I am spoiled rotten. I think anyone who’s read anything on this blog might agree. But seriously. How many other people out there come home to meals like this on a regular weeknight? I imagine not many. If I didn’t have Will, I’d probably be pretty proud of myself for cooking one or two meals a week, and not just eating frozen food out of a box every night (Trader Joe’s Butter Chicken, I’m lookin’ at you). It seriously takes me a minimum of two hours to make anything in the kitchen (even if it’s easy), so if it were totally up to me, I’d always be cooking my dinner the night before I actually want to consume it – too much effort. But instead my husband is unreal and I feel incredibly fortunate that I get to enjoy gourmet meals on the reg. You also know that not every evening is a three-piece Turkish meal, but often it’s not too far off.

However, when my evening IS a three-piece Turkish meal, that’s obviously worth sharing. Now the hilarious part about this is that Will went through all the effort to get this on a plate at the same time in one evening…and it’s taken me almost three months to blog about it. Oops? I know he did all the work in the kitchen, but typing up multiple recipes, editing photos and formatting everything takes a little time, okay? A lot of times, the cooking can be the easier part of the blogging experience! No excuses – I know, I know. But at least I’m finally getting around to sharing it with you all! Read on to learn how to make these wonderful Turkish dishes that ended up complimenting each other perfectly.

Cooking Notes: Will didn’t crush any of the spices from seed, like was suggested, but used powders instead! He also chose to use button mushrooms because the smaller the mushroom, the better! You could also use any green spice topping (mint, basil, parsley, etc.) in place of the scallions!

Spicy Garlic Mushrooms (adapted from Classic Turkish Cooking; serves 4)
8 oz. button mushrooms, clean and left whole 
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil + a little butter
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground coriander
Pinch of ground nutmeg
S&P, to taste
Fresh scallions, chopped

Place the mushrooms in a saucepan with the garlic, spices, olive oil and butter. Cook with the lid on over high heat for about 10 minutes, shaking occasionally, allowing the liquid to froth up. Once the mushrooms begin to caramelize, remove the lid and cook another 4-5 minutes until some liquid has evaporated. Season to taste; spoon the mushrooms into a bowl and toss with fresh herbs, then serve hot or cold and enjoy!

Cooking Notes: Will skipped the currants that these called for because we couldn’t find them easily. You can choose to use parsley, mint and/or dill in the dolmas.
Grape Leaf Dolmas (adapted from Classic Turkish Cooking; serves 6-8)
24-30 fresh or preserved grape leaves
8 oz. short grain rice
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil + a little butter
1 scant tbsp sugar
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Fresh herbs
Soak the rice in warm salted water for 10 minutes; drain and rinse. While rice soaks, prepare the filling. Soften the onions and garlic in the oil and butter. Stir in the sugar and pine nuts. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the spices, rice, S&P. Cover with just enough water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is almost absorbed. Mix in the herbs with a fork, cover the pan and leave for 5 minutes. The rice should still have a bit of a bite to it.
Place a few grape leaves in the bottom of a wide pan. Lay the rest of the leaves on a flat surface and place a spoonful of the rice mixture in the middle of each. Fold the near end of each grape leaf over the mixture, then the side flaps to seal it in and roll it all up into a thin cigar shape. Arrange the stuffed vine leaves in the pan, tightly packed, and pour over the cooking liquid. Place a plate on top to present them from unravelling, reduce the heat and cook gently for 1+ hours. Leave to cool in the pan and serve cold!
Cooking Notes: Will substituted feta cheese for the beyaz peynir, since it’s very similar. Again for the herbs, the mixture would be a combination of dill, parsley and/or mint. He also had to substitute chili powder for kirmizi biber.
Zucchini Fritters (adapted from Classic Turkish Cooking; serves 4-6)
3 big firm zucchini, grated with their skins
1 large onion, chopped or sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed with salt
3 tbsp olive oil
3 eggs
3 tbsp plain flour
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Large bunch of herbs, roughly chopped
1 tsp chili powder
A good oil for frying
Sprinkle the grated zucchini with a little salt. Allow them to sit for 5 minutes, then squeeze out the excess water. Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and fry the onion, garlic and zucchini until they begin to turn a little darker.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the flour to a smooth batter. Add the cheese, herbs, and chili powder. Season with a little S&P, then beat in the zucchini mix while still warm. Heat a little oil (appropriate for frying) just enough to cover the base of a frying pan. Drop a spoonful or two of the zucchini mixture into the oil and fry the patties until golden-brown on each side. Drain on a paper towel and serve hot or cold; enjoy!


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