Monday, December 13, 2010

My friend asked me for a simit recipe and when I searched online, there were many. So if you want to make these awesome treats at home check out the recipe I found at this site:


Yucel Tellici

Simit is a fast food bread sold in the streets of Turkey by vendors. It is often eaten as a breakfast food with jam or yogurt. Simit is also great by itself!

Simit is light and flaky, baked to a golden brown color, and topped with sesame seeds. It is sometimes formed into rings, and are often braided.


  • 1 cup cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoons milk plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sesame seeds
  • milk for brushing


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt.

Make a depression in the dry ingredients with your fist, making a "hole" in the middle.

Add olive oil, melted butter, water, milk, and egg.

Fold dry ingredients into liquids to form a dough. This may take 10 minutes by hand.

Once you have a dough, tear off pieces of dough, make long, cigar shapes. Bring ends of "cigars" together to make a circle.

Place circle on greased cookie sheet.

Brush with milk. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until simit become a golden brown color and crispy on top.

*The one change I would make is to coat the simit completely in seeds before baking... that's how it's done here*

Something a Little Old-fashioned.

I'd never done this before and it's not technically cooking, but it does have to do with food, right?! So here it is. I've decided to stud some citrus fruits with cloves for the holiday season. I recommend wearing some kind of glove or protection for your fingers if you plan to do more than one fruit as those little cloves are hard and a wee bit sharp. The cloves go into the fruit fairly easily and if my marvelous mother is to be believed, then you can leave these babies out for quite a while and they will be like a natural air freshener in the house. Mine has a gorgeous smell of spices and citrus (I did 2 oranges, 1 lemon and 1 grapefruit) right now, can't wait to see how it continues to develop.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Çay and Simit

I can make the çay (Turkish tea) at home, but I cannot pull of the simit. It makes for one of the loveliest breakfasts or snacks on earth, particularly if you have a little cream cheese on hand. Below are a couple of pictures of this yummy for your tummy moment:

This is a close up of my simit. It's like a bagel in consistency (chewy goodness) but it is entirely crusted in sesame seeds and is baked that way so the seeds often look burnt, but they are roasted to perfection on the outside of the simit. Here in Ankara, you can buy them in the streets and they are 3 for 1 Turkish Lira. Very cheap and tasty.

Sometimes there are simit sellers like this, but more often than not, you will find the treats in nice, closed in, glass trolleys. Usually somewhere nearby is a freshly squeezed juice truck. These places pop out bottles and bottles of freshly squeezed fruit juices and the small bottle is just over 1 Turkish Lira, super reasonable, super yummy and super good for you! What more could you ask for in a street food!?

TEA!! Tea is a mainstay here. Turks drink a multitude of cups a day. One shop keeper told me that he probably drinks 15 glasses a day at least. And he also said that drinking tea was a fairly new thing in Turkey. He said that about 100 years ago, Turks didn't drink tea, but were drinking coffee instead. I can't remember why they switched over, but they did in a big way. Sure, Turkish coffee is still hugely popular here, but tea is drank all day and night long.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Turkish Coffee

First let me say that I do not like black coffee usually, but for some reason the dark rich flavour of Turkish coffee goes down so well, that I don't mind the lack of cream (although, you know I found a way around that too!!) Turkish coffee is simple to make as well, and there are some fun, non traditional variations too. So, being me, I am going to share those with you today.

There are a few things you need to make sure you have in order to do Turkish coffee properly and if you don't live in Turkey or a country where making Turkish coffee is a standard affair, you may have to find a Turkish store or a Middle Eastern market to get you the supplies you need. You need a Turkish coffee pot (like the one pictured above), a teeny cup (also up there) and Turkish ground coffee, it's ground to a powder consistency and there is something different in the way that it is roasted.

To make the coffee you need to measure out one teeny cup of water into the pot, 1 teaspoon of coffee and the equivalent of 1 sugar cube (you can, of course, add more or less sugar as you like). All of those ingredients go into the pot, it goes on the heat and let it boil. It does bubble up and over, so don't leave the room, stay close and take it off the heat once it starts to rise up. Then pour it all into your teeny cup and you have Turkish coffee... easy, right?!


My lovely Turkish friend, Nilay, told me that sometimes she likes hers made with milk and not water. I tried it and it's a little like a super rich latte. Fantastic! (I told you that I got around the lack of cream issue) She also told me that sometimes they substitute Nutella for the sugar. I tried that this morning and it was like a dark chocolate, nutty mocha. Absolutely delicious!!

Happy Eating, or coffee making/drinking as the case may be!!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mmmmm... PIZZA!!!

So today in all my Saturday laziness, I decided to get kitchen creative. I decided to use up the last of my shrimp, some veggies given to me by traveling friends and some frozen pizza shells... what did I make? THE BEST SHRIMP PIZZA EVER!! And because I am who I am, I am going to share that recipe with you. And it is ridiculously EASY!

Here is what you need:

1 cup, thawed deveined and peeled shrimp
1/2 red bell pepper
2 mushrooms finely chopped.
1/4 cup hellim cheese (it's middle eastren cheese that is super salty, not super melty but super yummy... it gives a salty, buttery taste to stuff. It also goes by the name of haloumi)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sumac spice
pepper to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
a handful of baby arugla leaves
1 frozen pizza shell with a light coating of tomato sauce.

First things first: chop up your veggies!!

Next, you will want to saute that shrimp in a pan with the littlest bit of olive oil. You will be tossing in the spices and lemon juice with the shrimp.

Then put some of the cheese on your pizza shell and begin to stack your veggies on top. Then on goes that shrimp and the rest of the cheese.

Pop it all into a hot oven and when the cheese is bubbly and the pizza crust looks toasted, take it out and let it cool for a minute before slicing and enjoying!

Happy Eating!

Shrimp Fritters

These were a favourite of KJ's when we were dating and they have seemed to be a big hit no matter who I make them for. Here in Turkey they took on a slightly different flavour that was really great. I will share with you the three ways that I like to make them and then you can create them all and choose or you can make your own variation!! (oh... and all measurements are approximate because I don't own measuring cups here in Turkey and I've always been a just kind of wing it girl)

Thai Style Shrimp Fritters:

2 cups finely chopped fresh, raw shrimp (you can also use thawed frozen shrimp... make sure the shells and veins are all off)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red chilis
4 eggs

Mix all of that together and drop by spoonfuls into hot oil either in a pan or if you have a deep fryer, then use that. And then dip is sweet chili sauce when eating... it's magical.

My Style Shrimp Fritters:

2 cups finely chopped fresh, raw shrimp (you can also use thawed frozen shrimp... make sure the shells and veins are all off)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp dill (fresh is best)
1 or 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed or minced
4 eggs

Mix all of that together and drop by spoonfuls into hot oil either in a pan or if you have a deep fryer, then use that.

Turkish Shrimp Fritters:

2 cups finely chopped fresh, raw shrimp (you can also use thawed frozen shrimp... make sure the shells and veins are all off)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup mozzarella and/or hellim cheese
2 tbsp sumac
3 or 4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed or minced
1 tbsp hot crushed red pepper
1 tbsp cumin
4 eggs

Mix all of that together and drop by spoonfuls into hot oil either in a pan or if you have a deep fryer, then use that. Dip in a nice tzatziki sauce if you have it (it's just plain yogurt, dill or mint, and cucumbers shredded up... so you can make your own)

If at any time you feel your dough is too watery, just add flour until it is a gooey, sticky texture. If you feel it is too dry, drop another egg in the mix.

Happy Eating!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Leftovers Can Be Yummy

Generally speaking the only leftovers I like tend to be either from a restaurant or involving garlic and pasta sauce. But in an effort to be more mindful and less wasteful, I am trying to find ways to make leftovers appealing.
On Monday, I had made a roast chicken and then on Tuesday, I made those bad boys! I took some of the chicken meat, shredded it up and put it on a whole wheat tortilla with some mozzarella cheese and a little tobasco sauce to heat things up. Once it was all snugly wrapped in the tortilla, I put it in the oven, lightly brushed it with olive oil. The outside was crispy, deliciousness and the inside was gooey, spicy and just plain tasty. I used a little mayo for a dipping sauce, but you could also use a tzatziki too, I did the next time I made it and it was even better!!!

Oh yea... it was all done with one pot (or pyrex as the case may be).

Happy Eating!

One pot/baking dish.

I think I should rename my blog... really. I love trying to make as few dishes as possible (mostly because I don't have a lot of dishes at my place in Turkey, and the sink is ridiculously small and I just hate to do the dishes). So anyway, the other day I decided to do something a little more involved but kept it to one dish in the oven. It was a simple roast chicken with veggies. But what made it so good was that I used loads of white wine to cook the chicken in. I first chopped and loaded the veggies into the pyrex container and then I laid my little chicken down. I poured wine into the cavity of the bird and then over the top. I added salt, pepper, garlic and thyme and then covered it and toss it all into the oven at 350. The wine really gave a great flavour to the bird and kept it moist. It also gave a nice tang to the veggies and if you wanted, you could have used the juice in the pan to make a lovely gravy (just a thought).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ah... technology

Due to circumstances beyond my control (my computer fried and I am now using the school computer when I can), I haven't been able to update. I have 2 new dishes to tell you about and once I get free time and this computer at home with me... I will update. Please be on the look out for 2 posts in the new future... both have to do with chicken and both are one pot wonders (perhaps I should change the name of my blog... hm...)
Thanks for your patience!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fresh is best!!

The other day a friend and I were wandering the labyrinth that is the streets of Ankara and we stumbled upon a small farmer's market of sorts. I was wonderful. The fresh herbs, spices and produce was simply fantastic. We couldn't help ourselves and ended up taking a couple of pictures and then buying some of the delicious fruit (some of the best apples ever and truly the BEST pomegranate ever). Below are a couple of the pictures... enjoy and remember that local and organic fruits are better for your body, economy and cooking flavours!!

Happy shopping and eating!!

One Pot Wonder Variation

Last time I made the one pot wonder (pasta, shrimp etc), I used a different veggie and a few different items. This time I tried out some new stuff and I think it's a nice variation that you may or may not wish to try or supplement with your own variations. Here is how it went down:

I was cooking for 2 people (which means 4 with my Italian heritage factored in)...

What you need:
Feta cheese (or you can use another cheese if you like) - 1/2 cup
Arugula (about 2 big bunches - it cooks down really easily, kind of like spinach, which is a great substitute if you aren't into the more adventurous greens)
Pasta (you can choose whatever type you like, it doesn't matter) - follow the packet for amounts for the number you are cooking for.
Frozen or fresh shrimp (I got the deveined and tails off kind, just easier to deal with) - about 1 cup
Lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic to taste.

I boiled the water first with a little oil and salt (it helps to season the noodles). Once the noodles were getting close to done (about 5 minutes out), I dropped in the shrimp. When the noodles were done and the shrimp was too, I drained them, put them back in the pot and added the arugula. The heat from the noodles helps to cook it down without boiling the flavour or nutrients out. Then I dumped in the cheese and spices. I had the heat on super low during this so that the cheese could get all melty and yummy. It was a delicious meal and dirtied only one pot, 2 dishes and cutlery. So it was easy on the clean up too!!

Happy Eating.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Traditional Turkish Breakfast

In Turkey a breakfast isn't a bowl of cereal, or some eggs fried up on a plate with toast and hash browns... it's this amazing meal to languish over and enjoy.
I recently had a friend visiting me and on her first day, I made her a traditional Turkish breakfast. It consisted of fresh bread sliced up (I used an olive loaf and some sesame buns), sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, sliced cheese (the kind you slice yourself people... not the kind you take out of the plastic!), beef salami, and olives (I used ones here that are stuffed with almonds and they are amazing!!). It's light, tasty but filling enough to keep you going for hours and hours (even when you are walking all over Ankara). It was such a hit with my friend that she requested it just about every day. Give it a try some time... OH! I almost forgot, you have to have coffee and/or tea to drink while you work away at your breaky... it's the Turkish way. Anyway... if you have a longer time for breakfast, give it a try. We also added fresh fruits from time to time.

Happy Eating!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Leftovers are not a favourite of mine, but wasting food is much less of a favourite, and there is just something about leftover turkey that is amazing!! Since I don't have a microwave here in Turkey, I couldn't just cheat and toss all the goods into the microwave and call it a meal. I also couldn't make my typical favourite turkey sandwich because my leftovers were wings and a bunch of chunks of turkey. What to do, you ask? Well... I came up with the brilliant idea of making a turkey gravy, I used a cream gravy mix to help me start out, I added in loads of yummy fresh mushrooms and then the chunks of turkey. I let it all get thick and hot and then poured it over some cold left over stuffing. The hot, hot gravy heated the stuffing up nicely and it was a lovely meal of a cold and blustery day. So instead of that typical sandwich, or just making plates for your microwave, give this idea a go... any other different ideas for leftover turkey dinner out here? Please post them in the comments and if you write, or have a cooking blog where you've posted your ideas, please add your link... I'd love to check them out!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Stuffing, Three Ways

So it's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and I am FAR from home, but the Canucks around me are throwing a dinner and asked me to prep the stuffing. I couldn't do my traditional stuffing because I can't get some of the ingredients here... so I had to get creative and I had a blast doing it!!

This first one has a flavour base of mushrooms, dill, onions, garlic and hot peppers. I wanted to do something a little spicy and fun. I tried to do lots of dill to balance out the pepper as the ones here are quite hot. I also threw in some thyme, salt and crushed red chillies. Then I added the bread crumbs, chicken stock and an egg to mix it before putting it in the oven.

This one might be a flavour favourite. I chopped up onions and apples (2 apples) and threw in some dried cranberries. I also used thyme, salt and a little pepper here, but the secret is a dash of sumac to bring that citrus flavour in. When I added the breadcrumbs, I used eggs and chicken stock again to moisten it all. At the end, I poured melted butter over the whole thing before throwing it in the oven.

I think this might be the one I am most proud of. At least one of the guests tonight will be vegetarian and I wanted her to be able to enjoy a really good, flavourful stuffing as well. So I decided to do a fruit and vegetable based stuffing. It could be a meal in itself with so much robust and hearty veggies: there is 1/3 of an eggplant, 1/2 a zuccini, 1 full onion, 1 cup or so of diced mushrooms, 1/4 cup of chopped dried appricots, 2 cups or so of quartered grapes and then I tossed in a bunch of pine nuts. To round out the flavours and bring out the best of them, I used a little curry powder and cumin with some salt. I tried to keep it simple but really fun. To moisten it (although with the veggies and fruits that I chose, it won't need much once it hits the heat of the oven), I used some melted butter. It smelled like heaven!!

Anyway, for those of you waiting to cook your big meal tomorrow or on Monday... maybe a less traditional stuffing is in order, or if you are American... you can get a jump on what you might like to do for November!

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Pot Meal

So today I made one of my favourite one pot meals with a little variation... here is how it went down:

These are the ingredients I used: feta cheese, black olives, tomatoes, frozen uncooked shrimp, broccoli and whole wheat pasta. Normally I use just cheddar cheese and broccoli for this little dish. You also only need one pot and whatever spices you think would work. Measurements are not really important for this, and that's why I love it.

First I boiled up the pasta in lightly salted water, then when the pasta was about 5 minutes out from being done, I tossed in the shrimp and let it come back to a boil. When there was about 2 minutes left, I tossed in the broccoli. I like it a little crunchy, but if you like it softer, throw it in earlier. When the pasta was done, I drained it all and threw the other ingredients and my spices (I chose salt, crushed red pepper, garlic and thyme for this particular variation) into the same pot and stirred until the cheese was all melty... melted cheese makes EVERYTHING better!!

And... voila!! Yummy, healthy and EASY dish to make. Some other variations I've tried are using a little balsamic vinegar over it with Swiss cheese, or cutting up some brie cheese to use with the broccoli. I've also done it with cauliflower... you can toss in other veggies right at the end if you like, to just blanch them a bit and help them to be warm. Anyway, it's my one pot wonder that always satisfies...

Happy Eating!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Olive Cookies?!

Yup... that's the look I made when I saw the recipe in a pop-up online the other day... Don't lie, you know you made a face... it's okay, I did it too. But since I live in the land of olives (Turkey), I thought I'd give this little concoction a try. I found the recipe here. Now, the other kicker to this is that I have no measuring cups or spoons, so that these little numbers turned out at all is a miracle. But since the recipe begins like a shortbread, I had a good idea of the consistency I was looking for. Then there was the issue that I don't have a cookie sheet or parchment paper. Which, in the end was no big deal. I just put the cookies on tinfoil and then loaded the directly to the racks on the foil... worked like a charm!! Anyway, if you like olives and a sweet/savoury combo, then these are great little cookies!!

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spicing Things Up!

If you are looking for a new way to bring flavour to your foods, try using the spice Sumac. It's a middle eastern spice that's used for a variety of things. It's brings a great citrus kind of flavour to things. I've used it while cooking rice (AMAZING), I've used it on chicken with some thyme, garlic, salt and pepper (so tasty), I've used it with some garlic, dill, thyme, and oregano to flavour my olive oil for dipping breads in (can we say super yum?!), I've also used it with red wine vinegar and olive oil for a simple but tasty dressing for salads. So if you are looking for a way to spice up your foods without frying your tastebuds, give sumac a try. Some grocery stores might not carry it, you may have to look a specialty stores or middle eastern or Turkish markets in the west.

Happy Eating and spicing!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pasta Salad

As I am waiting the week out for my first real pay day here in Turkey, I'm finding the cupboards getting bare and I've gone and invited people to come over and hang out at times that would include the dinner hour... YIKES!! And then I remembered that I can do this... I can make amazing things happen in my kitchen with not that much stuff. So today, I decided to make a simple pasta salad that can be eaten with some of the chicken I have in the freezer...

So, here is how it went down:

I took about 2 cups of penne pasta and cooked in lightly salted and oiled water.

Then in a separate bowl I mixed the following:

1 tsp crushed red chillies
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley (although, I think freshly chopped would be much tastier)
2 grated cloves of garlic
2 tbsp freshly chopped dill
1 tsp onion powder (although fresh onions are much better)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh hot green pepper
1 tsp sumac
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

When the pasta was done, I combined the mix and the pasta together and let it marinade over night. Those noodles will soak up all that yummy dressing goodness. If I had it, I would add some fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and olives to give it more of a Mediterranean flavour... and maybe some feta cheese!! yum!! Can't wait to get paid and make it again with those things in it...

Happy Eating!

Rice... boring? NEVER!!!

Okay... I know that plain rice can be boring, but why not have some fun with it too?! I love to make my rice aromatic and full of flavour. Here is my latest experiment with plain old, boring rice!

The first thing I do is rinse my rice. I used to work in a Lebanese restaurant back in the day and we rinsed the rice 3 times in cold water to get rid of the excess starch... I still follow the same practice. I also let it soak in the water after the last rinsing for about 30 minutes and I lightly salt it. It makes even plain rice very tasty.

Okay... first off, don't you love my teeny little grater?!?!?! In Turkey, they are magnets that you use to grate your garlic. I love it!!!! So you can see that I used garlic, butter, dill and what you don't see is that I tossed in some crushed chillies and a little dash of oregano. YUMMY!!
How did I do it? Well, I put some butter in the bottom of the pan, got it melting and grated in the fresh garlic. Then I let that saute a little and added the other spices to the butter mix. After I felt things were incorporated nicely and starting to give off a great aroma, I put the rice and water directly in. I also added a little more water to make sure it cooks thoroughly.

There you go, the final product... yummy, yummy rice!!!

Happy Eating, everyone!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finally.... A MEAL!!

It's been a while since I posted anything on here. I haven't really cooked in a long time. The last couple of weeks before leaving Canada, I didn't cook because we went out or my mom cooked or even my dad did the cooking. Then the first couple of weeks here, they were providing dinners etc. And then there is the bread... people, you don't know... Turkey has some of the best breads in the WORLD and it's CHEAP here... I could live off of bread alone, but my rear end wouldn't appreciate it so I've had to cook.

Today I made a really simple casserole type dish. Check it out:

These were some of the ingredients: Diced tomatoes, onions, boneless/skinless chicken thighs (just two), fresh dill, mushrooms, dates (a little sweet in the spicy and savoury), fresh garlic, and other spices that you like. I used a special Turkish olive marinade spice called Zaytin and it was great... salty, spicy and with oregano etc.

The garlic cloves here are so small. But the flavour, like everything else in Turkey, is super powerful.

I also used some aborio rice/pasta stuff. I think I put in about 1 1/2 cups of it with the other ingredients and a full can (the tomato one) of water. OH!! I almost forgot to tell you that I used a little olive oil with my spices on my chicken before tossing all the other ingredients in.

Before it went to the oven... looking like a soupy mess. But I threw it in at about 375 (my stove is in metric and it was nearer to 200 or 225 on my stove) for about 40 minutes and:

VOILA!! It was quite thick but SUPER tasty!!

So there you go, a simple casserole that is both spicy and savoury with little sweet surprises. I am very pleased with this recipe and it tastes very Mediterranean to me... so HAPPY EATING!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cooking in Turkey

Hi there folks. I am sure that some of you are waiting for me to post a real cooking post but I haven't done too much of that in a while. Today I attempted to make some little Turkish dumplings and they turned out okay, but nothing worth taking pics or writing about. They were a lot like little ravioli. Once I get some more supplies (more than one pot and one skillet and one flipper would be a start), then I can look into cooking some stuff here. I am going to attempt to cook things that are Turkish in nature but with ingredients that I know you can get at home. Please be patient for the posts as it will take me a while to gather all the things I need... it's expensive to set up house here when you haven't yet been paid a full salary... but once I am, it's on and poppin'!!!
Thanks for your patience and thanks for not dropping off as readers as I go through this time of adjustment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mmmm.... Melted Cheese!!

So now that I am finally lodged in my permanent Turkish abode, I thought I'd be able to hop back on the cooking train, but apparently my body and the appliances have other ideas. I've been struggling with Turkish Tummy since I moved in (hm... coincidence? Actually, yes it is... ) and this makes me less inclined to cook since it won't get to stay in long (sorry... from here on out, use your imaginations on that). But, aside from the digestive issues, there is then the issue of my kitchen. I have exactly 1 pot, 1 pan, 1 spatula and 1 knife for utensils to cook with... and since I have exactly NO dollars left to furbish my kitchen with, I am cooking like a camper. Today I made mushroom/cheese scrambled eggs. I melted down some butter, chopped up a couple of mushrooms and sauted them. Then in went 2 eggs and more cheese than I should have had, but it was GOOD. Sometimes a visit to the simpler side of life is good... and melted cheese makes just about EVERYTHING better!!!

Happy Eating!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mmm... Dinner!

Since I am unable to cook right now (not being in a real apartment with my supplies) I thought I would post some pics of some of the food we are being treated to at my new school. And if you haven't tried traditional Turkish food, perhaps this will motivate you to do so.

This was our mezze. It had the cucumber, the tomato, a roasted and peeled red pepper, some tzitziki, so fresh briney feta cheese, an eggplant dip and some sort of tomato salsa type dip. Each one was flavourful and refreshing.

Then came the Turkish version of hummus. It was served hot and so the garlic was very prominent and tasted roasted. So yummy.

All of this was served with copious amounts of pida, or flat bread. The bread was fresh baked, warm and delicious. I think I could have eaten that all night long without anything else. And they just kept bringing it.

Next was our main dish, a basic mixed grill. There was chicken, lamb, kofte kebabs and veggies. All had that charred taste of an outdoor grill and were simply perfect. At this point, I was too stuffed to eat it all but I made sure to have a bite of everything.

We ended the night with a fruit plate and some sweet, honey drenched hazelnut cookies that my friend Tim then made into the face you see above... the perfect ending and the indication that we all had happy tummies!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Turkish Food

For those of you who weren't aware, I've moved to Turkey and will be embarking on a life adventure here, which will include cooking of course. However, currently I am in temporary housing and haven't the desire to cook in the same room as my bed, never mind that they school I am working for has lunches and most dinners provided for the next week. I will say that the food is amazing here and that I am enjoying every flavour intensely. I've also learned the Turkish word for Bon Apetit: Afiyet Olsun! So please stay tuned for future foodie moments and cooking adventures!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mmmmm.... Pizza!!

So today at my nephew's request, we made homemade pizza. It was AWESOME!!! Everyone in the family loved it and it was fun to do... here is how it went down:

At the market (IGA here in Gibsons) we found a pizza pack of meats (pepperoni, ham and salami) that I cut up into smaller pieces. We also found some squeezable pizza sauce, foccacia dough, pineapple, olives, onions, fresh tomatoes, mushrooms and green peppers. I cut up everything and prepped it for people to select from. We also found pre-shredded pizza cheese (provolone, mozzarella, cheddar) to use, which is available in all stores, I am sure. Gotta love convenience!! And for those of you wanting to make more "adult" pizza, maybe get a vodka tomato sauce instead of pizza sauce or pesto is a great sauce too.... you can also use ricotta, swiss, or other fancier cheeses. Have fun with the ingredients is what I am trying to say!! ;)

The store here doesn't sell pizza dough, but the bakery suggested that we buy their frozen foccacia dough (which I did). It stretches the same as pizza dough and cooks just about the same. The added bonus is you get all the lovely herbs in it... VERY tasty. And they also gave it to me for a 10% discount... very nice for the budget. Two loaves of foccacia dough made 8 larger sized single serving pizzas... but if you were doing it with kids you could easily get double that! You will need lots of flour though because the foccacia is pretty sticky.

Each person loaded the pizza the way they wanted and then I stuck them in the oven (ours is convection so it cooks pretty quickly - OH!! I also lightly oiled the cookie sheet with olive oil to keep the dough from sticking... it wasn't greasy at all) at 425 degrees...

Don't they look good?!?!

And there is the finished product: SO YUMMY!!!

Happy Eating!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BBQ Salmon

First let me start by saying that here on the west coast of Canada the term BBQ doesn't mean slow smoking and covering in sauce like it does in the south east of the USA. Here BBQ means using your grill to cook your food out of doors. So for my American friends and readers you can think of the title as Grilled Salmon! ;)

Here is how it went down:

At the grocery I bought 1 half of a wild caught salmon. It had been filleted for me but there were some bones still in it, so be careful of that. I also bought 2 lemons, 1 bunch of fresh dill, fresh garlic and 1 onion. I used a yellow onion but I think a purple onion would look lovely and taste great.

I made a foil bed for my salmon to sit on. I lightly oiled the foil before laying my salmon on it skin side down. Then I squeezed 1/2 of a lemon over the fish and lightly seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then I sliced 1/2 the onion into rings, the other half of the lemon into slices and finely chopped one clove of garlic and 2 sprigs of dill. I put the garlic and dill on the salmon first and then layered the onions and lemon over the top.

After that was done, I closed up the foil over the top and put the little packet on a hot grill. Half of the grill was turned on quite high and the other half had no heat on and that is where I put the happy little salmon to cook. I closed the lid and left it alone for about 15 minutes. The grill was reading about 400 degrees for those of you wondering. After the 15 minutes I removed the fish packet from the grill and opened it, letting it cool for a few minutes before serving... The second lemon can be used to squeeze over the fish or to make cocktails with (your choice).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eating west coast summer style

Since we live close to the water and we are in the southern part of Canada, we have some benefits. We can get the best produce, the best seafood and all of it fresh! Below is a typical west coast summer meal. I just wanted to share it with you.

This was the carnage of the meal... looks kinda nasty, but I can't begin to tell you how GOOD it was!!

This was just before we dug into it all... fresh sweet peaches and cream corn on the cob, fresh boiled crab (which I am told you boil in salted water until it foams and then it's ready... this was our first time cooking it) and roasted baby red potatoes with onions, garlic and carrots. I got the potatoes from a friend at the farmer's market... YUMMO!!

This was my dad cleaning the two crab we were going to eat the next day. They were caught right from the waters near our house, brought home, cleaned (the rule is: if it's brown, wash it down... if it's white, its just right) and then cooked the next day. The meat was snowy white and so sweet and tasty.

This is the corn and potatoes before I started cooking with them. Originally I wanted to grill the corn, but that didn't go down this time (don't worry... I'll be working on it). I did make the potatoes on the grill by chopping them up with a carrot and some onion and garlic, tossing them in olive oil, dill, salt and pepper and then putting them in a foil pouch and letting the heat from the BBQ do it's job... super yummy.

Happy Summer Eating!

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Mama's Spaghetti Sauce

My mom makes a mean spaghetti sauce and she always shares her recipes and skills with me. This sauce is so good it could be bottled and sold. We use mostly homemade products in our home and rarely employ the use of pre-made sauces etc. So here is how that sauce happened (my mom makes a vat of it, literally, so that she can freeze it and use it for weeks and weeks to come... it freezes and thaws really well).

You will need a GIANT pot for this and a HUGE pan... you can scale it down but I have no measurements for that... just for the jumbo size!! ;)

First, put some olive oil into the GIANT pot and then start the heat. Take 8 cloves of fresh garlic that is chopped up pretty fine (you can use a garlic press if you like but those things annoy me, so I go for the big knife!!). Let the garlic saute for a bit (not at a high heat) and add 1 1/2 chopped onions to the mix. Once they have gone translucent, add 3 or 4 cans of tomato paste (yup, we buy that stuff) and then add in 2 GIANT cans of diced tomatoes (my mom uses her homemade ones when she has them - yes, that's right... she cans her own when the energy and mood hits her). Then let the heat begin to rise and add 2 or 3 big cans of tomato sauce (we buy that too). The last things that you add are the mushrooms and the meat mixture (see below).

The meat mixture: Take your HUGE pan and put some olive oil into it and put it on a medium heat. Add 8 more finely chopped garlic cloves and 1 more chopped onion. You got it, saute it to translucence (I don't know if that's a word, but it is now!!! ;) ). Then add the hamburger meat (we use extra lean ground beef, but you can go with turkey, chicken, bison or even tofu if you like). Cook until browned. Do not add salt or any other spices to this at this point.

Once your meat is ready to add to your tomato sauce, add it in while stirring constantly. Then add several leaves of fresh basil, oregano and a bay leaf or two. Let the vat simmer for a couple of hours. Make sure to give it a stir once every 15 minutes or so to make sure nothing is burning to the bottom.

Now, my variation on this little gem is to put a cup or two of red wine into the meat mixture. This way the alcohol burns off and the flavour is SOOOoooooOOOoooo good!!

Happy Eating!!