining dough pieces in the container when the mixer is on. Total kneating time is around 4 minutes.
If you are doing it by your hand follow the steps as above. But kneating time would be double. You will have a soft dough which could be a little sticky as well. Cover the container or the dough itself and let it rise. It should double itself. It depends on the room temperature. I usually wait 45 minutes.

For the filling (potato)

- 4 medium potatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs tomato/pepper paste
- salt and spices according to your taste

Boil the potatoes first and mash them in a bowl. In a pan heat the oil and add the chopped onions. Stir them from time to time.When onions get soft and started color change add the paste and stir it one more minute. Than pour them to the bowl over the mashed potatoes and add the spices and mix them well.

For the filling (cheese)

- 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
- 1 handfull chopped parsley if you like
- 1 cup of shredded kashkaval cheese

For the filling (ground beef)

- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tbs oil
- salt and spices ( black pepper, red pepper flakes)

Put the ground beef in a pan with medium heat and add oil in it. Cook it around 5 minutes by stirring frequently. Than add chopped onions to the pan. Let them soften and turn the heat. Add salt and spices and mix them well.

When the dough is ready just kneat it one more time in order to get rid of bubbles. Than feel free to give what kind of shape you would like to give. Take an egg size dough and make it circle in your palm. Put the filling at the center and close the rounds.And reverse it on to the baking pan. Or give them "D" shape like the original or roll a bigger piece of dough on the countertop. Put the filling in one side and roll it. It needs to be cut into small pieces after that.
My son's favourite one is the plain. You can try some plain ones with olive spead ones as well. It is all your imagination ;-)

You may have around 25 pogacas with this recipe. Let them rest like 15 minutes in baking tray while the oven gets heated. Temperature might differ for the oven type. I use 420F for electric oven. Before placing them to the oven brush egg yolks over pogacas gently. If you like you can sprinkle some sesame seeds or nigel seeds. Try not to open the oven while they are being baked. Control them after 15 minutes. They should be ready to take from the oven in 20 minutes at most.

I take fresh baked yummy pogacas to a cooling rack and cover them with a kitchen cloth for 10 minutes. Than of course try one of them may be two ;-))
I freeze them after they get cooled. So that we can have fresh fluffy pogaca whenever we want.
I hope you like it after giving a try.

Here is a photo of my potato filled rolls with this recipe;
These are the ones that I baked last Friday. Round ones are with feta cheese filling the others are with black olive spread shaped like "acma"


Hi everybody,

It took me months and months to open a new blog which is in English where I can keep my recipies. And by doing this, my friends can enjoy to try them.

Let me tell you a few things about me as an introduction.

I was born in south-west side of Turkey in a small town called Fethiye. My parents still live there. It is a place where you can enjoy the sun, Mediterranean Sea, sea food, and fresh vegetables in every day of the year. Should I mention that I love to cook with olive oil ;-))

After 27 years in Turkey I got married, me and my husband came to US. We have been living in US for 4.5 years now. My husband is from east side of Turkey, a town called Erzurum. After getting married and moving to US, all those different cuisines influenced me in the kitchen.

Another important factor in my life which is affecting me very much in the kitchen is my son who is almost 2.5 years old now and I need to provide him healthy food.

I hope you find my recipies easy to understand and apply and of course you like to eat them as well!