Well hello there. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen you all here. I was busy with travel things, work things and….oh wait, I’m out of excuses already. I’ll admit: I kind of forgot I had a food blog for a couple weeks there. But after cooking two awesome recipes from our favorite food bloggers, I realized “Hey! I’m taking pictures of these recipes….why am I doing that again?” And then I remembered that oh yes, I too had a small little food blog where I share the joys of our kitchen and those who are kind enough to share with us. And it’s kind of a fun thing, believe it or not. I thought maintaining Cooking With Willis while in grad school was hard. Maintaining Cooking With Willis while adulting is harder, for sure.

So while I try to come up with 17,000 excuses as to why I disappeared, I should really focus on the positives in the post. Particularly, I should hone in on the fact that our friends Levent and Dilara have the most awesome family. Will had the opportunity to live with their parents and sister (and Dilara) over the summer while he interned at the university where their dad is a professor. Levent and Dilara’s parents were kind enough to give Will a roof over his head and often, some delicious homecooked meals, in his belly. They kept him company and treated him like one of their own – to be completely honest, I was super jealous of his summer! They live in a mountainous part of Virginia in a town with cool coffee shops and a variety of local and international food stores. Not quite sleepy little Williamsburg.

I had the opportunity to only go visit once, sadly. But when I was there, Levent and Dilara’s mom Gunin, made us this incredible meal that we got to enjoy on their back patio on a cool summer’s eve. The Mahi Mahi was so fresh and we all gobbled it up quite happily. However, the big hit of dinner was the Turkish dish – Borek. Gunin is originally from Turkey and throughout college, we heard about all the amazing Turkish food our friends would eat at home. So when Will was invited to stay with their family, I knew I’d be missing out on some great meals. Luckily, Gunin treated me to this classic cheese pastry and I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to go back and visit again to see what else she would spoil us with! Sadly both Dilara and Levent have moved to new cities, so I don’t know the next time I’ll be enjoying Gunin’s cooking, but at least I’ll have these recipes to remember it by.

Baked Mahi Mahi (serves 8)
2 lbs of Mahi Mahi
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp chopped dill
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of half a lemon
1-2 tbsp of olive oil, to drizzle
S&P to season

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your 9×13 Pyrex with with Pam olive oil. Put the Mahi Mahi down. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Pour the lemon juice over. Mix chopped red peppers, dill and garlic together and spread over the fish. Last, drizzle with the olive oil. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and enjoy!

Borek (serves 10-12)
3 pastry sheets (yufkas – each probably has an 18-inch diameter)
1 lb. feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1 cup veggie oil

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the 2 eggs, 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of veggie oil in one bowl. Mix the crumbled feta cheese and chopped parsley in another bowl. Spray your 9×13 Pyrex dish with Pam olive oil. Center one of the pastry sheets in your dish, letting the edges hang over. Pour enough of the egg mixture to wet the bottom portion of the pastry sheet. Then put another sheet over. This time, fold the edges but make sure between folds you always pour the liquid mixture – you can be generous. Then spread your cheese mixture. Next, use your last pastry sheet, again folding the edges in as you pour the liquid mixture in between. The final step will be the folding of the first pastry sheet’s corners in again while pouring the liquid. If any liquid remains at the end, it can be gently poured over the whole dish. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool before cutting into slices, then enjoy!

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