sebze tajin

vegetable tagine

North African dishes cooked tagine style were mentioned in The Thousand and One Nights stories collection of the ninth century.

The dish is named after the cooking pot. The earthenware pot functions like an oven over open fire, the lid drips the collected steam onto the food allowing cooking with very little liquid thus a perfect vessel for cooking tough cuts of meat.

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kişniş

cilantro

Cilantro is supposed to be the most widely used herb in the world. It is known to have grown in the middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean and Greece since ancient times. Cilantro is a relative of parsley.

The leaves (cilantro) and seeds (coriander) have entirely different flavors. It was grown for a long time mostly for its seeds. Coriander seeds are mentioned in early Sanskrit manuscripts. They have also been encountered in Egyptian sarcophagi dated to 900 B.C.

Although this herb appeared originally in the Mediterranean region, it is widely used in Indian, Far Eastern, Chinese and Latin American cuisine. It has been available in Mediterranean and European markets only in the last five years. Getting used to the flavor of cilantro requires some time. Its taste is sometimes even described as “soapy”. It is also rumored that liking cilantro or not has a genetic root.

Guacamole is the Latin American recipe for which cilantro leaves are mostly used.

The root is only used in Thailand.

It is thought that the Turkish word of “kişniş” comes from the word “gishniz”, which was used in Central Iran. Coriander is mentioned in the old Testament as spiritual food.

As cilantro leaves quickly loose their flavor when heated, they are added when cooking is ended. It is mostly used in salads and in recipes that do not require cooking. Using cilantro in a dish with hot chili refreshes the palate.

I can still remember the taste of sugar coated coriander seeds that street vendors used to sell in front of my primary school. They are consumed in India to prevent bad breath.

Z If you are invited to a Passover dinner in a Jewish home and you remember to bring cilantro, your host will be very surprised. Your knowing that one of the bitter herbs eaten at Passover in ancient times was cilantro will certainly impress all the guests.

elmalı turta

apple pie

The oldest written apple pie recipe was published in the United Kingdom during 1381. Sugar was called white gold during those days, therefore pies were sweetened with dried fruit like figs & raisins and with spices.

As always I am sharing a recipe subjected to my adaptations.

 

If you can find the pastry tool called the "dough blender" please buy one. It is an excellent tool for rubbing butter into flour. It is also efficient when you do not want to work the gluten in tart and quick bread dough.

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ramazan pidesi

ramadan pide

The month of Ramadan can not be without is it’s “pide”. We wait long lines in front of boulangeries for it's mouth watering distinctive taste and for it’s intoxicating smell just to break fast with this special flatbread. Though nowadays one can find pide year round, eating it during ramadan is a unique pleasure.

I would advise you to try this dough though it is a bit of a labor of love even if it’s just for smelling this sweet scent rising from your ovens.

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lavaş ekmeği

lavash flatbread

Artun Ünsal, in his book "Nimet geldi ekine" (Blessed is the crop) says that a type of yeasted phyllo bread called "lavash" came from Persia because they call a bread that resembles our pide but a little thinner and longer with the same name.

The famous Turkish pilgrim Evliya Çelebi mentions the word lavash in his book "Seyahatname".

In Azeri lavash means flat bread. This bread is also consumed in Azerbaycan, Kirghizistan, Kazakhstan and Iran on a daily basis. These countries together with Turkey asked for UNESCO recognition for "The culture of making and sharing of flat breads: Lavaş, Jupka, Kartırma and Yufka". Unesco accepted and added this request to the list of humanity's intangible cultural heritage. Armenian flatbread is registered separately with a different cooking technique. Lavash (Flat Bread) is not just a common bread, but it is also a symbol of Anatolian cultures from the past to date.

If flat bread is made just with white flour it is tough, that's why my recipe is more on the whole wheat flour side. You have to cook this bread on high heat, otherwise it dries out.

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ekşi maya

sourdough starter

For thousands of years, an inseparable part of the human diet was bread and in the past it was only made with sourdough starter. In 1859 Louis Pasteur found how the yeast works. 10 years later Fleischmann's yeast (baker's yeast) was found and the modern bakery started. During 1940 again Fleischmann found a yeast that did not have to be refrigerated and called it active dry yeast and marketed it. In 1960s again after various lab research they found instant yeast which rises 50% faster than active dry yeast. As a result speed and cost gained importance, and industrial production of bread started where the taste and the texture became less important.

If you want to use dry yeast then their replacement ratios are as such:

100% bakers' yeast = 40-50% active dry yeast = 33% instant dry yeast.

When yeast starts feeding on flour, changes its natural grain sugar and starch into carbon dioxide, which raises the dough with bubbles. Other than that sourdough starter by using lactobacilli bacteria changes proteins like gluten into lactic acid, facilitates digestion and creates a taste of its own. Commercial, specifically dry yeast, feeds on sugar rather than the flour itself, shortens the fermentation process, it does not affect the proteins in the grain and complicates digestion. Authorities claim that the increase in the number of gluten intolerant people is mainly due to industrial breads and the use of dry yeast. If you really want to read a long and detailed article on this subject click on this and get to NewYorker's October 2014 issue.

Yes the fermentation period is too long, yes there are difficulties in working with wild yeast and yes you have to get used to the feeding habits, still the benefits exceed the hardships. I am I keeping my sourdough starter that I cultured using bread master Peter Reinhart's recipe alive for the past 3 years, so go for it.🙂

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