We got back from Istanbul a few weeks ago and since then it's been one project, road trip and Valentine's day after another. I've barely had a chance to catch up on my stories. Mostly I've been working on upgrading this blog into something a little fancier but I've also been baking a lot, figuring out my trip to Minnesota to visit The Betty Crocker Test Kitchen and veganizing recipes from the cookbooks we brought home from our trip.
I feel like I should tell you - I was unprepared for what an amazing city Istanbul is. I knew Turkey would be one of my favorite parts of our trip and that it would be freezing. What we didn't see coming was how we would feel when we walked into the Hagia Sofia for the first time. For a place so remarkable - there just isn't words. Here's the slideshow of the photos from the part of our trip we were in Turkey if you want to see for yourself.
Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer
But that brings us to today and this recipe... You can find Lahmacun in shops and stands all over Istanbul. Usually made with ground lamb meat, this portable meal is usually rolled up like a New York slice or folded like a taco and wrapped in paper. We actually didn't have one of these in Istanbul for pretty obvious reasons but we started with this recipe because we wanted an excuse to use the new spices we bought in The Grand Bazaar and I was craving pizza. That's why our Lahmacuns are more like personal pizzas you'll need a fork to eat than flatbread wraps but they're still a great dinner and an excuse to expand our spice inventory.
If you're also looking to expand your spice rack - here are the two items you'll need to locate:
- Sumak/Sumac : This is a dark red powder made from a berry sourced in Anatolia. It has a bitter flavor similar to lemons. If you can't locate it - you can replace it with Cumin or Paprika in the recipe below.
- Green Bazilicum/Fesleğen : I hope you get a little laugh out of this - I did. Behind these foreign names, this green herb that we found in a small spice shop hidden in the winding streets of The Grand Bazaar is just a type of basil. I mean it's a different type than the one we commonly use in The US and it has a very subtle fresher flavor similar to mint but it's basil none the less. So if you can't locate this particular type of basil - I'm sure you'll be able to find a substitution.
Tomorrow there will more Betty baking but tonight we recommend making yourself something kind of different and undeniably delicious!