Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 22: Stuffed Collard Greens w/ ground beef (Kara Lahana Dolmasi)

"Black Sea Turkey (Karadeniz Bolgesi) in Northern Turkey, is a humid and verdant region renowned for its natural beauty thanks to the high precipitation levels distributed evenly throughout the year. The region is very mountainous and is heavily forested, while the highest parts of the mountains are covered with alpine meadows, glacier lakes, and glaciers. "

Collard greens is an indispensable component of the Black Sea kitchen in Turkey, and it is difficult to find them outside that region. Despite the fact that unlike broccoli and kale and cabbage, there are not many research studies devoted to the specific health benefits of collard greens. However, these delicious leaves are invaluable sources of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer properties, and rich in vitamin K, A, C, manganese, fiber and iron.


  • One bunch Collard Green Leaves
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 pound or more ground beef
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1-1,5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  1. Separate the leaves one by one from the bunch. In a large pot of boiling salted water, over medium heat, add the collard leaves and cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut leaves in half or four depends on the size of the each leaf.
  2. Sauté all tomato paste in oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Separate about 3 tbsp. of the sautéed tomato paste aside for the sauce. Add ground beef, onion, rice, and season with salt and pepper, to taste to the rest of the sautéed tomato paste. Stir well.
  3. Lay a collard leaf out on a flat surface and add 1/4 cup of the filling into the center. Fold both the sides into the center and the top and bottom over the center. Roll into a cylinder and repeat with the remaining leaves. If there are any remaining leaves you can chop them up and add to the sauce.
  4. Mix the sautéed tomato paste you put aside with hot water. Pour a thin layer of sauce into a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish. Arrange the collard rolls, seam sides down, on top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the stuffed collards and cover with foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve!
  5. OPTIONAL: If you would like to not to cook your collard greens long, you may cook the meat filling before you fill your greens. In that case you may turn off the oven as soon as you see bubbling around the dolmas.
  6. Bon appetite!

March 22: Lokma (Turkish style donuts dipped in syrup) Turkish Loukoumades

Lokma is a Turkish name for bite-sized, fried balls of dough that is dipped in a simple syrup. Lokma is Turkish and means 'morsel'. Similar types of treats are popular in numerous Mediterranean countries, though each country has its own variation on how the dish is made and served. The Greeks, who also enjoy the dish, call each cake a loukoumades, and the dessert is related to the Italian sfinge or zeppola as well as the Mediterranean Jewish dish, zvingoi.
There are some differences in recipes for lokma. One principal difference between the Turkish and Greek version, and the sfinge or zeppola made in Italy, is that the dough made for this dish tends to use yeast. Zeppole don’t use yeast, and are usually filled with sweetened ricotta cheese, jam, or custard.
In Turkey, lokma are sold by street vendors or in stores, where making them may be a somewhat automated process, or they’re made at home. In some parts of the country it is traditional to serve lokma at funerals, especially to the poor. Other areas make them and serve them to neighbors if they have something to celebrate. They’re a common food at festivals, too.



  • 1 tbsp. yeast
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • 3 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
Make syrup in advance:

Bring water and sugar to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then gently simmer, uncovered, boil about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir. Let it cooled.
  1. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water in a large bowl. The water should be no more than 100 F (40 C). Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam. Add flour, yogurt, salt, egg and stir to combine.
  2. Beat the mixture until it forms a smooth, soft dough. Stir the dough well, cover with stretch film and let it rise 4-5 hours.
  3. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 350 F (175 C). Oil should be at least 2 inches deep.
  4. Place a tea spoon in a glass of water near the batter. Scoop up about 1 teaspoon of dough per puff with the wet spoon, drop the dough balls into the hot oil in batches, wetting the spoon each time. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown on the bottom, and roll them over to cook the other side, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Gently set the lokmas aside to drain on paper towels.
  5. Place the lokmas on a baking sheet, drizzle them with already cooled syrup, and sprinkle with powdered sugar, shredded coconut or cinnamon. Serve warm.
  6. Isn't it lots of fun! Enjoy!....

March 22: Northern Turkey Style Corn Bread


  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Bread pan, oiled
Mix the corn flour, baking powder, sugar hot water in a large bowl. Add salt, milk, egg whites, oil and whisk. Add egg yolks, mix a little bit and  the batter into the oiled 10" baking pan.
Preheat the oven to 380° F, place the pan on the middle rack. Bake for about 10-15 minutes and reduce heat to 360° F, continue to bake until your bread turns into light golden color. Place the cornbread on the wire rack so it cools. Then slice this delicious Turkish Cornbread and serve. Afiyet olsun!

Friday, March 21, 2014

February 22; Turkish Meatball Kebab (Izmir Kofte) or Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

well well well...

Honestly, I am thrilled to learn about this kofte...I ate it at several occasions but could not figure out the secret..:) Do not underestimate meatballs, you can turn them into a festive dish. Here;

Cooking Time: Be prepared for at least 45 min. to play with your ground beef...


  • 1lbs 80% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large onion juice (or, finely chopped onion in a food processor)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black paper
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 large potatoes
  • 1lbs tomatoes
  • 1/2lbs small peppers
  • 1 cup frying oil

  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. frying oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano


  • Knead ground beef, bread crumbs, onion juice, baking soda, vinegar and black pepper for about 15-20 minutes and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  • Peel potatoes, wash and slice about 1/2" thick.
  • Remove the seeds from peppers.
  • Deep fry sliced potatoes, peppers and tomatoes without cooking them fully.
  • Roll the meatloaf in the shape of a flattened ovals about 3" long and 1/2" wide.
  • Deep fry meatballs without cooking fully.
  • Sautee tomato paste with 1tbsp frying oil, add oregano, continue sautéing.
  • Add water, boil and turn off the heat.
  • Lay deep fried meatballs in a deep oven pan (at least 2" deep), add fried potatoes, peppers and tomatoes in order.
  • Spread tomato paste sauce on the top of everything.
  • Cook in the oven 375F for about 1/2 hour. Enjoy!

February 22; Carrots and Mexican squash in Yogurt Sauce

Cooking Time: 15 min


  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Mexican squash (coarsely grated)
  • 3 carrots (coarsely grated)
  • 1lbs yogurt
  • 2 garlic gloves (finely crushed)
  • Fresh chopped dill for garnish


  • Sautee carrots and Mexican squash separately with one tbsp. olive oil in each pan until they get tender.
  • Mix with yogurt and garlic, stir well.
  • Garnish with fresh dill. Bon appetite!

February 22; Tres Leche Cake / Islak Kek / Wet Cake



  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 can 12oz evaporated milk
  • 1 can 14oz sweet condensed milk
  • 1 can 14oz regular milk

Icing & Topping:

  • Cool whip cream
  • Fresh strawberry, blackberry and raspberry


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch rectangle or 15 inch round baking pan and lay the cinnamon stick at the bottom of your cooking pan.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar well for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add flour and vanilla, continue to mix.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
  6. Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
  7. Spread whip cream over the top of cake and decorate with fruits. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!