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Istanbul & Beyond Author Robyn Eckhardt

Istanbul & Beyond has been named as one of the top cookbooks of Fall 2017 by Epicurious, Publisher’s Weekly and Tasting Table. But the reason I’m so excited about it is that I’ve had wonderful food on my two trips to Turkey. There is so much beyond just the typical kebabs you find in Turkish restaurants in the US. Recently I spoke with author Robyn Eckhardt about the book. 
How many years did the cookbook take to write and how many trips did you make to Turkey? 
We started research in 2011 and turned in the manuscript 5 years later. Probably about 13 or 14 trips, our first trip was in 1998. We were living in China and moved back to the Bay Area and I began studying Turkish and then we started going almost every year for 2-3 weeks. At this point I can talk to anyone in Turkish about anything food relatied. 
After all that research, how did you decided what should go in the book? 
I focused on things that were not in other books, I wanted to highlight things that were not paid attention to. It’s about home food what people eat everyday.
Like many tourists, I’ve been to Istanbul, Ankara, Capadocia and the Mediterranean coast. What are the regions that you recommend visiting for foodies?
Unfortunately some of the regions are not safe to travel to right now. But the Black Sea coast is one of my favorites. The climate is a bit like the Pacific Northwest, you can expect rain but you’re there for the food. September to May is the fishing season. The anchovies get an extra layer of fat, they call them the prince of fishes. Don’t go in the Summer, there are no fish and it’s packed with tourisits. 
What were the most surprising recipes you came across in your research? 
Cornbread, whole dried corn kernals, collard greens. It was a trip to the Black Sea that inspired the book. We’d spent 4-5 months and were discovering dishes we never thought were Turkish like cabbage rolls—I assoicate those with the Balkans and Russia. I didn’t really think of things like baba ghanouj and hummus made from a dried fava bean puree were Turkish. All of the ways they make meatballs. I’m used to grilled kofte from Istanbul but in the East they are made with pumpkin and spiced butter. I would never have imagined also curry. I never associated curry powder with food in Turkey. 
What misperceptions do people have about Turkish food? 
So many! That all Turks eat a lot of meat. That everyone eats lamb which they don’t in the Northeast. Meat is eaten in cities but in rural regions animals are raised for dairy and meat for income. So more dairy is consumed, chickens. Also syrup sweets, dried fruit, grape molasses. One more thing is that mezze are part of the Turkish diet. Mezze is food to go with drinking and In Eastern Turkey there is not much mezze culture. 
What are the 2-3 recipes you most hope readers will try? 
I hope they will try the meatballs with pumpkin and spice butter because it is delicious and surprising. It uses purple basil but I have a substitution if people can’t find it. The technique for chopping in seasonings to the meatballs can be applied to other recipes too, it makes them lighter. I hope they will try one of the cheeses, they aren’t hard at all. The Hatay chile cheese is really simple and mind-blowing and it’s versatile and can be eaten with flatbread. And I hope that people will try the okra dishes—either okra soup with a tiny bit of meat and another from the Southeastern with meat and pepper paste. It has converted okra haters! And you can easily find okra frozen if not fresh. (You can find the recipe for the meatballs in this recent article in the Wall Street Journal)
Where do you recommend for Turkish food in the Bay Area? 
Istanbul Modern is a pop-up in SF run by a husband and wife team, he’s Turkish and she’s Mexican. They both worked at top restaurants including Eleven Madison Park and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. They are doing different and interesting things. Note: There are still seats available for the Istanbul & Beyond cookbook event they are hosting on Sunday November 19, 2017 in San Francisco. 
Disclaimer: I received at review copy of the cookbook Istanbul and Beyond, I was not compensated monetarily for this or any other post. This post does include an affiliate link. 

How to Make Coconut Milk by Erica

Mimosa Salad (Video)

Photos: Greg Seber

This post was originally published on June 8, 2008 and is now updated. I have added a recipe video and tweaked the recipe for best results.
Mimosa Salad is a festive layered salad made with cooked vegetables and chicken, with its sour-cream-mayonnaise moistened top garnished with dill and eggs yolks to resemble mimosa flowers on snow. This unusual salad originates in Soviet Russia and back in the days, its popularity spanned across the Soviet republics (including Azerbaijan) where numerous variations of it were created. Mimosa flower was the symbol of Women’s Day during Soviet times, and this is where the salad is believed to have taken its name.

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The post Mimosa Salad (Video) appeared first on AZ Cookbook.

Cooking for Hormone Balance: A Proven, Practical Program with Over 125 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Boost Energy and Mood, Lower Inflammation, Gain Strength, and Restore a Healthy Weight

A breakthrough program with more than 125 tempting, nutrient-dense recipes for thyroid conditions, Hashimoto’s, adrenal fatigue, menopause, endometriosis, fibroids, breast health, PMS, PCOS, and other hormonal imbalances.

Millions of women suffer from the life-altering, often debilitating symptoms resulting from hormonal imbalances: stubborn weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, depression, insomnia, digestive issues, and more. The good news is that most of these conditions are reversible. Integrative hormone and nutrition expert Magdalena Wszelaki knows this first-hand. Developing hyperthyroidism and then Hashimoto’s, adrenal fatigue, and estrogen dominance propelled her to leave a high-pressured advertising career and develop a new way of eating that would repair and keep her hormones working smoothly. Now symptom free, Magdalena shares her practical, proven knowledge so other women may benefit.

Drawing on current research and the programs she has developed and used to help thousands of women, she offers clear, concise action plans for what to remove and add to our daily diet to regain hormonal balance, including guides for specific conditions and more than 125 easy-to-prepare, flavorful, and anti-inflammatory recipes that are free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and nightshades and low in sugar.

Based on twenty hormone-supporting superfoods and twenty hormone-supporting super herbs—with modifications for Paleo, Paleo for Autoimmunity (AIP), anti-Candida, and low-FODMAP diets—these healing recipes include a terrific selection for everyday meals, from Sweet Potato and Sage Pancakes and Honey Glazed Tarragon Chicken to a Decadent Chocolate Cherry Smoothie.

With make-ahead meals, under-thirty-minute recipes, and time-saving tips and techniques, Cooking for Hormone Balance emphasizes minimal effort for maximum results—a comprehensive food-as-medicine approach for tackling hormone imbalance and eating your way to better health.


Silicone Kitchen Utensil Set – 9 Piece Flexible Silicon Spatulas Set, Heat Resistant Non Stick Cooking Tools, BPA Free&FDA(Professional, Cookware Kitchen Gadgets, Green)

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Chicken Fajita Salad Bowls by Erica

Giovanni Italian Specialties by Tony Gemignani

I have a soft spot for all things Italian. I love the language, culture and especially the food. When I first moved to San Francisco (after living in Italy) I lived on Telegraph Hill and I did a lof of my shopping in North Beach, which has traditionally been San Francisco’s Italian neighborhood, dating back to the early 1900’s. I loved being able to speak Italian in the delis and buy fresh pasta and focaccia and a bit of Pecorino Toscano—just as I had in Florence. But North Beach is changing and Italian delis in particular have been in a decline all over the city. 
So I’m really pleased to see that a new Italian shop has opened up in North Beach. It’s Giovanni Italian Specialties by pizza impressario Tony Gemignani and is named for his 3 year old son. The shop is jam packed with high quality ingredients and prepared food. They are making extruded pasta on site and offer fresh pesto and jars of imported ingredients. Because it’s across the street from Washington Square Park it’s a perfect spot to pick up a piadina, slice of focaccia or pressed focaccia sandwich to go. The focaccia by the way is from Liguria Bakery just across the park. 
The shop carries a lot of products from Ritrovo, an importer from Seattle including oils, vinegars and tapenade and also offers some housewares and gift items including some cookbooks, linens Tony has brought back from Venice and small local ceramic pieces. While compact, the details to the shop like the collection of old transistor radios and fruit crate labels are very endearing and give it a personality all its own. The shop is run by general manager Lydia Faiella an artist who produces beautiful watercolors on wood cards—you’ll find them on display at the counter. Stop by next time you’re in the neighborhood. 
629 Union Street @ Columbus
San Francisco

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Crock pot mac and cheese is an easy, super cheesy macaroni and cheese recipe made right in the slow cooker. It comes together quickly and can easily be scaled up, which makes it perfect for holidays and feeding a crowd!

A bowl of creamy crock pot mac and cheese.

I am a macaroni and cheese lover through and through. I loved it when I was a kid, and I appreciate it and all of its varieties even more so now. I love trying new recipes at home (see all of my mac and cheese recipes here), and I can’t seem to resist it on a menu when I go out to eat, either (my very favorite was this short rib variation I had years ago).

A few years ago, I put together an easy and hands-off menu for 4th of July. I first planned on our favorite beer and brown sugar kielbasa and sauerkraut, and then started choosing side dishes. At the time, crock pot mac and cheese recipes were ALL OVER Pinterest, and it took approximately one second for me to make that decision.

This crock pot mac and cheese immediately became a huge favorite and has been making appearances at family functions ever since.

Watch How to Make Crock Pot Mac and Cheese!

A bowl of elbow pasta before cooking.

I searched Pinterest and Google and found approximately one billion recipes (only a slight exaggeration) for crock pot mac and cheese. I started to narrow down my search by omitting any that called for eggs (supposedly makes it creamy, but tons of reviews reported curdled mixtures) and condensed cheese soup (just, no). This particular recipe sounded perfect and, indeed, we all agreed that it was. You just can’t go wrong with a mac and cheese that’s super creamy and cheesy!

Can You Cook the Noodles in the Slow Cooker, Too?

In this recipe, no; you’ll need to boil the noodles to al dente on the stove before adding them to the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients. Some recipes may be formulated to allow you to cook the pasta with the other ingredients, but this has the potential to result in very mushy pasta since it will be cooked for a longer period of time. If you want to experiment with it, you will likely need to increase the liquid in the recipe.

Why Do you Use Evaporated Milk? How is it Different Than Regular Milk?

Evaporated milk has been cooked down to allow some of the water to evaporate out, which results in a product that is more concentrated than regular milk. This means that it’s richer and creamier, which makes for absolutely outstanding macaroni and cheese!

Sprinkling extra cheese on top of macaroni and cheese in the crock pot.

I love having a fantastic bowl of macaroni and cheese without having to stand over the stove making a white sauce, gradually stirring in cheese, etc.

This recipe scales extremely well, so it’s perfect for holidays, pot lucks, and big get togethers! Of course, it’s just as wonderful for a regular weeknight meal or a small gathering, as well.

A closeup shot of a bowl of crock pot mac and cheese.

One year ago: Caramel Tres Leches Cake
Two years ago: Copycat Chipotle Cilantro-Lime Rice
Six years ago: Alfajores
Eight years ago: Pecan Sandies


5 / 5
(14 Reviews)
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Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

An incredibly easy macaroni and cheese recipe made right in the crock pot; perfect for feeding a crowd!


  • 16 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups (480 ml) half & half
  • ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  1. Spray a slow cooker (4 to 6-quart capacity) with cooking spray. Cook the pasta to al dente and drain. Place the macaroni in the slow cooker, immediately add the butter and stir until melted.
  2. Add the evaporated milk, half & half, whole milk, 3½ cups of the cheddar cheese, the Velveeta, salt and pepper; stir to blend well.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheddar cheese. Once done, turn the slow cooker setting to warm until ready to serve. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes:

  • The previous version of this recipe called for 12 ounces of pasta. Since standard boxes of pasta come in 16 ounces, I adjusted the recipe to account for this amount of pasta.
  • I do not recommend added uncooked pasta to the slow cooker, as it could absorb too much liquid and become mushy.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!

(Recipe adapted from Pillsbury)

All images and text ©Brown Eyed Baker, LLC.

This recipe was originally published on July 9, 2014.

[photos by Whitney Wright]

The post Crock Pot Mac and Cheese appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

T-fal FR3900 Triple Basket Deep Fryer with Stainless Steel Removable Pot and Professional Heating Element, 4-Liter, Stainless Steel

Prepare delicious fried food with this family-size T-fal FR390051 triple-basket deep fryer. The unit holds up to 4 liters of oil and comes with three stainless-steel frying baskets: two smaller baskets for creating two different batches of food at the same time and a single large basket for making one big batch. Ideal for donuts, french fries, onion rings, chicken wings, tofu, and more, the deep fryer’s adjustable thermostat (175 to 375 degrees F) allows for selecting the proper cooking temperature for the specific food to be fried, while its oil-ready indicator light lets you know when oil has reached the correct frying temperature. To ensure professional, healthier results-crispy fried foods with minimal oil absorption-the deep fryer offers the ideal balance between oil and food capacity, and its immersion heating element expertly heats oil to the perfect temperature and quickly rebounds to the selected temperature for crispy fried food, batch after batch. Power and ready indicator lights make deep frying practically foolproof, and the deep fryer’s stainless-steel removable bowl and dishwasher-safe fryer baskets make cleanup a breeze. Other highlights include brushed stainless-steel housing with a stainless-steel storage lid, and large heat-resistant basket, lid, and side handles for safe transport and use. The versatile T-fal FR390051 triple-basket deep fryer makes it easy to enjoy fried-food favorites with family and friends.

Product Features

  • Triple-basket deep fryer with 4-liter oil capacity and immersion heating element for minimal oil absorption and healthier results
  • Includes 1 large and 2 smaller stainless-steel frying baskets-make 1 big batch or 2 smaller batches at a time
  • Adjustable thermostat from 175 to 375 degrees F; power light; oil-ready indicator light lets you know when to add food
  • Stainless-steel removable bowl; large heat-resistant basket, lid, and side handles
  • Brushed stainless-steel housing; stainless-steel storage lid; dishwasher-safe fryer baskets for quick cleanup