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Turkish Lahmacun with Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad

Turkish Lahmacun with Cucumber, Tomato, and Feta Salad

Hello! Welcome to the first ever bee ‘n k’s kitchen. Who's bee? Well, thats me! Who's k? Keaton, of course! What are we doing? We're cookin' in the kitchen. bon appetite. 

Whenever the weekend rolls around, we have a little extra time to cook together and test out some new recipes. K is the chef. Bee is the [bossy] sous chef! #dynamicduo

So what’s on the menu for the first [whollybeezus documented] bee 'n k's kitchen? Turkish eats! 

About a month ago we took a trip to Turkey. We beached, we sailed, and we enjoyed some of the most delicious Turkish cuisine. Coming back to Chicago after a trip like that was tough. No doubt about it! So we thought it would be fun to infuse some of those Turkish vibes back into our lives by recreating a few of our favorite dishes... with a lil American spin! 

We both agreed lahmacun would be on our menu. I tried it for the first time in Turkey! It’s like pizza, but with a very thin crust, and topped with a thin layer of spiced meat and tomatoes. It is typically served with a garnish of lemon and shredded lettuce.

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We also had so many variations of fresh mezze salads, comprised of mixed greens, crunchy veggies and light dressings. We decided to whip up a quick and easy cucumber, tomato and feta salad. If you know me, this bee doesn't mess with complicated recipes - the simpler, the better - so this was right up my alley! 

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Bee 'n k's menu was set. And after researching what we’d need to recreate these dishes, I’d say overall, our recipes were pretty simple.

The biggest challenge of bee ‘n k’s kitchen? My studio apartment kitchen. Oy vey. It’s teeny. It's tiny. But we prevailed and we made it work! 

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We started with the dough for the lahmacun, as it needed ample time to rise before we could add the spiced meat topping. We attempted to make a homemade almond flour crust. It was a valiant effort, I must say, but ultimately the crust consistency was just off - too wet and sticky to mold into anything. No prob. We had a back-up plan!

Simple Mills pizza dough to the rescue! If you’ve never tried this stuff, go out and snag yourself a box, or two. Pronto! [Whole Foods carries it] .

The brand is based in Chicago and prides itself on creating products made with simple, healthy ingredients. No fillers, no junk. K and I have used this pizza dough many times before and we're always thrilled with the outcome.

We grabbed a box from the pantry and pow, problem solved!

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Keaton made the dough [per the package instructions], split the portion in half, and rolled it into two - very thin - crusts. It worked as the perfect base for our spiced meat mixture [ground beef + red onion + garlic + parsley + tomatoes + red bell pepper + tomato paste + paprika + crushed red pepper flakes + cumin + sea salt + pepper ... full recipe below!]. 

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We pre-baked the crusts [for about 5 min] and then pressed a thin layer of the meat mixture into the crust before popping it all back into the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes. 

We were unsure whether or not to add the ground beef to the dough raw, or cooked. We did some research and even called Keaton's grandma :) She recommended to add the meat raw, in a very thin layer, so it would cook directly in the oven. Great!

However, with our recent pizza crust snafu, we opted to pre-cook our ground beef before adding it to the crust. We knew the Simple Mills dough cooks - and crisps up - fairly quickly in the oven. So we wanted to avoid burning the crust, but still ensure our meat would be thoroughly cooked. 

All in all, it turned out prettyyyy fab! 

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Now, onto the tomato, cucumber, feta salad. As I said before, it can't get any easier than this recipe. Simple, easy ingredients. Fresh, delicious flava-flav!

Honestly, the name says it all. In a bowl combine cucumbers [chopped, peeled], heirloom tomatoes [halved], scallions [finely chopped], feta cheese [TJs has a fab mediterranean herb blend], parsley and olive oil.

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Mix it all up. Enjoy! That's it, folks.

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After both dishes were complete, we packed up our Turkish treasures and headed to the park for a lil picnic. Gotta make the most of those summer nights before the temps drop and Fall rolls in! 

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What a great picnic, b? Ah, yes. I agree :) 

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Now get to cookin' with the recipes below!

[Lahmacun]

Ingredients

  • Simple Mills Pizza Dough [+ 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 6 tablespoons water]
  • 12 ounces ground beef
  • 1 red onion onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lemon for garnish [cut into wedges]

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Make the dough! As I mentioned, our homemade almond flour crust failed, so we opted to make the Simple Mills pizza dough as a substitute. Worked like a charm. Prepare as box instructs. Set aside. 
  3. Next, begin on the topping. In a large bowl add chopped red onion, red bell pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, parsley, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, sea salt, and pepper. Mix all ingredients together.
  4. Brown ground beef in a skillet. Once cooked, drain the grease. Add cooked ground beef into the bowl with the mixed veggies and spices. Mix until well combined. 
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll dough into 2 [or even 3!] thin crusts. Put dough onto the baking sheet and pop into oven to pre-cook for 5 min.
  6. Remove dough from oven and add meat topping by pressing it into the crust in a very thin layer. 
  7. Pop lahmacun back into the oven to finish cooking; 10-15 minutes, or until crust looks crispy and crunchy.
  8. Let cool, cut, enjoy! 

[Cucumber, Tomato, Feta Salad]

Ingredients

  • 1 medium cucumber [peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced]
  • 2 scallions [finely sliced]
  • 3 - 4 cups heirloom tomatoes [yellow and red]
  • 3 ounces Trader Joe's crumbled feta cheese with Mediterranean herbs 
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar [optional]

Instructions

  1. Combine the cucumber, scallions, tomatoes, and feta cheese into a small bowl
  2. Sprinkle parsley and red pepper flakes on top
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar 
  4. Toss it up! Enjoy. 
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