This Turkish Girl….and This American Burger…

A year ago in July, I started this food blog with the intention of learning the recipes from my family whether they come from the Turkish side or the Southern side. I wanted to make and share what they meant for me above and beyond the taste. As much as the nostalgia associated with the food is there in my posts, there is also the nervousness and anxiety with trying something new, bringing it out on my table for friends and family.

Of course, there was the big question of  “Why would anyone read it? Would they care about Turkish recipes or what is going on in my kitchen?”.

Wasn’t it enough just to eat it, at home, in peace and silence?

Apparently it was not and I am glad I did not listen to that inner voice who always second guesses my choices. I was able to shut her up and put my first post!

As they say, the rest is the history. I have enjoyed writing, cooking, and sharing tremendously… Your comments have been the highlights of my days and I have been the happiest when one of you emailed and said you tried one of my recipes and you liked it!

And I had no idea that I was going to meet with all the wonderful people in this process.

One of those wonderful people is Molly O’Neill whom I met at one of her book signing stops in our little town Rock Hill, SC. Who knew that one day she would email and ask if I have a Turkish Burger recipe to share?

Then that I would tweak my Turkish kofte recipe to come up with a burger recipe?

And then that the recipe would make it to her e-book “This American Burger” as “Ilke McAliley’s Smoky Turkish Burgers”?

What a great Happy Anniversary gift that Molly gave me unknowingly!

Have you heard about One Big Table? It is a very cool project of hers where she collects YOUR recipes, your versions of the typical dishes. She is doing it for burgers this time… So if you have your own burger recipe or a side dish that you think your burger tastes awesome with it, just go over to One Big Table and send her an email! I am sure she will love it if you share! I have not seen anybody else who gets very excited over the new recipes she receives!

Tweaking the recipe was easy… Take out the bread crumbs and egg. Grate one medium onion. Drain, drain and drain relentlessly until you have a couple of tablespoons grated, not too juicy onion.Crush 2 large cloves of garlic. Chop bunch of parsley. Then combine these with 2 lbs of ground beef  and the spice mix listed below. Shape 8 burgers out of the mix and enjoy them between two thick slices of bread.As always, you can adjust the spice amounts if you need more kick or less heat!

I also make a yogurt dip with strained, thick yogurt and chopped fresh mint, and put a dollop on the burger. It pairs well with the spices used in the burger since fresh mint is such a flavor booster!

Hope you enjoy the Smoky Turkish Burgers and the others in her e-book! And THANK YOU for reading and coming back here to check out what I am cooking and even trusting me enough to try it :) ! Blogging is fun because of the interaction with you and I am hoping to have this conversation with you for a long time!

Spice Mix for Smoky Turkish Burgers

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1.2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Turkish Aleppo Pepper (you can substitute crushed red pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin


  1. by Jennifer
    11:28 am
    Jul 3, 2011

    The Turkish Girl and The Blonde. ;) So excited for you! Now you will make these burgers next time we come over for dinner, right? Hope you are having a good weekend “up north.”

  2. by Deb @ PaperTurtle
    11:30 am
    Jul 3, 2011

    Congrats, Ilke! That’s a fun way to celebrate, being honored like that. :) Your burgers sound amazing, so I’m not surprised that Molly included your recipe in her collection.

  3. by Ilke
    2:54 pm
    Jul 3, 2011

    Thanks Deb! It was definitely a nice surprise. Can’t believe it has been a year already! :)

  4. by Shannon
    6:15 pm
    Jul 3, 2011

    Congratulations Ilke!

  5. by Tanvi@SinfullySpicy
    3:32 pm
    Jul 4, 2011

    Happy Blog Anniversary dear :) I dont know abt others but I come here for lovely Turkish flavors and great great memories associated with them..Here’s to wonderful years to come! Congratulations on the feature- such a lovely gift!

  6. by Parsley Sage
    4:17 pm
    Jul 4, 2011

    Well done! That’s awesome!

  7. by Ilke
    5:58 pm
    Jul 4, 2011

    Thank you ladies! :) Hopefully, we will celebrate many years with our blogs all together :) And even maybe meet face to face some day :)

  8. by Shelley
    10:22 am
    Jul 5, 2011

    Congrats on your blog anniversary Ilke! Your Turkish burger sounds fantastic- no wonder Molly asked you to participate :-)

  9. by Lell Trogdon
    7:59 pm
    Jul 6, 2011

    Bravo!!! So proud of you and thrilled you got to be a part of the new book!

  10. by rebecca
    10:18 pm
    Jul 6, 2011

    wow how cool and so pleased to have found your blog really enjoy it your a fab cook, oh no you don’t have a whole foods, but trader joes is cool

  11. by Peggy
    11:41 am
    Jul 9, 2011

    Great job with this! So exciting about the e-book!

  12. by Lana
    8:57 pm
    Jul 9, 2011

    Happy first, Ilke! It is a big accomplishment, and you should be proud:) My blog turned 1 in the end of May, and I can relate. Yes, the best part of blogging is definitely meeting all the people that would have stayed strangers somewhere in this big world.
    Congratulations on the feature! Your recipe sounds very familiar – my mom made a similar burger, but we didn’t eat it with bread, rather along mashed potatoes. I love smoked paprika, but I have never tried aleppo. When I come back from Serbia it will join my spice rack:)
    Have a great weekend:)

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