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!