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In Azerbaijan, bughlama is the general name given to the dishes in which the main ingredient, fish, meat or poultry, simmers with minimal or no liquid added to it, typically along with fresh vegetables and herbs. In fact, the word bughlama comes from bughlamag, a Turkic word which means to “steam” or “to cook in its own steam.” This particular […]

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Now that we’ve made our perfect sponge cake, it’s time to take this classic to the next level – slather it with whipped cream and adorn with strawberries and you have a double classic. You can’t go wrong with cream and berries combination. Enjoy! Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake Barely adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking To make the cake you will need: 1 […]

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Classic Sponge Cake

You’ve probably heard it before. Maybe you’ve said it to yourself about sponge cakes: “My cake didn’t rise a bit. It was one big gooey mess. Dense and tasteless. It rose in the oven only to fall flat as soon as I took it out. I’ll never bake another sponge cake again, never ever!” Sounds familiar? It definitely does to […]

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The inspiration for this salad comes from kisir, my favorite Turkish salad, made of bulgur, fresh vegetables and lots of fresh herbs. In my salad, I roasted the vegetables and tossed them with cooked wheat berries and lots of fresh herbs. A splash of olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate paste  and you will not want anything else for the […]

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Turkish Sesame Ring - Simit

If you ask a Turk living away from Turkey to name 5 foods items he or she misses the most, chances one of them will be simit. M. would also add cheese and tea to go with it. Simit is a popular street food – a crispy and chewy twisted ring studded with sesame seeds all over. It is sold […]

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Happy Novruz!

Happy Novruz! Happy Spring, everyone! Wishing you peace, health, prosperity and wonderful new beginnings!

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I stumbled upon the recipe for Moldavian mushroom stew while leafing through Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman’s “Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook.” I immediately thought I could put mushrooms I bought during my recent grocery outing to a good use. The dish was easy to put together and was great with mashed potatoes I made to go […]

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Today is the International Women’s Day, a holiday that is celebrated widely in Azerbaijan just as in many other parts of the world. I would like to congratulate all the women on this occasion and wish them all the best. As a dedication to them, here’s the recipe for my favorite meringue with coconut. Light as a feather, these will […]

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When I lived in Baku, I remember how every Saturday an old jiguli would stop in front of our  nine-story apartment complex and an energetic woman in her late 60s known as sud satan (milk seller) or more affectionately, sud satan khala (aunt milk seller) would hurriedly step out of the car and open its trunk to proudly display its […]

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And I thought I made tiramisu in the past…Store-bought ladyfingers, store-bought mascarpone cheese, whip up a no-cook raw egg-mascarone cream in seconds, slather it in-between the soaked-in-coffee ladyfingers, and call yourself the tiramisu queen… Until the daring bakers announced the challenge for the month of February! TIRAMISU from SCRATCH! Yes, yes, ladyfingers from scratch, mascarpone cheese from scratch, cooked zabaglione, […]

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honey cake

In my recent interview to Women’s Forum I mentioned that I didn’t cook much back in Azerbaijan, but that I baked a few cakes. Well, honey cake, known as medovik or medoviy tort in Russian, and balli tort in Azeri, originally Russian but equally famous across the ex-soviet republics, is one of those cake. My sister and I, or sometimes […]

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Lemon Upside-Down Cake

Calling all lemon lovers! This is ONE cake you must try – it will tantalize your lemon loving palate like no other. The cake tastes super lemony with intermingling sweet and tart notes. The lemon slices arranged on the bottom of the pan become an impressive top once the cake has been baked and inverted. Every time I bake this […]

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Lamb Patties from Lenkeran (Shami)

I disappeared again.  You must be used to this terrible behavior of mine. Please forgive me. I was around fighting this crazy cold I got from who knows where which I finally defeated. Thank you for all your emails asking me about my whereabouts. I really appreciate it. You guys are great! I can’t wait to share one special recipe […]

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Today AZ Cookbook is 2 years and 2 days old! Yay! For some odd reason I thought the blogiversary, that is the 2 years mark, was today, but after checking back on my It’s official now post I realized it was on January 23. Bummer. But it’s ok. Better than skipping the 1st blogiversary altogether last year, only to remember […]

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The recipe for zeytun perverde,  a delectable Persian appetizer made of green olives, walnuts, and pomegranate arils, comes from my dear friend Nahid’s mom, aunt Khedije, an exceptional cook of both Azerbaijani and Persian dishes (she is an Azeri living in Iran). Zeytun perverde originates in the North of Iran. If pomegranate is not available where you are, or if […]

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Honey Rolls

I love baking rolls, especially those that garner me lots of praise and compliments (that’s how modest I am), and this is exactly  what mi amiga Marysol’s honey rolls have been doing for me ever since I’ve spotted her  recipe and the appetite-stirring pictures on her delicious blog, I’ve made honey rolls using Marysol’s recipe several times already, each time […]

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HAITI Needs Your HELP!

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Dear friends! At this time of a devastating tragedy that struck Haiti, let’s lend our helping hand to those affected. There are numerous organizations that accept donations. Remember that no donation is too big or too small. Every penny counts. Here  are some places you can donate. PLEASE HELP. THANK YOU! Red Cross UNICEF Save the Children Doctors Without Borders […]

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Hi there. I am back (did I sound like I just awoke from a winter sleep or what?). I hope you all had a great time during the holidays. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones once again. I was planning to begin the new year with a sweet recipe, but changed my mind because I’ve been wanting […]

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The school is off, the kids are at home running around and begging to be entertained by their not-so-much-of-a-child-entertainer mom, and I’ve been busy baking cookies these past few days to give to neighbors and friends as our family gift for the holidays. So it’s all hectic, but good. I haven’t forgotten you and just wanted to write a short […]

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In the beginning, long time ago, I didn’t bake oatmeal cookies. They came in from our favorite store, Costco. M was the only one who ate them. Kids found them too “cinnamony.” I thought they were delicious but heavy, hence passed on them.  Later, when I became somewhat “daring” in the kitchen, I made Quaker’s vanishing oatmeal cookies in a […]

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Pomegranate Bracelet Salad

I went to a Russian school in Azerbaijan. Or to be more precise, it was a mixed school, with half of the students getting their education in the Russian language, with the other half – in Azeri. I was in the Russian half. I remember how as a schoolgirl I was enamored with the writing of the Russian writer Aleksandr […]

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Thanksgiving is almost here! A wonderful reminder that we have so much in life to be thankful for.  So I wanted to thank you, my readers, for the tremendous support you have shown me since the launch of AZ Cookbook, for your friendship and loyalty, for bearing with me and coming back to read whenever I disappeared then emerged again. […]

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Nar, nar, more nar! This is what the family has been saying the most ever since nars (pomegranates) hit the Long Beach markets stalls about a month ago. We buy loads of nar. And we have nar eating sessions every day. Even our dog is addicted. He eagerly joins our sessions,  and we all munch on the the crunchy juicy  […]

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Piyaz is a classic Turkish white bean salad that appears on our table whenever it becomes blissfully carnivorous, especially when we make grilled meats and meatballs (kababs). It goes great as an accompaniment to meats, but hey, I won’t hold it against you if you decide to enjoy it as it is, in all its glory, as part of your […]

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Cake Napoleon – Step by Step

Ask anybody who was born and spent a good chunk of his/her life during Soviet Union what the most popular cake of the era was, chances are you will hear Napoleon.  It is true. It was super popular back then. It still is; after many years after the collapse of the USSR, the cake reigns supreme and graces every pastry […]

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