Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nightingale’s Nest (Bülbül Yuvası)

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A cousin of the baklava, this dessert is equally delicious but with a different style. The nightingale’s nests look very appealing and hard to resist. I made these about a month ago and loved them. They tasted so delicious that I decided to make them again with a few little adjustments. Instead of pistachios, you may use hazelnuts, almonds or any other nut you may favor, but for me nothing beats pistachios. I think it is the most delicious nut so it is always my number one nut to use in desserts. Also, traditionally, I believe these are made with pistachios so I do not want to change that. For some reason, I love traditional foods the way they are and do not like to make a lot of changes to them.

In making this dessert, a thinner roller pin (oklava) is used to roll these pastries in Turkey, but since I do not have one I used a thermometer’s storage sleeve. See picture.

Below is the recipe.

For the Pastry:

1 lb phyllo dough
8 oz pistachios (finely grounded)
8 oz (2 sticks) butter

A thin rolling pin or a stick

For the Syrup:

3 cups sugar
1½ cups water
1 tsp lemon juice

For Garnish:

1 oz pistachios (finely grounded)

Add the sugar and water in a pot. Stir until the sugar melts. Let it boil for 2 minutes and add the lemon juice. Let it simmer for 3-4 minutes and remove from heat. Cool syrup.

Melt the butter slowly in a pan. Remove the foam and discard. Let it cool.

Grease a baking tray with butter. Take one sheet of phyllo dough and lay it on a flat working surface with the short side towards you.

Dip a pastry brush in the butter and spread all over the phyllo sheet. 

Lay another phyllo sheet on top of the buttered sheet. 

Lay the rolling pin at the bottom of the phyllo dough and sprinkle the 2 tbsp pistachios on top of the phyllo dough leaving about an inch without pistachio on top section of the phyllo sheet. 

Start rolling the phyllo sheet over the rolling pin leaving the 1 inch on top. 

From both sides crinkle the phyllo dough while the rolling pin is still inside. 

Pull the rolling pin gently and close the ends of the dough leaving the 1 inch section in the middle of the circle.

Butter the phyllo dough immediately and place on the baking tray. 

Repeat until all the phyllo dough sheets are used up. Pour any remaining butter on top of the nests.

Heat the oven to 350º F. Place the tray in the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. The longer it bakes the crispier it gets. Remove from oven and pour the cooled syrup on top of each round immediately. Cover with aluminum foil and let it cool. Distribute the 1 oz pistachios inside each of the nests. Enjoy with a hot tea or coffee.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Fried Dover Sole (Dil Balığı Kızartması)

My 17 month old twins love this fish. Ever since they were 8 months old, they have been eating this fish. I think the reason is because the fish is so delicate, it is very soft and doesn’t require a lot of chewing. Since this fish falls apart easily I usually sauté it in a pan for them, however I would like a little more texture to the fish so I decided to fry them since it was the family dinner. They actually had several rolls and normally each eats one filet only (they are very thin filets). When the dover sole is rolled up like this it can be fried or baked. I have tried it baked and I didn’t even need to hold it together with a toothpick. Enjoy!

2 lb dover sole filets

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp sumac

Juice of 1 lemon

For Frying:

1½ cup white flour

4 cups canola oil

In a large bowl, mix the lemon juice, salt, red pepper flakes and sumac. Add the dover sole filets and mix to coat the fish with all the ingredients. Roll each dover sole filet starting from the thicker side of the filet towards the thinner end. Place a toothpick in the middle to keep the roll together. Repeat this and place in a plate that has higher edges so that all the juices from the fish will drain to the middle of the plate. The juices then can be cleaned up with paper towel. Let them rest for 10 minutes so that all the water drains out from the rolls. 

Heat the oil. Coat the dover sole rolls in flour and put in the oil. Fry until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Serve with lemon wedges and rice.