April 26, 2009

Spontaneous Sunday: Tangy Spicy Broccoli & Turkish Yogurt

For as long as I've known, Sundays have been quiet. In my childhood, it would seem as if the entire city is taking a day long fiesta. I guess it's evolved into a tradition for me to relax on Sundays, much as possible. Keep active if needed, but also remain balanced even if busy. I woke up energetic enough and decided to go to our local farmer's market. As I was preparing to leave, the thought of living in a city with little green passed my mind. Just in time, in fact. Maybe seeing fresh produce would help.

Again, I took the route that goes through the park - which was in my previous post with a picture. In reality that park is not spacey, it's literally squeezed in between the water canal to the left and blocks of apartments to the right. I slowed down as I entered the park, and took in the beauty of lively green grass and trees in blossom as much as possible. Walking through the park I thought of farmer's markets during my childhood. Before, our neighborhood would have its own farmer's market every Sunday - on the streets. Farmers would arrive from nearby villages a day before and set up their stalls. Faces were familiar. They'd all enthusiastically promote their own produce being the best - and that was never noisy for us given so loud. More like, farmers energizing the city every week.

Couple minutes later, it's the farmer's market. Crowded as usual. Some farmers I recognize from before. From the way they stack their produce on stalls, I wonder if they ever left the place since last visit. Feels as if they're always there to provide us healthy food.

Prices being usually fixed for certain vegetables, I wonder what makes people buy from farmer A or B. A-ha. Some are engaging in conversations with lurking people. Some stand out from others with presentation such as using red lights facing the tomatos, for example. Oh, I still remember this one stall for olive oils. Imagine one liter olive oil bottles, backlighted. Looks alluring, like gold. I want to compliment him for subliminally affecting me like this. More methods... stacking the best shaped produce in the front. Stacking with order. Different color tones next to each other. Visually appealing. By this time I walked past a lot of stalls in a labrynth like market area. Enough observing, time to buy.

Since I'll carry in a backpack, the solids come first. Onions, potatos, carrots, oranges, lemons. Onto still solid yet handle with care ones; zucchini, dried apricot, green beans, broccoli. Lastly; tomatos, strawberry and arugula. All of this cost only 11 USD. Just taking a moment here and appreciating that nutrition fix is still available in organic form, that we don't entirely depend on say, tablets yet! Will we ever, in our lifetime? I keep wondering if the agriculture will ever be history and that people will live on synthetic lab produce... tablets for dinner anyone?

Is it a confirming sign that the organic produce was/is getting more expensive in the US? It's presumably more healthier at a lower cost in the other side of the world, for a little while longer. Might as well be grateful, but meanwhile raise awareness. Sure, it's open to debate if any of our concerns due to safeguard the "pale blue dot" we live on is worthwhile. Carl Sagan, the scientist I admire... he makes a point of our lives - roughly summarizing - not being as important as we seem to think in his book "Pale Blue Dot" - but that we 'd be able to protect what we have with technology and use of science in a "beneficial" way. (I am not in anyway opposed to improvement in science, in contrast it's crucial in some ways. But I don't think we necessarily use it for the good when we claim we do, generally speaking.) Interesting arguments regarding our future. At the end of the day I am uncomfortable in my body, having read what Aldoux Huxley mentions in "Brave New World" .

Where does it go? What comes next?

Times like this, I am not sure if the reason I have a food blog is because there is comfort in a "hedonistic outlet" as I see it.
On a positive note, I need the good nutrition fix so my mind can wander among those questions above. Or say, it's just a good enough way to keep focused on what tends to get overlooked in the way of life : the beautiful. Food, being just one of them.

... And Sunday is supposed to be spontaneous!
Might as well maintain a healthy body - I sure want to live long enough to see where we go.

So, I had some broccoli. Speaking of which, I wish we had broccoflower. Looks interesting. Especially romanesco broccoli!

I figured only a head of broccoli would be enough. Each piece having a bit of stalk and florets, they were ready to be washed. Then brought a liter of water + 1 tbs salt to a boil and placed the broccoli pieces in. Squeezed half a lemon just because I read somewhere that it'd protect the green color. Don't remember if it was good for anything else. After 3-5 mins I decided they were ready. Better to not keep them in for long as to keep the nutrition value higher. Placed them on a plate and garnished with spices like cayenne pepper, black pepper and dried mint. Squeezed the other half of lemon. Mixed half a cup of plain Turkish yogurt with a tablespoonful of olive oil and a pinch of salt and poured in the middle. Sprinkled some Indian turmeric spice just cause.
Made a healthy snack.

I love food if it can be described by these: zesty, tangy and spicy. This one was definitely a good example... easy to make, healthy. While eating I looked up the iron value of broccoli. So apparently broccoli and other plants are in the non-heme iron category and it'd be good idea to consume them with vitamin C as it provides better iron absorbtion. Happy I already did that without knowing. Some info on why iron is an important mineral for us by clicking this. I benefited from it. Have a spontaneous Sunday!

April 25, 2009

Mingling Feel : Homemade Unripened Fig Jam, New Guinness Record & Spring In My City

I am back home from my trip to sister's town. Let me tell you how it was... On the day I'd arrived, I was hoping to attend this food festival during which a new Guinness record would be set. All about food! I had to be there. Approximately three hours behind my plan, I arrived there excitedly. Leaving my bags but camera, I literally dragged mom, sister and her partner to the festival area - impatient at that point. As we approach, the music gets louder. Feeling festive... Imagining all the yummy food...

Wait a minute.

That's when I realized we're all actually standing on an almost empty festival area. There's plastic forks, empty plates but FOOD!

Apparently, it went all so fast. Just a matter of getting there 3 hours earlier - would I get a visual feast. Boo, no food tasting or fancy photos.

On a brighter note, we hold the record for the world's biggest open buffet for now. I found a website in my language and I was hoping to pass a link of its translated version but it didn't work well, or make sense in English. So, I'll just mention myself...

Guinness Record For The World's Biggest Open Buffet to Kusadasi, Turkey 2009

Photo credit: Guinness World Records, http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/tr/recent_records_4.aspx

400 hundred cooks participated in preparations of 1028 dishes - %90 percent of them being Turkish. Guinness director Kelly Garrett from London was present for the record attempt. Tasted all the dishes beginning from early morning hours, and granted the new record to Kusadasi, Turkey. (Shout out to Tangled Noodle here - Wouldn't we both wish to be in Garrett's place!) The previous record holder was Arizona, US with 601 dishes.

What an event!

Just before the trip, I've been to my neighborhood's weekly farmer's market with mom. Luckily it was such a bright and warm day to enjoy being outdoors. I took my camera with me, and captured freshness. We're able to get fresh produce for reasonable prices all the time - well, compared to other places - but somehow around this time of year; I can appreciate it all much more. The weather improves, so does the mood.

omemade Unripened Fig Jam

I was familiar with fig jam before, but I knew nothing about "how to make it" part. Mom got unripened figs at our recent grocery shopping at local farmer's market. The fruit didn't seem inviting at all... but I'm glad mom insisted on buying it. I made a collage to show preparation steps. Turned out quite easier than expected!

Mom let me learn it, I'll pass how she taught me.

  • Picture 1: Remove the stems using a knife
  • Picture 2: Make a cut on bottom as I show
  • Picture 3: Collect all figs (1 kg... makes app 2 lbs I think) in a bowl and wash
  • Unpictured: Pick a pot for jam making and fill with water two fingers above figs
  • Bring to a boil, remove the water and refill while figs are still in x 3 times(It's done because of figs being unripened)
  • The fourth time, fill water into pot just the same but this time add sugar too
  • Mom said that usually the measurement ratio goes 1:2 but we agreed not to use that much sugar this time, so 750 gr sugar went into pot (still so much for some out there... but there'splenty of DIY instructions online)
  • When it brings to a boil, add vanilla extract for a flavor boost and let boil till it thickens a bit naturally
  • Picture 4: Pour jam into glass jars while hot and let cool.
  • Picture 5: Whole figs oozing with flavor...


limpses from a day I enjoyed a lot

When mom and I were done with the grocery shopping, we took a different walking route home - glad we did. It was so warm and relaxing as we were passing through a small park, we sat on the grass to enjoy it. Meanwhile, I looked around and captured the invigorating.

Feeling quite hungry, we couldn't help snacking on some delicious bread & olive.

Oh zucchini...

When we were rested enough, it was time for going back home. This daisy I found:

Now the water is quite weak... There's been times it's overflown during rains.

Looking at this... I was reminded of India memories in a flash. Back to 2006 summer now. My then roommate and I were staying in New Delhi, and that one day we took a trip to Old Delhi with all the historical sightseeing places in it. I am not quite sure where I took the photo below... Maybe Firoz Shah Kotla - but the point is, it's interesting how the brain works...

Walking towards home, I spot amazing flowers:

Take a trip somewhere near, with a lot of green... It's rejuvenating. I wish we'd have less apartments and more green in the city, but with the hills already being covered up with construction sites - any chance, any glimpse of green you get works wonders. And now I am reminded of the US visits, how my boyfriend took me to places.

I am glad there's a lot of things to miss.

April 15, 2009

Midnight Craving For Pastry : Turkish Pogaca

- Turkish whole wheat pogaca, filled with Ezine cheese, coriander leaves and pinenuts... sprinkled with black cumin seeds

** Ezine cheese is a local Turkish cheese kind

Yet another day for "taking it easy".

In the first part of it I was concerned if my computer needs a repair; because last night the PC case released a burning smell. After immediately turning it off, I asked help from my boyfriend who has advanced knowledge with computers. He suggested I would take a look inside the case, maybe it's the dust. I did as I was told and wow. It never occurred to me that the PC case would have such problem due to dust! This is my first desktop computer... Well, okay. After making sure my main outlet to world worked well; I was occupied with reading during the day, remaining physically quite inactive. Just when it was late though, I felt the need to get up and be productive. I cleaned my room along to PJ Harvey's songs. There's something familiar about her that draws me close only in certain times. Satisfied with cleaning, I went online for a while. By that time it was around midnight. That very time for impossible to ease cravings - except for this time I was reasonable with my craving: Turkish pogaca. (I had all the necessary ingredients)

It's a kind of pastry Turkish people adore, just like "borek" which I mentioned in a recent post that you can jump to by clicking here. Borek is made out of phyllo sheets, pogaca on the other hand is made out of dough. This doesn't make sense... I just remember where phyllo comes from. Okay, next.

When I googled it out of curiosity as to how other people mention it in English, I noticed some odd stuff. Pogaca does not equate to biscuit. Or it doesn't necessarily mean it's filled with cheese. Pogaca is very compatible with whatever filling there is. We just seem to favor cheese over other options, that's it.

Moving onto the kitchen part.

I decided to use whole wheat flour as a change. Normally, we'd use refined white flour. Both ones work. It's just a matter of choice and I like to have options when it comes down to cooking.

I'm a fan of pogaca with potato filling but this time, I craved for the particular cheese taste. Speaking of cheese, it's another decision to make there. Since cheese is a big part of a Turkish person's appetite, it's more than likely there's some kind of cheese in every fridge there is. Usually, a few kinds all together. Or there *used* to be. In any case, no matter how bad the economy goes though... I think we'd still stick to cheese, somehow. It's just that important. It's interesting... because when people have to watch their budgets, they cut down the expenses to a maximum obviously. So, when Turkish people do this; they'll keep the breakfast food - as this course is the most important to us. However, my mind is wandering into some other people's possible lives where they don't have what I do have and thinking of it just buries me in embarrassment. Nothing new... for any of us.

Back to the pogaca ingredients...

My mom was awake as I was kneading the dough. She came to check up on me. Seeing that I pour some flour, see how that fits... maybe more this, that... she asked why I would not use the measurements ( Her measurements are very easy-going) Well, unless it's a complete new unknown dish... no measurements please. Sometimes when I'm asked for a recipe, I'm having hard time thinking of one. Just because of the exact reason.

Then again... if anyone would like to make this pastry, I *will* gather my mind and write an easy to follow recipe. Let me know, foodies...

Pogaca itself is very easy to make. Anyone will make it, I think. But the thing is, will it taste exactly as desired? Usually mine come out quite well to our liking... At first I'd make the chunks big so the outcome would still be okay to consume, but somehow in need of more filling. By time, I had a better idea of chunk sizes and filling ratio to go with those. I can please the type A personality foodie even. /giggle.

I'm just thinking... if someone asked me for the recipe later, there's a good chance I'd forget what I did tonight. Plus, some events are coming up... I plan to keep really busy. First... easy recipe:

- Dough Ingredients: 2 cups (or more?! i'll explain) Whole wheat flour, 2 eggs (1 egg goes into the bowl, 1 egg to spread on pogacas before going to oven) , pinch of salt, baking powder, 50 ml. oil or butter (melted and let cool if butter used), 1 cup plain yogurt

- Filling: Anything! This time mine had: Ezine cheese, pinenuts, coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, grounded black pepper

- Ideas for possible fillings:
Boiled-peeled-mashed potato, spices. Vegetables stir fried but not cooked and spices.
Combination of veggies, cheese and spices. What else... These for now. Oh yeah, meat can go in too. Just nothing sweet. This is meant to be a salty pastry.

As for making the dough and measurements... mom would say that you need such consistent dough to feel "as soft as your earlobe". I don't know if it's known in English... Just translating directly.

  • So I pour all dough ingredients into a bowl except for the second egg.
  • Take out a table spoon or another stirring utensil and start stirring. How does the mixture feel? Intuition tells the best. I immediately knew that my dough called for more flour.
  • Instead of overloading with flour, I gradually add it to be on the safe side.
  • Eventually it comes to a point when it's okay to get fingers in flour first and begin kneading. Like this, it doesn't get much sticky & messy.

Mom helped with the filling. She took out a fork and mashed cheese. Sprinkled spices. Chopped coriander. Ready. The approximate measurement I gave with flour could make sixteen pogacas... And for each pogaca there is a need for two teaspoonful filling.

I spread some oil on the baking tray with my fingers. Pre-heat oven to 200 celcius degree.

Pulling out chunks of dough, I flatten them in the palm of my hand and put some filling. Make ends meet in a half moon shape. The rest just goes like this till the end. When all pogacas are placed on the tray, the other egg is scrambled and seperated from white. The yolk, yellow part is spreaded over pogacas and then black cumin seed is sprinkled.

As usual I have more filling than I need. Luckily it can be consumed with bread or something. No problem.

Tray goes into the oven and I start watching. It relaxes me so much to watch the bake. 15 minutes later ready, I think. Just need to watch this sign: Pogaca is ready when it's tanned nicely.

That's really it.

This pastry would make a perfect breakfast, along with tea... Actually, aside from making these at home; we have pastry houses that'll make it early in the morning so when you rush for school, or work you just have to grab one on the way. Turkish people like to take their time for breakfast, but when life gets busy... we will maybe negotiate with our time, though in no way compromise from the taste.

Some of us will even crave and make it at midnight, then sit to share it for example.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming events I plan to go...

I am in definite need of relieving the graduation pressure in a good way.

In the weekend I'll go to a concert, join a food festival to watch the Guinness record attempt for "world's biggest open buffet" which is to be prepared with 1001 different Turkish dishes (paradise!) and next week, book fair and meet up with a former classmate.

Then comes May, and I am born.

April 12, 2009

Spicy Marinated Beef w/ Mushrooms and Mozzarella Cheese

Red meat mostly visits our pots rather than pans which mean we use it as a side ingredient in a main dish, less in quantity so to speak. The price range of course plays a big role in that, but I think we would still stick with our Turkish dishes that "feature" red meat given the condition it was made more budget-friendly. We have a big variety of savory dishes featuring red meat in Turkish cuisine.

As a change, I decided that red meat would get the main role for dinner. While I was shopping for it, I explained that I'd like to marinate it with spices and then cook slowly. Satisfied with my shopping, I was back home. Checking on the spices I had; cayenne pepper, grounded black pepper looked the most appealing among others. We had fresh garlic, it was definitely going in. Olive oil a must, said the Mediterranean in me. So, the plan was set! In a container, I poured olive oil to cover the base, one layer meat and spices & chopped garlic over it, then other layer of meat.. just like this, I stacked all four layers - making sure each layer could absorb the marinate sauce well over night. It rested a night and I took a picture of my ingredients for this dish:

- Mushrooms washed, beef marinated, fresh garlic cloves and some mint leaves ready

Additionally, I used rings I cut from half an onion to go in with meat and mushroom on the pan and some mozzarella cheese at the end for extra flavor which are not in the picture.

- I didn't let cheese melt, so we could distinguish flavors better

Cooking was easier than I predicted. I placed marinated beef on a non sticky pan, mushrooms as whole, garlic cloves, onion rings all together. I lowered the heat as much as possible because we enjoy beef well done; so it'd cook slow but just give us the taste we crave. I mostly left the cooking do itself, but occasionally stirred and meanwhile couldn't keep patient. The smell it released was so good to a mesmerizing point. When I made sure that it was done, I thinly sliced mozzarella cheese and just spreaded over beef. We like mushroom & melted mozzarella in the oven a lot, so featuring cheese would remind us of that taste, I thought... Here is the dish:

- Close up of mushrooms

- Spicy Marinated Beef w/ Mushrooms and Mozzarella Cheese dish, I served with green onion

After getting our protein levels fixed, we returned to our greens. Especially in the region I'm from, we're especially known for our love for greens, herbs. I'm Aegean. The city I live in is named "pearl of the Aegean".

Lastly, a photo I've taken of the coast I reside on from winter which was like a bright spring day with some occasional breeze:

April 10, 2009

Too Many In One: Menemen; Popular Turkish Egg Dish, "Oh, You Didn't" Cake, Relief About School, Spring Love

It was such a relief to make it to noon for me, today. In this week I've been busy studying for my exam which was due Friday morning. Since this class I'm taking is my last until university graduation, I focus on it seriously. On Thursday I get a text message from my classmate, letting me know that I might want to go to school because my name is on the "get in touch with us asap" list of student affairs office at my faculty. Just as graduation is approaching, this sudden news make me quite uncomfortable.I go to the office, anxiously, and find it out: I have to take one more class - otherwise I can't graduate. (In fact I have already taken more than minimum amount of credits... but you need to complete exact amount per term and that's where it went wrong before, so they say) What confused me is, prior to every term I did my registration with an officer, it just can't go wrong! She admits her fault. There, in the end I have to take care of this. When's the exam for that class? Today! (Meaning... on Friday) Finding out Thursday, taking the exam on Friday. What class? Adult Psychopathology.

- This is me from a break during studying at night

Ehh... Speechless. Emotions rushed to my brain in fact, "should we make a drama out of this and spend few hours bitterly?" - No, no. Can't afford it. Okay.

- I was distracted thinking, and ended up doing this arrangement. Isn't it ironic that Ganesha is believed to be an obstacle remover... (and placer, too.)

To sum up, while I was studying for one completely unexpected exam and my other exam last night, it was food I found comfort in. Here's what I did: I bought chocolate strawberry cake for base, sweet cream mixture to make it with milk for filling, and banana to decorate! I plan to learn baking sweet stuff, too.

- "Oh, you didn't" cake

Now that I took both exams, it's a great amount of relief I feel. Besides, it was such a beautiful spring day. Staying outdoors felt so good I didn't want to come home. So after getting off the bus, I walked as slowly as possible and felt warmed up. Sunny days with a breeze... Just the perfect weather to me. On the way I got Maji some chicken. I don't know if she likes her special meal or this whole chicken cooked on big rolling skewer more, though. Maybe she doesn't care because both have chicken, and she loves it. Hmm. I wonder if anyone that stops by is a cat lover, as well? If so, let me know I'll post homemade healthy cat food preparation I do, to share with you.

As I turned around the corner and continued walking, there was my favorite homeless cat buddy who I usually feed. Such a weak little voice for that body! I find him so cute for this reason. He got the chicken leg and I talked to him while watching him a little as he ate chicken with pleasure. When I got back home, I also fed my cat too and it was my turn to eat.

Menemen, a popular and easy to prepare Turkish egg dish

I was very lifted to see mom cook for me, thinking that I would be tired for it. Couldn't agree more! She made me a kind of egg dish we call "menemen". Menemen is a Turkish breakfast dish, originally. It has pepper, tomato, onion, eggs and spices. She made me the traditional one which I'll share now that I mentioned it.

- A slice of mozzarella cheese melts on top - not in original version, but why not?

Ingredients would be:

2 eggs
3 tomatos
2 peppers
1 white onion
2 tbs butter/oil of choice

I want to add a note here, amount of veggies could change due to your liking. Just make sure you have them all if you're going for the original taste.

Spices especially:

Grounded black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Mint (dried is okay. mom put fresh mint so herbs are fine as well)

- Noon meal


First of all I'd dice all of the ingredients for convenience. Melt butter on pan, white onion goes first. Keep stirring, onions become translucent - now's the time for peppers. We had long & thin slightly hot green peppers, but any kind of pepper will do. Get green bell pepper if you want. Just get vitamin A fix! Good for skin and eyes. Back to the cooking, peppers now softened so it's tomatos turn. Tomatos will make it watery as they get cooked, it's okay. It's good idea to add the spices now, so they'll release flavor into it. Lower the heat and let tomatos get ready. As that happens, it's time for eggs. Tap the eggs firmly on the side of non sticky pan in turns and scramble them onto the veggies. Mix the egg white and yolk and cover evenly all over the veggies. If you think this is hard, well try scrambling them into a bowl, mix there and then pour it over veggies same thing. Now, slow cooking 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt if you like. Ready.

(It's much easier to cook it than instruct it that long!)

Along with it:

Any kind of bread!
Additionally I had purslane with garlic, olive oil and Turkish yogurt.

- Purslane meze, refreshing

I haven't had menemen or purslane meze in a while, so it was a delish meal for me. Feeling more energetic afterwards, I noticed how beautiful it is still outside. Days are longer... it means more sunshine. Definitely love it.

As I was looking out the window enjoying the sun, my cat joined me soon after. I thought I'd capture my relief and her adorable face in the same frame. She wasn't much interested, so much stimuli from the street, I understand. But, I care for memories.

- Maji baby is distracted...

... and I am done, for today.

I already have the draft saved for next post, marinated beef. Though this post was like a therapy I had to attend in my mind with a priority, in order to put things in order and feel comfort again.

April 08, 2009

Baby Spinach, Pistacchio, Yogurt & Banana Spread

As we had more baby spinach after making the baby spinach pasta with turkish yogurt, I decided I'd make use of it in a nutritious way. Since we had whole grain rustic bread, I knew it had to be consumed with bread. I get the idea when food processor catches my eye.
It was breakfast time, might as well boost the nutrition then. Ingredients I had were:

That's it. Oh also another surprise (not that necessary but it was that time of month) ingredient: Chocolate chips!

Rest is all few seconds long chopping/pureeing job. Enjoy it like I did!

April 06, 2009

Take it Easy Day: Baby Spinach Pasta with Turkish Yogurt

Sometimes I'll just rush to see the pictures of the food being mentioned in the blog post. (Sometimes?) No, Most of the time. Always! Visuality comes first for me. I need to be able to smell, and almost taste the food just by the looks of it. Then comes the curiosity for the recipe, cooking method, ingredients... Since it's Monday though; I've got no recipe! Today I just want to take it easy with that, and go with pictures with little notes attached. It's not a complicated dish anyway. Nutritious and delicious... how about those? Check, and check. Enjoy!

April 03, 2009

Turkish Pan Borek w/ Nettle & Feta : Phyllo Pastry That Won't Bite You Back!

... Nettles? Used as filling to phyllo pastry?

Nettles! This is a plant that's been used as herbal medicine for centuries and even to this day that continues in rural areas of my country. How about the culinary use of it? I did a quick search for it, by that I mean that I went to websites that has my props - like one of them being TasteSpotting.com ! Using the search option, I just wanted to find out how many kinds of nettle featuring food I could find. Some examples are:

- Nettle soup (popular)
- Nettle tea (hmm it's described as tonic. oh, nettles have an effect to draw excess fluid from body. one fact!)
- Nettle pesto (not sure! basil seems to have won my heart.)
- Nettle ravioli & pasta (i'll try both! - but i want yogurt. sorry nettles for i'm treating you as a substitute to spinach here)
- Nettle risotto (if i'm ever out of options what to cook. - err. see i'm positive.)
- Nettle fritters (mm sorry.)

By the way the best Google search could come up with was nettle soup, so. Moving on.

...Turkish Pan Borek w/ Nettle & Feta?

First of all; Turkish people adore borek ("börek" in fact - could be pronounced as boh-rek roughly.) . Borek; being the phyllo pastry - fillings of it vary from cheese, vegetables, meat... It's a very versatile food for us. We might have it for breakfast, as a companion to Turkish tea. Or simply anytime of day. For example now, the hungry Turk typing these lines on a sleepless 4:37 am in the morning - could happily have some. Have my mom make it, though. Please?

Börek - as we Turkish people call it - has been one of the favorite "comfort foods" of my childhood. It'd make my day to wake up to its warm, invigorating smell coming fresh out of the oven. That feeling it would give... It's important for me as a symbol of feeling happy - more than it's taste. I should be fair though, it tastes just as great.

Back to today's focus.

Turkish Pan Borek w/ Nettle & Feta Preparation:

  1. Nettles, washed. Some olive oil. Non-sticky pan :Nettles as the main ingredient, are not stingy anymore after being stir fried till the leaves don't fight back the utensil, meaning they are softened from heat of the non-sticky pan.
  2. Nettles ready to use, feta cheese, grounded black pepper : Preparing a mix of nettles & feta cheese - avoid extra salt depending on cheese type. Feta to me is naturally a little salty, so.
  3. Spreading the phyllo layers: Phyllo - 4 or 5 layers feed three. Almost.
  4. Keep olive oil (about a tablespoonful of), some milk (i'm not strict with measurements... really. milk here is just being used to keep the phyllo moist inside while it'll be crispy outside. so milk is just a side ingredient being the peacemaker in between phyllo and pan! use accordingly.)
That was the hard part.

Next step is, to spread one layer of phyllo dough on a flat surface - and sprinkle? some nettle & feta mix on it, making sure it's in even amount in middle. Holding the phyllo from the ends and making them meet in the center, covering the filling. So now there should be almost a rectangular shape with ends tucked in; till it took a rectangular-ish shape. Almost a tutorial I tried to make with a simple doodle:

This folding type is for the inner layer. On a non-sticky pan with help of some butter or oil of choice, first layer gets made until crispy on outside. Then this layer gets placed in second layer phyllo waiting on the side. More filling on top, and then ends tucked in again. Each time, phyllo layers tucked in each other with more filling on top. Cooked until crispy, then onto the next layer of uncooked phyllo and again the same step. More layers could be added. Following this, the pastry is ready!

Credit: I had this pastry at my sister's place, made by sister's boyfriend.

Taste: It was moist inside and crispy outside. Nettle & feta went well together, but spinach is easily a substitute to nettle if necessary. Sister contributed with a delicious salad of mostly greens - she's the master salad maker.

Thank you for reading.



That's sister and me... just caught in action.

Okay, I had fast food. I didn't like it. My tummy did.


Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
All photography and text are copyright of Spirited Miu Flavor/Ozge Yesildag unless otherwise credited. Use of content is only allowed if a link back to this website is provided.