Lamb Pita

Turkish Spiced Lamb Pita – (Lahmacun)

In addition to making pizza on superbowl sunday, I propose that you shake things up a bit with these Spiced Lamb Pitas. This is one of my favorite recipes in our new book. I love it for many reasons, but the story behind my first bite of Lahmacun is as rich as the bread itself.

I arrived in Istanbul with my husband and two sons (9 & 11 at the time), after a long trip from Minneapolis. As we entered into the city, with the sweetest cabby in the world, and the fastest driver I have ever seen, we realized we were not in the Midwest anymore. It was a feast of the senses. To say we were overwhelmed by the beauty, smells, sounds and traffic, would have been a gross understatement. No sooner had we put our bags down in the hotel, then the concierge called the room to say I had a “friend” waiting for me in the lobby. He whispered into the phone and said “Please, be careful of people who claim to be your friend in a new city.” His way of warning me about something. I didn’t know anyone in the city, and hadn’t made plans to meet up with anyone, so I heeded his warning and sent my husband to the lobby to find out who this mysterious “friend” might be. It was indeed a friend, a dear sweet woman named Serap, who I’d met in the States. She owns a delightful Turkish restaurant called Depot 62 in Manchester, Vermont. I had told her I’d be in Istanbul, asked her for tips on where to eat, but that was all I ever expected to hear. Here she was, the loveliest surprise in the world. She was visiting her sister in istanbul, and they took the day to give us a tour of the city. They fed us the most glorious foods and she introduced me to her favorite Turkish food; Lahmacun. I will never forget that day and this flatbread is forever linked with one of my most precious memories. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

This thin pita is topped with Spiced lamb, quickly baked, so it is still soft, topped with chopped onions, parsley and a squeeze of lemon, then it is rolled up like a crepe.  Continue reading

Breads from Istanbul to Naples!

For the past month I have been traveling with my family in Turkey, Greece and Italy. Our goal was to eat as much bread, pizza, pita, pastries and gelato as we possibly could. We succeeded on all fronts and here is a quick look at some of the breads we devoured on our way.

Istanbul, Turkey. On our first day in Istanbul we were introduced to simit, which is as ubiquitous on the streets there as soft pretzels are in NYC. Not all of the vendors wear them on their heads, but they all have a personal flare to attract attention. Continue reading

Grilled flatbread, my workhorse summer bread

stacked-flatbreads-from-the-grill

I’ve spent a lot of time this summer talking about how easy it is to do loaf breads on the outdoor gas grill, but if truth be told, this is the bread I make every day when it’s hot.  Why?  Because it’s crazy easy and fast.  I go into the yard and do it in the morning, before the kids go off to day camp– this is the bread they take for sandwiches.  It’s very, very simple. Continue reading

Fresh Pita – the fastest bread in the land!

pita

(photo by Mark Luinenburg from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)

Pita bread is a simple, unadorned flatbread that dates back to antiquity. You simply roll out your favorite non-enriched dough as thin as possible and bake it on a hot stone. There is no resting time or other ingredients to prepare, so you can have it in a matter of moments. Despite its simplicity pita is one of the tastiest breads we make. Perhaps it is all of the surface area and the soft chewy crumb? This time of year I bake the pita on a hot baking stone in the oven (without steam), but in the summer I make it on the grill directly on the grate.

Happy Birthday Jeff, I hope you are enjoying the beach!!!

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