We had some wonderful friends over for supper and had a great time. Originally it was to be a casual picnic in the park, but I kept thinking I wanted to do Turkish food, particularly this soup that Papa really loves, so we moved plans to our house. Then I kept adding things that I wanted to make, or try. In the end it was kind of a feast, really fun and colorful, with grownups sitting around the table, eating and talking, while children ran and played, ate, fussed, talked, chased each other all around.
It was such a lovely evening and I had so much fun planning and cooking that when everyone left and I looked at the kitchen full of dirty dishes and actually smiled at the piles- cleaning up after just reminds me of how nicely everything turned out, and how much fun we had with our friends, how nice our town is, how cozy our house and delicious our life. Ah!
Here's our menu. The only thing I would do differently is adding in another vegetable- sauteed spinach or carrots or something.
Karkade turns out the way of making hibiscus punch that I thought I invented is pretty close to the Middle Eastern version, called karkade. Easy enough.
Elma Cayi (Apple Mint Iced Tea) I couldn't tell from looking around online if this is even really an authentic Turkish drink or not, but I made up a version and it was yummy, light and refreshing. If this first day of summer had been hot and, well, summery, it would have really hit the spot. Over a grated apple, 4 tea bags and 4 stalks of mint pour 8c. boiling water, let steep several minutes, then strain, pressing on the apple and mint to press out the last drops of water. Stir in 1c. honey, and pour into a large pitcher with 4c. ice. Stir to melt, pour over ice to drink.
Hummus our friends brought this, and it was delicious, but here's my recipe: 2c. of garbanzo beans, 1/2c. tahini, 1/4c. lemon juice, 1/4c. extra virgin olive oil, 1t. salt, 1 garlic clove, 1t. cumin in the bowl of a food processor and process til smooth. Add bean liquor or water as needed. sprinkle with paprika.
Pita Bread mix 1/2c. warm water, 1T. yeast, 1T. sugar in a small bowl and let sit til foamy, then mix in 2c. water and 4T. olive oil. Mix 2c. whole wheat flour, 4c. all purpose flour, 1T. salt in a large bowl, then add the water mixture and knead til smooth and elastic, yet still quite soft. Cover, in an oiled bowl, til double, knead lightly and divide into 16 balls, cover and let rise. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, with a pizza stone if you have one, and roll the dough balls out to 1/4" thick, bake on the stone for 3-5 minutes, til puffy and lightly browned.
I've never made pitas that consistently "pocket", which never much bothered me, but the boys suddenly love pocket bread, so I guess I'll be trying to figure that out. I hear The Frugal Gourmet's recipe is fool-proof, which is about how I need all my basic recipes. Hopefully the library has his cookbooks.
Ezo Gelen Corbasi (Red Lentil Soup) In a big pot heat 2T olive oil, 2T. paprika, 2T. mint til bubbly and fragrant, then add 1 1/2c. red lentils, 1/4c. rice, 1/4c. bulgur, and stir to coat. Cook 1 minute, then add 1 minced onion, 3 minced carrots, 1 chopped tomato, 2T. tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste, and 6c. stock (beef or chicken or veggie, or even water is fine). Bring to a simmer and cook til rice is soft and lentils are mushy, about 45 minutes. When ready to serve heat 4T. butter, 1t. paprika, 1t. dried mint in a small saucepan til melted and fragrant, remove from heat, add 2T. lemon juice, and drizzle over the top of the soup, either in a tureen or individual bowls.
Tossed Green Salad our friends brought this, too. It was yummy and nice to have some fresh, local, crisp and tasty veggies.
Lamb and Vegetable Kabob but we grilled them. Yum.
Yogurt Mint Sauce 2c. yogurt, greek style is best but plain is fine, 2T. dried mint. That's it. With the leftovers you can make that Turkish Yogurt drink by blending the minty yogurt with water and a dash of salt, and serving over ice. Or dip veggies and pita in it, either way, it's good.
Filo Sesame Cigars this was simple- just sheets of filo dough with butter brushed on, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, and sesame seeds. I would make them again, since they're so easy, but I think honey and crushed pistachios would be good, or cardamom like Andy suggested. And I would just do one sheet of filo per roll, instead of two, so they'd be thinner (more cigarette than cigar).
Pistachio Gelato Inspired by Saveur magazine, here. In a food processor finely grind 2c.pistachios, then process in 1c. sugar and 2c.cream. Try not to eat this mixture all with a spoon standing in front of the food processor. In a large pot heat 4c. milk to just below a simmer. Whisk together 2c. milk, 1c. sugar, and 6T. cornstarch, then whisk into the heated milk, add the pistachio cream, and continually whisk over med heat til thickened and cornstarch taste has gone. Pour into a bowl and cover, pressing plastic wrap directly onto surface. Chill. Freeze according to directions of your ice cream freezer.
Really Rich Chocolate Gelato This is directly from Saveur magazine, right here. I doubled it and added cream, but it was the same otherwise. 4c.milk, 2c. cream, 11/2c. sugar, 11/2c. cocoa powder, 4T. cornstarch.
Egg based ice cream have always been my favorite, but these two cornstarch recipes knocked my socks off. I'm going to experiment a lot more this summer, I think. The cornstarch makes a nice thick, smooth base that freezes up quickly and nicely, and ice cream that is smooth and thick without the trouble of making an egg-custard.