Tag Archives: ethnic food

Three-Course Turkish Dinner

After running 6 miles on Sunday morning (first time doing a longer run since my Half Marathon on April 13), I spent most of my day in the kitchen preparing an elaborate Turkish dinner.

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Aren’t my head-band and flowery apron something? Dave was handling the food photography because he got excited to use the tripod and a nicer camera than my iPhone (which I usually use). Anyway, I didn’t know he would put me into 80% of the pictures or I would have chosen to look less ridiculous.

Now to the task at hand: Cook a three-course Turkish dinner for four people in three hours. All three recipes were new to me, but the cookbook Sultan’s Kitchen has been phenomenal so far, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

1. The Appetizer – Grape Leaves Stuffed with Pine Nuts, Currants, and Rice

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Just looking at this has me wanting to make another batch of these beyond-delicious things. It was my first time making vegetarian grape leaves. In the past, I’ve stuffed them with rice and ground beef or lamb. But no longer. The combination of pine nuts and currants with cinnamon, dill, and parsley is out of this world. Sprinkled with lemon-juice, they’re a fresh, tangy summer treat. They could be their own meal and I definitely devoured the left-overs for lunch on Monday. Triple yum!

We served them with some fresh baguette and Raki – an anise flavored liquor that no Turkish meal should be without.

2. The Main Course – Flounder Fillets Stuffed with Pine Nuts, Spinach, and Scallions

Holy moly. Flounder fillets are expensive. The recipe called for 3 lbs., but that would have meant $45, so I decided to get four and divide all the other ingredients in half too. That was a good choice, since we had so much other food, too.

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First, you cook the pine nuts in olive oil until they’re golden brown, then you add garlic, spinach, and scallions and saute the mixture until it has wilted. After letting it cool, you place the desired amount in the center of the fillet and then fold it over, holding it together with a tooth pick.

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Number one and two.

Then, you steam the fillets in a mix of dry white wine, chopped tomato, lemon juice, spices, and dill for eight minutes. When it’s done, you sprinkle it with parsley.

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We served this course with bread and a choice of red and white wine. Don’t you want to take that piece of baguette and make it soak up the delicious sauce? The dish was the perfect mixture of herbs, fish, and a tangy mix of wine, tomato, and a kick of spiciness due to paprika and red cayenne pepper. So good. So so good.

3. The Desert – Rose Water Pudding

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This was a basic pudding made with whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, and cornstarch, but the rose water gave it a very unique flavor. We actually sprinkled these servings with cinnamon before putting them on the table, but were too absorbed into conversation by that time to remember taking pictures.

It was so much fun to try three new recipes and introduce our friends to Turkish cuisine. They seemed to really enjoy everything. Dave and I definitely loved all three dishes, so we’ll definitely make them again. The leftover grape leaves definitely were a special Monday lunch treat.

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Filed under deserts, drinks with dinner, leftovers, recipes, running, seafood, Turkish

Turkish Zucchini Fritters

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Nothing delights me more than a new Turkish cooking adventure. Okay, maybe not nothing.  But for a Monday evening, this one did pretty well.

This was a real Turkish recipe, so the fact that the fritters tasted like summer and ocean and family didn’t come as a surprise to me. But I’m pretty sure you can just add parsley, paprika, olive oil, and feta to anything and make it taste Turkish. Parsley more than anything, though.

Ingredients:

– 2 zucchinis, grated
– 1 sweet potato (grated) – or use two carrots and achieve the same orange color
– 1 cup whole wheat flour
– 2 eggs
– a bunch of chopped scallions (white parts only)
– a bunch of chopped parley
– a bunch of dill
– 7 oz. crumbled feta cheese
– salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
– Greek yogurt and more chopped scallions for serving
– olive oil for frying

Directions:

After grating the zucchini, put them into a coriander with some salt and squeeze the excess liquid out of them. Switch them over into a big bowl and add all the other ingredients. Mix well.

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As always, I take the most appetizing pictures. Food photography – now there’s a course I should have taken in grad school. But they didn’t offer that. So I blame them.

Next, heat up the oil in the largest frying pan you have. When it’s hot enough, add as many fritters as you can. Just add a loaded tablespoon of “dough” for each one – these should be pretty thin and not too large.

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Fry each side until golden brown. I used two spatulas to flip them just to be safe. Oh, also, I  shook the pan now and then to make sure they were getting enough oil. When you’re done with the first batch, place them on a paper towel and place another one on top to soak up some of the oil. This becomes less necessary as the oil in the pan depletes with every batch.

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These were a big hit. The feta is an amazing addition. I’d say they are a perfect light dinner for a week night, or you could serve them as an appetizer/take them to a potluck. I think they are sure to impress, so what are you waiting for?

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Filed under dairy-free, recipes, Turkish

Leisure-Time Marathon

I love Saturdays just as much as the next person, and this week was especially delicious, both literally and figuratively speaking. We packed so many activities into today that I feel like the weekend should be over already. And it’s not. So I’m winning.

It all started with a 7 a.m. workout at our apartment complex gym. I did the elliptical for 30 minutes while Dave ran and lifted weights.

This made us pretty hungry, so we had sweet potato pancakes for breakfast.

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3 eggs and one mashed sweet potato – bam. The trick is to use plenty of coconut oil for frying and keeping them small-ish to make them easy to flip.

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I topped mine with almond butter and maple syrup. The flavors of this mixed with coffee flavor put me in heaven. We went over German dialogues while eating.

The next stop was Cafe Lemont for some lattes (regular for Dave, almond for me).

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Dave studied German vocab and I worked on a freelancing project. Coffee shops and Saturdays are a dream combo, if you ask me. Especially if they have non-dairy, non-soy latte options.

Around noon, we left to go grocery shopping. On our way to Trader Joe’s, we realized we were both starving, so I introduced Dave to this all-you-can eat Asian buffet. I had been there before and wanted him to experience the insanely large variety of food.

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It was $10 per person for the lunch buffet, which included an appetizer bar, a Chinese buffet, a salad bar, a huge selection of sushi, and a ton of desert options. They also have a Mongolian-Grill style setup, but I stuck to pretty much appetizers and sushi.

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Contentment.

Afterwards, we went to Trader Joe’s before returning home for some reading and TV time. I think every weekend needs several hours of couch-time. It was hard not to take a nap, that’s for sure.

Around 6 p.m., we decided to play tennis on our apartment complex courts. It was much colder than it has been today and pretty windy as well, but we wanted to give it a try.

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I had to wear a headband and a jacket, but once I warmed up, I could take those off. We played for about an hour and the score at the end was 15:1 for Dave. I really suck at tennis, but really enjoy it at the same time. I have great ambitions for beating Dave one day. Maybe this “season” will bring more success than last summer.

Back in the apartment, I made dinner and we watched The Mindy Project. Have you guys seen it? It’s hilarious and so current. It’s one of the few shows Dave and I enjoy equally.

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Dinner was spinach salad with avocados, toasted cashews, goat cheese, and dried cranberries, The dressing had balsamic vinegar, sunflower seeds, sugar, cayenne pepper, and poppy seeds in it. Desert was chocolate coconut ice cream, naturally, though no pictures were taken.

Not too shabby for a Saturday in State College, if I do say so myself. Getting up early is my new favorite thing.

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Filed under Breakfast, dairy-free, deserts, eating out, gluten-free, recipes, salads, seafood, vegan