Turkish Potato Soup

I love making simple vegetable style soups for a late lunch. Today I opted for a Turkish version of a long time favorite of mine. This recipe is so easy and quick to make but the chicken broth makes the soup so rich, I just love it. If you do not have chicken broth on hand you can use 1 bouillon cube for the same great flavor.

2 medium sized potato, peeled, cut in small cubes
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled, cut in small cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 tablespoon flour
1 Bay leaf
2-1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1.  Saute the onion and carrot with butter for 2-3 minutes on medium heat in
a medium sized pot. Add the potatoes and continue to saute for about
4-5 more minutes.

2.  Add the flour and stir one more minute. Now add the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cook until the carrot in tender on
low-medium heat. Remove the bay leaf and serve.

Yields: 2 servings

adapted from Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook

* The last meal on Noah’s Ark, a pudding of sweet and  sour taste (asure), is still served throughout Turkey.

Autumn Veggie Soup

I  am such a soup person and could easily have that and bread daily if my family would oblige. This is a pretty easy soup to whip up for lunch or a starter that is filled with healthy vegetables and spices such as basil that truly bring out the flavors. Vermicelli is added for texture and fill.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
1 (400 grams) can Italian tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken broth (or veggie) or water with 2 bouillon cubes
1 carrot, chopped
5 baby tomatoes, quartered
Salt and pepper, taste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup corn
1/2 peas
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup vermicelli

1. In a 4-quart saucepan on medium heat add olive oil, garlic and onion. Cook until tender about 4 minutes. Add basil, thyme, paprika and bay leaf, and mix and allow cooking for about 10 seconds.

2. Carefully add chicken broth, Italian tomatoes, carrot, baby tomatoes, corn and peas. Bring to a full boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for 30 minutes.

3. 5 minutes before cooking time has finished add vermicelli and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Yields: 3 servings

*The first soup dates back to 6000 B.C., with the main ingredient being Hippopotamus and other animal bones.

Berber Adas

The root of most Moroccan food can be traced back to the Berbers. Berbers have lived between North Africa; Egypt and the west coast of Morocco as far as history is recorded. It has been said that the Berbers made an impact of the food of the region long before the invasion of the Arabs and although they did revert to Islam they were keen to make the point that they were not from the Arab descent. We can all thank the Berbers for dishes such as tagines and couscous. This basic lentil recipe is a simple village dish which is usually served with a piece of bread. Black lentils have more texture and hold their shape unlike red lentils.

2 tablespoons olive oil with a slice of butter
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ras-el-hanout
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1-1/4 cups brown lentils, washed and drained
2-1/2 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1. In a 6-quart saucepan on medium heat add olive and butter. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender about 3 minutes. Add ras-el-hanout and sugar, mixing well. Add lentils, coating well.
2. Carefully add water and raise heat to high. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low. Cool for 35 minutes until almost all the liquid has absorbed. Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and garnish top with cilantro.
Yields: 4-5 servings

Date Selections

This evening we had finger foods for iftar and I also placed a plate of various dates on the table, about 4 of each. It’s nice trying the flavors of different dates. It’s funny to think that the main part of my life I had never even heard of dates little on tried them. There were so many things that I had never saw or tried coming from a small town the stores just carry what they people buy which means not a lot of change. As soon as I took my first bite of a date I desired more and now it has become one of my favorite fruits to have plain or mixed into other recipes.

Here is a list of the date’s pictures above.
1. SukaryAhmar
2. Nabtat Ali
3. Sheeshi
4. Wannana
They are all wonderful in their own right but the wannana is one of the best dates you will ever try. It’s black, soft as butter and so light and sweet. Sheeshi is the dates ate by diabetics and people that cannot have nor want a lot of sugar. You all know I love all the sukary dates and the nabtat ali are sweet and harder they remind me a lot of ajwa dates yet nowhere near as sweet.
What dates have you tried and which ones are your favorites?