Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I have three packages of sliced bacon in the freezer. These are slowly rationed out to make bacon and eggs on the weekends.

2 crispy slices for hubby and 2 for me.

You can find sliced bacon at a few of the larger grocery stores and gourmet markets here in Istanbul, but it will cost you a pretty penny and is inferior to the center-cut thick sliced bacon I prefer from the U.S.

So when I recently wanted to make my bacon and scallion cornbread muffins, I had to figure out a substitute for the bacon. I went with dana jambon (veal bacon/ham) so that it also would be non pork-friendly for some of my Turkish friends.

This sliced Turkish ham is tasty enough and works fine for baked goods. However, would I want to make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with it? Not unless I really, really wanted one.

Living in a foreign country continues to teach me that sometimes you must make substitutes or simply do with out. I think I’m beginning to become an expert in this department. A few tweaks here and there is all that’s usually needed to adapt a recipe in my Istanbul kitchen.

Speaking of using substitutes in Turkey, this week a writer friend and fellow Istanbul expat mentioned my little blog on Gadling, a popular travel blog. Check out her article: “Expat Fusion Cuisine: Combining foreign foods with favorites from home.” Thanks Meg! (You can search for Meg’s past articles about Istanbul, being a mom abroad and her travels.)

Another option is beg your friends and family members to bring you back foodie goodies from the U.S. or from their travels. This is how the bacon arrived at our apartment this summer. I also plan to stock up on exotic Asian ingredients on our upcoming trip to Singapore and Bali.

These moist cornbread muffins make a great breakfast treat and pair well with homemade chili for dinner. I hope you enjoy!

Afiyet Olsun!
A little dab of butter makes these warm cornbread muffins extra special!
Dana Jambon Mısır Ekmeği/Veal Bacon Cornbread Muffins
Makes 12-13 muffins

1 ½ c. (215 g.) flour
½ c. (60 g.) corn flour (mısır unu - usually found in a yellow box in the baking aisle at most grocery stores here)
¼ c. (55 g.) granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
pinch paprika or pul biber (optional)
1 large egg
1 c. (230 ml.) whole milk
c. (65 ml.) vegetable/sunflower oil
scant ½ c. (50 g.) dana jambon or chopped, crispy bacon
2 T. scallions or chives, finely chopped
Chopped chives with the dana jambon.
1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, milk and oil. Add the liquids to the dry mixture, stirring just to combine.
3. Lastly, carefully fold in the dana jambon or bacon and the scallions or chives to the cornbread mixture.
4. Place muffin paper liners in a 12-cup muffin baking tray. Evenly divide the cornbread batter into the cups, filling about ¾-way full. You may have a little bit extra and need to bake 1 or 2 more muffins.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F/175 C for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown on the edges or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

(Note: A fellow Istanbul expat and friend, Celia, originally provided me with her Turkish cornbread recipe, which I tweaked a little bit. Thanks Celia!)

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MJ said...

Sounds wonderful--I love cornbread.

Joy said...

MJ, let me know if you try making these. Very good and simple. xo

Danielle said...

I just made cornbread and chili this weekend...perfect for this time of year and easy leftovers!!

Kim, Living to Seas the Moment said...

I have a family of ham lovers so I am going to try this one day soon! They look delsih!

Joy said...

Yes, Danielle, I agree!

Kim, hope you enjoy them too.