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Archive for the ‘Salad’ Category

Tomato Salad with Olive Oil

Tomato Salad with Olive Oil

Probably one of the most classical summer salad at Turkish homes is the Çoban Salad (Pronounced as Choban and means Shepherd’s Salad). There are lots of varieties in the US, under many different names: Mediterranean Salad, Greek Salad etc. The main idea is the same though, this is a refreshing summer salad that you can serve almost with anything.

The recipe is basically mixture of summer fruits. 🙂 Ok, I won’t go into the detail of a famous debate, whether tomatoes and cucumbers are fruit. Because they are technically fruits! There, end of the debate. 😉

If you don’t care about the taxonomy, you can enjoy this with grilled meats, as an appetizer or even as a main course. Feel free to play around with the recipe, and customize. Any kind of tomatoes as long as they are flavorful would work. Choose your chillies according to your spice endurance, they can be mild or hot, its up to you.  Another crucial ingredient is a good quality olive oil, do not substitute it with any other oil and try to use a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil if possible.

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Grilled eggplant salad

Grilled Eggplant Salad

Eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables. Underneath their hard and purple exterior there is a white spongy flesh which goes well with many different flavors. They cook quickly and can be eaten with meat, as cold dishes or even salads.

A popular Turkish legend says there are more than 100 unique eggplant dishes. Even though I cannot verify that claim, I should say that eggplants are used in many different ways in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Some of those dishes are harder to cook – they involve carving, frying or stuffing the vegetable– but some are quite easy. This salad is one of the easiest and tastiest ones. I cook it quite often, it goes very well with grilled meats, or as a main dish. You can also spread it to baguettes to make some appetizers.

Traditionally, eggplants are cooked over charcoal fire for this dish.
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Quinoa Salad w/ black beans & avocados

Quinoa is something new for me.

I kept seeing it in grocery stores, but was reluctant to use it.  Then, while I was doing an eating challenge for my public health and nutrition class last year,  I wanted to explore different kinds of whole grains and quinoa was one of the new discoveries. Quinoa grains look like tiny lentil grains, once cooked they have a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. They can be either eaten cold in salads or warm, just like pilafs.

The first time I cooked quinoawas with a broth as a side dish. which also came out pretty good. But as soon as I tasted the quinoa for the first time an array of Mexican flavors passed through my eyes, and the result is this recipe. 🙂

Be bold, quinoa goes well with almost anything, but if you are in a Mexican food mood, make sure you try this one. (more…)

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Baked Zucchini Patties

Baked Zucchini Patties

Just like other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern people, Turks also love stuffed vegetables. They try to fill every kind of vegetable you can think of with rice or rice-meat mixture. If the vegetable is not a leafy one, then it is hollowed out for stuffing. And zucchini patties are almost always a side dish to the stuffed zucchinis.  Every household would save the carved out tender zucchini flesh, and once the demanding stuffing procedure is done, remaining zucchini pieces are grated and turned into delicious patties.

I like very kind of zucchini dish, and this is also one of my favorites.  In it is original form, the batter is runnier and it is deep fried in olive oil. However, I follow a different, healthier interpretation. I saw this idea in another food blog (in Turkish) few years ago, and played around with the recipe a little bit.  As a result, this become one of my favorite recipes, being super easy and healthy at the same time.

It serves as a great appetizer, side dish or as a brunch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs zucchini
  • 3-4 scallions
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (more…)

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Coleslaw w/ dried cranberries

Coleslaw w/ dried cranberries

Cabbage is a leafy vegetable in the cruciferous vegetables family. As with all the members in this smelly vegetables group, they release a very strong and unpleasant smell while cooking.  Some people like the taste and would not mind the smell but some people just plainly hate it.  As a result there are many cabbage haters, along with cabbage eaters.  But neverthless, cabbages are health foods, there are recent and promising studies that show their effect as anti-cancerogens.

Even though I am a cabbage eater, I live with a cabbage hater. Lately  I realized eating cruciferous vegetables raw would not release that horrible odor, and your loved one might actually enjoy these wondrous nutritious vegetable without being disgusted by that horrible smell.
I came across this recipe in Food Network some time ago, and I tried it. We both liked it very much, and since it has been a classic side dish for us, especially with Slow Cooked BBQ Baby Ribs. Like every recipe, this one developed over time, and actually even now I do keep experimenting with different ingredients. (more…)

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Kısır: Turkish Bulgur Salad

Kisir or Kısır ( as spelled in its original form) is a very popular Turkish bulgur salad. It is a classic for the afternoon tea parties of the women, and generally accompanied by some borek ( cheese pastries) and tea. It resembles Tabouleh a bit, but it is not the same.

It is a very healthy  dish, contains bulgur (par-boiled whole wheat), lots of vegetables and fresh herbs, lemon juice and some olive oil.

Every family has a different kisir recipe, and they all taste different.  I like it when it is fluffy and spicy so feel free to adjust it to your own taste and add or subtract ingredients. 🙂

Most grocery stores carry bulgur for Tabouleh, but that is generally not the type you want for Kisir.  Kisir’s bulgur should be finely grounded, this way it will be softer and fluffy once soaked. If you can find a Middle Eastern or an Indian grocery store around look for No.1 or No.2 bulgur to get a better taste of this delicious salad.  If you cannot find those, you can go with the regular kind, but beware that larger grained bulgur needs more water and heat to cook than this recipe calls for. So experiment according to your taste.

Second interesting kick in this dish is Sumac.  Sumac is actually a kind of berry, and the ground form is used in Middle Eastern dishes to give a fruity sour flavor to the foods.  It is not a must, but I urge you to try it, because it is delicious. (more…)

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