Tree of Life – Joy E. Stocke & Angie Brenner

When Tree of Life authors’ Joy Stocke and Angie Brenner first met in a small resort town on the Mediterranean coast, they discovered a shared love of history, literature, and local food traditions. The two set off on a cultural adventure tour of Turkey that spanned ten years. Later, upon returning home to their respective American kitchens, they recreated the flavors of Anatolia and incorporated them into the food they cooked every day for themselves, family, and friends.

Based on the memoir Anatolian Days and Nights (which I just ordered on Kindle to start reading), Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking shares more than 100 approachable recipes inspired by Turkish food traditions found in the authors’ travels. These thoughtful adaptations of authentic dishes draw on easily accessible ingredients while keeping true to traditional techniques. Recipes include Circassian chicken, Carrot hummus with Toasted fennel seeds, Spice-route moussaka, Weeknight lamb manti, Stuffed grape leaves, and Black Sea hazelnut baklava.

Beautiful photographs are peppered throughout the book along with interesting headnotes that make Tree of Life a wonderful read as well as a lovely cookbook. Special thanks to Burgess Lea Press for sharing the recipe for Tomato and walnut salad with pomegranate molasses with us today along with offering three copies for our contest open to EYB members in the US and Canada. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter.

Tomato and walnut salad with pomegranate molasses
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Serves 4

The walnut tree and its luscious, oil-rich fruit can be traced back to Mesopotamia as early as 2000 BCE. Today, Turkey is among the world’s top producers of both tomatoes and walnuts. Turkish cooks have long understood that pairing sweet yet acidic tomatoes with buttery walnuts make a delicious marriage of cultures.

This salad works with any fresh tomatoes in season, but it’s more decorative with a mix of heirloom tomatoes in different sizes, hues and flavors. Add it to your meze table or serve as a side dish.

½ cup (60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
3 medium red tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (25 g) coarsely chopped flatleaf parsley

Put the walnuts in a single layer in a medium skillet over moderate heat. Stir the nuts continuously for 2 to 3 minutes until they become fragrant and turn a rich golden-brown. Set aside to cool.

Cut the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces and put them in a nonreactive serving bowl. If there is any tomato juice left on the cutting board, add it to the bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Add the walnuts and parsley to the tomatoes and gently fold to combine. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss again to mix. Finish with a few more grinds of black pepper, if desired.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Tree of Life, published by Burgess Lea Press. February 2017. Photo credit Jason Varney

The publisher is offering three copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and Canada.  One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on November 27th, 2017.

Post a comment


  • Kristjudy  on  October 17, 2017

    Classic lamb kofte

  • rchesser  on  October 17, 2017

    Mesopotamian mac and cheese!

  • kmn4  on  October 17, 2017

    Rose milk pudding – man, do I miss Turkey!

  • lgroom  on  October 17, 2017

    Turkish pizza

  • Sherrianne  on  October 17, 2017

    Baked hummus with pine nuts!!

  • heyjude  on  October 17, 2017

    Baked Hummus with Pine Nuts calls to me, too.

  • LaurenE  on  October 18, 2017

    Turkish pizza

  • AGENT99  on  October 18, 2017

    Turkish pizza (Lahmacun)

  • ravensfan  on  October 18, 2017

    Baked hummus with pine nuts

  • Siegal  on  October 18, 2017

    I want to try the minted lamb burgers

  • sipa  on  October 18, 2017

    Eggplant puree

  • lpatterson412  on  October 18, 2017

    Yogurt – Marinated Grilled Chicken, YUM!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  October 18, 2017

    Mesopotamian mac and cheese

  • BMeyer  on  October 18, 2017

    turkish pizza

  • hillsboroks  on  October 18, 2017

    Mesopotamian mac and chees

  • sgump  on  October 18, 2017

    I must agree with kmn4: rose milk pudding (I just can't get enough of stuff flavored with rosewater)!

  • eliza  on  October 18, 2017

    Stuffed grape leaves.

  • robynsanyal  on  October 18, 2017

    I always wanted to try stuffed grape leaves

  • BittyCornwell  on  October 18, 2017

    Eggplant Puree!

  • sarahawker  on  October 19, 2017

    Weeknight lamb manti

  • Littlebirdchoc  on  October 19, 2017

    Ooooh – the chickpea appetizer, or OH OH – the TURKISH DELIGHT!!

  • Karla123  on  October 19, 2017

    I would like to explore this beautiful dish for meatless "Spice-route moussaka."

  • Shelley.b  on  October 20, 2017

    Feta cheese warmed in raki

  • RSW  on  October 20, 2017

    Cucumber pomegranate pickles

  • davisesq212  on  October 20, 2017

    Minted lamb burgers is what I would choose. I love lamb and I love burgers so this would be awesome.

  • DarcyVaughn  on  October 20, 2017

    Chickpea and Aleppo pepper manti

  • Scotsman61  on  October 20, 2017

    Minted lamb burgers

  • contest718  on  October 22, 2017

    Since I am a balaclava fanatic I would go with the black sea balaclava recipe. I would so love to try this first.

  • SheenaSharp  on  October 22, 2017

    This is hard. There are so many interesting recipes. BUT I will go with the "Arugula and fennel tulip salad with orange and radish". These are some of my favorite foods and I want to try them together.

  • trudys_person  on  October 22, 2017

    Citrus Pudding with Almonds – I love that flavour combination!

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  October 22, 2017

    I would like to make the Lamb shish kebab with pomegranate and soy sauce.

  • Laura1  on  October 22, 2017

    eggplant puree

  • Jenamarie  on  October 22, 2017

    My family makes grape leaves already… so either the Cucumber pomegranate pickles or Savory spiced chickpeas (Leblebi)!!

  • matag  on  October 24, 2017

    Minted lamb burgers

  • lhudson  on  October 24, 2017

    Marinated shrimp with orange zest and nigella seeds

  • ccav  on  October 25, 2017

    So many good things; all the bean dishes look great, but the Black Sea fondue with roasted winter vegetables would be my first one to try!

  • Julia  on  October 25, 2017

    Marinated eggplant and red pepper kebabs.

  • CRT  on  October 25, 2017

    Grilled halloumi with lemon caper sauce

  • t.t  on  October 25, 2017

    Savory spiced chickpeas

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  October 26, 2017

    would try the Chicken Shish Kebabs found on page 47

  • ccolodny  on  October 26, 2017

    I am sure I will love the Shepherd's salad

  • rivergait  on  October 26, 2017

    Tomato and walnut salad with pomegranate molasses. I grow all three products (to excess!) in Northern California.

  • elisabethferg9  on  October 27, 2017

    Grilled haloumi with lemon caper sauce, wow!

  • PennyG  on  October 28, 2017

    They all sound so good, perhaps White Bean Salad with Lemon!

  • annieski  on  October 30, 2017

    Jeweled beet dip , although the grilled haloumi with lemon caper sauce sounds mad delicious, too

  • skipeterson  on  October 30, 2017

    Turkish pizza (Lahmacun)

  • fbrunetti  on  October 31, 2017

    Chickpea and Aleppo pepper manti

  • ladybrooke  on  October 31, 2017

    Feta cheese warmed in olive oil with raki

  • ecolucy  on  November 1, 2017

    I'd love to try to make rosewater Turkish delight – just like the White Witch gave Edmund in Narnia!

  • JaBoWaBo  on  November 1, 2017

    I've read Anatolian Days and Nights, and have an insane craving for Savory spiced chickpeas!

  • lauriesk  on  November 1, 2017

    The first recipe I would try is Lamb chops with pomegranate sauce.

  • vinochic  on  November 2, 2017

    Spice-route moussaka (vegan)

  • ltsuk  on  November 2, 2017

    flatbread of some sort

  • Nancith  on  November 3, 2017

    Baked spinach, goat chees & walnut manti

  • gypsymagic  on  November 3, 2017

    Stuffed flatbread (Gözleme)

  • jlemoine  on  November 3, 2017

    I agree with the stuffed flatbread and the recommended accompaniment, carrot hummus with toasted fennel seed!

  • stevenpeters  on  November 3, 2017

    Flatbread dough! Need a good flatbread recipe.

  • InAHealthyKitchen  on  November 3, 2017

    Rosewater Turkish Delight sounds like a lot of fun to make.

  • Signe  on  November 3, 2017

    I'd like to make Turkish pizza

  • ncollyer  on  November 3, 2017


  • PeavineBlues  on  November 4, 2017

    Black Sea hazelnut baklava

  • tararr  on  November 4, 2017

    Turkish pizza

  • RickPearson54  on  November 4, 2017


  • lisaevanoff  on  November 4, 2017

    Sautéed mushrooms with allspice and black pepper

  • rachael_mc  on  November 4, 2017

    chickpea patties

  • br22  on  November 4, 2017

    Poached chicken with walnut sauce

  • patioweather  on  November 5, 2017

    Carrot hummus with toasted fennel seed

  • Joy001  on  November 5, 2017

    Carrot hummus with toasted fennel seeds

  • RoseMGenuine  on  November 5, 2017

    Dill yogurt soup with chickpeas and rice

  • sequoia55  on  November 5, 2017

    Minted lamb burgers

  • dna  on  November 6, 2017

    tomato and walnut salad with pomegranate molasses

  • Anno  on  November 6, 2017

    Orange yogurt Kahve cake- sounds heavenly with oranges, yogurt and walnuts!

  • madelainelc  on  November 6, 2017

    Grilled hallumi with lemon caper sauce sounds amazing. I look after my friend's 9 year old frequently, and he loves hallumi. This would be a great way to get him to take a chance with capers!

  • bibliophile02  on  November 7, 2017

    Savory spiced chickpeas

  • Shana.  on  November 7, 2017

    Stuffed grape leaves

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  November 8, 2017

    Chicken and Aleppo pepper manti sounds tasty

  • BeckyLeJ  on  November 11, 2017

    Grilled halloumi with lemon caper sauce!

  • dvajefink  on  November 13, 2017

    Minted lamb burger

  • JenJoLa  on  November 13, 2017

    Baked spinach, goat cheese and walnut manti

  • VeryVigario  on  November 13, 2017

    Lamb shish kebab with pomegranate

  • rosalee  on  November 13, 2017

    I love anything pomegranate or pickled so:
    Cucumber pomegranate pickles!

  •  on  November 14, 2017

    as a Turkish cook ı highly recommend that pinch of sumac 🙂

  • Katiefayhutson  on  November 17, 2017

    Baked hummus with pine nuts

  • bstewart  on  November 18, 2017

    Marinated eggplant and red pepper kebabs!

  • bonita7878  on  November 19, 2017

    Big foodie on Turkish dips so, I would be perusing through that index first.

  • Amandaspamanda  on  November 19, 2017

    Baked hummus with pine nuts – I'm SO in love with hummus!

  • jmay42066  on  November 19, 2017

    Marinated eggplant and red pepper kebabs.

  • Shanthz  on  November 21, 2017

    Chicken shish kebab

  • orchidlady01  on  November 23, 2017

    Baked hummus with pine nuts and Feta cheese warmed in olive oil with raki

  • Uhmandanicole  on  November 29, 2017

    Lamb chops with pomegranate sauce

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