Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken with Bechamel Sauce

I like this recipe because it is easy to prepare and you can use leftover chicken or remaining turkey from Thanksgiving dinner.


5-6 pieces of chicken (it can be any type of chicken; leg , breast, leftover chicken..)
4 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of milk
1 cup of finely shredded mozzarella cheese


Boil the chicken in salty water until it is tender. Separate the bones and tear the chicken into small pieces with your hands.
In a small saucepan melt the butter , add the flour and stirring constantly add the milk very slowly. Continue stirring until you have a smooth creamy sauce.
Put the chicken into an oven pan with some of the chicken broth that you obtained when you boiled the chicken. Put the béchamel sauce on top of it and sprinkle the cheese. Cook it in the oven until the top gets brown.
Bon Appetite!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Turkish Dolma ( stuffed grape leaves )

1- Take the grape leaves out of their jar and gently pull them apart. They are very thin and break easily, so be careful.
2- Remove the stems of the leaves with a sharp knife.
3-Place the leaves in a pot of boiling water. Let them boil for approximately 15 minutes. This both removes the salty brine from the leaves and makes them more durable.
4 -Cut the lemons into thin, circular slices.

Making the Filling:

1-Soak the rice in hot water with a pinch of salt for 20 to 25 minutes. It should be softer, but not soft enough to eat.
2-Use the oil to sauté the garlic, onion and parsley. 
3-Add the drained rice, allspice, red pepper and black pepper to the sauté pan. Mix the ingredients thoroughly for about 10 minutes.Remove from heat.

Stuffing the Leaves:

1-Place a grape leaf on a cutting board or clean countertop, with the cut-off stem end facing you. Add about 2 tablespoons of the mixture to the leaf near where the stem used to be. Fold in the left and right sides of the leaf and then roll it up. Repeat until all but 20 leaves are stuffed.

2-Use the remaining leaves to line the bottom of a large pot.

3-Arrange the stuffed leaves in the pot as tightly as possible, placing slices of lemon between each layer of leaves.

4-Pour in the water.

5-Place a heat-proof dish on the leaves to keep them from coming loose.

6-Simmer until the leaves are soft and the rice mixture is tender--usually about 1/2 hour.

  • 1 (32 oz.) jar of grape leaves
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup white, long grain rice
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 large, finely chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4-1/8 tsp. finely ground red pepper
  • 2 cups of water 
  • 2 lemons
  • Cutting board or flat work surface
  • Large saute pan
  • Large cooking pot
Serve cold with a little bit lemon juice. Bon appetite !

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving History - Turkey and Country Turkey

The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopa) is native to North America and was a staple in the Native American diet. It was imported to Europe in the early part of the 16th century by the Spaniards via Turkey (the country.) It was confused in those early times with the Guinea fowl which also arrived via Turkey, and both birds were called turkeys in those days. When it was assigned its latin name in the 18th century, the name turkey still stuck. Native Americans called it peru with no reference to the country of the same name. 

Turkey was introduced to the early Pilgrim settlers by the Native American Wampanoag tribe after the Pilgrims arrived in 1620. The first year for the settlers was bleak, with many dying from the journey. Their seeds, aside from barley, did not produce any usable crops. The Indians assisted the settlers, introducing them to native foods such as corn and squash and showed them how to hunt and fish. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 at the behest of Governor William Bradford, and the Native Americans were invited guests of honor. 

Thanksgiving became an official holiday in the United States on October 3, 1863 via proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln. This was largely due to the lobbying efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Magazine who had lobbied for 17 years for the holiday. The proclamation declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. 

By 1916, Thanksgiving was referred to in writings as Turkey Day due to the popularity of the bird at the traditional feast. 

Interestingly enough, in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move the official Thanksgiving date to earlier in November in order encourage a longer Christmas shopping season as a Depression recovery strategy. His idea was shut down by Congress, and the official date was declared permanently as the fourth Thursday in November via Public Law #379. 

The popularity of wild turkeys nearly wiped them out. The federal government stepped in with protection in 1991, and they are now found in 49 states. 

Turkey was most-associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, making winter the prime season for turkey farmers. In 1935, the per capita consumption of turkey was only 1.7 pounds. 

Today, turkey has been recognized as a lean substitute for red meat. Aggressive marketing by turkey farmers by advertising and availability of parts rather than the necessity of cooking a whole bird has increased consumption to 20 pounds per person per year, with 74 percent of the consumption being in sliced turkey sandwiches. 

And, of course, who can resist drying the wishbone from the breast of the turkey to make a wish?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fortune Telling over a cup of Turkish Coffee..

In Turkey it's very popular trying to see your fortune by looking inside the cup that you drink your coffee.
After drinking ,we turn over our coffee cups,wait for a while and after the cup gets cool down we turn it back and try to understand our fortune.Some people are really experts on this subject and they can tell you lots stories only by looking at the shapes inside the cup.Also people use this as an excuse to share a conversation about their hopes and dreams for the future.

If you would like to try,here are some symbols to understand your future:

Bird                              : a visitor is on his/her way to you with quite exciting news
Cat                               : be careful about that person, think if she/he is good for you
Clover with four leaves   : luck
Crown                          : achievement
Dog                             : the one you love is so truthful to you
Elephant                       : you will receive financial support from a wealthy person
Envelope                      : you will receive good news
Fish                             : a chunk of money is waiting for you
Horse                           : singles will get married, married ones will buy a new house
Key                              : open all doors and eliminate obstacles
Long lines                    : you will travel
Pomegranate                : prosperity
Snake                          : watch for the silent enemy
Turtle                          : will meet someone that you will share your house with
                                     2. longevity / luck

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to prepare Turkish Coffee..

Turkish Coffee                                                       

Very fine powder Turkish Coffee-1 full teaspoon for each cup
Water-one coffee cup of water for each person
         Sugar-optional (if used,one teaspoon per person)

1.    Time required:about 3-5 minutes
2.    Items needed:small coffee cups like espresso cups and a long handled pot
3.    Put one coffee cup of water and one full teaspoon of coffee for each person into the pot
4.    The amount of sugar must be determined before you begin.If you like it with sugar you need to put it in the pot before you cook it;one teaspoon of sugar for each person.Or if you like it without sugar,you simply skip the sugar.
5.    Put everything into the pot and stir well.
6.    Use low heat and bring the coffee slowly to boil.
7.    As it boils,the froth forms on top.Just before it overflows,remove the pot from the heat and divide the froth into the coffee cups.
8.    Bring the rest of the coffee to boil again and pour equally into the cups.
9.    You can now serve you coffee and Bon Appetit!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Eggplant Salad

Below is my eggplant salad recipe that I recently shared with my son's elementary school multicultural committee's recipe exchange event.

Ingredients  (Serves 4) :

6 large egg-plants
1 lemon
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 dozen black olives
1 tomato
1 pinch of salt

1. Put the lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl.
2. Grill whole egg-plants on gas flame(or wood fire) until they got burnt outside and very soft inside.
3. Hold each egg-plant by the stem under running tap water for 2-3 seconds.Then peel the skin off.Cut the stem off and mash it with a fork.
4. Put it immediately in the bowl,mixing well with lemon juice and olive oil.
5. Add finely chopped onions,crushed garlic,vinegar and salt.
6. Decorate with sliced tomatoes and black olives.

Bon Appetite-Afiyet olsun!

Use of Eggplant in Turkish Kitchen

Eggplant has a special place in the Turkish kitchen and is served in hundreds of variations -- cold or hot, in salad form, with or without meat. 

About Turkish Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central AsianMiddle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighbouring cuisines, including that of western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Middle Eastern cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt), creating a vast array of specialities- many with strong regional associations.
Taken as a whole, Turkish cuisine is not homogeneous. Aside from common Turkish specialities that can be found throughout the country, there are also many region-specific specialities. The Black Sea region's cuisine (northern Turkey) is based on corn and anchovies. The southeast—UrfaGaziantep and Adana—is famous for its kebabsmezes and dough-based desserts such as baklavakadayıf and künefe. Especially in the western parts of Turkey, where olive trees are grown abundantly, olive oil is the major type of oil used for cooking. The cuisines of the AegeanMarmara and Mediterranean regions display basic characteristics of Mediterranean cuisine as they are rich in vegetables, herbs, and fish. Central Anatolia is famous for its pasta specialties, such as keşkek (kashkak), mantı (especially from Kayseri) and gözleme.
A specialty's name sometimes includes that of a city or region, either in or outside of Turkey, and may refer to the specific technique or ingredients used in that area. For example, the difference between Urfa kebab and Adana kebab is the use of garlic instead of onion and the larger amount of hot pepper that kebab contains.