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Tag Archives | pistachio lamb kebabs

From Pistachio Lamb Kebabs to Baklava; Our Turkish Feast in Austin, Texas

Greetings from Austin, Texas!

Getting the eggplants for our Turkish cooking class at Central Market - Austin; love the fresh produce there.

Getting the eggplants for our Turkish cooking class at Central Market – Austin; love the fresh produce there.

We had a delightful and full class of Turkish food lovers at my Turkish cooking class at the Central Market Cooking School, Austin, Texas. It was a very special time to reconnect with dear foodies who used to come to my classes there, as well as meeting new Turkish food lovers, I am grateful to be able to return to this wonderful cooking school and their company.

CM Chef Cindy and others kindly helped feed 40 Turkish food lovers at the class

CM Chef Cindy and others kindly helped feed 40 Turkish food lovers at the class

We had 40 -full class!- Turkish food lovers at the class and a small army of CM Chefs; Cindy, Giovanni and Kelly helped us get the our Turkish feast ready.

Talking about dried eggplants; we use them a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine

Talking about dried eggplants; we use them a lot especially in Southern Turkish cuisine

Turkish Cuisine is based on seasonality and we use a lot of fresh, seasonal produce. When a vegetable or fruit is not in season (like peppers, aubergines, okra etc) we dry them to use when they are not in season. Here we have been talking about dried eggplants and different recipes to use them in (stuffed dried eggplants are especially delicious).

Talking about Turkish culinary history and regional cuisines in Turkey during our class
Talking about Turkish culinary history and regional cuisines in Turkey during our class

Turks were Nomads who used to live a tribal life in Central Asia prior settling in today’s Turkey, and in those days, their diet was based on meat and dairy. Many folks found learning about the Turkish culinary history quite fascinating.

Here I would like to share our menu at my Turkish Cookery Class with Central Market, showcasing flavorful  Southern Turkish Cuisine. All these recipes are designed for you to be able to recreate easily at your home. I hope you can get to try and enjoy them :

Walnut, Olive Oil and Red Pepper Paste  Dip; Cevizli Biber

Cevizli Biber; Walnut and red pepper paste dip with olive oil.

Cevizli Biber; Walnut and red pepper paste dip with olive oil.

This is one of my favorite mezes of all time; it is very easy to make and very, very more-ish, you just can’t stop eating them. It is one of my mother’s recipes from her historic hometown Antakya (Antioch) and whenever I make it, I feel like I am home.

Prerparing the Walnut & Red Pepper Paste dip, Cevizli Biber, for the Class

Prerparing the Walnut & Red Pepper Paste dip, Cevizli Biber, for the Class

Tahini bread or pita bread would go really well with this delicious dip/spread. You can keep the dip covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Middle Eastern stores or specialty stores usually carry the red pepper paste, so as Turkish online supermarket, Tulumba.com in the US.  If you like to make your own hot red pepper paste, here is my recipe.  Click here for the Walnut and red pepper paste with olive oil dip recipe.

Smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and mint – Patlicanli Yogurtlama

Smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and dried mint; Patlicanli Yogurtlama

Smoked eggplant salad with garlic yoghurt and dried mint; Patlicanli Yogurtlama

This is a lovely refreshing smoked eggplant salad again  from southern Turkey, Antakya, this time with garlic yoghurt and mint. It goes very well with grilled meats, or just with some nice crusty bread as an appetizer. This salad or mezze is perfect for hot summer days and can be kept in fridge for a couple of days. Here is the smoked eggplant with garlic and yoghurt recipe.

Lamb Kebabs with Pistachios on Flat Bread in Cherry & Tomato Sauce 

Pistachio lamb kebabs in cherry & tomato sauce; delicious treats for all

Pistachio lamb kebabs in cherry & tomato sauce; delicious treats for all

 

Making the pistachio lamb  kebabs with CM Chef Giovanni at Central Market Cooking School in Austin

Making the pistachio lamb kebabs with CM Chef Giovanni at Central Market Cooking School in Austin

These pistachio lamb kebabs in cherry and tomato sauce are easy to recreate in your home, delicious and look impressive. Children love them as well as the adults, so they are great for entertaining. Having pistachio nuts in kebabs is a Southern Turkish specialty; I love the rich nutty flavor the pistachios add to the kebabs. They kebabs are wonderful when chargrilled in summer time, but equally delicious grilled or baked in the oven. With flat breads as the base and roasted vegetables by the side, this succulent kebab is a real crowd pleaser, and can make any day special. Here is my recipe for the pistachio lamb kebabs.

Baklava with Pistachios and Walnuts – Fistikli ve Cevizli Baklava 

Home made baklava with walnuts and pistachios

Home made baklava with walnuts and pistachios

An Ottoman legacy, baklava is one of the greatest creations from the pastry chefs at the Topkapi Palace. Generally, baklava is enjoyed as a mid-morning sweet snack with a cup of Turkish coffee, or as a mid-afternoon treat with a glass of tea or after lunch or dinner. There is no bad time for a good piece of baklava! The real thing shouldn’t be very sweet and heavy; on the contrary it should be light enough to tempt you to eat a small plateful. Making baklava at home is surprisingly easier than you think; and I like the fact that you can adjust the sweetness of the syrup to your taste. Here is my baklava recipe, if you’d like to have a go.

Deliciously Frothy Turkish Coffee,Turk Kahvesi – More Than a Drink

Delicious frothy, aromatic Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

Delicious frothy, aromatic Turkish Coffee, Turk Kahvesi

 

Making Turkish coffee for 40 participants at the class; we had a small production line!:)

Making Turkish coffee for 40 participants at the class; we had a small production line!:)

Have you ever tried the deliciously frothy Turkish coffee? It is one of the most popular traditional drinks at home in Turkey and I love the whole ritual, the experience of it. In Turkish, we have a saying “Bir fincan kahvenin kirk yil hatiri vardir” which means “The memory of a good cup of  Turkish coffee lasts 40 years”. Turkish coffee is a drink of friendship; you are offered this traditional, aromatic drink wherever you go in Turkey; when visiting friends and family, in the shops, while waiting in the bank, in hairdressers.. We take time to pause and enjoy this special drink with a friend or family or sometimes simply reflect with every precious sip. A glass of water and Turkish Delights by the side complete the Turkish coffee ritual. Here is step by step instructions for how to make Turkish coffee at home.

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As always, it is the people what makes a place special. I was very grateful to have the company of dear friends, Turkish food lovers and enthusiasts at the class. Thank you all for your company and making me feel at home!

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John, Nancy, and Ozlem 8_2_2013

I hope these recipes and photos may inspire to have a go and try these delicious, easy recipes. Let me know if you have any questions, it is always good to hear from you and I would be delighted to help out.

Afiyet Olsun!

Ozlem

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Lamb Kebabs with Pistachios on Flat Breads in Cherry Sauce

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce - Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce – Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

The pistachio lamb kebabs I posted earlier has been a big hit and I have been experimenting a little more with these delicious treats. They are easy to recreate in your home, delicious and look impressive. Children love them as well as the adults, so they are great for entertaining. Having pistachio nuts in kebabs is a Southern Turkish specialty; I love the rich nutty flavor the pistachios add to the kebabs. They kebabs are wonderful when chargrilled in summer time, but equally delicious grilled or baked in the oven. With flat breads as the base and roasted vegetables by the side, this succulent kebab is a real crowd pleaser, and can make any day special.

The cherries in the tomato sauce add a lovely refreshing flavor to the pistachio kebabs.

The cherries in the tomato sauce add a lovely refreshing flavor to the pistachio kebabs.

This time, during my recent Turkish cookery class, I prepared the kebabs in cherry and tomato based sauce. Cooking meatballs in (especially) sour cherry sauce is a Gaziantep specialty. This way of incorporating meat & fruit dates back to the Ottoman, Persian and medieval Arab cookery. The sweet & sour combination of meat and visne (sour cherries) is just marvelous. You can get frozen cherries in most supermarkets when they are not in season. If you’d like a stronger cherry flavor, also try dried cherries, like dear Claire did after our cookery class. Apparently  it was a delicious hit. I greatly look forward to trying out this recipe again when sour cherries are in season, in June-July time.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 35 minutes               Cooking time: 60 minutes

For the kebabs:

500 gr/1 ¼ lb. / 2 ¼ cups ground lamb (or half and half with ground beef)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

60ml/4 tbsp pistachios, shelled

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

5ml/1 tsp red pepper or paprika flakes;

5ml/ 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

A bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil to help shape the kebabs

For the cherry & tomato sauce:

1 onion, finely chopped

400gr/14oz can of chopped Italian tomatoes

½ tbsp. red pepper paste

400gr/14oz frozen cherries, stones removed

15ml/1 tbsp olive oil

For the roasted vegetables: 3 colorful bell peppers, deseeded and cut in thick slices lengthways and a few chilli peppers deseeded, OR 10-12 sweet and chilli small, colorful peppers, cut in half lengthways and deseeded

4 medium tomatoes, halved and cut in chunky slices

1 medium onion, halved and cut in chunky slices

45ml/ 3 tbsp olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 large flat bread; pide, or 4 pitta bread, sliced lengthways

Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F

Roasted vegetables ready to complement the kebabs - make sure to save the juices to drizzle over the flat bread.

Roasted vegetables ready to complement the kebabs – make sure to save the juices to drizzle over the flat bread.

First roast your vegetables. Place the onion, peppers and tomatoes in a baking tray. Drizzle the olive oil over, season with salt and pepper. Give them all a good mix to make sure all the vegetables are coated with the olive oil and the seasoning. Bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes, giving them a mix half way. I like to roast the vegetables rather than grilling, to save and enjoy all the wonderful juices of them over the flat bread.

Pistachios add a rich, nutty taste to the lamb kebabs.

Pistachios add a rich, nutty taste to the lamb kebabs.

While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the kebabs. First have a bowl of water, drizzled with olive oil ready aside, to knead and help shape the kebabs. Pulse the shelled pistachios in a food processor a few times, until it is grainy. Place the ground lamb in a bowl, stir in the pistachios, chopped onions, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and ground pepper, add the red pepper flakes. Wet your hands in the water & olive oil mixture and knead well to a smooth paste. Cover and rest for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are roasted in the oven.

Once the vegetables chargrilled, take the tray out of the oven, cover  and set aside (you may need to warm the vegetables before serving).

Wetting your hands with the water & olive oil mixture helps shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

Wetting your hands with the water & olive oil mixture helps shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

Now start shaping the kebabs. With the bowl of water & olive oil mixture by your side, take a handful of the meat mixture, and make it into a shape of a flat sausage. Good tip; wet your hands with the water & olive oil mixture; this will help shaping the meat and keep the meat moist and intact.

As soon as the kebabs are shaped, you can cook them under the grill/broiler for about 6 -8 minutes, turning over half way until they are golden and cooked through that side (this method especially great for summer.) Alternatively, you can lay the kebabs side by side in a greased tray and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until they are cooked and chargrilled.

Cherries in the tomato sauce bring a refreshing flavor and goes well with the pistachio kebabs.

Cherries in the tomato sauce bring a refreshing flavor and goes well with the pistachio kebabs.

While the kebabs are cooking, prepare the cherry & tomato sauce. In a heavy pan, sauté the onions in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pepper paste, chopped tomatoes and cherries to the pan and combine well. Season with salt and ground pepper and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce thickened.

While the sauce is simmering, place the sliced flat bread on a tray and put in the preheated oven (180 C/350 F) to warm up. Also at this stage place the roasted vegetables and kebabs back to the oven to keep warm.

Lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce - Fistikli, visne soslu kebap

Time to enjoy the feast; lamb kebabs with pistachios in cherry & tomato sauce – Fistikli, visne soslu kebapHow about serving the kebabs with this sautéed carrot &  garlic yoghurt dip? This refreshing and mild dip complements the rich flavors of the pistachio kebabs beautifully.

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Sauteed carrots in olive oil with garlic yoghurt

This delicious Lamb kebabs with pistachios with roasted vegetables and many more regional specialties are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. Signed copies are available at this link, if you’d like to get a copy.

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

I hope these recipes inspire you all; Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mezzes, Kebabs with Pistachios in Cherry Sauce and Many More – 9th February, Saturday, Turkish Cookery Class & Wisley Gardens on the New Year's Day

My best wishes for a happy, healthy and delicious 2013 to you all, I hope you enjoyed the holidays and this post finds you all well.

Turkish cookery classes are fun, friendly and it is a pleasure to share Turkish cuisine and traditions.

I have an exciting Turkish cookery class coming up on February 9th, Saturday, from 10 am to 12 noon at Oatlands Village Hall, Weybridge, Surrey and I wanted to share the details with you. We will have exotic, refreshing flavors, such as the delicious fillo pastry rolls with cheese and parsley filling (Sigara Boregi)Ground Lamb & Beef Kebabs with pistachio in tomato and cherry sauce, over flat bread with roasted vegetables and many more. These are the dishes you can easily re-create in your home after the class to share with family and friends.

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