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Tag Archives | Ozlem’s Turkish Table

Crumbled White Cheese or Feta Salad with Spices; Cokelek Salatasi

Cokelek Salatasi- crumbled feta with spices, tomato, cucumber and onions

Cokelek Salatasi- crumbled white cheese, lor peynir or feta with spices, tomato, cucumber and onions

This is such a satisfying, delicious and healthy salad. The cumin and red pepper flakes amazingly transform the humble Turkish white cheese (or if it’s not available, Greek feta cheese). In my hometown, Antakya (Antioch), this special crumbled dried white cheese mixed with cumin, red pepper flakes and oregano is called Kuru Cokelek (also known as Surk) and readily available. Well, I can’t get Kuru Cokelek at the moment, though pleased to say that the crumbled feta with these spices work just as good, highly recommended. If you are in Turkey, you can also make this salad with the creamy lor peynir; its mild taste goes well with this salad.

This easy salad is a wonderful treat for lunch or weekend brunch with some pita bread. My heartfelt thanks goes to my mother, who made this salad to us almost daily and injected us the love of food.

Turkish cuisine is packed with delicious, wholesome choices and based on seasonal produce; this delicious salad and over 90 authentic recipes are included in my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table – you can order at Amazon now or you can get a Signed copy here (distributed worldwide, including USA). Signed copies are also 20 % off at this link until end July 2019, delivered worldwide.

Serves 2

Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes

½ small yellow or red onion, finely diced
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
¼ of long cucumber or ½ small cucumber, finely diced
Handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
110gr/40z Cokelek or lor peynir, as available in Turkey (or Greek feta cheese as an alternative),
5 ml/1 teaspoon ground cumin
5 ml/1 teaspoon red pepper (or paprika) flakes
5 ml/1 teaspoon dried oregano
30 ml/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
5 ml/1 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and ground pepper to taste

Pita bread wedges to serve

In a bowl, mix the Turkish white cheese, lor peynir (or Greek feta cheese), onion, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes with your hands. This will soften the onion and infuse the spices to the feta and onion. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice, and mix well. Check the seasoning and add salt and black pepper to your taste.

Serve with pita bread wedges.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Olive Salad with Pomegranate Molasses and Za-atar; Zeytin Ufeleme

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Here are some wonderful photos of a typical Turkish fruit and vegetable market, Pazar. Getting the fresh veg and fruit from the markets are a big part of Turkish cooking and this is our local market walking distance to my parents’ home in Istanbul. The abundance of different types of fruit and vegetables, wonderful displays of fruits, nuts, olives, cheese and spices are simply mesmerising, and the vegetables available at that time would dictate the meals of the day. Wonderful to watch the market and wonderful to pick your fruit and veg; I can spend a whole day there!

Zeytin Ufeleme – Olive Salad with vegetables, pomegranate molasses and zahtar (za’atar)

Zeytin Ufeleme – Olive Salad with vegetables, pomegranate molasses and zahtar (za’atar)

Zeytin Ufeleme – Olive Salad with vegetables, pomegranate molasses and zahtar (za’atar)

We Turks eat olives throughout the day; the Turkish breakfast starts with olive, cheese, sliced tomato and cucumber accompanied with bread. We also enjoy olives as a meze for lunch or in the evening. Olive trees are grown all across the Aegean and Mediterranean coast of Turkey, in colorful shades of black, green, brown and black; they are absolutely to die for!

This very simple yet delicious meze features my home town Antakya’s pomegranate molasses as a dressing. We would enjoy it as part of our Turkish brunch at the weekends or in the evening as a meze. To make a fruit molasses, the juice is extracted from the fruit before it is boiled and reduced to create a dark, fruity syrup. It is rich, tangy and full of flavor. Most middle eastern and specialty shops carry pomegranate molasses; here’s my home made pomegranate molasses recipe, if you’d like to make at home. If you can’t find it, you can substitute with a sharp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.  The fresh herb zahter or za’atar, zahtar, is also commonly added to this salad in Antakya region. Fresh Zahtar looks more like summer savory, or a crossing of marjoram, oregano and thyme, and adds a wonderful, pungent flavor to the salads.

I am passionate about healthy, delicious Turkish cuisine; our recipes are packed with fresh produce, beautifully flavoured with olive oil and natural condiments, as in this lovely salad. My cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, showcases over 90 authentic Turkish recipes like this salad, signed copies are available to order at this link, if you’d like.

Serves 4     Preparation time: 15 minutes

1/5 of an onion or 1 green (spring) onion, finely chopped
A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh zahtar (za’atar), if available or 1 tbsp. dried za’atar
90 ml/ 6 tablespoon green and black olives, pitted
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
45 ml/ 3 tablespoons olive oil
15 ml/1tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
Salt and ground black pepper

Pita bread serve

Place the diced onions in a bowl and sprinkle with a little salt. Work the salt in onions with your hands – this will soften the onions and make it more palatable. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss thoroughly.

Serve with slices of pita bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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Ezo Gelin Corba; Turkish Spicy Red Lentil and Bulgur Soup

Ezo Gelin Corbasi; Spicy Turkish lentil & bulgur soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes; wholesome and delicious

Ezo Gelin Corbasi; Spicy Turkish lentil & bulgur soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes; wholesome and delicious

Soups have a special place in Turkish cuisine and the meals mostly start with them. In Anatolia, it is very common to have soup to start the day, especially in winter. This spicy lentil soup is one of my favorites; rich in fiber and protein, very delicious and easy to make. It is also a great example of how we add flavor to our dishes thru spices. Named after the bride “Ezo” who managed to impress her in-laws with this heartwarming soup, this soup is so delicious and simple to make that you will want to make it all the time! It also freezes very well, so I recommend to make a big batch and freeze some for a heart and soul warming lunch or supper.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book, available to order at this link

Ezo Gelin Corba and many other hearty soups and authentic, wholesome Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, Signed copies are now 30 % OFF  at this link , for a limited time and delivered worldwide including the US and Canada

Serves 6
Preparation time – 15 minutes Cooking time – 40 minutes

290 gr/1 cup split red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 onion, finely chopped
45 ml / 3 tablespoon coarse bulgur wheat, rinsed and drained
1.75 litres / 7 1/2 cups chicken stock (or water)
60 ml / 4 tablespoon tomato paste

15ml/ 1 tablespoon Turkish hot red pepper paste – optional-
30-45 ml / 2-3 tablespoon olive oil or butter
15 ml / 1 tablespoon dried mint
10 ml / 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes / paprika flakes
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Lemon wedges to serve

Put the lentils, bulgur wheat, onion and the chicken stock or water together in a pan. Bring to boil and then on a low heat simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the lentils and bulgur are tender. Then stir in the butter (or olive oil), the dried mint, the red pepper flakes, Turkish hot pepper paste (optional) and the tomato paste, mix well and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the soup has a creamy consistency. Add the lemon juice and more water if required, then season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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