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Hello from Azerbaijan!

Samovar Tea in Ismayilli Region, Azerbaijan

Tea from a samovar enjoyed in the region of Ismayilli, Azerbaijan. After 3 years, I am finally back in Azerbaijan. I’ve been here for about a month already, staying in Baku with my family. The first couple of weeks were spent on a jetlag recovery, then I resumed my work on the book design and all things book related. Most […]

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Behind the Scenes – Book Cover Photo Shoot

Book cover - behind the scenes

Friends, I am very excited to let you know that the work on my first cookbook is progressing! We recently had a photo shoot for the cover. My friend Viktoria, who has the sharpest eyes and is great with food styling, helped me style the dish we chose for the cover. Alan De Herrera, an amazing food photographer, took the photos. […]

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Garlicky Eggplant with Tomatoes

Garlicky Eggplant with Tomatoes

It’s been “years” since my last post, hasn’t it? Or at least it feels so to me. I am not “to  blame”. A couple of weeks ago I took a brief vacation from my full time job to rest and to temporarily reunite with my blog. Instead, I had to take care of a medical emergency that popped out of  […]

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Happy Novruz! Happy Spring! Happy New Beginnings!

Meltem Buyuran with "Semeni" - Symbol of Spring

Spring is here and it means Novruz to Azerbaijan and several other countries around the world. It is time to celebrate the arrival of spring, the nature’s awakening, new life and new beginnings. Semeni, sprouted wheat, is the symbolf of this holiday and every table in Azerbaijan has one ready for the celebration. Happy Spring, friends! May it brings lots […]

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Moroccan Chickpea Salad With Onions and Paprika

Moroccan Chickpea Salad

I think Moroccan food is fascinating. This may sound a bit strange as it comes from someone who, to her biggest shame,  has never tried Moroccan food made by Moroccan natives (I am yet to discover a Moroccan restaurant in LA). But she has spent countless hours reading Moroccan cookbooks and visualizing the food and therefore, claims that her statement, although bold, […]

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White Radish and Carrot Salad

Radish Salad

I make the yellow-white salad you see on our expecting-guests table quite often – both for guests and for the family. It is white radish and carrot salad. Super easy to make, delicious and good for you all the way.  I spotted the recipe long ago in two of my favorite Turkish cookbooks -“Sultan’s Kitchen” by Ozcan Ozan and “The […]

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No-Knead Bread

Whole Wheat No Knead Bread

White no-knead bread – golden baked! A couple of years ago when mom was visiting from Baku, I wanted to proudly demonstate my new baking skills to her. She watched curiously expecting difficult techniques and methods but soon realized no specials skills were involved in the making  – I mixed a few ingredients together, never kneaded anything but stirred with […]

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Happy New Year!

pomegranate-on-snow

Dear friends of AZ Cookbook! Wanted to wish you all and your loved ones a Happy New Year! May the new year bring only joy, happiness, health, prosperity, success, luck, abundance, friendships, joy and many more to your lives! I hope the world will be a better place in 2013 – with peace on earth, more tolerance and understanding among […]

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Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Beans

butternut-squash-rice

“When are you going to change that cookie picture on your blog?” – recently a good friend of mine reproached me nicely.  She is right. I have been away for too long. But my mind has always been here, really. Please bear with me as I disappear and emerge from the abyss of silence from time to time. I am not quitting […]

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Savory Cheese Cookies

Savory Cheese Cookies

I made these cookies a few days ago using the recipe from my friend Nur’s newly launched  blog in Turkish. I posted the picture bragging about my accomplishment on AZ Cookbook’s facebook page. Requests for English and Azerbaijani translation ensued soon after, which was expected, I think not because the picture was grand (you see the same picture here), but […]

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A Trip to Larchmont Farmers Market

berries2

This Sunday we made a trip to downtown Los Angeles to meet good friends, and one of them, my university friend Xue Mei, a health conscious and farmers market lover kind of gal, took us to the nearby Larchmont Farmers Market where she goes every Sunday. It was awesome! The market is located in the charming Larchmont Village of Los […]

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Turkish Baklava – Step by Step

Turkish Baklava

Have you ever tried Turkish baklava? If you have, you would agree with me that it is one of the most luscious, delicious baklava varieties out there in the world. Dripping with syrup, buttery, flaky, sweet, crunchy – it is so good! As much as I love store-bought Turkish baklava (Gulluoglu brand is awesome!) I also enjoy making it myself […]

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Golden Rice Crust for under Rice Pilaf

AZ Cookbook | Rice Crust for Under Rice Pilaf

Azerbaijani rice pilafs prepared with the “drain” and “steam” technique are called by the general name – suzme plov, which literally means “drained pilaf.” The name stems directly from how the rice is prepared. Thoroughly washed and presoaked rice is par-boiled in salted water, then drained and heaped in the form of a pyramid oftentimes atop of a gazmag, crust that […]

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Pickled Purslane

AZ Cookbook | Pickled Purslane

What else can one do with purslane besides drenching it in a zesty garlicky yogurt sauce for a nice salad? One can pickle it. And then enjoy it and perhaps declare it one of the best things one has ever tasted! I am personally a big fan.  Since the times I was a little girl growing up in Baku and […]

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Purslane Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Purslane Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Meet purslane. It is a weed, but a good one. Purslane has succulent fleshy leaves and stems with a slightly acidic flavor close to that of spinach and watercress. This leafy vegetable is offers some neat health benefits; it features in itself Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, and some vitamin B, as well as important dietary minerals, […]

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Apricot-Orange Preserves

Apricot-Orange Preserves

We have a big apricot tree in our backyard. It fact, it is the only tree we have there. And we had high hopes for it when we had just moved into our house a few years ago. We imagined seeing the tree covered in apricots every summer and us happily piling them up into baskets to even more happily […]

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Saj-Fried Chicken with Vegetables

Saj-cooked chicken with vegetables

What fried? Saj-fried? You may ask. And I will explain. Saj is a nifty kitchen utensil, my friends. And it has a long history. Before the invention of frying pans and a gas stove, Azerbaijanis used a saj, a slightly dome shaped iron pan that resembles a shallow wok, both for cooking and bread making, depending on the side used. […]

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Turkish Spinach Pie or Cheese Pie (Borek)

Turkish Spinach Pie (Ispanakli Borek)

One of my favorite categories of dishes in the amazing Turkish cuisine is the borek category. Borek (börek) is a savory pie. There are tons of  borek recipes across Turkey – the regional varieties come in all sizes and shapes – small and big rolls, spirals, bundles, envelopes – differing in the fillings used. Albeit their differences, one thing that […]

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Happy Novruz! Happy Spring!

Meltem with semeni

Meltem holding a plate with sprouted wheat, Semeni, symbol of Novruz. Dear friends of AZ Cookbook! Happy Novruz to you, happy Spring to you! May this holiday bring you happy moments, joy, prosperity, abundance, success, and luck!  May there be no hunger in the world and may there be peace (this is on a global level). Thank you for your continuous […]

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Azerbaijani Pasta With Meat and Yogurt Topping

Khengel - Azerbaijani Pasta with Meat and Garlicky Yogurt Topping

Pasta is not only made in Italy:) On chilly winter days a few things can be as comforting to Azerbaijanis as gathering around a table to enjoy warm and satisfying pasta dishes, khemir khorekleri (dough dishes), that come in a variety of forms and shapes. Take khengel, for example. Khengel is a versatile category of pasta dishes that branches out into […]

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From San Diego with Love

san-diego05

No recipe this time, friends. I’ll be honest – I’ve given myself a short break from cooking up a storm on a daily basis. That break is much needed these days. But it is temporary and food will come back to this blog. This time I want to take you on a trip to one of California’s most beautiful cities, […]

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Cinnamon-Walnut Apple Roll-Ups

Apple Filled Rollups

Hello 2012! Hello AZ Cookbook readers! I hope you had a great time during the holidays and ready for another hopefully wonderful for everyone year ahead. I can’t wait to share new recipes with you. I will begin this year’s blogging on a sweet note – with these melt-in-yout-mouth tender roll-ups stuffed with apples. Delicioso! I baked them for the […]

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Happy New Year!

pomegranate-on-snow

Photo courtesy:  My friend Rovshana Samadova. Taken in Washington D.C. Rovshana didn’t know it would end up on my blog, but as an avid hunter for anything pomegranate I spotted it in her photo archives and bugged her –  she was kind to let me use it. Love the pomegranates! Thank you, Rovshana! ****** Another year is almost gone, so […]

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Card Giveaway Winners Announced!

santa-hat-christmas-card-13

Thank you to all of you who left comments on the Lovely Stains giveaway post. I loved every single one of your resolutions! Very inspiring! But I had to pick 2 winners. Because I knew I wouldn’t bear the stress of it and I delegated this very serious task to my 4-year old. I asked him to pulled out 2 […]

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The Lovely Stains – Card Giveaway

The Lovely Stains Wine-Painted Cards

I have great news to share! My uber talented friend Ann just opened her own store on Etsy! It is called The Lovely Stains! What Ann is doing is beautiful and unique. She creates cards, painting on them with red wine! Red wine! Never seen cards painted with red wine. Have you? She also uses water colors on some cards. Ann’s […]

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