“Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking” by Joy E. Stocke and Angie Brenner
The authors, who grew up in the Midwest, met on the balcony of a guesthouse on the Mediterranean coast, became fast friends and express their interest in food, culture and travel in this well-rounded cookbook. Sights and smells of modern-day Turkey come alive in the pages that describe vegetable stalls, and kebab and fish stands. Personal encounters with home cooks and store owners accompany the recipes. When you get to how to make Turkish Delight, it almost feels like you can get a whiff of the sweet sugar perfume.
Joy Stocke says: The slightly spicy, sweet, salty and ox blood red Aleppo pepper is hard to find these days. So use Maras pepper or combine ¾ teaspoon sweet paprika and ¼ teaspoon hot paprika. Also, undercook the shrimp slightly; the middle should be just opaque.
For the Thanksgiving feast: I like a classic turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes. But I also like to bring a fun dish to the table. So I would make a sourdough bread stuffing with preserved lemons and Aleppo pepper or add cilantro and parsley to it.
Leftover favorite: I add a yogurt dip with mint over slice of turkey and roll them into a flatbread. I’m in heaven after that.
Holiday tradition: We always have the football games on. I’m a Packers sentimentalist and the Eagles are my second favorite team. And after the meal, we put on some music and everybody dances.
Thankful for: My husband Fred died in August and I’m thankful my family and community came together for me. A different meal would end up on my porch every day. They took care of me, and I cannot be more grateful.
With Orange Zest
If you don’t have nigella seeds, regular cumin seeds are a perfect substitute.
¾ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 scant teaspoon dried
1½ teaspoons nigella seeds or cumin seeds
1½ teaspoons Aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ pounds peeled and deveined medium shrimp, thawed if frozen, tails left on
½ cup fresh orange juice
Chopped parsley and orange wedges for serving
In a shallow nonreactive dish large enough to hold shrimp in single layer, whisk oil, garlic orange zest, oregano, nigella or cumin seeds, Aleppo pepper and salt. Add shrimp, turning to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator 30 minutes, or up to 6 hours.
With slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to plate. Scrape marinade into large, heavy skillet. Heat over medium heat until bubbling. You can grill the shrimp over a medium-hot fire and then pour the boiling marinade over them, or cook the shrimp in the marinade in the skillet, about 3 minutes on each side, until pink and opaque.
Remove skillet from heat. Pour orange juice over the shrimp, scraping the pan bottom to get up the flavorful browned bits. Season with a little salt, and garnish with chopped parsley and orange wedges. Serve hot.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
— Adapted from “Tree of Life” by Joy E. Stocke and Angie Brenner (Burgess Lea Press; February 2017; $30)