Tuesday April 26, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Add to Calendar 


The Center for Rural Development 
2292 South Highway 27
Somerset, KY 42501

Driving Directions 


The Center for Rural Development 
The Center for Rural Development 


According to culinary experts, Turkish Cuisine is along is one of the greatest cuisines of the world. Turkish cuisine features many types of foods and an infinite variety of ways in the method of their preparation. The beauty of the Turkish cuisine is that it is mainly based on fresh ingredients and simple cooking methods. Dishes are presented simply, not hidden under sauces or complicated presentations. The origin of the Turkish kitchen can be traced back to central Asia, the original homeland of the Turks. In the ensuing centuries, during their slow migration westward to Asia Minor, they encountered a great number of culinary tastes, which they took on as their own. This culminated in the Imperial Ottoman kitchen, formed during the 600 years of the dynasty's reign. The large Ottoman Empire that included the whole Middle East, most of North Africa and all the Balkan nations, came into contact with many cultures and their foods. As well, Turkey's strategic location between Europe and the Middle East influenced the foods of other countries and in turn its kitchen had an impact on the cuisine of the others.





In Turkey, grilled meat patties or Turkish meatballs, called 'köfte' (koeuf-TAY'), are a national favorite and the single most popular dish prepared with ground beef, lamb, or chicken and mixed with spices, bread, and egg. They're grilled, pan-fried, stewed, baked or broiled. Köfte' come in all shapes and sizes and features, but they are generally shaped by hand into a patty, ball or cylinder. 

Almost every region in Turkey has their own specialty of these meatballs. One favorite is ‘zmir Köftesi’ (is-MEER’ KUF’-tay-see), which simply means ‘meatballs from Izmir.’  It comes from the Aegean coastal city of Izmir, once known as Smyrna. Although the name may seem simple, the flavor of this dish is extraordinary. It’s especially tender and juicy because it’s double-cooked. The meatballs are grilled and the potatoes are fried, then they are layered in a casserole dish with tomatoes and sweet peppers, topped with marinara and baked in the oven.

This dish can be prepared and cooked in advance everything together. Chef Mete has been preparing this dish at the International Dinner for the last seven years. They really enjoy this dish!


UN HELVASI (wheat flour halva)


IRMIK HELVASI (semolina halva) 

 There are three different types of halva in Turkey: tahini halva, which is known simply as halva here in the states, wheat flour halva, and semolina halva. Tahini halva is usually store-bought. Semolina and wheat flour, on the other hand, are always home-made for various special occasions. Moms would make big batches of either semolina or wheat flour halva and send a halva plate with kids to everyone in the neighborhood.


Baklava is the most popular dessert in Middle Eastern countries.  This dessert is made with slight variations from country to country but the basics are the same.  Baklava is made with paper-thin sheets of phyllo (filo) dough, which is usually buttered and layered in the large baking sheet. Phyllo means "leaf" in Greek and while the Grecians are credited with the creation of phyllo in the paper thin version we know today, it was initially introduced in Turkey during the Ottoman Empire Ground and finely chopped nuts are layered between the sheets--most often used are walnuts and pistachios, but the nuts can vary based on what is available in the area.. After baking to perfection, sweet syrup is immediately poured over the pieces allowing the syrup to be absorbed into the layers.[i] The syrup is flavored with lemon juice or honey, spices and rosewater. Each region of the world has its own variations on the syrup in which the baklava is baked. Today's baklava may also contain dried or fresh fruits or even chocolate. Baklava is still a treat baked to celebrate special occasions.

Baklava Nutrition

Baklava has many health benefits as a pastry.  It is not just full of empty calories like so many other desserts.  The nuts used in baklava provide nutrition and are naturally cholesterol free.  Although nuts are high in fat, the fat is mostly unsaturated fat which has a beneficial effect on health.   When honey is used in baklava, the levels of antioxidants are raised.