Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bulgur Stuffed Zucchini and Eggplant (Bulgurlu Kabak ve Patlican Dolma)

"If you want to start a food fight, just ask people what are the worlds great cuisines? Culinary lore identifies three. Two seem obvious. The third is a bit of a puzzle. WEEKEND EDITION's food commentator Bonny Wolf explains.
BONNY WOLF: Chinese and French, right? Right. Whats the third great cuisine? Its not Indian, Japanese or even Italian. Its Turkish Cuisine..."
This recipe is my second last minute submission for AWED (A Worldly Epicurean Delight ), brought by DK at Chef in You and hosted by Janet from the Taste Space, featuring Turkish Cuisine.

Turkish Cusines offers a vast array of specialities and Bulgur Stuffed Zucchini and Eggplant is a good example since there are so many variations of this dish. Dolma is a verbal noun of the Turkish verb dolmak 'to be stuffed(or filled)', and means simply 'stuffed thing'. Dolma has a special place in Turkish cuisine, the chief vegetables used for dolma are peppers, zucchini and eggplant. Others include tomatoes, leeks, celeriac, artichokes, beets, squash blossoms. My favorite variation is the one with dried peppers and aubergine. However, it is better suited for cold days of winter, until then take advantage of Summer's fresh bounty and enjoy!

3 medium zucchinis
2 medium eggplants
1/2 cup coarse bulgur
1 big onion, petite diced
1 tbs tomato paste
1/2 tbs red pepper paste (optional)
1 big or 2 medium tomatoes
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Cut zucchinis and eggplants in half and cut off and level the ends so they can stand somewhat upright in the pot. Carefully scoop out the insides.

2. Add bulgur, canned tomatoes, olive oil, tomato paste, red pepper paste and parsley. Stir  combine.

3.Stuff the vegetables with bulgur mix and cover with fresh tomatoes. Place in a pot facing up.

4. Pour hot water half way through zucchinis and place a china or porcelain plate over the dolmas and cover with the lid. First bring to a boil and then cover and simmer on low until vegetables are cooked.

Roasted Eggplant Salad (Patlican Salatasi)

This recipe is my first submission for AWED (A Worldly Epicurean Delight ), brought by DK at Chef in You and hosted by Janet from the Taste Space. I can't express how excited I was when I spotted Janet's post featuring Turkish Cuisine! For a culinary quest, the Turkish Cuisine is a truly interesting and, distinctive one. Discovering Turkish cuisine is just like discovering a secret treasure.  With abundant use of vegetables and the legacy of an Imperial Kitchen, there's much more to Turkish cuisine than grills.

As Neset Eren stated  in The Art of Turkish Cooking: “Many of the well-known national cuisines rely on one basic element. For instance, French cuisine is based on the sauce. Pasta forms the essence of the Italian cuisine. There is however, no single dominant feature in the Turkish kitchen. Meats, fish, vegetables pastries, and fruit are cooked in an infinite variety of ways.”

The eggplant said to be the country's most beloved vegetable and there are at least forty ways to prepare eggplant alone. Rosted eggplant salad is great as a light summer time meal or a side dish.


4 eggplants (The  Turkish, Italian, Chinese and Japanese aubergine\eggplant varieties,  work best for this dish)
2-3 long hot peppers, or banana peppers ( I really like it with Poblano peppers)
1 (15 oz) jar roasted red peppers or you can roast 2-3 red peppers
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, petite dcied
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6-7 tbsp of vinegar
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Roast eggplants on a grill, or in oven at 450F. (if you like you can roast tomatoes along with eggplants for 4-5 minutes or add them raw)

2. Let them cool first. Then peel eggplants and remove the seeds. Then finely chopp them.

3.In a bowl mix crushed garlic, and eggplants. Add diced pepper,  red onion, tomatoes and parsley.

4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Add this on vegetables.

5. Stir to combine.Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sweet Potato Fritters with Peach Salsa

Peach Salsa
2 fresh peaches, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and diced
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. lime zest

Lime Sauce (Optional)
1 cup low-fat sour cream
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime zest
1 tsp. chipotle hot sauce

2 medium sweet potatoes boiled and mashed, preferably but if you don't have the time you can use
1 40-oz. can sweet potatoes, drained
1 medium-size onion, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped (about 3/4 cup), I used poblano peppers
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 Tbs. peanut oil
1. To make Peach Salsa: Combine all ingredients in bowl.
2. To make Lime Sauce: Combine all ingredients in bowl.
3. To make Fritters: Mash together sweet potatoes, onion, bell pepper, breadcrumbs, egg, thyme and pepper in bowl. Shape into 3-inch patties. The easiest way to shape them is to use
4. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Fry patties 4 minutes on each side, or until brown, using more oil as needed. Drain on paper towels. Serve with Peach Salsa and Lime Sauce.

You can also serve this delicious fritters with fat-free ricotta cheese and fresh chives, you won't be dissapointed!

Recipe is adapted from one of my favorite magazines: Vegetarian Times Issue: October 1, 2006 p.72

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

If you have leftover taco fillings this recipe is a great way to enjoy them! I use ground turkey for my homemade tacos instead of ground beef to make them healthier, after adding the taco seasoning you can't tell the difference. The only difference will be the amount of saturated fat you will be consuming. My new favorite taco is the lentil tacos that I posted earlier, not just because they are low in fat and calories because they taste good. I intentionally prepared extra helpings because they made great lentil salad the next day.

I adapted Alton Brown's Enchilada Lasagna Recipe and substituted chicken with my leftover ground turkey. If you like both lasagna and spicy, you will like this combination! oh and it is so easy to make!

For sauce:
2 dried chipotle chiles, stems and seeds removed, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, freshly ground
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For filling:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 cups diced onion
Pinch kosher salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
3 cups shredded queso fresco or Monterey Jack (reduced fat)
Nonstick cooking spray


1. Combine the chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the chiles are soft. Set aside until ready to use.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the ground turkey or until cooked through, approximately 7 to 9 minutes. Remove the meat from the pan and place in a medium bowl. Add the onions to the same pan along with a pinch of salt, decrease the heat to medium-low and sweat for 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano and cook until the onions are tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the meat back to the pan and remove from the heat.

4. Spray a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Place 1/2 cup of the sauce into the bottom of the dish. Dip 4 tortillas into the remaining sauce and lay them into the bottom of the dish. Cut 1 of the tortillas in half to evenly cover the bottom of the dish. Top this with half of the meat mixture and 1 cup of the cheese. Starting with 4 more tortillas, repeat the layers, ending with the last 4 tortillas on top. Pour remaining sauce over the dish and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese on top is bubbly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Did you know that avocados are actually a fruit, not a vegetable, and have more potassium than bananas? Ripeness of the avocados are the key to great tasting guacamole. The perfect ripeness is when the skin is nearly black and the fruit yields to soft pressure.

2 ripe avocados
1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1-2 Jalepeno or serrano peppers, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tablespoons cilantro (or parsley if you don't like cilantro), finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and petite diced
Juice of 1 lime,
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Salt and pepper


1. Cut avocados in half (Don't discard the shells if you want to use them as serving bowls). In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash.

2. Add the chopped onion, peppers, cilantro stir. Then, fold in the tomatoes. If you are making ahead of time don't add the tomatoes until ready to serve.