Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chickpeas with Ground Lamb (Kuzu Kıymalı Nohut)

Chickpeas are excellent source of vitamins in addition to being delicious. That’s one of the reasons why I like cooking with chickpeas year round. This meal is probably cooked more commonly during winter months, but in my opinion anything that is fresh and tastes good can be relished any time of the year. We had the chickpeas with ground lamb served with bulgur pilaf cooked with orzo pasta and it was just out of this world. If you’re not into lamb, ground beef or even chicken can be substituted without compromising the taste. Here is the recipe….

3 ¼ cup chickpeas
½ medium onion (chopped roughly)
2 cloves garlic (chopped fine)
1 lb ground lamb
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbps red pepper paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp ground dry mint
1 ½ tsp salt (adjust to your taste)
2 tsp white vinegar
3 cups water

Wash and soak chickpeas overnight. Drain and boil in a pot for about 30-35 minutes. The chickpeas should be soft, but not mushy after boiling.

Heat a skillet and cook the ground lamb until all the juices are released. Remove from heat and get rid of the juices in the pan.

In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes. Add the lamb and stir for less than a minute. Add chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes. Add water, red pepper paste, cumin, black pepper, dry mint, salt and vinegar.

Stir the ingredients in the pot and cook covered on medium heat for approximately 40 minutes. Make sure the chickpeas are soft to eat.

Serve with rice or bulgur pilaf.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pasta with Turkish Sausage (Sucuklu Makarna)

My comfort food cravings usually appear when my fridge is almost empty and need to use up the food I have on hand. Yesterday after running around all day I started thinking about what to have for our dinner. Eating out was out of the question as I am sick and tired of it lately. When I walked in the kitchen, both the long and short pasta in the clear, glass containers were staring at me from the other side of the counter. Then I recalled seeing Turkish sausage in my freezer earlier in the morning and the milk in the fridge that needed to be used in a couple days. Albeit, it was difficult to decide whether I should cook long or short pasta, I went with the short penne pasta. In my head, I already had created the taste I wanted to acquire for the pasta and it worked perfectly. It was comforting and filling and scrumptious. A bowl of salad and a side of plain yogurt accompanied it very well.

For the Sauce:

1 ½ cups Turkish sausage (cubed)
1 cup milk
4 small tomatoes
1 clove of garlic (chopped finely)
½ of medium onion (chopped finely)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp red pepper paste
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt

For Boiling the Pasta:

1 box Penne Rigate pasta (the pasta that is shaped like a cylinder and cut diagonally)
1 tsp oil
1 tsp salt

In a small pot, boil water for the tomatoes. Place tomatoes and boil for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off. Keep tomatoes in the hot water for 3-4 minutes with lid closed until the tomatoes are soft. Cool and skin the tomatoes. With a heavy fork, roughly smash the tomatoes. The tomato pieces will stay in large chunks. Set aside. If raw tomatoes are used for the sauce, the sauce cooking time will be longer.

In a large pot, boil water. Add pasta to boiling water and follow cooking directions. Usually this kind of pasta requires about 12-13 minutes. Add a little of oil and a pinch of salt so that the pasta does not stick together while cooking. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Heat olive oil on medium heat, in a pot. Add sausage and sauté for 1 minute. Add garlic and onions and sauté for about 2 minutes or until transparent. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper paste, milk, salt and black pepper. Stir the ingredients for a minute and close lid. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Add the drained pasta over the sauce and stir. Keep on heat for two minutes and serve hot. If preferred, a favorite cheese can be sprinkled on the pasta. Garnish with pickles.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Uncle's Food

During a beautiful summer day in the North of the U.S., my uncle cooked all this food for us when we were visiting a while back. Except the scallops, all the meats were grilled along with corn and red peppers. It was a weekend full of delightful food. Since he does not follow recipes when cooking, I made notes and documented every dish he made. Unfortunately, I lost all the recipes and I am left with only beautiful pictures of these foods. I could not pass without sharing all of them.