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The Best Ever Cranberry Sauce November 19, 2007

Posted by Paula Erbay in Sides.
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This recipe was adapted from a friend’s in Connecticut. My husband named it, it is the only Cranberry Sauce or relish he will eat. Obviously it is a great choice to go with that Thanksgiving Turkey, but I also serve it with pork roast.

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2 – 12 ounce packages Fresh Cranberries*
2 Cups Sugar
1/8 Cup Water
½ Cup Walnuts, ground*
1 Tablespoon Orange Rind, fresh grated
¼ teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Cloves, ground

Combine all ingredients, except about 1 Cup of the cranberries, in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and allow to softly boil for about 5 minutes. Then add the reserved cranberries and boil until the newly added cranberries are just soft (you want to keep them whole to add variety to the look and texture of the sauce). Take off the heat to cool. Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate if not serving immediately and bring back to room temperature before serving.

*I buy one extra package of cranberries just in case they release too much liquid, add at the end with the reserved cup. Grind the walnuts in a food processor, do not over grind or too much oil is released and you will have a paste.

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Mercimek Kofte or Turkish Red Lentil Patties November 15, 2007

Posted by Paula Erbay in Appetizers.
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This Turkish vegetarian appetizer is based on the flavors and texture of a raw lamb dish, Cig Kofte. My first taste of it was in my husband’s hometown, prepared by his niece. I loved it at first bite.

2 Cups Red lentils* (Mercimek in Turkish)
2 Cups Water (up to 3 Cups)
1 Cup Bulgar, Koftelik* fine for meatballs
1 Onion, Mayan Sweet finely sliced
2 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted
1 Tablespoon Tomato Sauce
1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Paste, Hot*
5 Scallions chopped – green part only
½ Cup Parsley, Italian finely chopped (about ½ bunch)
¼ Cup Olive Oil, Extra Virgin up to ½ Cup
2 Tablespoon Aleppo Pepper* or cayenne adjust to taste
1 Tablespoon Cumin
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste

In a large saucepan bring the Red Lentils and Water to a boil. Cover and simmer (soft boil) until the Red Lentils are soft – about 25 minutes. Stir often to keep lentils from sticking to bottom of pan and to check water level. If water is absorbed too quickly add more (up to a total of 3 cups). When lentils are soft (some will be very soft, some will have a bit of a bite to them), add the Bulgar. Mix well and cover, remove from heat. Bulgar will enlarge and become soft.

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In a separate pan: Sauté the Mayan Onion slices in 2 Tablespoons Butter until lightly browned. Add Tomato Sauce and Red Pepper Paste. Mix well. Cook about 3 minutes to meld all flavors then remove from heat.

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In a large mixing bowl: Mix Red Lentil and Bulgar with the cooked Onion mixture. Add ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Scallions, and Parsley. Add seasonings to taste (Aleppo Pepper, Cumin, Salt and Black Pepper). Use your hands to knead the mixture. If too dry add more Olive Oil a little at a time. The mixture should hold it’s shape when pressed with your hands into small log shaped patties.

Serve with lemon wedges and small lettuce leaves (optional)

 *Available at Middle Eastern Markets
If unable to find Aleppo Pepper substitute Cayenne in a lesser amount
If unable to find Hot Red Pepper paste substitute Tomato Paste (add more hot pepper)
The Bulgar must be “fine for meatballs” or the texture will not turn out correctly.

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