December 13, 2010

Expanding my culinary repertoire

Food, Life

On Saturday, I had a grownup girl’s day out with my friends Elif and Karin, the 2 girls I did Design Festa with.  It was the first time we’ve seen each other since that weekend and we were all looking forward to hanging out together again, especially since Karin will be moving to Switzerland in two weeks.

It was an awesome girl’s day.  A bit sad but we still had a lot of laughs and enjoyed ourselves.

We chatted about life.  We gossiped about things.  We shared stories about our relationships.  We even cooked together.  Actually, Elif was the one who taught us how to cook 2 Turkish dishes because, well, she’s Turkish.

They were both very simple dishes to make and both very delicious.  Lucky for you I took notes.  They’re not precise measurements since she cooks by approximating everything.  I forget their names but this is what we made…

This is a couscous dish.

First, you have to soak the couscous in just enough boiling water to cover the grains.  Then, you cover the bowl it’s in and just let it sit while you prepare the other stuff.

Slice up a lot of green onions or parsley and put it aside.  You’ll also need to have some lemon juice, pomegranate juice, dried mint, dried crush red pepper, olive oil, tomato paste and if you want, some Korean chili paste.

Check on the couscous.  It should have absorbed all the water by now and you can tell it’s ready when you mix it.  It will be a little stiff but kinda sticky like rice.  Mix up the couscous and add about a tablespoon of olive oil and about 1 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste and mix until everything is red.

Now, add the green onions.  Mix well.  Add the pomegranate juice and mix.  Squeeze about 2 lemons (3 if you don’t use pomegranate juice) and continue to mix.  Add about a half a soup bowls worth of dried mint and continue mixing.  The mixture should look very dark green now.  Then, add about 1 tablespoon of crush red pepper, a teaspoon of the Korean chili paste and about a teaspoon of salt and mix well.

Give it a taste.  It should taste a bit sour because of the lemon juice and the pomegranate juice.  If you think it needs more salt, add some salt.

The way we ate this dish was by wrapping some of it up in lettuce and eating it like that.  It’s very yummy.

The other thing we made is that big rectangular cheese thing in the photo above.  It’s cooked in an oven but since she doesn’t have an oven, we used her little toaster oven to cook it.

For this dish, you’ll need 2 eggs, spring roll skins (not the vietnamese kind but the type you’d find in a Chinese or Japanese market), milk, a bag of shredded cheese (you can use the type you put on pizza but Feta is the best choice), a handful of fresh parsley and sunflower oil (or canola if you can’t find sunflower)

First, you chop up the parsley until it’s pretty fine.  Mix the cheese and the parsley together.  This will be your filling.

Line the pan you’ll be using with aluminum foil.  Rub sunflower oil all over the foil.  In a small cup, mix together half a cup of milk with a teaspoon of oil.  Mix in 1 egg and add some salt.  Make sure you mix this up really well.

Take the spring roll skins and cover the bottom of the pan, making sure to leave about 2 inches over the edges of the pan (you’ll be folding it up at the end).  Add another layer of skin to the middle of the pan to make it more sturdy.

Now you’ll start layering.  Start with a layer of the cheese mixture.  Next, add a layer of skin.  Then, spread some of that milk/egg mixture all over the skin.  Continue adding the cheese, skin, milk/egg layers until you are out of skin.  The one she made had 2 layers of cheese.

The last layer should be a skin layer.  Now you fold up the overhanging skin from the bottom layer so that it wraps up the entire thing into a neat little package.  Take the 2nd egg and separate the egg white from the yolk.  Squeeze the yolk over the top of the package and spread it all over the top.

Bake it at 500W for 15 minutes.  Elif said that it’s always better to cook it at a lower heat and at a longer time than at high eat since you want the cheese to melt evenly without burning the top of the dish.  Also, she said that you can add anything you want to the filling.  You can add mashed potatoes to the cheese or cooked minced meat with onions.  It’s all up to you what you want to experiment with.  The possibilities are endless!

Just for kicks, we baked a loaf of bread in the bread machine that she got from Karin.  It was more of an instructional thing since all the instructions were on a VHS tape and none of us have one of those anymore.  Karin’s baked a lot of bread with it before so she knew how to do it.

So yes, I can now add Turkish food to my list of foods that I can cook :)

I can’t wait to cook it for someone just to try it out.

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7 Comments

  • Reply S. Jen December 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    You made Knaffee (the cheese one)! YUM!!!!

  • Reply Amber December 15, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Yummy I’ve never tried couscous before I might have to give it a whirl.

  • Reply Dan December 15, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    What, no VHS to be found. Oh no!

    It’s even worse that I can remember when VHS and Beta first came out and were at loggerheads and now they are both gone the way of the dokey bird.

    The bread looks good regardless. I am a sucker for any form of bread.

  • Reply stef December 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    You can come make it for me! it looks so yummy!

  • Reply Paige December 15, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    It all looks delish and sounds like so much fun! And…it’s my kind of measuring.

    I could really go for a piece of that bread. Yum.

  • Reply jen December 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    VHS! Seriously? Did you take a digital pic, upload it to your pc and laugh, then text it to everyone you know?
    Hope so!

  • Reply Purplume December 16, 2010 at 6:49 am

    Turkish food? I don’t hear about that very often. Your photos look terrific.

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