November: Istanbul and Beyond

The inaugural meeting of the Toronto Cookbook Club was a massive success. Six founding members gathered together for a Turkish feast from the new book by Robyn Eckhardt, Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey. We came together as strangers, but left as new friends who can nerd out about cookbooks.

Istanbul and Beyond is an amazing book. Eckhardt takes you on tour of the regions of Turkey, complete with beautiful photographs by her partner, David Hagerman. While there are certainly some more involved recipes, there are so many that use fresh, simple ingredients, and are easy to replicate at home. All the dishes we made were spectacular – not a dud in bunch – and if you love Turkish cooking, this book belongs in your collection!

Through some luck (i.e. Facebook posting!), we were fortunate to have the author call in and chat with us about our dishes! This was such a highlight, and we aren’t sure how we’re going to top it next month. Stayed tuned!

Dishes:

Red Lentil Soup with Chile and Mint – refreshing! A crowd pleaser.

Tahini Eggplant Dip – perfect with the fingerprint flatbread!

Bread

Cabbage rolls in sumac tomato sauce – a tasty take on cabbage rolls.

cabbage

Bulgur filled peppers and zucchini – turned out to be just peppers, as the zucchini did not want to cooperate! Instructions for the vegetable prep were a little confusing, but cleared that up chatting with the author.

Peppers

Spicy Bulgur Kofte with Tomato and Pomegranate Relish – deserves a place at any meze table.

Bulgur Kofke

Spicy Meat-Filled Bulgur Dumplings – this was a project, and it was really tasty! Could’ve used more sauce.

Lamb kotke

Beets and potatoes topped with garlicky yogurt, walnuts and butter – this was a sleeper hit. So simple, yet so tasty. The garlicky yogurt is amazing.

Potatoes

Sun dried tomato, pepper, and pomegranate salad – an unusual combo that worked.

Baked Eggplants stuffed with Beef Ragout – anytime you fill eggplant with ragout, the result is amazing! Tested on actual Turks, who said it was just like they remember.

Eggplant

Buttery Apricots with Walnuts – clearly butter makes EVERYTHING amazing.

Fig pudding – didn’t set as well as maybe it should have, but it was a light, tasty way to end a meal!

Fig pudding

We also had a some Turkish coffee and, of course, wine.

We’re taking December off for the holidays, but will be back in January!