For a long time now I’ve thought about doing a series of posts on cooking, cookbooks, and so forth. I’ve been a little nervous about doing so since many people who are much better cooks than I have been known to read this blog. But today I figured, what the hey?
While I did have plenty of opportunity to get tired of some aspects of Turkish food while in turkey (*cough*pilar*cough*), some of it was quite delicious. The grilled kebaps and fresh pide (pita) were always a treat, and I’ve mentioned several items that tasted a lot better than they sound, such as lamajun. A couple more such items were börek, pastries with cheese, potato, or meat inside; and ayran, which is a beverage consisting of thinned down, salted plain yogurt. See, the latter doesn’t sound good at all, but it actually was, and was quite refreshing on a hot day, as well as being good for you.
I bought a Turkish cookbook (in English) in Turkey, but it didn’t have a recipe for the green lentil soup I was craving. So I found a recipe on this site. It was quite good, though I did alter it a bit–and this is the part that will horrify the real cooks in my audience–I didn’t have any onions, so didn’t put ’em in; and when I tasted it it still tasted a little like lentils so I added more cumin, some garlic powder, and black pepper. Yum!
I also thought I’d try making pita using my bread machine. I used this recipe for whole wheat pitas from, but made the dough in the machine. It turned out fine, but wasn’t quite the right texture, maybe because of the machine, or more finely-ground flour, or because I forgot the “moist towel” step. But, it was still good.
I’m looking forward to trying some more Turkish food, although I don’t know where I’m going to get some of the ingredients–grape leaves, for example. I don’t think people in Turkey buy grape leaves, I think they’re just there. But, I’m all about creative substitutions!

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