My show!

I can’t believe it, but I’m now doing a Turkish cooking/cocktail mixology show on Last Saturday morning, the producers asked me to create some new Turkish-themed cocktails and then make them on camera, speaking entirely in Turkish. The show’s called “Brian Karistiriyor” (a pun for “Brian mixes it up” / “Mixed-up Brian”).  In just 2 hours, I created the recipes and shot the episodes. (My Turkish is not very good, and I forgot how to say basic words like “strain” and “pour,” so at times I had to use gestures to explain what I was doing! I was nervous, but sipping my creations helped relax me.)

Here’s the recipe I did for the first episode – I made the drink with tahini and pekmez.

Hamam’in gulu: (“Rose of the Hamam”)

3 parts rum
1 part sherry (or brandy)
1 part tahini/pekmez mix (heavy on the pekmez)
1/2 egg white
Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Pekmez is grape molasses which goes wonderfully mixed with tahini and served on bread as an important part of a balanced Turkish breakfast. Normally, I prefer a 2:1 tahini-pekmez mix, but for this drink, you need considerably more pekmez for sweetening.

Turks Walking #2


Turkler geliyor ve Turkler gidiyor… Benim Türkler Yürüyor dizinin ilki!

Episode #2 of my latest artwork, a video project called TURKS WALKING, is up! 36 seconds. The woman with the headscarf is in a hurry, and the man in white turns.

Patti Labelle’s corn casserole

Corn Casserole
2 cups fresh corn kernels, thawed frozen corn, or drained canned corn
1 cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the corn, milk, eggs, butter, flour, sugar, salt, and pepper and mix well. Pour into the prepared dish.

Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Buy the book here:

Patti Labelle’s Over-The-Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese


• 5 pounds assorted greens (collard, kale, mustard, and turnip greens, in any combination), tough stems discarded
• 2 medium onions , chopped
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 jalapenos , seeded and minced, optional
• 1 (1 1/2-pound) smoked turkey wing
• Seasoned salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tear the greens into large pieces. Wash the greens well in a sink full of cold water. Lift the greens out of the sink and transfer to a large bowl, leaving the grit to fall to the bottom of the sink. (Be sure you get all the grit out of the greens. If necessary, wash again.) Do not drain the greens in a colander.

In a large pot, combine the onions, two cups water, oil, and jalapenos, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat. Gradually stir in the greens, allowing each batch to wilt before adding more greens. Bury the turkey wing in the greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, just until the greens are tender, about 30 minutes. Do not overcook the greens or they will lose their color and fresh flavor. Remove the turkey wing. Discard the skin and bones, chop the turkey meat, and return to the pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the greens to a serving dish. Serve hot.

Buy the book here:


Turks Walking #1


Turkler geliyor ve Turkler gidiyor… Benim Türkler Yürüyor dizinin ilki!

Today I’m delighted to announce the release of the first installment of my latest artwork, a video project called TURKS WALKING. All episodes will range from 30 to 60 seconds in length. Enjoy!

Linda Evans Dynasty Corn Pudding

Serves: 12
Yield: 12


4 ounces unsalted butter, melted plus additional for greasing
3 cups fresh corn kernels, ears (4-5, you can use frozen)
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
9 ounces Monterey jack cheese or 9 ounces Monterey jack pepper cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 (4 ounce) can whole green chilies, drained, patty dry and cut into 1/2 inch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 350°F Generously butter a 2 quart rectangular casserole dish.

In a blender or food processor, puree 1 cup corn kernels with melted butter and eggs.

In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients, except parmesan cheese.

Add pureed corn and mix well. Pour into casserole dish, sprinkle with parmesan and baked for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
(note: you can broil for a couple of minutes at end to get golden spots on top).

Weather-themed cocktail recipes

Four seasons, four pitchers.  Make ’em in advance, chill them well, pour them out at parties, keep it flowing!

All numbers below are parts to indicate proportions.


6 Rum
1 Sweet lime juice
1.5 Passion fruit puree

Autumn Wind:

3 Apple cider
2 Whisky
1 Cinnamon Schnapps
Bitters and lemon juice to taste

Chocolate Thunder:

1 Bailey’s
1 Rum
1 Kahlua
4 Coca-Cola

Note: keep the coca-cola separate until serving; careful when pouring, as it will create a head like a root beer float; afterwards, you can keep the leftovers of the 3-alcohol combination outside of the refrigerator


3 Ginger beer
1 Bourbon

Chill both ingredients separately, and only combine when pouring.

At Richard Feynman’s grave

Yesterday, the family and I went to the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles for some pig-snout tacos, after  which we headed to The Last Bookstore to browse the shelves.  Such a beautiful bookstore, nestled in a historic building:



I love being in bookstores, not only to discover, but to listen to the books, to hear which ones would speak to me from the shelves.  This time, it was the books on the late Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman – books of his lectures, a few biographies about him, and of course his incredible autobiography Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

“Surely You’re Joking…” was a touchstone book for me; I read it in college, and Feynman instantly became my intellectual hero: a supremely gifted but dedicated thinker; an exceptionally curious and skeptical mind; the morally-searching creator of the world’s deadliest weapon; a holy prankster… and a lover of women, flotation tanks, world travel, and playing the bongos.  Here was a man who could live the life of the mind while still living life to the fullest, with his eyes wide open, leveraging his hard-earned knowledge to experience to be able to enjoy an honest sense of mystery and awe which to me seemed more beautiful than any world mythology.  I wanted to be like him.


From the great Wellington Grey:


And as I flipped through the books on Feynman at The Last Bookstore, I remembered that he had taught at Caltech, and I started to get the idea that he was probably buried right near my house, and that we should visit his grave.  I looked him up and saw that he was.  So we drove to Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena to look for his grave, and after some time, we came upon it.  And to my delight, his gravesite matched my image of what it should and would be – the humblest one in the whole lot.  For Feynman was a man who always had laughed at pomp (he had resigned from a club at MIT because it spent most of its time deciding who would be worthy of membership).

As my family stood beside his grave, I tried to tell my 8-year-old son how much Feynman’s thoughts and life meant to me, but Anatol was only in the mood to goof around – which seemed entirely appropriate.  So I snapped this picture, which is beautiful to me.  In heart of my family, Feynman lives on.


Anatol Felsen at Richard Feynman’s grave