Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yogurt Drink (Ayran)

One of the most refreshing drinks, ayran is enjoyed throughout the summer in Turkey. It pairs very well with kebaps and bulgur dishes. You will find ayran in most Turkish restaurants in the States as it is very popular. I do not know any Turkish person who does not love it, but I think it is an acquired taste for most Americans. 

The yogurt used in this recipe is home made and whole milk is used. I am not sure if it will taste the same with low fat milk, but I think it still would be very refreshing.  Enjoy!

4 cups yogurt
1 cup cold water
1 tsp salt

Mix the yogurt, water and salt in a blender and blend until smooth (a couple minutes). Pour out in glasses and enjoy cold!

Zucchinis with Lentils (Mercimekli Kabak)

Another favorite summer time vegetable: zucchini. Without planning, I end up buying zucchinis every week in the summer since they are in season. Almost every time, I cook them in tomato sauce either with ground beef, with lentils or just with carrots and tomatoes. They’re delicious in my opinion. Although, I used to almost hate them when I was little. When I find myself with little time to cook, I slice them and broil them and they still taste great. So this recipe is one of my favorite ones with zucchinis. A side of rice would go perfectly with this light recipe.

4 zucchinis
3 carrots (shredded)
4 tomatoes (peeled and diced)
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 small onion (shredded)
¾ cup brown lentils (soaked for 1 hour)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp salt
2 cups water

Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Then, cut each half in half again ending up in four pieces. Chop the quartered zucchini ending up in large dices.

Heat olive oil. Saute the onions for 3-4 minutes or until transparent. Add carrots and continue sautéing for 2-3 more minutes. Add garlic and lentils. Cook for 3 minutes while continuing to stir. Add tomatoes and cook for 15 minutes with lid covered. Add tomato sauce and water and cook for 5 more minutes. Add zucchini and stir well. Cover and cook for 45 minutes on medium to low heat. Add the parsley and stir just before removing from the stove.