Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Zucchini & Squash with Eggs (Yumurtalı Kabak)

3 green zucchinis (diced)
3 yellow squash (diced)
4 eggs
3 tomatoes (diced)
2 small potatoes (diced)
½ an onion (diced)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup of water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Heat olive oil in a large pan. First add the diced potatoes and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic. Sautee 3 more minutes until the onions are transparent. Add the squash, zucchinis, tomatoes, salt, pepper, cumin and water. Stir well. Close the lid and cook for about 15-20 minutes on medium heat. In a separate small bowl, add the parsley and a pinch of salt to the eggs and stir. Once the vegetables are soft, pour the eggs on top, close the lid and turn the heat to low until the eggs are cooked. Enjoy warm.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Red Cabbage Salad (Kırmızı Lahana Salatası)

A wonderful and tasty alternative to the regular green cabbage, red cabbage is full of antioxidants. The purplish color resembles the colors of blackberries which also contain lots of antioxidants. When I go shopping, I always try to get different colors of vegetables and fruits in order to get a variety of nutrients in our diets. Red cabbage is one of my favorite of the colorful veggies which I usually use for salad making. This salad is healthy, tasty and visually appealing.

1 small head red cabbage
3 large carrots
½ cup chopped parsley
2 lemons
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

Cut the cabbage head in two. Slice each half in thin slices and place in a large salad bowl. Grate the carrots and add to the cabbage along with the parsley. Add the salt on top of the vegetables. Squeeze the lemons on top and drizzle with olive oil. Toss and serve.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fish Stew in the Oven (Balık Buğulama)

1 whole Grouper fish cut into steaks or any other kind of fish or fish fillets
4 ripe tomatoes
4 medium potatoes
5 long green peppers
1 yellow or white onion
2 large garlic cloves (sliced)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup water

Place the fish steaks in a large Pyrex dish. Cut the potatoes in half and slice each half. Place the potato slices around the fish steaks. Add half of the salt and mix. Dissolve the tomato sauce in the water and pour half of the sauce on the fish and potatoes. Ensure that the tomato paste is dissolved completely. Slice the onion and tomatoes in rings. Arrange the onions on top of the fish and potatoes. Then, place the tomato slices and green peppers on top. Add the garlic in different parts of the Pyrex dish. Pour the rest of the sauce on top of the peppers and tomatoes. Sprinkle the rest of the salt, cumin and the ground black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.

Heat your oven to 375º. Cover the Pyrex dish with aluminum foil and cook for 1 ½ hours or until the fish and the potatoes are cooked.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Borek with Potatoes (Patatesli Sac Böreği)

To my knowledge, this borek is not known in most of Turkey. This borek is traditionally made with spinach stuffing and cooked on a large convex griddle ('Sac' in Turkish) that is heated by wood. The tradition is that, they cook bread (large thin round bread) every few months and after they are finished, since the ember is ready, they finish off with this kind of boreks. A couple weeks ago, when I was in Turkey, my mom's neighbor had helped someone make bread on sac and afterwards they made these boreks with three different stuffing; with meat, with spinach and with potatoes. Since she assumed that I never eat this kind of good food here in the States (and yes, she's right), she offered to bring me some of the borek. Even though I told here she didn't have to do that, as a very hospitable Turkish person, she insisted on bringing me (most Turks will insist on food and other things :) ) the boreks. I tasted the ones with spinach and potato stuffing and they were exquisite! I still remember the delightful tastes of these boreks.

I made these with wheat flour since it is supposed to be healthier. The potato stuffing is a little different than my mom's neighbor's as I didn't even ask about the ingredients. I guess I was just enjoying the boreks. Next time, I will try it with spinach because still, my favorite is the spinach stuffing.

For the Stuffing:

2 large potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed or cut into small pieces)
½ chopped onion (white or yellow)
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp salt

For the Dough:

8 cups wheat flour
1 ½ tsp salt
Small bowl of water

For Drizzling During Cooking:

½ cup olive oil

Preparation of Stuffing:

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Add onions and sauté until onions are transparent. Add potatoes, parsley, pepper, paprika and salt. Saute for about 3-4 minutes and remove from heat. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Dough Preparation:

Place the wheat flour and salt in a large shallow bowl. Keep a bowl of water handy since you will be dipping your hands in the water quite often. Add some water to the flour to start the dough making process. Keep adding water slowly and start kneading. Keep kneading and keep dipping your hands in the water while kneading. Continue kneading until the dough becomes soft. Place in a bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

For Cooking:

Heat a large non-stick pan. Keep the ½ cup olive oil handy in a bowl with a small spoon. Take a piece of dough in the size of your fist and make ball. Add a little olive oil to the ball and with your hand flatten the dough a little.

Keep the dough in your left hand and place a spoonful stuffing inside even though the picture shows it on a plate. I put it on a plate for picturing purposes, but do whatever you find easier.

Close the stuffing with the dough by pulling the dough from each side and joining at the center.

Add a little more olive oil to the ball (this is left to your judgment) and smoothen the ball with your hands.

Drizzle some olive oil in the heated non-stick pan. Place the stuffed ball at the center of the non-stick pan and start pressing with your fingers from the center to the outer side of the ball until you have a large disk of dough with the stuffing inside.

This will allow the stuffing inside the dough ball to be distributed evenly on every side of the dough disk. You will have some tears and broken dough here and there but do not worry that happens when you first try this. By experience it gets better though.

Cook each side until the color turns golden brown.

You may keep turning back and forth until you reach the desired color. Enjoy with Turkish tea as an afternoon snack or with yogurt and any kind of salad for a lunch or dinner.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sauteed Chicken (Sotelenmiş Tavuk)

2 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 poblano peppers or any other kind (cut in large pieces)
1 medium white onion (sliced)
¼ cup parsley (chopped coarsely)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Sautee the chicken in olive oil with salt, cumin and black pepper until chicken pieces start to turn golden color. Add the parsley, peppers and onions. Mix for 3-4 minutes while cooking. Remove from heat and serve with any kind of pilaf and yogurt.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hawaiian Orange Nairagi Fish

Okay, certainly this fish is not used in Turkish cuisine, but I really liked it when I saw the way it looked with its orange flesh. So I decided to purchase it. This fish reminds me of Tuna fish, so you may cook it anyway you cook tuna. However, I decided to take a different method in cooking this fish.

2 filets of Hawaiian Orange Nairagi
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
½ tsp coarse sea salt
½ tsp celery seed
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Turn oven to medium heat. In a small pan heat the olive oil. Rub the filets of fish with coarse salt, black pepper, celery seeds and cayenne on both sides. Place the fillets in the pan with the hot oil. Cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes and add the wine once it starts sizzling. Take the pan and place under broiler for five minutes. The filets will take a light brownish color. Most people like this fish rare, however I like my fish cooked well. You may cook it less if you prefer. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Broiled Lamb Loin Chops (Kemikli Kuzu Fileto)

6 lamb loin chops
¼ cup white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp paprika
1 lemon
1 tsp salt

Sprinkle salt, black pepper and paprika on both sides of the lamb loin chops. Then, drizzle the olive oil and squeeze the lemon on both sides of the lamb chops. As a final step, pour the wine on top of the chops. Cover and marinate over night in your refrigerator. You may also marinate for a few hours instead of overnight. Turn on your oven broiler. Broil each side of the chops for 10 minutes until the top of the chops are brownish. Serve hot with rice pilaf.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Broiled Potatoes (Fırında Izgara Patates)

This is simple, quick and irresistible. It is an excellent alternative to frying. I cook these potatoes to accompany any kind of meat dishes.

3 medium potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt

Slice the potatoes in thick slices. Add all the ingredients and mix well to make sure all the ingredients are covering the potatoes. Turn on your oven broiler. Broil for 10 minutes or until golden brown on each side. You will need to turn each slice one by one to make sure both sides are broiled nicely. Enjoy with any kind of dish you like!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beef with Green Onions (Taze Soğanlı Et)

1 lb stew meat
1 bunch green onions
½ cup parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 cup of water

Heat a pan without oil and cook the meat until all the extra juices come out. Drain. Heat olive oil with paprika in a small pot. Add the drained meat and sautee for a few minutes. Add one cup of water. Cover and cook on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Add the onions and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and place the meat with only 1-2 tbsp of the water in a large pan. Discard the rest of the water. Turn on your broiler and broil for 5-6 minutes. Serve with any kind of pilaf.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sour Asparagus (Ekşili Kuşkonmaz)

This is another simple, yet delicious dish that I learned from my uncle. Be careful not to overcook the asparagus which is easy to do. When you bite into the asparagus, it needs to be firm but not undercooked. The lemon adds an extra flavor to this side dish. We prefer to eat it warm, however it can also be eaten cold. It’s a perfect side dish during the spring.

1 bunch green asparagus
1 bunch green onions
4 large tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon
Pinch of salt

Discard the hard portion of the asparagus. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Sautee asparagus for 2-3 minutes, then add the green onions. Quarter each tomato and add to the asparagus. Add salt and squeeze the lemon. Mix gently. Cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Serve cold or hot.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yogurt (Yoğurt)

As it is obvious from the name, the word ‘Yogurt’ is derived from the Turkish word ‘Yoğurt’. The word ‘yoğurt’ is derived from the verb ‘yoğurtmak’ which means ‘to blend’ that refers to how the yogurt is made. Yogurt is made by introducing some bacterial cultures to the milk under controlled temperature. I prefer to make yogurt at home since the commercial yogurt we purchase does not taste as good. Most people in the U.S. consume flavored yogurt instead of plain. If you like, you may add some fruit or fruit juice to make it flavored. I have never tried it as I prefer my yogurt plain, but I do not see any reason why it would not work.

Yogurt contains a great amount of calcium which is wonderful for your bones as well as many other nutrients. Yogurt is widely used in Turkish cuisine such as in kebabs, fried eggplants, mantı (Turkish version of ravioli), cacık (Yogurt with cucumbers & garlic) and etc. At home, we eat yogurt plain and as a side dish.

1 gallon whole milk
1/3 cup plain yogurt

Boil the milk in a large pot. Remove from heat, uncover and let cool until it reaches a temperature of 115 Fº. Once it reaches the desired temperature, add the yogurt in and stir well. Cover pot with a lid and then cover with a towel or any type of cloth. Place somewhere to be untouched for at least 8 hours or overnight. I usually cover the pot and place it in the oven overnight. Be careful not to turn on your oven forgetting the yogurt inside. If you tend to forget, just put the pot in one of the cupboards to avoid any accidents. The next morning or after 8 hours, open lid and check to see if the yogurt is thick. Place in a refrigerator and serve cold.

Note: If you like your yogurt sour, keep it out longer than 8 hours. Depending on your preference of yogurt, you can adjust the time you leave the yogurt outside the fridge. I like my yogurt sour, so sometimes I leave it 12-13 hours untouched.