August 2014 archive

Huge leg of lamb!

I rubbed marjoram, cinnamon, rosemary, salt, garlic  and golden raisins all over the leg and let it marinate for almost 2 days.  The smell in my fridge was heavenly! I roasted the leg for 10 minutes on each side at a really high temperature then removed from heat and added a cup of wine and a little chicken stock before covering the pan with foil and putting it back in the oven to continue to cook at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours. Half way through the cooking process I added onions, peppers and garlic. Remember to let the meat rest for about 20 minutes after cooking. Enjoy! 

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Enough meat to feed 6 people. I froze most of it for some nice winter dishes.

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3 days, 2 nights, jammed packed with fun, Istanbul style.

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It gets very hot during the day, the streets fill up with people as soon as the sun sets.

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Love the snowflakes.

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Young people sit on the steps under the Galata Tower at night to drink beers and socialize. 

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Real Çiğ Köfte.

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These street-side mussels with rice dealers are very popular yet not exactly legal. They pack up their stands and hide when the cops walk or drive by.

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The Galata bridge at night.

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We had so much fun in Istanbul, non-stop exploring, eating and laughing. We were lucky enough to catch a bus direct home and I mean direct, the bus pulled over on the side of the highway 100 meters from our house!

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A lovely day shopping in Taksim, Istanbul.

I made them hold hands. Aren’t they the cutest siblings in the world!?!

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This is Matt outside trying to be patient while we shop.

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I was going for a “serious face” look but my “I’m so freaking tired face” took over.

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Cool leather shoes.

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Shopping at the bazaars, Istanbul.

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar.

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Agata is the best person to go to bazaars with. She gets so excited, touches everything, talks to everyone and makes you stop several times along the way to regroup, hug and giggle.

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Local simit dealer.

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Passages under the streets are just as busy as the congested roads above.

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Hanging out in Sultanamed area, Istanbul.

Our hotel was only minutes away from all the big attractions!

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$0.50 for fresh orange juice. Yes please!

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We didn’t waste any time upon arrival, straight to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.  

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I’m not going to lie, this time we never fully entered the Blue Mosque because the lineup was just insane.

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Mosque dog.

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Fish bread by the Bosphorus, Istanbul.

Nothing makes Matt happier than eating grilled fish off a rocking boat.

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Excitement!

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Check out the view!

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View of the Galata Tower.

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Bun, onions, fish, lettuce and lemon juice.

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I prefer the fish bread on the Taksim side of the bridge because they have better toppings and they sprinkle sumac on it all!

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Aggie in Istanbul.

One of my favorite things about living in Bulgaria is that it neighbors with Turkey. It look about 7 hours on a half empty, hellishly hot, overnight bus before we arrived in one of my favorite cities in the world, Istanbul.

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We have no idea why the bus driver insisted on cranking the heat as high as it would go in the middle of summer.

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Our hotel was in the best location, fairly clean, comfortable beds and a wonderful Turkish buffet breakfast.

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So exhausted. Counting the seconds before our room is ready.

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Agata’s first Çay (tea).

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A sneak peak of the Blue Mosque.

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The best of Turkey (no meat was harmed in the making).

I just got back from a short visit to Istanbul where I got to sample loads of yummy foods. Inspired by my travels, I made hummus, pita bread and vegetarian Çiğ Köfte for dinner.

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Hummus:

In a blender.

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt & cummin
  • olive oil

Pita bread:

Mix, knead, make 8 balls, rest 30 minutes, roll thin, place on a medium heat dry pan, cook with a lid on to make them puff up.

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt and cumin
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon goose fat or butter

Çiğ Köfte:

Prepare a day in advance.

  • 2 cups bulgar
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • hot chili pepper flakes
  • salt and cumin

Place the bulgur in a bowl with the tomato paste and tomato, set aside for 1 hour and let the bulgur soften. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend with a hand mixer. Cover with cling wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Squeeze small handfuls of Çiğ Köfte for a wave effect. Eat with iceberg lettuce, fresh lemon juice and pomegranate concentrate.

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