Azeri and Russian Dishes, Home

Up a creek without a paddle: copying restaurant recipes

We all have those special dishes at restaurants that we just LOVE and must have each time we go there. I have a few of those; and I do not even attempt to copy them at home. I know it will not work. Besides, I am not really all that adventurous when it comes to trying and re-capturing a recipe. I am more of a follow-a-recipe type of a gal, until I get super comfortable with the recipe.
But something happened two weeks ago. My husband and I went to a Turkish Restaurant in New Haven, CT for lunch. Why Turkish? Well, because it’s pretty close to Azeri food and because my husband lived in Turkey for a looong time while studying. He loves the food. And even though he won’t admit it, he misses it a lot.
SO…we went to a Turkish Restaurant (here it is by the way, you can look at their menu We were VERY hungry. I like to pretend that I eat a lot, but my husband actually DOES. He loves to eat. And I mean LOVES it. He will get angry if you leave him hungry on purpose for any longer that he needs to be hungry. 3 out of 5 times during a week, the second thing he will tell me when I get home is “I am hungry”.
So knowing that, you will now understand why we ordered about 5 appetizers and two entrees. Some of the dishes we ordered, I’ve made or at least tried before. For example, my husband ordered Lahmajun: a very thin pizza with ground meat, tomatoes and peppers. That I’ve made before. We ordered a yogurt drink Ayran (one of the best things I’ve had in my life btw). I’ve made that at home as well. And then we ordered this: Haydari. It’s also a yogurt appetizer but none like I’ve had before: it was DELICIOUS. It’s sort of a dip. Sort of little piece of heaven filled with garlic. Oh, I love garlic. You can never have enough garlic in my opinion (ok, that’s a lie… you can definitely have enough garlic). But you now know why I was so partial to this dish. We attacked that appetizer with some very yummy bread and I vowed to make it at home, because it had but 3 ingredients.

I am usually the type of a person that once i get something into my head, I MUST DO IT. No matter how tired I am, no matter how I feel, I have to prove something to myself. So on a very busy and tiring tuesday evening, I went ahead, repeated it and: success.

Turkish Yogurt Appetizer: Haydari

1 cup of Greek Yogurt (my absolute favorite is Fage)
1 large garlic clove, or 2 small ones
1 tsp Olive Oil
a pinch of salt
1 tbs of cold water

Pour yogurt into a bowl, crush garlic into it, add salt and add water. Mix well. Pour the mixture into a deep desert plate, spread it out evenly. Carefully pour the olive oil over the plate, don’t worry about it not being pretty, it is supposed to spread out. Garnish with some mint or basil leaves. Enjoy!

Pretty, isn't it?
Pretty, isn’t it?

That was easy!


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