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.

Nutty Pumpkin Basboosa

I had some pumpkin mixture remaining and had the idea that it would be nice to add into a typical Middle Eastern sweet. I really love plain basboosa so I decided to layer the two and add some ground nuts in between and on top as well. This was such a great dessert and believe it or not it’s not overly sweet. You can even serve the sugar syrup on the side instead of pouring on top if you wish. I used nuts that contained pretty much every nut and they were also a bit salty which was really good in the recipe and helped balance the taste out. This was a win and had everyone popping more and more into their mouths.

2 cups semolina
4 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin pie filling
1-1/2 cups ground mixed nuts
2 tablespoons of oil or tahini for pan

Sugar syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons rose water

1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl add semolina, sugar, vanilla and baking powder. Stir in butter, eggs and milk into smooth.

2. Pour half of mixture into another bowl. Add pumpkin pie mix into one bowl and stir well.

3. In a 13’ x 9’ inch baking pan add oil or tahini then brush entire pan for greasing. Add the plain (without pumpkin) mixture into pan, smooth surface if needed. Sprinkle half of the nuts on top then carefully pour the pumpkin mixture on top, smoothing top.

4. Place pan into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle the remaining ground nuts on top carefully flattening into mixture. Place the pan back into the oven and bake for a remaining 20 minutes or when toothpick comes out clean.

5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan add sugar, water and rose water. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low-medium stirring every once in a while for 15 minutes. Set aside.

6. With a toothpick poke some holes all over the top of the basboosa then cut. Carefully pour the sugar syrup on top. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Yields: 20 servings

* The peanut is the only nut grown underground.  Americans consume
3,750,000 pounds of peanuts daily in all forms including confections,
bakery items, soups, desserts, ice cream and mixed nuts.

Homemade Mint Syrup

Can you believe that I had never had a mint coffee drink before I made this and its hands down my new favorite drink? I guess when I had heard the words mint and coffee being used together I was kind of turned off but when I started thinking about I realized that I like mint in most things and after all the Starbucks Mocha Peppermint drink did look pretty good. This is another drink we do not have here in Saudi and the reason being is that Saudis do not like these flavors, it’s a western thing.

I thought I would go ahead and make my own mint syrup and the great thing is that you can use it for coffee and tea. I am a coffer lover while my husband is a tea lover and in Riyadh everyone drinks mint tea so the herb is always in abundance. Not only is this good in hot tea and hot coffee its great in ice tea and ice coffee as well.  Every recipe I had saw used peppermint extract but I wanted to use the real thing, fresh mint. As you see real mint syrup will have a light green color that’s the way it should look.

Mint syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh mint leaves

1. In a small saucepan on high heat add water and mint, bring to a boil then reduce to low. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Add sugar bringing to boil again. Reduce heat to low-medium and allow cooking for a remaining 15 minutes.

2. Strain mixture into a glass jar and allow cooling, and then add the lid tightly. Store in the refrigerator or a cool dark place.

Peppermint Mocha Latte:
1 shot of espresso or 1 cup strong black coffee
1 tablespoon of mint syrup (or to taste)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon cocoa powder, unsweetened
Whip cream, homemade red sugar and mint leaves for garnish, optional

1. In a cup add mint syrup, coffee, cocoa then milk.

* The signature red-and-white stripes of the peppermint candy cane did not
become traditional until the 20th century, but nobody is quite sure who
first thought of the design.

Gingerbread Latte and Syrup

You all will probably be seeing lots of hot drinks in the upcoming weeks here on Ya Salam Cooking. The weather is starting to cool down here, it’s still hot during the days but the mornings and nights are chilly and nothing warms me up like a warm drinking and pretending its autumn. I have had to sadly watch from the screen as everyone post about their fabulous pumpkin spice and gingerbread lattes so this morning I woke up with the intention to make my own. I did and it was great plus now I have my own pumpkin spice and gingerbread syrups.

Gingerbread syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger or 1 tablespoon ground
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tablespoon ground
7 whole cloves

1. In a small saucepan on high heat add water and sugar, mix well. Add molasses, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, mix well. Bring to a full boil then reduce heat to low. Allow to cook stirring every once in a while for 15 minutes.

2. Allow to cool then strain and place in a glass container.

Gingerbread latte:
1 shot of espresso or 1 cup of black coffee
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon gingerbread syrup
Whip cream and maple syrup for topping, optional

*For the last 20 years, the people of Bergen, Norway have tried to make the world’s largest gingerbread house city.