Leek Recipes!

Yesterday was a holiday and instead of spending time celebrating the Turkish Republic Day, or spending time with family, I found myself spending the day in the kitchen!  No surprises here . . .

There were a few too many herbs and vegetables fading away in my refrigerator along with a couple of other items.  So I set out to make it “all right.”

I was  in a cooking frenzy.  Leftover chicken became chicken salad with the addition of some yummy pickles my husband had made, nutmeg, mayonnaise and my secret ingredients.

I prepped brussel sprouts.  They were originally planned for my lunch. But I never got around to cooking them.

I roasted beets in the oven, then peeled and cut them.  Added fresh herbs from the balcony garden, olive oil and butter and baked them a few more minutes. Mmmmmm.

I made a lasagna.  It had five layers of noodles and two layers each of ground beef and a mix of sauteed spinach, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Each layer had tomato sauce with Italian herbs and a ricotta cheese blend.  I topped it with aged Kasar (like a cheddar/American cheese), mozzarella, and homegrown basil. The ricotta was a treat because it’s not readily available in Turkey.  And I love the lasagna noodles here.  I buy Barilla’s brand, but it’s not the same as the one they sell in the States.  The noodles are shorter and wider, not as thick, and don’t have the wavy edges.  They cook up much smoother.


That left me with leeks.  My husband wanted Zeytinyagli Pirasa and I wanted potato leek soup.  So I made both!  Zeytinyagli Pirasa (olive oil leeks) is a really nice Turkish dish served as a main course or a side dish.  I always use this recipe from Ozlem’s Turkish Table.


Photo courtesy of OzlemsTurkishTable.com

It’s basically sauteed onions, carrots, and leeks.  You add a little rice, a little sugar, lemon juice, and hot water.  In my version, I also use fresh thyme and a lot more carrots.  I also like to brown the vegetables a little.  It can be served hot, cold or at room temperature.  It’s an easy to make dish and a lovely surprise to the American palate.

Here’s a photo of mine while I was sauteing the veggies with the fresh thyme:


A big thank you to Ozlem, a Turkish expat living in the UK, for sharing her Turkish recipes in the English language!  We really appreciate it!

I also made one of my favorite soups, Potato Leek!  It’s as easy as 1-2-3!  I always start with this recipe for French Vichyssoise (Leek and Potato Soup) from The Joy of Cooking.

French Vichyssoise (Leek and Potato Soup)
from The Joy of Cooking

Yield: About 8 cups of soup
Total Cooking Time: about 1 hour


3 medium leeks; white part only, minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter
4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
4 cups chicken broth (or 1 large can of College Inn Chicken Broth)
1 to 2 cups of milk or cream (optional)
salt to taste
ground white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped chives or scallion for garnish


Saute leeks and onions in butter for 3 minutes. Add potatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Blend in a blender, a small amount at a time. Add cream, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold.

Note: This soup is delicious (and much lower in fat!) if you use lowfat milk instead of cream. Or, omit the milk/cream altogether.


MY NOTES on the Soup:

  • Eye ball the ingredients.  Turkish leeks are really big so three is a lot!
  • Just chop the onions because you are going to blend it anyway – so don’t worry about a fine mince.
  • The same thing with the potatoes.  They will be added with the broth to cook them, and later blended.  So don’t worry a thin slice.  Chopping them in pieces is fine.
  • I use cold water and add chicken bullion cubes (Tavuk bulyon), because I rarely have chicken broth handy.
  • I do not add milk.  Sometimes when serving, I add a little cream (krema).  But the soup is great without the milk products!
  • Black pepper is fine if you don’t have white.  Freshly cracked is always better.
  • This note is for my American readers  use a straight hand blender right in the pot, like the Turks do.  It’s so much easier.  Do you know the one I mean?  The one we think is only for making baby food?  You know, the phallic vibrator-looking thingy!


Well, just when I thought I had had enough, I got up and made two loaves of banana nut bread.


Now, if you are going to try a day like this yourself, do what I did — buy yourself a nice cheap bottle of wine and indulge!

It’s not too late for Absentee Voting! A message from the US Embassy

U.S. Embassy Ankara, Turkey

Message for U.S. Citizens

Final Opportunities to Return Voted Ballots

27 October 2014

US Embassy

Embassies and consulates are not polling places.  The majority of states require voted ballots to reach local election officials by the close of polls on Tuesday, November 4.  U.S. citizens who want to participate in the 2014 U.S. elections should already have returned their absentee ballots to their local election officialsU.S. embassies and consulates are not polling places; same-day in-person voting is not available outside the United States.

Never received your ballot?  If you have registered to vote and requested your absentee ballot prior to your state’s registration and absentee ballot request deadlines but have not yet received your ballot, you should immediately complete and return a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to ensure your vote reaches election officials by your state’s deadline.  If your regular ballot arrives later, go ahead and complete and return it as well.  Your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot will only be counted if your regular ballot does not reach local election officials by your state’s deadline.  Your vote will not be counted twice.

Ballot not yet sent to local election officials?  If you wish to participate in this election and have not yet sent your ballot to your local election official, you should consider returning your ballot to the United States via an express courier service such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL.  Some states or counties may allow you to return your voted ballot electronically.  Ballots sent to local election officials via express courier service do not receive standard postmarks, so voters using this method should confirm delivery on or before November 4 prior to payment and shipment.  Check your state’s voting procedures at www.FVAP.gov for guidance.

Returning your Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot by email or fax.  If you have previously registered to vote and requested an absentee ballot but it has not yet arrived, the following states allow voters to use email or fax to send signed, voted Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots to local election officials:  Arizona, California (fax only), Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii (fax only), Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska (paper copy must also be mailed), Nevada, New Jersey (paper copy must also be mailed), New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon (paper copy must also be mailed), South Carolina, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia.  Check your state’s voting procedures at www.FVAP.gov for guidance.

Returning your ballot by mail.  Ballots sent via regular international mail at this late date are unlikely to reach local election officials by state ballot receipt deadlines.  If you still wish to send your voted ballot via mail, place your voted ballot in a U.S. postage-paid envelope addressed to your local election officials.  Drop it off at the Embassy and we’ll send it back home for you without the need to pay international postage.  If you can’t visit the Embassy in person, ask a friend or colleague to drop it off for you.  If it’s easier for you to use Turkey’s postal system, be sure to affix sufficient international postage, and allow sufficient time for international mail delivery.

You may drop your voted ballot at the voting box at the U.S. Embassy Gate 1 or bring your voted ballot to the Embassy by scheduling an online appointment from our appointment page.

HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT OVERSEAS VOTING.  Please help spread the word to your friends, family, and colleagues that now is the time to start thinking about overseas voting.  Consider posting to your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social media account that you are an active voter and will be dropping off or mailing your Federal Post Card Application or completed ballot.  Use #ProudOverseasVoter to help get the word out about voting.

Have Questions?  Please contact Ankara’s Voting Assistance Officer at Ankara-ACS@state.gov.

Confirm your registration and ballot delivery online.  Learn more at the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) website at www.FVAP.gov.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312) 455-5555, fax (90)(312) 468-6131.  The Internet address is http://ankara.usembassy.gov.

The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is located at Kaplicalar Mevkii Sokak No. 2, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, tel: (90) (212) 335-9000, fax (90) (212) 335-9102.  Istanbul-specific information can also be accessed via the Consulate’s web site at http://istanbul.usconsulate.gov/ .

The U.S. Consulate in Adana is located at Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana, Turkey. tel: (90)(322) 346-6262, fax (90)(322) 346-7916, web site: http://adana.usconsulate.gov.

The Consular Agency in Izmir can be contacted at izmir@state.gov.

10 expat blogs about living in Turkey – Property Turkey

Gotta love it!  AIA made another Top 10 list!!  Check it out:

10 expat blogs about living in Turkey – Property Turkey.

Extensive information on Adventures in Ankara, include day trips and excursions, interaction with expat societies and groups in the region. She also focuses on issues such as food, family life, healthcare as a foreigner and language difficulties. Anyone planning to live in Ankara will definitely benefit from her wide source of knowledge and contacts.

Update on the ALS Bucket Challenge

I am sure you all remember the “hype” a couple of months ago.  Everyone was taking the ALS Bucket Challenge.  I did it myself . . . sans bucket.

Sadly, and as always, people had negative things to say about it – mostly because not everyone was donating cash for the cause.  But the naysayers were quickly silenced because one of the biggest goals of the challenge was to raise awareness.

And that we did.  I took the challenge myself for Team Audry, a high school friend.  I am proud to share her Facebook update with you, in case you also donated to her Team:

Hi everyone!!! Just wanted to give a shout out to Team Audry!!! With all of your generous donations Team Audry raised over $10,500 for The Ocean City Walk To Defeat ALS!!! I love you all So proud to know each and every one of you! Great job!

Whether or not you took the challenge, donated to Team Audry (it’ not too late) or ALS, or simply shared my blog post, I want to Thank You.  We are making a difference!

Team Audry, Ocean City Walk to Defeat ALS

Team Audry, Ocean City Walk to Defeat ALS

We love you too, Audry!!!