If you are a talented baker go ahead and do the paper thin dough from scratch, but if you are like me, buy the Joseph’s Flax Oat Bran&Whole Wheat Lavash Bread from specialty stores or Walmart. Cover oven grates with aluminum foil and lay the dough sheets four per grate Mix cayenne pepper, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil in a cup and spread lightly over the dough sheets using a brush. Spread finely chopped feta cheese crumbs evenly on the sheets. Do not buy the commercial feta cheese crumbs, use Bulgarian or Turkish feta from a Mediterranean specialty store and DICE it. Get fresh parsley flakes and chop it in tiny pieces and spread on top of the feta crumbs. Put one grate at a time into the pre heated oven (350 F). Cook around 4-5 minutes to a golden brown and slightly crisp texture. Roll it to a wrap and enjoy it for breakfast. Note: The drüm has a crepe type of texture, hence if you have a sweet tooth, use butter, honey, jam, blue berry syrup or your imagination to dip the dürüm into, or better yet, spread these over and use fork and knife. Yummy.
(a short cut for LAHMAJUN lovers living ın the U.S.)
Most Pizza chains in Turkey have hard time competing with Lahmucun, the seven inch Turkish Pizza on a paper thin dough topped with chopped ground beef or lamb and hot spices. It is usually served with fresh parsley or cilantro type greens and pinch of fresh squezzed lemon juice to balance the fire of hot peppers. Of course one can get this delicassey in Turkish restaurants in the U.S., but what if you want to do it at home. You can start from scratch with the dough, but this requires to much skill and this will be too messy. Here is Istanbullites alternative on thr right :
SİMİT: THE SESAME BAGEL RING
PICTURE COURTESY OF ERCAN ALP
SIMIT; THE SESAME BAGEL RING
Simit is the favorite Turkish street vendor food. It s a bagel type, doughnut looking big ring of rich bread texture, crispy and golden brown on the outside, moist on the inside. The price is right, around 50 cents. People eat it everywhere and all the time; for breakfast, on the run for lunch and in the afternoon with tea, before dinner stuck in the traffic. There is nothing like the fresh simit smell right out of the bakery and there is no other food for the urks living overseas which they crave more.
Istanbullite modified and tried a recipe from the internet* which family and friends enoyed today for breakfast. Please keep in mind the following principles when making simit at home:
-Dont steal from the recipe, use the best products. -Follow the recipe, no shortcuts please, -Dont be lazy and double up recipe, do two separate batches and cook twice if necessary. -Dont worry about making a big mess,clean as you go, -Share recipe and simit with friends.
Mediterranean Type of Food and Build Your own recipe Ideas
Istanbullites Food Section consists of some dinner ideas with pictures and recipe tips of what we cook at home. It is a combination of Mediterranean, Turkish and American cooking. The section however does not contain complete recipes. There are all kinds of recipes on the Internet but the best recipe is ones own imagination and personal taste.
Some of Istanbul-lites healthy eating habits are:
MODERATION: No Thanks giving expressions like I will bust, I am so full, instead leave the table with still room in your stomach. . PORTION CONTROL: It is related to the above. Control your red meat consumption. ( Ex.Twice a week 6 oz max). Same with sugar and deserts. Better to eat several times than a huge meal. Eat slow, enjoy your meal and talk.
OLIVE OIL. We cook almost everything with olive oil. Use it in salads and for cooking. Our salad dressing is made of olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Dont invite me to dinner if your salad dressing is from the bottle.
FISH MINIMUM TWICE A WEEK: Ocean caught and wild preferred versus farm raised. Salmon and Orange Ruffy preffered over Talapia (Omega 3!!)
FRESH VEGETABLES: All kinds of Greens like Spinach and Colors like red cabbage. Some times steamed and sometimes cooked with little olive oil.
SALADS: Dont chop the ingredients to small and dont peel all of the skin. Istanbullites Peasant Salad (Like a Italian Salad) has big slices of tomatoes, cucumbers and onion rings etc.. Not only you get the taste the salad better, but if you do not like one of the ingredients, you can pick it out.
YOGURT AND FETA CHEESE: Feta cheese at Breakfast and Yogurt at dinner is so good. Bulgarian Feta from specialty stores and plain yogurt with no added sugar are yumm!.
BREAD: Unfortunately can not do without fresh Bakery bread like French or Italian but have to limit it to two or three pieces a day.
BREAKFAST: Istanbullites breakfast is a Continental but a rich one . Several jams (like sour cherry, apricot, figs), feta cheese, black olives, tomatoes , fruit of the season, cereal, milk , orange juice, and hot tea are some of the choices . We dont eat bacon but similar products like sucuk(hot meat sausage), pastirma( dried meat) etc. only on Sundays.
SPIRITS ; One or two glasses of red wine every night, and few shots of Raki once a week.
The above list is not a complete one and Istanbullite does not claim that it is a scientific one. It is a list of habits which works for us.
Cem Ozmeral 8 Agustos, 2011 Dublin, Ohio
ABOUT "MEZE" AND RAKI TABLE
Mezes are Turkish appetizers, what the Greeks call Mezetta or Spaniards call Tapas. They are usually served before the main dish and are accompanied by few glasses of Raki the liquorish tasting favorite Turkish spirit or if you prefer a glass of wine. The Raki table is an adventure in fine dining which usually starts with cold mezes followed by hot mezes. Eating slow while enjoying friends conversation is the key. The main dish is usually fresh ocean caught fish with a green salad or a meat dish like lamb chops or shish kebab served on a bed of rice pilaf. The long lasting dinner traditionally ends with fresh fruits of the season and cup of Turkish Coffee.
Rakı masasının raconları Raki Table Etiquette
İLK BEŞ RACON/FIRST FIVE RULES 1) Rakı sofrasında senden yaşça büyük ehlikeyfe saygıyı kusur etmemek için kadehini onun kadehinin altına tokuşturacaksın. 1) At the raki table to show respect for the older raki drinker, click your glass at the base of his(her) glass. 2) Yaşça senden büyük kişi kadehini kaldırmadan rakı kadehi sofradan kalkmaz. 2)You dont start the toast before the older person at the table lifts his glass from the table. 3) Kadehe önce rakı, sonra su, sonra buz konur. Sıra bozulursa anason kadehin üstüne çıkar, rakının tadı kaçar. 3)Raki glass is first filled with water then with ice. If the order is not followed aniseed will float on top of the glass and rakis taste will be ruined. 4) Yeni seri'yi kadehe çevire çevire dökmeli ki o ilk hasat anasonun kokusu etrafa yayılsın. 4) When pouring raki from a new bottle , raki should be poured into the glass by constantly turning the bottle so the aroma lingers in the air. 5) Her rakı içilmez, her muhabbet çekilmez, her sofrada demlenilmez. 5)Every raki is not drinkable, every table and every conversation is not suitable for drinking raki.
HOW TO MAKE TURKISH COFFEE
USE THE LITTLE COFFEE POT WITH THE LONG HANDLE CALLED CEZVE (pronounced DJEZ-VEH). PUT A COFFEE SPOON (REMEMBER THE SPOON IS A MINIATURE OF THE COFFEE SPOON WE USE HERE) OF COFFEE PER CUP YOU WANT TO FIX INTOTHE CEZVE. PUT 1 SPOON OF SUGAR FOR ŞEKERLI (SWEET), HALF A SPOON FOR ORTA ŞEKERLI (SEMI-SWEET) OR NO SUGAR FOR ŞEKERSIZ. FOR EVERY CUP OF COFFEE YOU WANT TO FIX. PUT THAT MANY FINCAN OF WATER. (FIN-DJAN) IS THE LITTLE CHINA CUP. MIX THE INGREDIENTS AND BRING TO A HIGH BOIL. WHEN IT STARTS BOILING, DISTRIBUTE THE COFFEE AMONG THE FINCANS ONLY HALF FULL. BRING THE CEZVE ON THE FIRE AGAIN THIS TIME TO A LOW HEAT TO MAKE SOME HEAD CALLED KÖPÜK (KOEH- PUYK). DISTRIBUTE EVENLY TO THE CUPS. JUST LIKE THE HEAD ON A BEER, KÖPUK IS IMPORTANT ON A COFFEE. ALSO ONCE YOU DRINK THE COFFEE TURN THE CUP UPSIDE DOWN ON THE SAUCER AND LET IT THE HELVE (MUD) COOL DOWN
December 3, 2003
SEASONAL FISH OF BOSPHORUS FROM MY MOTHERS COOK BOOK*
*Reference: Ekrem Muhittin Yegen Alaturka ve Alafranga Yemek Ogretimi, Istanbul Husnutabiat Basimevi,1945
HOW TO MAKE ÇAY
TURKISH TEA IS PREPARED USING THE DOUBLE BOILER SYSTEM. THE LARGE TEA POT ON BOTTOM AND ON DIRECT FIRE AND A SECOND TEA POT ON TOP OF THE LARGE TEA POT ON THE BOILING WATER. THE TEA POTS IS CALLED ÇAYDANLIK. BOIL THE WATER ON MEDIUM HEAT IN THE LARGE TEA POT. PUT 1 TABLE SPOON OF LOOSE TEA LEAVES (3-4 TEA BAGS) INTO THE UPPER TEA POT AND FILL IT 3/4 WITH BOILED WATER. FILL THE LOWER POT WITH COLD WATER AGAIN AND PLACE THE TWO POTS ON TOP OF EACH OTHER. CLOSE THE TOP. GIVE IT A GOOD 15-20 MINUTES ON LOW-MEDIUM HEAT UNTIL WATER IN THE BOTTOM POT STARTS BOILING AGAIN.THIS TYPE OF SLOW COOKING WITH A DOUBLE ÇAYDANLIK IS CALLED DEMLENMEK . THE MORE DEM TIME, THE BETTER THE TEA.
SERVING: POUR TEA FROM THE TEA POT INTO THE SMALL ÇAY GLASSES FILLING THEM HALF FULL WITH TEA. USE A STRAINER SO THAT LOOSE LEAVES DO NOT GO INTO THE GLASS. FILL THE REST OF THE GLASS WITH HOT WATER. PUT ONE OR TWO PIECES OF CUBE SUGAR AND STIR. TAKE A SMALL SIP, BE CAREFUL ÇAY WILL BE HOT.
KÜRT KÖFTESİ (KURD'S KOFTE)
Kürt köftesi is tough to translate!. Köfte is Turkish style meatballs hot and spicy. But this köfte is a vegeterian one, Bulgur instead of meat. And what is Bulgur? It is a form of wheat processed by parboiling, cracking and drying. How about Bulgur-Pilav versus Rice-Pilav, a healthier choice of course! That recipe will come some time later.
Kürt Köfte is a popular ethnic dish in the Adana region of Turkey. Istanbullite always welcomes fellow Istanbulites cooking suggestions. This one is from our candost(true friend) fellow Istanbulite Semiray. Semiray lived in Adana as a child and still has relatives there. I bet she learned the recipe from her mother Atike Ana .
Thanks for sharing Semi.
OLIVE BASED OR SOLID BASED ZEYTIN YAĞLI YADA SADE YAĞLI
Basic Turkish cooking can be categorized in the above two categories. Dicing onions adding tomato paste, salt and seasoning and sauteing the mixture in the pot is step number one in both categories. After this step you either add olive oil or saturated fats like butter or margarine. (No trans fats please!) Most olive oil based dishes are vegetable dishes like green beans, navy beans, eggplant, leaks, stuffed peppers etc. All of these dishes are vegetarian dishes made without meat and served chilled (40F/4C or less). On the other hand solid fat based dishes are made using the same base ingredients with the addition of saturated fats (no trans fats) and beef and lamb.These dıshes are served hot: at least 165F(65C) and reheated to this temp when serving if they are kept refrigerated before. CAUTION NEVER LEAVE FOOD UN ATTENDED FOR MORE THAN 2 HOURS BETWEEN 40F(4C) AND 140 F( 54C) IN THE DANGER ZONE!!!! Every full course Turkish meal includes an olive oil based dish or zeytinyağlı. The zeytin yağlıs ( (Olive Oil Based ) are considered the best natural herbal laxatives.
The zeytinyaglı in the picture is Lima beans and carrots, a Sitare Özmeral specialty. The other dish, the börek is also baked using olive oil with feta cheese and fresh parsley stuffed in layers of filo dough.(courtesy of Ülker Durupınar).
ABOUT RAMADAN AND FOOD
Ramadan is the holly month during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset . You can eat a light midnight dinner called “sahur”, but all eating , drinking including water and other pleasurable activities stop with “the white threat of dawn appear to you, distinct from it’s black threat”* The days of Ramadan moves forward every year hence it is a lot more difficult to fast during summer, where the day light shines as long fifteen hours.
The time of the day to start the fast is called “imsak” and the dinner is called “iftar”. Believe me, no other food tastes and is appreciated better than the “iftar”. In the past when there were no mass communication devices like radio,T.V etc. the “iftar” was announced by the firing of the cannon ball which is followed by the prayer of the imam from the minaret of the mosque.
One breaks the fast traditionally with something simple like a piece of date or olive or better yet with a sip of water. Then comes the little delicate sees or appetizers followed by main dishes and deserts. The Yaprak Dolmasi featured here is such a main dish.
The “dürüm” or the roll is a regional Turkish wrap or crepe type dough usually filled with feta cheese, ground meat or lamb. While “lahmacun” is a South Eastern Turkish delicacie hot and spicy, this one is usually on a thinner dough, lighter in taste and eaten for breakfast or lunch. From Izmir to Antalya one can taste this wrap in every little village made usually by women on a round wooden dough board using a thin stick like rolling pin called “oklava”. While lahmacun is called the Turkish Pizza , the dürüm is usually referred as the “Turkish Pancake”. The picture above is from a husband and wife in a little boat preparing dürüms to the luxury yacht on a “Blue Voyage” in the Mediterranean. The woman rolled the dough in front of our very eyes right there on the boat, while the husband cooked the bread on the small grill and topped with butter and blueberry syrup and feta cheese and served to our yacht early in the morning . What a service!
A SHORT CUT FOR LAHMAJUN LOVERS IN THE U.S.
Ingredients OF MEX-MAJUN 15 Flour tortillas* 1 lb ground beef (93/7 meat to fat ratio) I head Spanish Onion 4 gloves of Garlic Crushed Red Peppers 1 or 2 table spoon Salt 5 or 6 table spoons of tomato sauce 2 table spoons of hot salsa 2 Table spoons of Olive or Veggie Oil 1 Bundle of Fresh Parsley 1 Bundle of Cilantro 1 Lemon
* Our preference is Mission Brand 100 percent Whole wheat , 0g trans fat med soft Tacos. also for a vegetarian option use chopped Annaheim peppers and portobella mushrooms instead of the meat.
Fine-chop onions and garlic, mix with ground beef add crushed red peppers, salt and and re- mix with a spatula in a bowl. Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan and sauté to a medium done ness stirring constantly. Do not overcook! Drain the meat in a colander and spread on a board. Fine-chop the meat with a butchers knife and put back in the mixing bowl add the tomato sauce and salsa and mix with a spatula. Evenly portion 2 table spoons of the meat in to the middle of the tortillas. ( 6 Tortillas are laid down on the oven grate covered with aluminum foil). Spread the meat evenly on the tortillas. Top with chopped parsley. Cook the mex-majuns one tray at a time in a pre heated oven for three minutes at 450F.
Make sure there is enough cilantro type greens on the table . Serve with ”cacik” the cold yogurt soup with chopped cucumbers and “piyaz” ,the bean and onion salad with tomatoes. Drink suggestions home made fresh lemonade and iced tea.
Garnish Mexmajun with greens. ROOOOOOOOL IT AND EAT IT.
5 cups of unbleached flour 1 cup water (luke warm) 1 cup whole milk (luke warm) 3 table s. vegetable oil 3 tea s. salt 2 tea s. sugar 1 cup pekmez(grape syrup) 3 oz of sesame seeds 2 packages of yeast vegetable oil spray
Activate yeast in half cup of 110 F water( Note too hot water will kill yeast). Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, add yeast. Make a french bread loaf. Spray top and cover with a humid towel. Let the loaf double in size in room temp.(30-45 min) . Mark and cut the loaf to 10 equal portions. Form dough balls. Form a snake from the dough ball . Bend the snake to two from the middle. Twist the two sides on top of each other singing twist again. Form a o ring connecting two ends with a pitch of water. Dip the rings into the pekmez bath.(50/50 syrup and water). Put the wet rings into the sesame sand box covering both sides with seeds. Put the rings on an oven grate (covered with aluminum foil and sprayed with vegie oil) . Let the simits proof again on the grate for an additional 20-25 minutes. (Do not over proof). Preheat the oven to 500 F. Cook one tray at a time for 15 minutes. Let it cool down and serve with Çay. Afiyet olsun.
*Among several recipes on the iınternet İstanbullite modified and tried the one under the title Arif olan anlar.
Adana is a southern city in Turkey. Food is as hot as Cajun Food of New Orleans. Meat on the skewer is ground round 90/10. Add salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper. Chicken breast strips marinated in olive oil with paprika and salt. Peppers hot, corn sweet but burned Turkish style. White rice basmani , water/ rice ratio 1.5/1.Choban salad garnish w. imagination.
Suggested spirits: Efes Beer, Fruit juices and lots of Water.
Afiyet Olsun. Bon Appetite.
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KURU FASULYE PILAV/NAVY BEANS AND WHITE RICE
This one is every Turks favorite. Just like the Red beans and Rice serve Mondays as an easy dish. Keep dry navy beans in water over night to get the gas out. (Short cut; use canned beans but rinse the slimy juice out). Saute onions add salt and can of tomato sauce, water and beans.Cook to perfection. (Beef tips optional) Serve over white rice. Garnish with sides of Green scallops, hot Mexican peppers, red onions . Eat with a good loaf of bread, drink Ayran(Yogurt drink), water or soda. Go for seconds, Yummm...suggested desert a small pc. of Helva.(Tahini desert)
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Best Kuru at Kafe Mimar Sinan-Istanbul
WHAT A CONTINENTAL!!!BREAKFAST
The English call it Break(the)fast, Germans call it Frühstück(early piece), we call it Kahve-altı(pre-coffee). Read the ingredients of the Continental on the left of the page... Istanbullites love to eat breakfast outdoors where the teapot never runs out of water.Note the champagne in the picture is for a special celebration and not part of the routine. Once you are tea-ed out, go for a cup of Turkish coffee.
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2 MEZES : BARBUNYA BEANS AND GRILLED EGGPLANTS
The cold appetizer pictured here is pinto beans cooked in olive oil. You can pick a bushel from the local farmers market and go through the long process of shelling. Saute fine chopped onions and sliced carrots in olive oil, add diced tomatoes, add water, bring to a boil Cook on high heat for fifteen minutes cover and cook until the beans are done. Chill it in the frig garnish with fresh parsley and serve with slices of lemon on the side.
Nobody ,but nobody cooked the BARBUNYA better than my mother LAMIA. The beans were always A LA DENTE, melted in your mouth not in the pan.
The hot appetizer in the picture is fried eggplants topped with my dear wife SITARE'S special tomato sauce. Fry the sliced eggplants in the pan in olive oil (NO breading please !!). For a healthier option spread eggplant slices with olive oil on a tin foil and GRILLL it. Sitare's secret sauce is a salsa with tomato chunks, fresh diced garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. If tomatoes don't agree with you, consider a thick yogurt sauce with fresh garlic and dill as an alternative.
PINTO BEANS FROM FARMER'S MARKET
COLD MEZE: PINTO BEANS
HOT MEZE: FRIED EGGPLANTS
On the left is how I described the making of Turkish Coffee to a friend years ago. The Turkish coffee is a strong coffee and a good stomach-settler after a reach meal. You have the choice of sugar and its quantity. Drink it with small sips like you are tasting a good glass of wine. Once you done, turn the cup on the saucer and look for somebody who can tell your fortune. Afiyet olsun.
CLICK ON PICTURE/WITH AND WITHOUT HEAD
PREP FOR FORTUNE TELLING
GRILLED ORANGE ROUGHY AND SPAGHETTI MEDLEY
Istanbullite loves seasonal fresh fish from Bosporus but often has to settle with Orange Roughy. (Atlantik Levregi ?, resembles Mercan). Season it with pepper& salt seasoning and virgin olive oil. Top with hot green pepper(Çarliston). GRILLLLLLLLLLL it. Serve on a bed of bay leaves, garnish with fresh "LIMONES". Spaghetti medley: In a frying pan sauté thin slices of zucchini in three tbs. of V.olive oil for 5 min. Add cherry tomatoes and fresh spinach for an additional 2 min. Drain mix in colander, mix with the boiled spaghetti noodles. DO NOT add additional oil (CHOLESTEROL WATCH).
Schmeckts Gut !
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BOSPHORUS CAUGHT, BESIKTAS ISTANBUL
TURKISH TEA: ÇAY
Istanbullites drink tea for breakfast, before dinner, after dinner and all day long. The tea pot never runs out of water,the tea glass never run out çay. Adults drink tea, even toddlers drink tea from the saucer. Few rules: If the salesman at the Bazaar or your host offers you tea , never refuse it. It is not polite to refuse tea. Cube sugar is better, some people put it under their tongue and sip the plain tea. When you stir the sugar, make sure the spoon touches the glass with a rhythm. Keep the melody going for at least 10 seconds. Slurping is allowed in some circumstances. Keep the refills coming; minimum three or four no maximum limit.
ÇAYLAR BENDEN-TEA IS ON ME!
CAY BOILING AND SERVICE
CAY SERVICE,SET USTU CAY GARDEN, ISTANBUL
KURD'S BULGUR BALLS
Pick a bag of Bulgur from specialty section of your grocery store.Wash and drain bulgur in a strainer. Wait till it proofs and doubles in size. Mix with flour (ratio:one flour to two bulgur). Squeeze the mix inside your wrist forming marble size balls. Boil the balls like pasta in hot water.Drain the water.(Keeping little amount of water is optional). Prep plain yogurt by mixing with fresh gloves of garlic.Pour the yogurt on top of the dish. Saute fresh tomatoes, hot pepper paste and red pepper flakes with olive oil in a frying pan.. Pour the sauce generously on top of the yogurt. Garnish with fresh mints and serve. Afiyet olsun. I KNOW YOU WILL GO FOR SECONDS ...
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SALMON LEMONADA (BAKED)
This Sunday our main dish is baked salmon. Whole but pre-cut, wild caught salmon with silver skin. Marinate with virgın olive oil, season with salt and pepper, top with diced fresh tomatoes and basil mix add sliced lemons. Istanbullite likes to taste the fish, not the prepped commercial sauce.Bake salmon to 165F(66C) in the oven. Do not over cook! ( Add fresh bay leaves durıng cooking for taste, if they are dry add for looks when serving). Side dishes Börek filled with feta, choice of wheat and white basmati rice as pictured, olive oil based lima beans with carrots, kıvırcık green salad with lemon juice, baked home fries with onion rings. Spirits: fresh squezed lemonade, kadeh of lions milk or glass of Chablis.
As the cajuns say: LE BONS TEMPS ROULE!
CLICK FOR SALMON LEMONADA
A SUMMER SUNDAY DINNER
STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
One of Istanbullites favorite dishes is the stuffed grape leaves. The one pictured here is not the olive oiled cold meze which the Greeks call dolmati or what we call zeytinyagli yaprak sarmasi. We will wait for that one until the Ramadan is over . The one featured here is an excellent dish for the iftar *dinner. Sade yağlı yaprak dolması, the stuffed grape leaves, cooked in butter and served hot. And nobody cooks it better than Ülker Durupınar, my mother-in law. I asked her what here secret was. She says the secret is the meat : half of it has to be ground round 90/20, but the other half has to have some fat, maybe 80/20 ? Mix the meat with rice and roll it into the grape leaves like my grandfather used roll his cigarettes and closing it on both ends.
YAPRAK DOLMA WITH YOGURT
Cover the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce, add salt, parsley, dill weed and mint, add water,cover and cook on medium heat. Make sure sure to add water during cooking if necessary. Serve by pouring the au- jus from the pot, on top of the dolmas and plain yogurt on side.
AFIYET OLSUN , and if you are breaking your fast MAY GOD ACCEPT IT.