Persian Rice with Sour Cherries

Persian Rice with Sour Cherries

I adore this dish, called Albaloo in Farsi.  It combines so many exquisite yet simple flavors in every spoonful.  Although you have to use several cooking pots, none of the steps are complicated and it's well worth the effort. For a simpler meal, just prepare standard Basmati rice and the Turmeric Chicken.  In my family, we always called this chicken dish "Sticky Chicken" because as small children, we inevitably ended up eating the chicken with our hands and it made them very sticky! ... Continue Reading
Rocky Road Chocolate Mousse

Dark Chocolate Mousse

When I got married many years ago, cooking for me basically meant making toast, frying an egg, or making one of two dishes: a simple olive oil and garlic pasta or a vegetable stir fry, always with the same vegetables.  Essentially, I didn't cook.  I loved to eat, but I didn't know how to cook.  So to help me out, my dear sweet mother decided to put some of her classic recipes to paper, usually handwritten, sometimes typed.  In the margins, she would add special notes to me; opinions, ... Continue Reading

Mediterranean Meat Loaf

Growing up in the United States, my parents' best friends were from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.  Our two families saw each other constantly.  The children felt more like cousins than friends.  In the mid-80's, each of our families bought neighboring summer lake houses, where we spent almost every weekend.  We basically lived in both houses, going back and forth freely.  You can imagine mealtimes - a large communal buffet was laid out each day and we would dig in, barefoot, ... Continue Reading
Eggplant Dip with yogurt and garlic

Eggplant Dip with Yogurt and Garlic (Yogurtlu Patlican Ezmesi)

The english word for yogurt originates from the Turkish, yogurt (pronounced with a silent "g").  Yogurt is used in so many ways in Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cooking.  Not the overly sweet fruity non-fat slightly gelatinous versions that I consumed in college as a "healthy snack," but traditional full-fat creamy yogurt, which is actually much more healthful!   In recent years, I've been thrilled that this kind of yogurt has made a come-back in the United States.   Hooray!  Use ... Continue Reading
Chocolate Banana Bread Slices

Chocolate Banana Bread

This delicious Chocolate Banana Bread is truly magnificent.  As I bake it, the house begins to smell like a bakery, full of vanilla and chocolate and warmth.  We often eat it right off the cooling rack, before it's cooled :)  The melted chocolate chunks are irresistible.  This recipe is based on Nigella Lawson's Banana Bread. The Recipe    Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 1 hour Yields: 8 servings Ingredients 1 1/2 cups (175g) plain flour 2 teaspoons baking ... Continue Reading
Lentil Balls with Avocado

Turkish Lentil Kofta (Mercimek Köftesi)

Lentil Kofta makes a perfect appetizer or snack.  Everyone loves it and it keeps really well in the fridge.  Just follow a few simple steps. Cook the lentils and bulgur. Then sauté the onions. Mix the lentils, onions, and other ingredients together. And then form the lentil kofta.   The Recipe    Prep Time: 30 mins Cook Time: about 1 hour Yields: approx. 40 koftas Ingredients 2 cups red lentils Salt for boiling lentils 1 ... Continue Reading
Couscous with Chicken and Chickpeas

Spicy Chicken Couscous with Caramelized Vegetables

It has been years since I've made couscous and I decided today was the day!  It's so easy and perfect as a warm stew in colder weather! Couscous is of course a North African dish.  It is made from fine bulgur wheat, which I love because it's not only tasty, but it doesn't require any cooking!  You just soak it for a few minutes in hot water and voila!  Couscous! I first tasted it as I did many things, at home.  This recipe is in fact an adaptation of my mother's.  I've added a few ... Continue Reading
Slice of Lemon Cheesecake

The Best Lemon Cheesecake Ever

This is quite possibly the best cheesecake I've ever tasted.  Ever.  It's light, fresh, lemony, creamy, and oh so amazingly delicious.  I just love it. I've added lots of extra tips in the instructions to help you avoid all those annoying cracks you get in cheesecake sometimes.  If you follow a few simple guidelines, cracks in your cheesecake will be a thing of the past.  Go ahead and crack a smile :) Here is what the crust, aluminum foil, and water bath look like: ... Continue Reading