Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Breasts with Vegetables (Sebzeli Tavuk)

This chicken dish came together one night when I threw a bunch of ingredients I had on hand together for a dinner. Most of my cooking involves throwing things together unless it is for a specific recipe that I want to publish in my blog or for company. Working full time and cooking after a long day of work is not an easy thing and we prefer fresh, home-cooked meals, therefore I usually just make up a quick meal (max 30 minutes) on weekdays with the ingredients in my fridge and pantry. Also, I rarely have a grocery list when I go to the grocery store, so whatever looks fresh and appealing that day ends up in my shopping cart and then my fridge. Most of these quick 30 minute meals usually are not Turkish, however may be inspired by Turkish/Mediterranean cooking. This chicken recipe is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine and certainly took longer than 30 minutes to prepare, however it tasted really good. So it made the list of recipes to be published.

Before we get to the recipe, I would like to share that my next post will be the GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will get a nice prize!

Now, here is the recipe.

3 bone-in chicken breasts
2 yellow potatoes (diced thick)
2 carrots (sliced thick)
1 red pepper (sliced lengthwise)
1 bunch green onions (cut thick)
5-6 cremini mushrooms (quartered)
½ cup parsley (chopped)
2 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pot. Place the chicken breasts and sprinkle half of salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, oregano and rosemary on top. Cook for 5 minutes without cover. Turn the chicken breast over and sprinkle the rest of the salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, oregano and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes. Squeeze the half lemon on top of the chicken breasts. Add the potatoes and stir so that the spices integrate with the potatoes. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, carrots, red peppers. Give it a stir and cover lid. Turn heat down to low and cook covered for 35-40 minutes. Turn off stove and uncover the pot. Stir in the green onions. Turn on the oven broiler and place the pot in the middle rack with the chicken on sitting on top of the vegetables. Broil about 8-10 minutes on each side until the chicken get a golden color. Remove from broiler and stir in the chopped parsley. Serve with rice and/or flat bread.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Poached Eggs in Yogurt (Çılbır)

Çılbır is known throughout Turkey. Probably because it is simple to make and it contains two popular ingredients; eggs and yogurt. Eggs are so versatile and nutritious; they make a good meal any time of the day, not only for breakfast. This was our dinner one recent evening when we wanted something quick, light and delicious.

If you wish, you may serve and decorate each serving on a different plate rather than all in one serving plate. Enjoy.

On another note, if you like FREE stuff, I will be hosting a giveaway on my blog in the next two weeks! The item for the giveaway is a really good one! Stay tuned!

5 eggs
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic (chopped finely)
1 tsp dried mint
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup vinegar
5-6 cups water
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp red pepper paste
1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)

Boil water in a wide pot. Add cayenne and vinegar.

In the mean time, add garlic, ½ tsp dried mint and ½ tsp salt to yogurt and mix vigorously. Spread yogurt in a large serving plate.

In a small pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Mix in the red pepper paste and mix together until the paste is completely dissolved.

When water is boiled, gently break the eggs and let cook for 2-3 minutes. The outer of the eggs will cook, however the inner part should still be runny. Remove eggs gently and place carefully on the yogurt spread. Poach eggs one or two at a time if the pot is not large enough.

Once all eggs are poached and placed on the yogurt, pour the sauce made of olive oil and red pepper paste on top of the eggs.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chickpeas with Chicken (Tavuklu Nohut)

Here is a nutritious recipe full of protein. Chickpeas by themselves are full of protein, so for vegetarians, the chicken can be omitted from the recipe and you can still have a tasty and nutritious dish! Chickpeas with chicken or beef are very common in Turkish cuisine; sometimes they are saucy, sometimes on the drier side. Feel free to experiment with different spices and meats.

1 ½ cup chickpeas
1 small onion (chopped fine)
2 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cubed)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp tomato paste
2 ½ tsp red pepper paste
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley (chopped)
2 tsp salt (adjust to your taste)
1 ½ cups water

Soak chickpeas overnight. Drain and boil in a pot for about 30 minutes. They should be soft, but not mushy after boiling.

In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute chicken cubes until they start to take whitish color. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add chickpeas and sauté for approximately 6 minutes.

Add salt, cumin, black pepper to the pot. Dissolve the tomato and red pepper pastes in water. Add to the pot. Stir the ingredients in the pot and cook covered on medium heat for approximately 40 minutes. Make sure the chickpeas are soft to eat.

Sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and serve.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Grilled Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks (Izgara Tavuk Budu)

This recipe was also made in the middle of the Rocky Mountains of Canada with a beautiful view of nature as mentioned in the last post. The grilled chicken turned out to be very moist and flavorful. The first weekend we made this (slightly a different version), I did not document it. Since it turned out so good, the following weekend, I tried to remember the ingredients and their proportions. This time I documented them and created this post. Enjoy

5 skinless and boneless chicken thighs
5 chicken drumsticks
½ garlic clove
1 tsp blackening spice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp red pepper sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 ¼ tsp sea salt
Flat bread (optional)

With a sharp knife, stab the chicken drumsticks from 4-5 different places so that the marinade seeps into the flesh of the chicken and cooks faster.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except chicken.

When all the ingredients are married together, add the chicken and cover all the chicken with marinade.

Refrigerate for 5 hours. Heat an outdoor grill or oven broiler. Cook chicken about 10 minutes on each side.

Lay out some flat bread on a plate and place the chicken on the flat bread along with onion salad and grilled vegetables.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grilled Top Sirloin Steaks (Izgara Bonfile)

This recipe was inspired during one of our visits to Canadian Rocky Mountains with my husband while we explore Canada, our temporary residence. We never barbeque in Houston, however barbequing with a view of beautiful mountains covered with snow, glaring during the night is fantastic. We loved this experience so much that we went back again the following weekend to B.C. and enjoyed the hot springs, the nature and of course the barbeque.

With collaborative effort, we marinated the meat, chicken and vegetables and grilled them. I prepared the meat and veggies and Umit grilled them to perfection. Actually, this was a good experience for him since he had not grilled before either.

The grilled meat and vegetables were extremely delicious and we ended up making sandwiches and dürüm which is rolled flat thin bread with meat and onion salad inside (we added grilled veggies too) with the leftovers. The vegetables were also marinated prior to being grilled. Asparagus, green onions, tomatoes, red and green peppers and mushrooms were sprinkled with salt, pepper and dried oregano and drizzled with olive oil and vinegar. They tasted amazing!

Before we get to the recipe, I would like to mention that I have finally found a great Mediterranean store that carries all kinds of Turkish/Mediterranean ingredients. I have found even Turkish brands. The reason I am mentioning this is because more than a few of my Canadian readers have asked me where to find certain ingredients in Calgary. I do not like to advertise any stores or products on my blog (unless it’s non-profit), however I do give names when people specifically e-mail me for them. The store I found is owned by a half Iranian and half Azerbaijani who was very welcoming and friendly in addition to his good products. To make it more interesting, he could also speak Turkish at good level. He offered us complimentary dessert when we were there. The store is very close to where we live, so it is convenient for us.

Today, I am sharing the grilled top sirloin steak recipe and the grilled chicken recipe will follow in the next post.

4 top sirloin steaks
½ garlic clove (chopped finely)
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar
½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp sea salt

Place steaks in a tray. Stab 4-5 parts of the steak with a sharp knife on both sides in order to allow the marinade to seep in. This step is optional.

Mix all the ingredients except the steaks in a bowl to prepare the marinade.

Place the steaks in the marinade and distribute the marinade evenly on all sides.

Refrigerate for 5 hours. Heat an outdoor grill or oven broiler. Cook the steaks 10-15 minutes on each side for medium well.

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