MN Masala: Turkish Baked Veggie Fritters

By Jane and Chux: For the past couple of years, I have been attending monthly local Turkish cooking classes sponsored and facilitated by the Turkish American Society of Minnesota.  I wrote about these classes here.

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite recipes from these classes: baked vegetable fritters (firinda sebzeli mucver). This dish is loaded with vegetables and can be made for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or appetizer.

You can make this dish your own by adding any vegetable or cheese you like or have on hand at the time.  The key to this recipe is to grate or chop the vegetables finely.  We made this our own by adding chopped red pepper, grated zucchini, Italian parsley, and manchego cheese (instead of the mozzarella), and omitted the leeks.

This recipe has some prep work with the grating, sautéing, and cooling of the vegetables before adding it to the egg mixture, but it’s worth it!  Really delicious!

It bakes up in a 13 x 9 pan, so there are left-overs for another day.  And you can decide if you will have left-over fritters for breakfast, lunch or dinner!  I want thank my good friend Esra for this recipe. Continue reading

What’s in your DNA?

Cindy Moy

By Cindy Moy: The best part of being adopted is that when my family annoys me, I can disclaim any part of the gene pool.

You wouldn’t believe how often I give thanks that my siblings and parents and I don’t share genetics. The downside is that my true genetic makeup is a mystery. That’s where the National Geographic Genographic Project comes in.

The Project traces DNA markers from volunteers such as myself back 180,000 years. All women alive today can be traced to one woman in Africa, nicknamed by scientists as Mitochondrial Eve, and all men can be traced to one man in Africa, nicknamed Mitochondrial Adam. (The website goes into quite a bit of detail, some of which I can’t even pretend to understand.)

I ordered a DNA kit, which requires two cheek swabs, sent in the saliva samples, and awaited word on where my ancestors originated. Eight weeks later, the results were ready. Continue reading

Is it time to reform the primary system?

C.E. Alexander

By C.E. Alexander: Visit your favorite internet search engine and begin typing “the U.S. presidential primary system is—.”  What adjectives does the auto-fill have to offer?   Broken?  Expensive?  Undemocratic?

However convoluted, the primary season is a necessary precursor to the general presidential contest.  It is held every four years starting in January of the election year, culminating in the national party conventions, during which delegates from each party narrow their fields of hopefuls to two: the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

The Republican and Democratic conventions get most of the media coverage, but for example the Libertarian, Green and Reform parties all held notable national conventions in 2012.

Even the term primary system is a slight misnomer, as voters elect candidate-specific delegates by means of open primary, closed primary, or caucus, depending on their state of residence.  Some states may be stripped of their delegates for various reasons, while other delegates may be unpledged, meaning they are not candidate-specific and may vote how they choose. Continue reading

What is winter for?

Amber D. Stoner

By Amber D. Stoner: 50 sub-zero days reads the headline.

I’m struggling this winter. No, not just this winter. Every winter, all winters. My productivity tanks, my iron levels plummet, my exercise routine nearly disappears.

The only thing increasing is my weight and the number of hours I sleep. My hands are dry; my lips crack and peel; my legs go unshaven because what’s the point when I’m wearing two layers every day. I’ve done a zillion crossword puzzles and read several books, but I have trouble putting together an email because my synapses have slowed as have my footsteps over the icy paths.

So what is winter for? Continue reading

When is there too much?

How it began.

By Cindy Moy: When my dad was serving in the Army in Korea in the 1950s, he and a buddy went to Tokyo, Japan, on leave. Dad bought a few souvenirs, including a decorative teapot for my grandmother.

It’s a lovely and delicate little thing with a Geisha Girl pattern (pictured to the right), and when my grandmother died, it passed to me.

A few years later, I came across some pieces of Japanese porcelain from the same era, with the same pattern, at a garage sale, and I bought them to set next to the teapot (see left).

Then I stumbled across a few more pieces at a country junk shop, and I bought those.

How did this happen?

Then a box with more pieces showed up at our church garage sale, and before you can say rabbits in springtime, I had accumulated a collection of porcelain without really meaning to do so.

For years, the pieces looked lovely in a narrow cabinet in our dining room. Continue reading