Saturday, August 30, 2008

Seared Squash and Zucchini (Kızarmış Kabak)




1 large zucchini
1 large squash
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Remove the stems of the zucchinis and squash. Slice the zucchinis and squash diagonally. Sprinkle the salt, oregano and the pepper. Heat the olive oil on a skillet. Place the zucchini and squash slices in the pan when the olive oil heats up. Cook each side until brown. Place in a separate plate.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bulgur Pilaf with Vegetables (Sebzeli Bulgur Pilavı)



3 cups bulgur
4 small tomatoes (peeled & diced)
½ white or yellow onion (chopped)
1 chopped green pepper (long green pepper preferable but any kind will work)
8 cap mushrooms (chopped)
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp cumin (optional)
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
4 cups chicken broth or water

Sautee the onions and the green pepper for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and basil. Cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes become very soft. Add the bulgur, cumin, black pepper, salt and mix together for 3-4 minutes. Pour the broth or water and cook on medium heat until the water starts boiling. Once the water starts boiling, turn the heat to low and cook covered until all the water is evaporated. Serve warm.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beef Liver with Onions (Ciğer Yahnisi)



½ lb beef liver (diced)
½ medium onion (chopped)
2 medium tomatoes (peeled & diced)
1 long green pepper (diced)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1-2 cloves garlic (chopped)
½ tsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp black ground pepper
1 tsp cumin
Salt to taste
1/3 cup water

Sautee the onions and garlic until onions are transparent in a small pot with the heated olive oil. Add the diced liver. Sautee until the liver is cooked. Add the green pepper and tomatoes and keep sautéing for a few more minutes. Add the water, salt, cumin, black pepper and tomato sauce. Close lid and cook for 15-20 minutes under medium heat. Just before removing from heat, add the chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy warm.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Romano Beans-Flat Beans in Olive Oil (Zeytinyağli Romano Fasülyesi)



Green beans are an indispensable part of the Turkish cuisine, especially during summer time. Green beans are made in so many different ways in Turkey, sometimes it is difficult to decide how to make them.

This recipe is using Romano beans and tomatoes in olive oil. These particular beans(Romano) with broad pods and a distinct sweet flavor, tend to taste better when served cold. My grandmother used to have one plant of bean that grew flat beans similar to Romano beans. It could be the same type of beans, I do not remember since I was little and had no interest in cooking. I do remember the distinct flavor of those beans so well though. When I saw these beans in a local grocery store, I did not even hesitate purchasing them.

1 ½ lb Romano beans
4 ripe tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
2 carrots (scraped & sliced thin)
1 small onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 long green pepper or bell pepper (sliced)
1 tsp tomato paste
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

After washing, cut the beans diagonally. Heat olive oil in large pot. Sautee the onions and garlic for a few minutes until the onions are transparent. Add the carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add in the beans and green pepper. Mix thoroughly and cover. Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes, then lower the heat and cook 25 more minutes. The beans should be soft, not crunchy when cooked. This dish can be served warm or cold.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hamburgers and Chicken Burgers



If you crave fast food, you can make it at home without all the additives, preservatives and the low quality meat. These homemade burgers are so much tastier than what you would eat at fast food places. I can say that it has been years since we have eaten burgers at a fast food joint. When we crave burgers, I prefer to make them at home with fresher, healthier and better quality ingredients. This post is presenting a hamburger and a chicken burger recipe. Both are served with seared zuchinni and squash slices, however they are prepared slightly different. In the future, I will also present a Turkish version of hamburgers which are quite tasty!



For the Burgers:

1 lb ground beef (96% lean)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp salt
4 hamburger buns
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard or any other kind of mustard


For the Squash and Zucchini Slices:

1 large zucchini
1 large squash
1 tbsp dried oregano
½ tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

For Caramelized Onion & Mushroom Mixture:

½ of white onion (sliced)
1/3 lb white cap mushrooms (sliced)
¼ cup white wine
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Preparation of Burgers:

Mix all ingredients and knead for 5 minutes. Make four hamburger patties out of the meat. You may also make 2 patties if you have a big appetite. Heat the oven broiler. Cook the patties 10-15 minutes on each side until they are cooked thoroughly. Uncooked or slightly uncooked ground meat can store unfriendly bacteria, so it is always suggested to cook ground meat well.

Preparation of Zucchini and Squash:

Remove the stems of the zucchinis and squash. Slice the zucchinis and squash diagonally. Sprinkle the salt, oregano and the pepper. Heat the olive oil on a skillet. Place the zucchini and squash slices in the pan when the olive oil heats up. Cook each side until brown. Place in a separate plate.

Preparation of Caramelized Onions:

Heat the olive oil. Add the sliced onions and sauté until it start to turn brownish color. Add the mushrooms and continue to stir. Add the salt and black pepper. Once all the juices start to evaporate, add the wine and stir. If more wine is necessary to make them all caramelized, you may add more. Cook until the onion and mushroom mixture take a caramelized color and texture. Set aside.

Putting the Burger Together:

Heat the hamburger buns under the broiler for a minute or two. Spread as much as mayo and Dijon mustard as you like on the bun. Place the hamburger on the bottom of the bun and add the caramelized mushroom and onion mixture on top. Add the sliced squash and zucchini slices. Enjoy with home cooked fries.

Chicken Burgers

Preparation of Chicken Breasts:

4 skinless & boneless chicken breasts
4 tomato slices
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
4 hamburger buns
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard or any other kind of mustard


Cooking and Putting Together Chicken Burgers:

Rub the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, paprika and olive oil. Broil in the oven broiler for 10-15 minutes on each side. Make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly. Heat the buns for 1-2 minutes. Spread mayo and mustard on the buns. Place the chicken breast in the buns. Add a slice of tomato and a few slices of the zucchini & squash slices (recipe above). Enjoy with home made fries.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Olive Oil (Zeytinyağlı Yaprak Sarması)



This dish has various names. Some people call it 'dolma' (see recipe for 'Karışık Dolma'), some people call it 'sarma' and so it goes. In my hometown, we call it 'Sarma'. The word 'sarma' comes from the verb 'sarmak' meaning 'to wrap' or 'to roll'. This can be done with grape leaves, chard leaves or cabbage leaves. The stuffing for recipe 'Karışık Dolma' under Stuffed Dishes on my blog can also be used for this. I usually use stuffing with meat, however this time I took a vegetarian route to make this dish. Once before I made this without meat and it turned out really good. Even though most people eat dish cold and as an appetizer, I prefer it warm. Feel free to do eat it anyway you like.


For the Stuffing:

2 cups rice
½ white or yellow onion (chopped)
½ cup pine nuts
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint (or 2 tbsp dried mint)
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat leave parsley (or 2 tbsp dried parsley)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/3 cup olive oil
2 lemons

For Rolling & Cooking:

1 jar grape leaves or as much as it takes to finish the stuffing above
½ lemon
2 sprigs fresh mint
2 garlic cloves (sliced)
2 tbsp olive oil
Water (as much as it takes to fill ¾ of the pot)


Preparation:

Mix all the stuffing ingredients together. The stuffing should look like this:



If you are using a pickled grape leaves, remove from the jar and run under cold water and squeeze to let all the water out.



Take one grape leaf and place on a cutting board or well cleaned counter. If your cutting board is white, it will turn to a greenish/brownish color from this because of all the juices as you can see in the pictures :( Make sure to place your leaf the smooth side down, facing the board. When you roll it, the smooth side of the leaf will be on the outer side.



Remove the stem. Place some stuffing on the leaf.



Start rolling the grape leaf by first making one fold forward and then folding both sides in.



Keep rolling forward until the leaf is completely rolled.



Place neatly in a pot. The first round of placing the sarmas in the pot looks like this:


When the pot is full, the sarmas should look like this:



Once all the grape leaves are rolled, place the fresh mint leaves on top along with sliced garlic. Pour ½ lemon juice on top and drizzle the olive oil. Add water enough to cover ¾ of the pot.

Place small plates on the sarmas to put weight on them so they do not open during the cooking process. Cover and cook on medium heat until water boils. Reduce the heat once the water boils and start cooking on low for 45 minutes. Make sure the water does not dry out before cooking. I always take one sarma and taste it before I decide if the rice inside has cooked or not. Enjoy warm or cold.

Note: You may also use the stuffing (with meat) used in the Karısık Dolma recipe. You may also use the vegetarian stuffing for making dolmas with eggplants, zucchinis or bell peppers.