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Posted on 18 June 2012 by

Tomato and Cucumber Sandwich with Sumac Onions and Yogurt Dressing

By David Harbilas

I doubt this is a traditional Turkish recipe, but it does make use of a Turkish staple in sumac onions.

Sumac is a lemony spice used widely in Middle Eastern cuisine. (The fruit does not come from any of the poison varieities, which contain the allergen urushiol that causes the characteristic rash.)

This sandwich balances the heat of fresh sliced onion with the sweetness from the tomato as well as the cooling effects of the yogurt and cucumber.

Since the flavors in this sandwich are quite bold it isn’t necessary to use the best tomatoes available, though it obviously won’t hurt.

Serves 2

1 large or 2 small red slicing tomatoes
½ cucumber, sliced
1 yellow onion, julienned Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 16 June 2012 by

Tomato, Radish & Red Onion Sandwich with Boursin Cheese


By David Harbilas

As with the Caprese Sandwich, this is almost a salad on a roll.

What brings it together is the boursin cheese, which is easily made at home.

In fact, boursin is so versatile it’s a good idea to keep some on hand, as it goes well with a toasted bagel with sliced tomatoes or can be melted into a cream sauce to be served with chicken.

That said, this is an excellent sandwich in the summer, when the vegetables are in season.

If no decent ripe tomatoes are available to you now, roasted tomatoes are an excellent substitute.

Serves 2

1 large or 2 small slicing red tomatoes
4 radishes, sliced thinly
4 slices red onion Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 14 June 2012 by

Caprese Sandwich

By David Harbilas

About four years ago I was working as a sous chef in a restaurant located in a hotel.

We employed a fairly large staff and were required to cook a staff meal every day, for both kitchen employees and those not working in the kitchen.

At the time that I made this sandwich we were closed for renovations, so I didn’t have to make a large spread.

All we had were some tomatoes, mixed greens, bread, and a few condiments like mayo, olive oil, and vinegar.

While this may seem like a ridiculously simple sandwich–and most good ones are simple–it is a reminder in how important fresh, seasonally available produce is to achieve great results.

It is also friendly to vegetarians; the mozzarella cheese can be omitted for vegans.

Serves 2

1 large or two small ripe red tomatoes, preferably an heirloom slicing variety like brandywine, big boy, or delicious.
1 ovaline size fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
10 fresh basil leaves Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 10 June 2012 by

Sarah Parker\’s Tomato-Pesto Pizza

By David Harbilas

Years ago I had a terrible job that had the benefit of a very flexible schedule and a minimum of supervision, which meant we could cook anything we liked for ourselves.

One of my co-workers, Sarah Parker, who I have since lost touch with, used to make this pizza, which is not for the diet conscious.

The topping is essentially a cream sauce made with tomatoes, pesto and parmesan cheese, and when baked on the crust it browns and melts into a gooey mess.

This is probably the least healthy pizza I’ve ever eaten, yet it is incredibly delicious and reminds me of an old friend.

Serves 4

1 pizza crust, about 16”
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup pesto Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 06 June 2012 by

Lamacun — Turkish Pizza

By David Harbilas

Pizza seems to be so synonymous with our misunderstanding of Italian cuisine that to even think that it has a Turkish version is a surprise, to say the least.

Yet when we think of pizza–a crust topped with tomato sauce, cheese and any number of other toppings–we hardly think of something that might resemble a tart.

Lamacun (pronounced LA-ma-joon) is a very thin crust “pizza” topped with a mixture of ground meat, tomatoes, peppers and onions.

The mixture, which is incredibly easy to make, relies on a balance of sweet and spicy flavors, and tomatoes provide just the right amount of sugar.

Turks eat this topped with slices of tomato, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a few leaves of mixed greens or sliced scallions. But it is equally good on its own. Serve it in small sizes, as an hors d’oeuvre, or in a larger version for a full meal.

Serves 4

1 pizza crust, about 16” in diameter, rolled out as thin as possible
½ pound ground beef
2 tomatoes Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 04 June 2012 by

Roasted Tomato and Feta Phyllo Pastries

By David Harbilas

The Turks have a wonderful appetizer called borek, which is similar to the Greek tiropita.

In both, feta cheese is wrapped with filo and baked (in the Greek version) or fried (in the Turkish version).

Here, I’ve added roasted tomato to the filling and opted for the fried version, since the cheese melts while the pastry fries.

This is a rustic but elegant hors d’oevre and is best served on its own, though it doesn’t hurt to dip it into something like a basil pesto or salsa verde.

Makes about 20 pastries

1 package of phyllo dough
3 plum tomatoes
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled Read the rest of this entry »


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