Archive for the 'Summer' Category

Longbean Salad

Monday, June 15th, 2009


long bean salad

This weekend we have visited our close friends in the Bay Area who are fortunate to include the Mountain View Farmer’s Market into their Sunday morning routine. They get their weekly fruits, veggies and stroll to the cool coffee shop close by, and head back home.  Sounds great, does not it?  Especially when you have two cute kids with you who are enthusiastic about fruits they will be eating the next week.

When we were suggested to go to the market with them, I was also told that I’d love the variety of the offerings there.  Michelle was right; it was really refreshing to see all those veggies that I cannot get in the local supermarket here in Folsom.  Actually, I lied; I can get them locally, sometimes.  And as soon as you get them you’d better use them or they will go bad on you in the fridge.  Sad.

The first thing I have spotted in the farmer’s market were these Chinese long beans. They resemble fresh “börülce” to me, which is the name for “black eye beans” in Turkish.  And this wonderful salad is a summer days’ classic in my parents’ house.   All you need is fresh long beans, good tomatoes, good quality olive oil, salt, lemon juice and couple of cloves of garlic.  I have tried to measure the ingredients, but keep in mind that this is a salad, not a baking project ;) So, go with your senses, your palate when you are putting the dressing together.

Thank you Michelle and Dan for taking us to your Farmer’s Market!


Longbean Salad


Recipe type: Salad

Author: Fethiye Miller


  • a bunch of long beans (450gr/1lb)

  • 3 good size tomatoes, preferably from your own garden

  • 3 cloves or garlic

  • 4 Tbs of good quality extra virgin olive oil

  • pinch of Kosher salt

  • 4 – 5 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • sumac, optional


  1. Wash the beans, and blanch them for 10 mins. Drain and run cold water over them

  2. Cut the beans in 5cm (2inch) pieces and tomatoes in small, bite size pieces

  3. Crush the garlic cloves

  4. Mix everything together

  5. Enjoy!

Chinese longbeans



Mastic Gum Ice cream

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007


Have you ever had Turkish ice cream, dondurma? If you have ever visited my country I bet you have run into an ice cream vendor in a coastal town, especially if you have visited in hot, summer days. Those guys, the vendors I mean, do not give out their ice cream easily. Paying is not enough, you need to work for them. Recently I was talking to a Taiwanese friend of mine and she said the Turkish ice cream seller in Taiwan’s night market uses the same tricks. Ok, if I have lost you already, if you are curious about what those tricks are, what it means to work for your ice cream, I suggest you take a look at these videos.

It is elastic, chewy, yet very hard to melt. Sometimes they demonstrate the hardness by cutting it with ax! And if you ask me, it is the best type of ice cream ever.

The above pic does not really explain this well, I realize but you have to trust me on this!
One of the secret ingredient to Turkish ice cream is sahlep (or sahlab) that is a dried root of some special orchid natively growing in Turkey. It is not a very easy ingredient to come by if you are looking for the pure dried root. But it is very easy to get the sahlep powder, already mixed with starch and possibly sugar in Middle Eastern stores in the States. Following the recipe on the box will get you one of the favorite drinks of winter days.

Another ingredient I really love in ice cream is the mastic gum. If you ask me, masic gum has an amazingly distinguishable and irreplaceable taste. The gum is a resin from a tree that grows in Greek Chios island and the neighboring town of Çeşme in Turkey.

I put together this recipe to replicate the dondurma we tasted in our visit to Turkey last summer, in the city of Ayvalık. I hope you will be able to find some sahlep & mastic gum in your local Middle Eastern store or online stores to try out. Might fall in love with ice cream all over again, be careful ;)
Mastic Dondurma

  • 1 cup 2% milk

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 30 gr sahlep drink mix (here, it is not the pure sahlep I am talking about, the drink mix)

  • 1 gr mastic gum

  • 1/2 cup sugar

First put the mastic gum with a tablespoon of sugar in spice grinder or mortar/pestle to grind well. Mix the sahlep mix and milk, stir well while heating. Add the cream, sugar and gum. Stir constantly until bubbly. Transfer into a bowl, let it cool and retire to the fridge until you are ready to freeze it using ice cream machine. You will realize that it is kind of stringy, elastic. This is how it should be. Freeze until desired consistency is achieved and transfer into already cooled freezer safe container.


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