Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wonderful Turkish dishes!

 Ozlem Warren is a wonderful cook and cooking instructor from Austin (by way of Turkey).  I have had the pleasure of taking a cooking class from her at Central Market in San Antonio.  I receive her periodic newsletter, and these recipes look so delicious I wrote and asked permission to share them on our blog.  Ozlem graciously agreed to share.  I hope you enjoy them and take a moment to stop by her website and blog.  Someday I would love to accompany her on a tour of her native Turkey!  Thanks, Ozlem!
Here is her post:
I wanted to share a couple of new, exciting entries on Ozlem's Turkish Table. My fillo pastry with aubergine (eggplant) recipe won the borek competition run by the Foods of Turkey website ! Here is the link to the article :
And below is the winning smoked eggplant borek recipe; it is very delicious, I hope you give it a go sometime.

And a classic all in one dish Mousakka; a delight to all senses, featuring our beloved Patlican (eggplant/aubergine).
The joy of this special dish is that you can prepare in advance and give a gentle reheat before serving – and you get to enjoy your company without the last minute rush. 

If you would like to get regular updates for delicious, healthy and easy to make Turkish recipes, you can subscribe to my web/blog by clicking to subscribe button at my website

Afiyet Olsun & Best wishes for share of good food to you all,


Ozlem's Aubergine (Eggplant) Borek - Winner of the Foods of Turkey! 
Posted: 06 Oct 2010 03:41 AM PDT

Stop Press! I am delighted to let you know that Ozlem's Turkish Table won the "Borek" (stuffed pastry) Competition run by the Foods of Turkey website with my aubergine (eggplant) borek recipe! Here is the link to the article :
And here is the winning smoked eggplant recipe; it is very delicious, I hope you give it a go sometime:
Eggplant, aubergine is the king of vegetables (actually fruit, as it has seeds) at home; we must have over 200 recipes featuring our beloved eggplant. I made a twist to the eggplant boreks at home, this time grilling the eggplants with the skin on and using the lovely soft flesh. The result was a wonderful marriage of smoked eggplant flesh with sweet onions, tomatoes and mozzarella (you can also use mild cheddar cheese instead). These pastries would make great vegetarian appetizers; they are also lovely served with garlic yoghurt by the side.

Once cooked, they freeze very well too.

Serves 4 - 6 
Preparation time: 45 minutes Cooking time: 25 - 30 minutes

260 gr / 9 oz fillo pastry sheets, thawed
1 medium eggplant (aubergine)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 small tomatoes, finely diced
1 bunch or 1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
60 gr / 2 oz shredded mild cheddar or mozzarella
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg, beaten and 1 tablespoon olive oil for brushing the boreks
Sesame seeds to decorate the boreks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bowl of water to seal the boreks

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F/ Gas Mark 4

For best results, thaw the frozen filo pastry in the fridge overnight and bring it to the room temperature 2 hours before using. That enables the filo thaw completely. If it is sold fresh as in the UK, you only need to bring the filo to the room temperature 30 minutes before using.

Cook the eggplants (aubergines) on a barbecue grill or over and open gas flame turning occasionally by the stalks until the outer skin is charred and blistered and the inner flesh soft. (Alternatively they can be baked in a hot oven for about 45 minutes). Peel away the burnt skin and discard the stalks. Put the flesh in a colander to drain away any bitter juices. (You can prepare the eggplants this way a day in advance; squeeze lemon juice over to retain its color and keep in the fridge covered). Finely chop the flesh and set aside.

Sauté the onions with some olive oil for a couple of minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Once cooled, add the cheese and mix well. Check if more seasoning is needed, set aside to cool.

Place the sheets of filo on a flat surface and cover with a damp dish towel to keep moist.On a dry surface, place 2 fillo pastry sheets on top of one another and cut in half horizontally to form two rectangles. Place 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the middle and roll like a cigar. Then, starting from one end, roll the cigar shape into a rose shape sealing the end with a little water. Make sure you seal all the openings/cracks with a little water. Repeat this with all rectangles.

Mix the egg with the olive oil. Brush the boreks with this mixture and place them on a greased tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the boreks and bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden. 

Serve immediately with a leafy salad or garlic yoghurt by the side.

Afiyet Olsun!
Patlicanli Musakka – Aubergine (Eggplant) Mousakka 
Posted: 06 Oct 2010 03:43 AM PDT

There are several versions of Musakka, featuring our beloved eggplant, patlican, in Turkey. For example in Aegean region we would exclude the béchamel sauce. In some other regions, potatoes, courgettes (zucchini) maybe added on. This is a dish we share with our Greek friends too, and I like mine with a nice creamy béchamel sauce, similar to the Greek version. The joy of this special dish is that you can prepare in advance and give a gentle reheat before serving – and you get to enjoy your company. Once cooked, mousakka freezes successfully too.

This recipe is an adaptation from Ghille Basan’s recipe, one of my favourite cookery authors. And I would like to dedicate this recipe to Eleni and Babis, for many happy years to spend and enjoy good food together :)

Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 30 - 40 minutes Cooking time: About 1 hour

4 medium aubergines (eggplants), cut lengthways and sliced crossed ways
Olive oil or sunflower oil for shallow frying
30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500gr/1 ¼ lb ground (minced) lamb
400gr/14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
15 ml/ 1 tbsp tomato paste
10 ml/2 tsp oregano
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the béchamel sauce:
2 eggs, beaten
450 ml/2 cups milk
25 ml/1 ½ tbsp butter
45 ml/3tbsp plain (all purpose) flour
225gr/ 8oz grated mozzarella 
2.5ml/1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat to oven to 200 C/400 F/ Gas 6

Sprinkle salt over the sliced aubergines and leave for about 15-20 minutes. Drain the excess water in aubergines and squeeze dry with paper towel.

Heat some olive or sunflower oil in a frying pan and lightly fry the aubergine slices in batches until light golden (you will need to top up the oil during cooking, as the aubergines absorb it). Drain them on paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan. Stir the onions and garlic and cook until transparent. Add the ground lamb and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, cook for another 2 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper, mix well.

Layer the aubergines and the ground meat in an ovenproof dish, starting with a layer of aubergines. You can prepare up to this stage a day in advance or ahead of time.

For the sauce; melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour to make a roux. Return the pan to the heat and pour in the milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce begins to thicken. 

Beat in the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper. Stir 30 ml/ 2 tbsp of the hot sauce into the beaten eggs and then pour them into the pan. Add half of the shredded mozzarella cheese and stir, until the sauce is smooth.

Pour the sauce over the top layer of aubergines and sprinkle the remaining cheese over evenly. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the top of the mousakka is nicely browned. You can serve mousakka with salad and plain rice.

Afiyet Olsun!


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