Turkish Cuisine

Turkish “Split-Belly” Stuffed Eggplant

Turkish "Split-Belly" Stuffed Eggplant

Turkish "Split Belly" Eggplant

My love for eggplant! It is a never-ending love affair. I even have a childhood “trauma” associated with it. I remember that day clearly, now after so many years. I was probably about 7 or 8, or maybe even a little older. This happened back in Baku.  My mom made stuffed eggplant dish for dinner. We were sitting around the table. Mom served everybody. I glanced at my sister’s plate, then at mine, and, to my utter “shock”, noticed that the stuffed eggplant on hers was just a little bigger!

I was enraged and voiced my strong disapproval, ignoring all the house-established rules of good manners. “I would not eat a smaller eggplant,”  I said. I don’t remember the bits of conversation that followed after that, but what I clearly remember is that shortly after my revolt, I was sitting alone in our front yard (we had a small house with a gated front yard), sulking over the lost opportunity to enjoy that delicious stuffed eggplant, albeit its size. I do not remember if I was allowed to come back and finish my dinner. That doesn’t matter much.

Turkish "Split Belly" Eggplant

What matters, my friends, is that I still do glance at other people’s plates comparing the eggplants on theirs to those on mine. Just kidding:)

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White Radish and Carrot Salad

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 Turkish Cookbook” by Nur Ilkin and Sheilah Kaufman (happy to have met Sheila Kaufman!). The salad is made up of two main ingredients, radishes and carrots but more radishes than carrots.  I, however, like to give the two vegetables an equal right to shine so I use them in approximately same amounts.

So what you need for this salad is white radish, carrots, fresh herbs and olive oil-lemon or olive oil-vinegar mixture for dressing. You can either mix the ingredients together as it is suggested in the first book, or, for a better visual appeal, arrange one vegetable around the other, per second book. No one will disqualify you for either method.

I find mixing the vegetables yields a better result taste-wise as the two get a chance to blend and soak up the dressing nicely, but you can’t beat the beauty of the second method. So it is really up to you to decide. As you can see in the picture, I went for visual the day I had guests.

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