Turkish Wedding Soup with Spiced Sauce

February 23, 2008

Image: Kadir’s Treehouses in Olympos, Turkey

I hope you were lucky enough to have a treehouse when you were little. If Sam and Harry were looking for an unusual place to spend their honeymoon, they may have discovered a number of treehouse hotels scattered around the world in interesting places. There’s also a wonderful (and enormous!) treehouse restaurant in England’s Alnwick Garden, but we need a place where Sam and Harry can also spend the night. We’ve already imagined them on a safari so I ruled out this treehouse in a Costa Rican Jungle; and while I enjoyed the very punny website for these treehouses in Oregon , I thought these treehouses in Turkey sounded like the most fun!  There are such good things to eat in Turkey, too, including this variation of the traditional “Turkish Wedding Soup.”  Appropriate, or what?? -Almostgotit

Turkish Wedding Soup with Spiced Sauce

Serves 8

2 onions
7 carrots
4 pounds lamb neck bones
10 cups beef broth
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound butter (2 sticks, divided)
1 cup flour
6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 1/2 teaspoons paprika

Peel the onions and carrots, cut into quarters, and put into a soup pot with the lamb bones, broth, and salt. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until the meat is soft. Strain the broth into a bowl. Remove the meat from the bones and cut into thin strips or dice.  Return meat and broth to soup pot.

Melt 12 tablespoons butter and work in the flour. Slowly add 1 cup of the warm broth while mixing well. Gradually stir this butter-flour mixture into the rest of the soup, then bring soup to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Keep the soup warm.

Beat the egg yolks with a fork and mix in the lemon juice. Add 4 tablespoons of hot soup. Stir this mixture briskly into the rest of the soup: egg yolks will “cook” immediately. Reheat over a very low flame, or you may even turn off flame and cover pot to keep it hot. Do not boil or soup will “break” and become watery.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter, remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and paprika. Pour the soup into serving bowl or individual soup bowls. Swirl spoonfuls of spiced butter over the top of each.  

Adapted from New York Times Bread & Soup Cookbook by Yvonne Young

Peanut Butter Brownies

September 11, 2007


When I was small, I had friends who lived on peanut butter, very nutritious, apparently, because they grew up just fine. Now that dark chocolate has crossed ranks from forbidden fruit to the ‘eat a square every day and live forever’ category—something to do, I believe, with antioxidants—Peanut Butter Brownies must be the ultimate in health food! Isn’t cooking fun? SAM

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until smooth. Add the vanilla extract. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder and add to the butter mixture, beating until smooth. Add the peanut butter and beat well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into 1 1/2-inch squares.
Makes 3 dozen squares.

Sweet-and-Sour Grilled Salmon

August 22, 2007


There’s nothing like a whiff of charcoal on the evening air to make me think all’s right with the world. SAM

1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup soy sauce
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, diced
4 salmon steaks (about 2 pounds)

Place the salmon in a shallow dish. Combine the brown sugar, wine, soy sauce, onion, and garlic and pour over the salmon. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours, turning occasionally. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray and prepare the charcoal. Grill the salmon 4 to 6 inches above the coals for about 30 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork.
Makes 4 servings.

Sweet Summer Squash Chowchow

August 20, 2007


This recipe is from Emily’s blog friend almostgotit, whose witty, insightful suggestions for surviving unemployment at How to (almost) Get the Job include rolling up your sleeves and making chowchow. Great luck for all her friends! Not that one of them wishes her ill, but maybe she’ll be out of work through the rest of squash season. Her chowchow is the best! She’s even posting recipes for the dolefully unemployed. Check out this chocolate cake! SAM

10 cups coarsely grated summer squash (zucchini, patty pan, or yellow)
4 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup salt
5 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, mix the squash, onion, and salt. Cover and chill 8 hours or
overnight. Transfer the mixture to a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain well and press dry between paper towels. In a large pot, combine the squash mixture, sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, turmeric, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to medium, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Pack the hot chowchow into hot, sterile canning jars, filling to 1/2 inch from the rim. Wipe the rims with a sterile cloth and screw on metal canning lids and screw bands. Process 15 minutes in boiling water.
Makes 9 pints.

Cheeseburger Pita with Beer and Bacon

July 23, 2007


Who says a cheeseburger has to come in a bun! SAM

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup dark beer
1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 dashes hot-pepper sauce or to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 slices bacon
2 pounds ground beef
4 pita rounds, cut in half
1/2 cup sour cream

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the beer. When the mixture is warm, add the cheese and stir until melted. Add the Worcestershire sauce, sugar, curry powder, paprika, hot-pepper sauce, salt, and black pepper. Heat thoroughly but do not boil. Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease and brown the ground beef in the same skillet. Drain and place in equal amounts inside the pita pockets. Pour the beer sauce on top and garnish with bacon and sour cream.
Makes 8 pitas.

Deviled Eggs

July 17, 2007


I don’t know why something so heavenly would be called ‘deviled,’ but you can ‘devil’ eggs with anything from capers to anchovies to chipotle peppers. This is a very basic, summer picnic-type version. Master it, and you’ll be halfway to Paradise. SAM

12 eggs
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sweet pickle juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Hungarian paprika

In a large pan, cover the eggs with water. Put on the lid, bring to a boil, and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Let the eggs sit, still covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Submerge them in cold water for 5 minutes. Peel them, slice them in half lengthwise, and remove the yolks. In a small bowl, mash the yolks with a fork. Stir in the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, pickle juice, salt, and pepper. Fill the whites with the yolk mixture and sprinkle with paprika.
Makes 24 deviled eggs.


July 16, 2007


Promise me Quesadillas and I’ll follow you to any ballpark. SAM

1 (15-ounce package) flour tortillas (10 tortillas)
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1/4 cup drained, pickled jalapeño pepper slices
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed
Sour Cream

To make each quesadilla, spread 1/4 cup cheese and several pepper slices on one tortilla and top with another tortilla. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until hazy and sauté each quesadilla 3 or 4 minutes per side, pressing down with a large spoon or spatula until the cheese is melted. Add more oil if needed for additional quesadillas. Cut into wedges and top with salsa, Guacamole, and/or sour cream. Serve hot.
Makes 5 quesadillas.