Turkish Cooking Class

I just got back from a Turkish Cooking Class (and dinner!) taught by my friend Deniz. I met Deniz about 6 years ago when I worked as an intern in her library at Rex Hospital. Deniz shares my love of cooking international foods. In fact, it’s because of Deniz that I have gotten involved with the International Festival of Raleigh, last year she invited me to be a part of the committee to help plan the cooking demonstrations at the festival.

For over a year now, Deniz has been teaching local Turkish cooking classes. I attended my second class today. She does a great job of tailoring traditional recipes to be healthy and use ingredients that are readily available in the U.S., while retaining the unique nature of the dish. Volunteers are asked up to help cook each dish, and then we eat a delicious meal together and learn about Turkish history and culture. Today we even had live classical Turkish music. What a great deal for only $25 per person, she’ll be offering the next cooking class on June 4, you should check it out!

There’s actually a small photography exhibit at Turkish House (Cary, NC) right now too, which I was glad to be able to view while we were there. The exhibit is called “Who is my Neighbor?” by John Lynner Peterson and features mainly black and white portraits of people from all walks of life around the world. Next Saturday will be the final day this exhibit is open to the public in that location.

Now, about the food from today’s class, it was all delicious! We made a lentil and bulgur soup called Bride Soup, Hummus, Rose Pastries, Eggplant casserole and Meringues. The meringue served with dessert had cinnamon and dark chocolate shavings in it, and was filled with vanilla ice cream and covered with berry sauce, yum! I didn’t know meringues were popular in Turkey, but Deniz says that if you go into any bakery in Turkey, you will see them.

The recipe I’m going to share with you (with permission, of course) is the Rose Pastry, or Gul boregi.  The pastry is filled with a onion, potato and parsley mixture and rolled up to look like a snail or ‘rose’.

Rose Pastries (Gul boregi)
1 package phyllo dough
3/4 c. olive oil for brushing
1 medium onion, diced
4 potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 c. parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium pan, saute onion in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until translucent. Mix potato with the onion and parsley, add salt and pepper to taste.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on counter or cutting board. Brush lightly with olive oil and place another sheet of phyllo dough on top. Cut the sheets in half from the short side. Add about 2 Tbsp. filling along the cut side and then roll gently into a log. Then coil the log inwards to make a round disc (looks like a snail shell).

Brush the rounds with egg wash on the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Let the pastries cool and eat warm or at room temperature.


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