'Steam: The Turkish Bath' Recipes and Photos

by Celeste Heiter, Nov 28, 2005 | Destinations: Turkey / Ankara

This rich and exotic Turkish menu features a variety of unusual appetizers, a hearty lentil soup, a classic Mediterranean salad, braised lamb shanks with couscous pilav and for dessert, dried apricots filled with sweet cream and almonds.




1 package phyllo dough, thawed
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ounces melted butter


Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic and onions and saute until just tender. Add spinach, mix thoroughly and continue cooking until all ingredients are tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool. Stir in feta cheese.


Lay one sheet of phyllo dough on a clean, dry cutting board. Using a pizza cutter or a very sharp knife, cut the sheet lengthwise into three equal strips. Place a heaping teaspoon of the spinach filling at the lower end of each strip. Fold the lower edge of the dough upward to form a triangle over the filling, and continue folding the strip into triangular layers around the filling, flag-style. Tuck in the upper edge, brush both sides with melted butter and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets until all the filling has been used. Store remaining phyllo dough in the refrigerator for later use. Bake the borek at 350 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Makes about two dozen.




1 large can garbanzo beans, drained
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 bulb of roasted garlic
1/4 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 large sprig fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 package pita bread


To make roasted garlic, trim the top from the bulb of fresh garlic. Place on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap loosely in foil, place in a small baking pan and roast in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes, until very soft. Allow to cool. Squeeze the roasted garlic paste into a small bowl and set aside.


Cut each pita bread in half at the perforation and then cut each half into three equal triangles. Carefully separate the halves of the triangles formed by the pocket into single pita wedges. Place the pita wedges on a baking sheet and lightly toast at 350 degrees for about 5-7 minutes, until just crisp and golden brown.


In a food processor or blender, combine garbanzo beans, tahini paste, roasted garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Puree until the ingredients form a smooth paste. Transfer the hummus to a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve with pita wedges. Makes about 12 servings.


Artichoke Hearts a la Meze


3 large artichokes, washed and trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large sprig fresh parsley, finely chopped


In a large kettle, steam the artichokes until tender, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Carefully remove the petals from each artichoke and set aside. Scrape away the fibrous center from the heart and discard. Chop the heart into 1/2" cubes. Transfer to a bowl. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. Arrange on the center of a serving dish and surround with artichoke petals.


Lentil Soup with Lamb


8 cups lamb stock
2 cups lentils
1 pound lamb, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon corriander
Salt to taste


Heat the olive oil in a large soup kettle. Add onions, garlic and leek and saute until just tender. Add lamb, cumin and salt and saute until lightly browned. Add lamb stock and bring to a boil. Add lentils and cook for about 30 minutes, until just tender. Add carrots and tomato. Simmer for 10 minutes. Makes 4 to 8 servings.


Mediterranean Salad


1 bunch fresh spinach, trimmed and washed
1 large tomato, cut into thin wedges
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
24 Kalamata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar


To make the salad dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously. Place spinach leaves in a large salad bowl. Add dressing a little at a time and toss until spinach is lightly coated. Divide the spinach onto serving plates. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. Garnish with olives, tomato and cucumber. Serves 4 to 6.


Lamb Shanks


4 lamb shanks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, cut into 1" pieces
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup white wine
2 cups lamb stock
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon corriander
2 tablespoons flour dissolved in 1/4 cup water


Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides in a heavy skillet or grill pan. Heat the olive oil in a large roasting pan with a tight fitting lid. Add onions, garlic, and carrots and saute until lightly browned. Add white wine and stir in salt. Arrange lamb shanks over the vegetables. Sprinkle with marjoram and corriander. Cover and roast at 325 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until very tender.


Transfer lamb shanks and vegetables to serving dishes. Place roasting pan on stove burner and bring the pan drippings to a simmer. Add flour and water mixture to form a light roux. Add lamb stock and continue simmering until thickened. Serve on the side as a sauce for lamb and pilav.


Rice Couscous Pilav


2 cups cooked couscous (prepare according to package directions)
2 cups cooked rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 large sprigs fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons marjoram
1/2 teaspoon corriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup lamb stock
Salt and pepper (to taste)


Heat olive oil in a large kettle. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until tender. Add lamb stock and bring to a simmer. Add rice and couscous. Stir with a large spoon to thoroughly mix all ingredients. Add parsley, marjoram and corriander. Stir again to uniformly mix all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with lamb shanks.


Kayisi Tatlisi


24 dried apricots
24 almonds
24 pistachio nuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar


Combine the cream and sugar in a small mixing bowl, and whip with a wire whisk until the cream forms stiff peaks. Using a small, sharp knife, make a slit in the side of each apricot to form a small pocket. Fill the pocket with the sweetened cream and tuck an almond into the center. Gently close the slit around the almond. This will cause the cream to ooze toward the outer edge. Carefully roll the cream filling in the chopped pistachio nuts and place on a serving dish. Chill until serving time.

* * * * *