Thursday, June 23, 2011
I love a good pasta salad in the summer. Typically it involves mayo as part of the dressing and in an effort to do something different and lighter, I hit the kitchen tonight after a great day by the pool to make a summer pasta salad.
Here is what I did:
I boiled some lightly oiled and salted water and then cooked some pasta (I used elbow macaroni for it this time, but really just about ANYTHING would work great). When the pasta was nearly done, I tossed in about a cup of frozen shrimp to cook with the pasta in it's last minutes.
While the pasta was cooking, I chopped up a cucumber and several cherry tomatoes (these I just cut into halves). I then doused them with a little bit of olive oil and a spice mixture that I get in Turkey called Olive Sauce (basically it consists of oregano, crushed red chillies, salt and a touch of sumac). I also sprinkled on some dried garlic spice and a wee bit of salt. Just before I drained and rinsed the pasta and shrimp, I decided that there was something lacking from the veggie mixture and I added 1 tbsp of caper berries in vinegar and the juice of half a lemon.
I drained and rinsed the pasta and shrimp in cold water to remove excess oil and to cool them before adding them to veggie mixture. Then I tossed them altogether for a wonderfully spicy and refreshing salad!!
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I love a good salad (in fact, I eat it just about everyday for lunch... topped with a boiled egg and some Turkish yogurt if I can get it)... but sometimes they can get boring. Today, I decided to play around with the idea of a salad and to make it a little more interesting.
On top of lettuce (I had a red one), I put cucumber slices and halved cherry tomatoes. Then I threw on some half wedges of grapefruit and some halved, hard boiled quail eggs (don't worry, they taste just like regular eggs, just cuter). And over it all I poured warm curried shrimp (peeled and cleaned shrimp that was sauteed in butter, curry powder, grapefruit juices, sumac, garlic and cumin). YUMMY!! And it was pretty with all the colour contrasts too... eating isn't just about pleasing your tongue, right?
In Turkey, Kumpir is a baked potato, but like nothing you have EVER seen before. Trust me when I say it blows ALL other baked potatoes out the window. It's cheap to get here and is SO good!! What they do that makes it better is that the potato is cooked so that the inside is soft and the outside is crispy (I don't know who they get it to work exactly like that) and then they crack it open and MASH the insides with butter and cheese (sounds wrong, but trust me on this one... it's SO RIGHT!!!) until it's a gooey, mashy mix. Then they let you choose what you want to top it with (everything from veggies to BBQ chicken are available). It's WONDERFUL! I wish there were proper Kumpir places everywhere I went... this could be my new crack food (you know, the food that's like a drug to you).
A while back, I went to Eskişehir with some friends. We were there to watch a basketball game and to just have some fun. Fun was had for sure... but I just have to share a food story. We were recommended to a place for dinner and we went. Place was extremely busy and things were flying off the menu, so I thought I'd stick with something easy and that would be simple to make with all the rush: a clubhouse sandwich. Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of a club, I think of bacon (I knew I wasn't going to get bacon on it... this is a muslim country afterall), turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo etc with 3 slices of bread total... well, this is what they thought it was:
UH?!?!?! Needless to say, I took it apart and ate what I thought was edible which wasn't much. Beware when ordering what you think is simple!
So I had some ripe (overly so) bananas in my fridge (here in Turkey it's the only way I can keep them for longer than a day or two it seems) and I wanted to make some banana bread. I haven't had a lot of luck with cakes and breads here and generally just get pissed off about the whole thing. But... I thought, why not give it one more try. So here is the recipe that I found online:
4 ripe, mashed bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
I threw in a crushed up bar of dark chocolate just for fun and a little extra flour because it seemed a little too moist when I was mixing it and that always turns into cake/bread gone to trash here.
And guess what?! IT TURNED OUT GREAT!!!!!