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.

90 Comments

  • Kristjudy  on  10/17/2017 at 7:26 PM

    Classic lamb kofte

  • rchesser  on  10/17/2017 at 7:54 PM

    Mesopotamian mac and cheese!

  • kmn4  on  10/17/2017 at 8:09 PM

    Rose milk pudding - man, do I miss Turkey!

  • lgroom  on  10/17/2017 at 8:25 PM

    Turkish pizza

  • Sherrianne  on  10/17/2017 at 9:46 PM

    Baked hummus with pine nuts!!

  • heyjude  on  10/17/2017 at 11:29 PM

    Baked Hummus with Pine Nuts calls to me, too.

  • LaurenE  on  10/18/2017 at 6:35 AM

    Turkish pizza

  • AGENT99  on  10/18/2017 at 6:42 AM

    Turkish pizza (Lahmacun)

  • ravensfan  on  10/18/2017 at 7:18 AM

    Baked hummus with pine nuts

  • Siegal  on  10/18/2017 at 9:36 AM

    I want to try the minted lamb burgers

  • sipa  on  10/18/2017 at 12:09 PM

    Eggplant puree

  • lpatterson412  on  10/18/2017 at 12:31 PM

    Yogurt - Marinated Grilled Chicken, YUM!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  10/18/2017 at 12:46 PM

    Mesopotamian mac and cheese

  • BMeyer  on  10/18/2017 at 4:30 PM

    turkish pizza

  • hillsboroks  on  10/18/2017 at 5:10 PM

    Mesopotamian mac and chees

  • sgump  on  10/18/2017 at 6:04 PM

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

  • eliza  on  10/18/2017 at 6:45 PM

    Stuffed grape leaves.

  • robynsanyal  on  10/18/2017 at 6:57 PM

    I always wanted to try stuffed grape leaves

  • BittyCornwell  on  10/18/2017 at 8:08 PM

    Eggplant Puree!

  • sarahawker  on  10/19/2017 at 8:49 AM

    Weeknight lamb manti

  • Littlebirdchoc  on  10/19/2017 at 9:03 AM

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

  • Karla123  on  10/19/2017 at 6:18 PM

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

  • Shelley.b  on  10/20/2017 at 4:52 AM

    Feta cheese warmed in raki

  • RSW  on  10/20/2017 at 5:37 AM

    Cucumber pomegranate pickles

  • davisesq212  on  10/20/2017 at 6:38 PM

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

  • DarcyVaughn  on  10/20/2017 at 8:39 PM

    Chickpea and Aleppo pepper manti

  • Scotsman61  on  10/20/2017 at 10:53 PM

    Minted lamb burgers

  • contest718  on  10/22/2017 at 9:33 AM

    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  10/22/2017 at 10:04 AM

    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  10/22/2017 at 11:02 AM

    Citrus Pudding with Almonds - I love that flavour combination!

  • lindaeatsherbooks  on  10/22/2017 at 11:07 AM

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

  • Laura1  on  10/22/2017 at 12:03 PM

    eggplant puree

  • Jenamarie  on  10/22/2017 at 2:41 PM

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

  • matag  on  10/24/2017 at 8:57 AM

    Minted lamb burgers

  • lhudson  on  10/24/2017 at 4:04 PM

    Marinated shrimp with orange zest and nigella seeds

  • ccav  on  10/25/2017 at 10:52 AM

    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  10/25/2017 at 8:44 PM

    Marinated eggplant and red pepper kebabs.

  • CRT  on  10/25/2017 at 8:48 PM

    Grilled halloumi with lemon caper sauce

  • t.t  on  10/25/2017 at 11:06 PM

    Savory spiced chickpeas

  • kennethjohngilmour  on  10/26/2017 at 8:13 AM

    would try the Chicken Shish Kebabs found on page 47

  • ccolodny  on  10/26/2017 at 9:36 AM

    I am sure I will love the Shepherd's salad

  • rivergait  on  10/26/2017 at 2:56 PM

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

  • elisabethferg9  on  10/27/2017 at 10:09 PM

    Grilled haloumi with lemon caper sauce, wow!

  • PennyG  on  10/28/2017 at 4:27 PM

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

  • annieski  on  10/30/2017 at 4:57 AM

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

  • skipeterson  on  10/30/2017 at 12:44 PM

    Turkish pizza (Lahmacun)

  • fbrunetti  on  10/31/2017 at 9:41 AM

    Chickpea and Aleppo pepper manti

  • ladybrooke  on  10/31/2017 at 12:46 PM

    Feta cheese warmed in olive oil with raki

  • ecolucy  on  11/1/2017 at 8:29 AM

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

  • JaBoWaBo  on  11/1/2017 at 3:36 PM

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

  • lauriesk  on  11/1/2017 at 9:18 PM

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

  • vinochic  on  11/2/2017 at 11:41 AM

    Spice-route moussaka (vegan)

  • ltsuk  on  11/2/2017 at 11:05 PM

    flatbread of some sort

  • Nancith  on  11/3/2017 at 5:30 PM

    Baked spinach, goat chees & walnut manti

  • gypsymagic  on  11/3/2017 at 5:52 PM

    Stuffed flatbread (Gözleme)

  • jlemoine  on  11/3/2017 at 7:20 PM

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

  • stevenpeters  on  11/3/2017 at 7:53 PM

    Flatbread dough! Need a good flatbread recipe.

  • InAHealthyKitchen  on  11/3/2017 at 8:48 PM

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

  • Signe  on  11/3/2017 at 8:58 PM

    I'd like to make Turkish pizza

  • ncollyer  on  11/3/2017 at 10:00 PM

    Gözleme!

  • PeavineBlues  on  11/4/2017 at 7:46 AM

    Black Sea hazelnut baklava

  • tararr  on  11/4/2017 at 9:26 AM

    Turkish pizza

  • RickPearson54  on  11/4/2017 at 9:36 AM

    Gozleme

  • lisaevanoff  on  11/4/2017 at 9:49 AM

    Sautéed mushrooms with allspice and black pepper

  • rachael_mc  on  11/4/2017 at 10:06 AM

    chickpea patties

  • br22  on  11/4/2017 at 4:50 PM

    Poached chicken with walnut sauce

  • patioweather  on  11/5/2017 at 12:53 PM

    Carrot hummus with toasted fennel seed

  • Joy001  on  11/5/2017 at 4:23 PM

    Carrot hummus with toasted fennel seeds

  • RoseMGenuine  on  11/5/2017 at 10:44 PM

    Dill yogurt soup with chickpeas and rice

  • sequoia55  on  11/5/2017 at 11:04 PM

    Minted lamb burgers

  • dna  on  11/6/2017 at 7:06 AM

    tomato and walnut salad with pomegranate molasses

  • Anno  on  11/6/2017 at 5:44 PM

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

  • madelainelc  on  11/6/2017 at 10:32 PM

    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  11/7/2017 at 11:48 AM

    Savory spiced chickpeas

  • Shana.  on  11/7/2017 at 1:38 PM

    Stuffed grape leaves

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  11/8/2017 at 4:44 PM

    Chicken and Aleppo pepper manti sounds tasty

  • BeckyLeJ  on  11/11/2017 at 9:14 AM

    Grilled halloumi with lemon caper sauce!

  • dvajefink  on  11/13/2017 at 5:37 AM

    Minted lamb burger

  • JenJoLa  on  11/13/2017 at 1:20 PM

    Baked spinach, goat cheese and walnut manti

  • VeryVigario  on  11/13/2017 at 6:11 PM

    Lamb shish kebab with pomegranate

  • rosalee  on  11/13/2017 at 9:38 PM

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

  •  on  11/14/2017 at 8:21 PM

    as a Turkish cook ı highly recommend that pinch of sumac :)

  • Katiefayhutson  on  11/17/2017 at 10:37 PM

    Baked hummus with pine nuts

  • bstewart  on  11/18/2017 at 6:01 PM

    Marinated eggplant and red pepper kebabs!

  • bonita7878  on  11/19/2017 at 11:40 AM

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

  • Amandaspamanda  on  11/19/2017 at 6:12 PM

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

  • jmay42066  on  11/19/2017 at 7:15 PM

    Marinated eggplant and red pepper kebabs.

  • Shanthz  on  11/21/2017 at 1:28 AM

    Chicken shish kebab

  • orchidlady01  on  11/23/2017 at 10:05 PM

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

  • Uhmandanicole  on  11/29/2017 at 12:40 AM

    Lamb chops with pomegranate sauce

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