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Tag Archives: pistachios

Feta and Pistachio with Black Pepper: A Turkish Meze

Turkish Style Feta and Pistachio Meze

Turkish Style Feta and Pistachio Meze

Cheese at the Fethiye Market

Cheese at the Fethiye Market

Sliced Cucumbers Separate These Mezes

Sliced Cucumbers Separate These Mezes

This creamy spread for bread is another meze I discovered in Istanbul. It’s a quick dinner party appetizer too. I never saw the word feta in Turkey; only cheese. Feta means slice, so feta is probably our interpretation. Their “feta like” cheese is always white, but creamier and less tart. When I developed this recipe I added yogurt to a nice quality Bulgarian feta from our local cheese and wine shop, Eastman Party Store. Eastman’s has made the world of difference in our lives in Midland, Michigan. It has more international flair than any other local shop!
I’ve also made this with the Presidents brand feta which was great too!

You can make this as thin and creamy as you like. A spoonful maintains it’s shape, but it can definitely be spread on a slice of French like baguette. Add more yogurt if you like. Have fun with this new combination of ingredients! Use all 4 teaspoons of the black pepper! It’s the key in this recipe!

As it sits in the frig it may dry out a bit. Add more yogurt to keep it spreadable. It stores well up to a week. 

  
In a small bowl combine with a spoon until well blended.

8 ounces whole milk feta, cut into tiny squares

6 oz or about 1 1/4 cups shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

4 teaspoons black pepper 

1 cup whole milk plain Greek yogurt

Add more yogurt for a creamier consistency. Spread on Naan, a Middle Eastern flatbread

All the ingredients you’ll need. Notice the bag of shelled pistachios!

   
Feta sliced into 1/4 inch cubes 

 
Roughly chopped pistachios

   
The feta and pistachios 

 
A brand of yogurt very close to the Turkish yogurt in Istanbul 

   
The nutrition label of the whole milk Greek yogurt. 14 grams of fat is about a tablespoon per cup

  

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo

Strawberry Pistachio Semifreddo

This “semi-frozen” dessert does not require an ice cream maker and is perfect for a dinner party because it serves 8-12. Or you can keep it all for yourself in the freezer! Thank you to Martha Stewart, this was a big hit at our last Dinner Club! Martha Stewart is the entertaining queen of our time. Her magazine, Martha Stewart Living and her website are inspiring sources. You can also find this recipe at MarthaStewart.com

http://www.marthastewart.com/978987/strawberry-pistachio-semifreddo

Our dinner party of 8 divided this dessert into 8 portions. Not a lick was leftover!

Thank you to Rose Thill for discovering this recipe and to Nadine Kanuch for preparing it so exquisitely!

1/2 cup unsalted roasted shelled pistachios

8 ounces strawberries, hulled (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 1/2 cup cold heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Line a 5-by-9 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides.
  • Pulse pistachios in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Place strawberries and 3 tablespoons sugar in the processor
  • Puree until smooth and transfer to a fine sieve set over a bowl. Stir puree, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids.
  • In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water combine egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar.
  • Beat on high until pale yellow and tripled in volume, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer bowl to a larger bowl of ice water. Stir until mixture is very thick and cool, about 3 minutes.
  • In another large bowl beat together cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  • Whisk 1/3 of whipped cream into egg mixture, whisking until smooth.
  • Then fold egg mixture into remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula just until thoroughly blended.
  • Pour 1/2 of the cream mixture into strawberry puree. Gently fold together until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Pour strawberry cream mixture into the prepared loaf pan; smooth top.
  • Fold pistachios into remaining cream mixture. Pour evenly over strawberry cream; smooth top.
  • Fold plastic wrap over surface and freeze at least 12 hours.
  • Keep frozen until ready to serve. Invert pan onto a cutting board. Unmold semifreddo, remove plastic, and cut crosswise into 3/4 inch thick slices. Voila!

Baklava

Baklava baked and cut in diamond shapes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an authentic Greek recipe from Mercin Karris of Midland Michigan. She made this for her family and the annual Greek Festival in Saginaw Michigan. When I made the recipe her husband George would critique it for me. I have enjoyed making this for 30 years with heartfelt appreciation for George and Mercin.

1 lb package frozen phyllo leaves, measuring 14 inches x 18 inches (follow package directions for thawing. If phyllo starts to crack, let thaw  longer at room temperature)

1 lb salted butter or more, melted

2-3 lbs walnuts, chopped coarsely, or as desired

3 tablespoons cinnamon

Syrup:

4 cups sugar

3 cups water

1/2 lemon

2-3 inch cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup honey

In a large saucepan combine the sugar, water, lemon and cinnamon sticks. Whisk together and heat to a simmer. Continue simmering uncovered. Keep an eye on this as you proceed with the baklava. The goal is to have room temperature syrup that is the consistancy of Karo syrup. As you complete the baklava, cool a tiny amount in the freezer. Then place a drop on your thumb nail. This drop should not roll off.

Add the ground cinnamon to the chopped walnuts and mix.

Use a shallow baking sheet measuring about 14 inches x 18 inches x 1 1/2 inches. Brush the bottom and sides with butter.

  • Compiling the baklava involves layering the leaves of phyllo and brushing each layer with melted butter.
  • You should use at least 1 pound of butter, but not over 1 1/4 pounds.
  • For the bottom layers, place 6 leaves of phyllo brushing each layer with butter.
  • If the leaves are too large for the pan, fold the excess towards the center. Switch sides of the folds to make an even pastry. The center layers continue with phyllo and butter with the addition of 2 or 3 handfuls of walnuts sprinkled on top.
  • As you make several layers with nuts, count out the last 6 layers of phyllo. These are the top layers and should be phyllo and butter only as the bottom layers without the nuts.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Before baking, cut the baklava. Your skills for cutting and visualizing even measurements determines how you go about this. You can use a ruler if you want.
  • I use dental floss to mark out 6 lengthwise strips. Then I use a sharp paring knife to cut these strips.
  • Then I use the dental floss to mark out the diagonal corners across the baklava. Cut through this center diagonal line with the knife.
  • At this point I use my eye to cut the remaining strips in parallel to the center diagonal.
  • The end products are diamond shape baklava measuring about 4 inches by 1 1/5 inches. If you want smaller pieces, start out with 7 or 8 lengthwise strips.
  • Before baking, check your syrup. If it is ready, pour into a ceramic bowl and add honey. Cool quickly  to room temperature over ice. The goal is to pour cold syrup over hot baklava. Set the syrup aside to cool.
  • Place the baklava in the hot oven. Sprinkle a wet hand of water over the baklava to promote a crisp crust. Bake about 30 minutes or until just starting to turn a light toasted color.  Do not overbake.
  • Remove from the oven and recut with a sharp knife.
  • Pour the cold syrup over the hot baklava. Cool overnight before serving. Syrup absorbs into pastry as it cools. Wait to  serve until there is no more syrup pooling in the baking pan.
  • You can make this large quantity and freeze part for another time.  When ready to serve I like to use a paper cupcake liner for each piece
  •  You can use pistachios instead of walnuts. Another flavor to sprinkle on is rose water just before and/or after baking.