Saturday, July 31, 2010

Turkey - Gozleme with Sausage or Cheese & Jam

For this breakfast we were fortunate to have two sources.  The first was a friend from college, Tolga, whose parents are from Turkey and he was ale to provide an outline of the meal.  Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan provided the recipes.  Living in a diverse metropolitan area also gave us access to the Turkish grocery store Turkuaz Market.
The breakfast is a bread wrap of sucuk (pronouced sujuk) and tomato recommended by the owner of Turkuaz Market.  On other pieces of flat bread we had a farmer's cheese called piknik ciftlik peyniri and an interesting jam containing whole apricots.  The cookbook contains a recipe for a similar cheese but the preparation involves several 6 hour waiting periods and we did not have time.


  • 4 oz flour
  • 1.2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 fl oz warm water
  1. Mix together flour and salt.
  2. Make a small divot in the flour and add the oil and half the water.
  3. Mix ingredients and add more water to make a dough.
  4. Divide into 4 balls and cover with a damp towel for 20 minutes.
  5. Roll out into disks 5-6 inches wide.
  6. Spray one side with olive oil and cook on a skillet over medium heat.
  7. Spray the top side with olive oil, turn, and cook until done.
  8. Eat with jam and cheese, or topping below. 
Tomato and Sucuk Topping
(for four gozleme)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 8 oz sucuk
  • olive oil
  • flour

  1. Remove casing from sucuk and lightly chop it.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a pan and add sucuk and tomatoes.
  3. Cook until you get a saucy consistency.  Add flour to thicken the sauce if needed.
  4. Spread the sauce on a gozleme as the second side is cooking.
  5. Place gozleme onto wax paper and roll into a cone.
  6. Keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
An attempt at Turkish coffee
The brewing process is very specific and different from other methods of brewing coffee. The use of a cezve is the major hallmark of Turkish coffee. It resembles an erlenmeyer flask.
We attempted to make the coffee without this tool. The method was a lot of effort for normal tasting coffee with grounds in it. We briefly document this method so that others can avoid it.
In order to simulate the narrow mouth of the cezve we chose a 1 pint canning jar and made a jury rigged double boiler using a sauce pan as illustrated. After that we made an attempt to follow a recipe we found on line of simmering the grounds on the top of the water and creating a froth.

Results and Discussion
The star of this breakfast was the sucuk. The sausage is made of beef, lamb and seasoned with a variety of spices. The moment I took it out of the wrapper the smell was amazing and I got to enjoy the smell the entire time.  In this recipe I think that the sausage would have benefited from being put through a food processor before cooking, as it would have made it much easier to spread on the gozleme.  Some further research showed that this sausage is eaten in many of the countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. We look forward using future projects and it will take self control to not use it in each one.
The gozleme is a less heart-stopping version of the puri we made for Pakistan—they could probably be used interchangeably without a lot of difference.  I think a better result would be achieved brushing on the oil instead of simply spraying it.  The recipe also scales up and down to fit the needed sizes very easily.
The piknik ciftlik peyniri has a texture similar to feta but less crumbly.  The apricot jam's sweetness provided an excellent counterpoint to the cheese's salt.  The jam also had an unusual texture.  In most jams the fruit is in pieces.  This was more whole apricots in a syrup.  We kept the left over syrup to use as we see fit in the future.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Egypt - Ful Midamess

The menu for this meal was taken from Egyptian Cooking by Samia Abdennour. This book provided a long list of dishes. Most of the dishes involved fava beans, eggs, and bread. We chose to make the dish ful midamess as it is a national dish in a nation whose cuisine has been influenced by being the center of trade routes since time immemorial.

Abdennour also describes a bread called aish baladi, which simply means local bread. A simple description of the bread was given in the cookbook but no actual recipe was given. Some further research showed that local bread changes with location so a list of comprehensive recipes could not be put in a small cookbook. Fortunately someone had gathered many recipes and created a website that lists them.  A major consideration when making this bread is a 1 to 3 hour rising period. We made our bread the night before and it kept fine overnight.

Ful Midamess
  • 1 cup fava beans
  • 1/4 cup split lentils
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely grated
  • 1 medium carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  1. Cook fava beans in pressure cooker for 10 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure.
  2. Boil lentils until they are soft.
  3. Mash the fava beans and lentils together until they are a paste.
  4. Mix in the carrot, tomato and onion, then add salt, olive oil, and lemon to taste.
  5. Serve on top of bread.
Results and Discussion
This breakfast was a simple and hardy.  My only major complaint with this meal was that was bland. In the future I would look for variations with more flavor.
For our readers without pressure cookers the same recipe can be repeated with a slow cooker and simply cook overnight.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kilometers Traveled

I began to wonder how many air miles we would travel if we actually ate breakfast in each country. So the table below is our hypothetical trip so far starting in Boston, MA and flying a great circle between the capitals of each nation. This is clearly not the most efficient way to order this journey from a financial perspective, but we chose our order and are sticking with it. The longest trip would have been from Indonesia to Brazil and the shortest was from Pakistan to Bangladesh. So far we could have circled the circumference of the Earth 2.85 times. Tune in next week for Egypt.

Departure Arrival Distance (Km) Total Distance (Km)
United States China 10863.7 10863.7
China India 3785.79 14649.5
India Indonesia 4989.48 19639
Indonesia Brazil 16327.7 35966.7
Brazil Pakistan 13821.3 49787.9
Pakistan Bangladesh 2020.3 51808.2
Bangladesh Nigeria 8924.33 60732.6
Nigeria Russia 5812.19 66544.7
Russia Japan 7502.95 74047.7
Japan Mexico 11318.9 85366.6
Mexico Philippines 14235.6 99602.2
Philippines Vietnam 1754.37 101357
Vietnam Ethiopia 7289.24 108646
Ethiopia Germany 5340.59 113986

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Germany - Weisswurst & Cold Cut Platter

We started our research in the authoritatively named The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton. According to Sheraton's description, Germans have two breakfasts (like Hobbits!). The first breakfast is called Frühstück. It consists of some bread and coffee with milk, and perhaps an egg. The second breakfast is called Zweites Frühstück, or Brotzeit (bread time).  This meal varies according to region. In Munich it could be Weisswurst, bread, and beer; other locales would serve different meats and breads. One might also get a sweet breakfast in a pastry shop. We decided to focus on the Weisswurst, bread, and cold cuts because they are a combination of Bavaria (perhaps the most familiar cuisine outside of Germany) and other regions as well. We skipped the beer since we were just not up to drinking at nine o'clock in the morning, 80° or not!  (We had none, anyway.)

In our quest for good sausages and cold cuts we were fortunate to discover Karl's Sausage Kitchen in Saugus, MA. This store is exactly what we needed. They have a wide variety of sausages made and smoked in the building as well as many cold cuts, mustards, and something called triple smoked bacon (the store smells delicious!). The staff was very helpful in selecting a wide variety of cold cuts, head cheeses and the general differences between sausages. Fred in particular is very knowledgeable and gave us lots of advice.  When we explained the breakfast project, he also offered to sell us a few slices each of a wide variety of cold cuts, which is really above and beyond. We will call upon their services in the future.

We forgot to buy a cheese called quark so we tried an approximation we found on The Cook's Thesaurus.  We don't know how authentic it is, but it did use up the cup of ricotta we had leftover in the fridge.

  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Remove water from heat and add sausages.
  • Let sit for 8 minutes.
  • Serve on the table in a bowl with some of the hot water to keep them warm.
  • Do not use a fork to eat. Eating methods will be addressed below.

Fresh Cheese Approximating Quark
  • Stir together one part sour cream and two parts ricotta, mixing until it has an even, creamy consistency.

Results and Discussion
Eating the Weisswurst can be done in two separate ways. The non-Bavarian method involves removing removing the skin from the sausage and dipping it in mustard. The Barvarian method involves sucking the filling out the sausage. Karl's website links to an instructional video which describes how to cook and eat the Weisswurst.

The video also notes that Weisswurst should not be eaten after noon (yes, the caption says 12:00am, but he means noon). This might be related to gremlins or a historical lack of refrigeration.

The cold cuts were fantastic and were made even better by it being 85° at 9 in the morning and helping to cool us down. Karl's provided a wide variety including bologna, beerwurst, veal loaf, onion bologna, and Zungenwurst.

This breakfast was quick, simple, and tasty. We hope to explore more of Karl's amazing sausages when we do more middle European countries.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Project Data

Since we are away this weekend we have made some charts and figures that examine our progress thus far. Entries such as these will come when we are out town and do not have time to cook a breakfast. I should note that when making these calculations I have decided to include the United States even though we have not made a formal blog entry. I do this because I have eaten this breakfast for a large portion of our lives and so it can be considered covered.

Thus far in the project we have eaten breakfast from countries covering 64.6% of the world population. We have done this with only 14 countries. China and India alone account for 37% of the people so such a rapid accumulation is expected. We expect the research to become more difficult as the population dwindles.

While covering nearly 2/3 of the worlds population we have only covered 41% of the total surface area. The largest jump came with the inclusion of Russia which covers 18% of the Earth's surface. Since Russia we have only added 3% of the surface since then.

The last graphic we present here is simply a map with the countries highlighted. We immediately see several things. We clearly have Mongolia and Nepal surrounded. Africa and South America are currently very under represented. We are getting to Egypt soon but it will be a few weeks until we are back to South America.