Thursday, December 30, 2010

Martins & LazyCook cooked some serious fillet on Weber

Here we are again, after I don’t know how many weeks, on a beautiful winter night, out at our crazy garden with our much-loved friends Tracey & Garth and our family, braiing a whole 1 kg organic tenderloin steak on Weber..(well the steak which Trace had ordered before and marinated and Garth and LazyCook cooked together on weber). 

1kg fillet on weber!
As appetizer we had the ribs (bought as frozen from Spinneys) and boerwurs grilled on Weber and a crispy green salad with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Then, the real deal – 1kg whole fillet steak slowly roasted on Weber. The key to the process was to stack the coals on the both sides of the grill and keep the space in the middle for the dripping tray and whole potatoes wrapped in foil (we keep forgetting them before, finally we remembered to put them on time) Then we put the whole fillet on the grill and closed the lid with vents open. Steak was roasted in half an hour. Although Weber did not need any help from us, we never left him alone, poking and turning every five minutes, brushing with extra marinade. The result was amazing!! Even the well-done part which normally becomes dry and tough was juicy and tender.

As dessert we had our usual cheats dessert inspired by Jamie Oliver: Ice cream (any flavor but preferably vanilla, although I prefer Belgian chocolate) on top of crumbled ginger biscuits with berry sauce (different kinds of berries simply boiled in water with some sugar and couple of drops of lemon juice). You can add some fresh strawberries on top as well. Original recipe requires orange juice sauce with oranges (see the recipe).

Such a perfect night!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

To Lalala Manager and Nixi from Mrs. and Miss LazyCook with Love

for a lifetime of happiness
This morning me and the Miss LazyCook Jr went into the kitchen with all the ingredients and equipments we bought the other day to make colorful mini and heart-shaped cupcakes (first time in our lives!) for our amazing dearest family Asli (aka Hotel Lalala Manager) and Eren (aka Nixi) for their most important day tomorrow in San Francisco. 

We love you, we miss you terribly and we wish we were there when you say "I do". But we're happy that our other LazyCook is there with you and we look forward to seeing you very very soon....

we're ready to make colorful cupcakes first time ever!
muffins and colorful icing are ready
our cupcakes not so perfect but they taste great!
we love u..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Just Soup and Salad

Sometimes when you don’t want to eat meat or pasta or fish or anything solid, soups come as a savior. And especially after indulging in food and pastries and cakes during Eid (Kurban Bayrami) and gaining more than we supposed to gain (I’m talking about me and the tummy!), we craved for a really green soup and more greens on the side!

So as always we opened our Jamie at Home and started with the Creamy Asparagus Soup (without the poached eggs this time but we definitely urge you to add the poached eggs, it twists the zest of the soup) which is very easy to prepare. We started with frying the chopped white onions, leeks and celery (please check the link below for the full list and recipe). About 10 minutes later we added the chopped asparagus stalks (the tips reserved for later use) and our organic vegetable stock to simmer for about 20 minutes with the lid on.

onions, leeks, celery and asparagus stalks
In the meantime we prepared the spinach salad with a pack of baby spinach leaves, some cubed bacon pan-fried for 5 minutes, goat cheese slices which are blended in one egg and some breadcrumbs to be fried (in vegetable oil), a handful of sliced mushrooms, a little bit of walnuts and our usual vinaigrette (with juice of half a big lemon, extra virgin olive oilof twice the amount of lemon juice, a couple of drops of balsamic, one teaspoon honey mustard, one teaspoon egg-free mayonnaise, chopped herbs of whatever we have, salt and pepper, one tablespoon water).

goat cheese-spinach salad
blending the soup
When the soup is simmered, we blended it with hand blender (we should have blended more!), seasoned it and put it back to heat with the asparagus tips for a few more minutes. We served the soups drizzled with a little bit of cream and with a slice of toasted country bread.

back to heat with asparagus tips
soup & salad
As our dear guest commented the meal was light yet fulfilling! I would prefer the soup to be a bit more liquidy and also the poached eggs would enhance the zest (as we’d done before). The goat cheese-spinach salad was just right to complete our mini dinner.

Creamy Asparagus Soup from Jamie Oliver

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Incredible pappardelle with parma ham, leeks and porcini

After rushing to If Boutique in the evening for an hour to see its annual warehouse sale with 80-90% discounts on last years’ and summer’s collections (see the note below), I rushed back home to meet the other lazy cook to prepare for the pasta we’ve planned to cook for tonight. We were so excited about it the other day while reading the long recipe with leeks, parma ham, dried porcini, breadcrumbs (why don’t we open a pasta shop as we are obsessed with pasta? But then there is a good chance we will hate it!).

Anyway, first the leeks and parma ham were cooked in a large pan with thyme leaves for about half an hour (parma ham covering the leeks).

In the meantime breadcrumbs and porcini mushrooms mixture with rosemary leaves (which is called pangrattato) is prepared.

For pappardelle we basically bought fresh lasagna, put all the lasagna sheets on top of each other (sprinkling a little flour to each sheet) and cut the lasagna sheets in 1 cm strips. They needed only a minute to be boiled.

All ingredients went back to the pan to be tossed for the last few minutes before serving.

Aside from its juicy sauce; with the pangrattato and on top a good amount of Parmesan cheese, the pappardelle was absolutely fantastic. Thank you Jamie, again!

Full recipe is in Jamie at Home.

A small fashion note: I’m very proud with what I’ve found from If Boutique warehouse sale. It is a limited edition skirt by Geoffrey B. Small which is 7th from 10 pieces only and its AED 300. Also a cotton bag with a mouse printed on it. All 90% off and sales continue until Saturday (If Boutique Facebook Group).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Caponata (fresh from Sicily!)

Well not exactly, but this Sicilian dish is like our Turkish mixed vegetable dish (vegetarian “Turlu”) but with a big twist and lighter and more tender. You can eat it hot (as we did with plain rice) or cold (like any 'zeytinyagli' dishes). And the recipe is from Jamie’s Italy.

big chunks of eggplants getting golden in the pan
So we needed 2 firm eggplants that are cut into large chunks (Jamie advises not to cut into small cubes as they absorb more oil if they are cut small), dried oregano, 1 small red onion (finely chopped), 2 gloves of garlic (finely sliced), a small bunch of parsley (leaves picked and stalks finely chopped), 2 tablespoons of salted capers (rinsed), a handful of green olives (pitted), 2-3 tablespoons good quality herb vinegar (in our case balsamic) and 4-5 ripe tomatoes (roughly chopped).

vegetables simmering nicely
First we started with eggplants to be fried in olive oil (enough to cover the pan) with oregano for a couple of minutes and seasoned with a little salt. When the eggplants turned golden on each side, we added onion, garlic and parsley stalks and continued cooking for a few more minutes. Then capers and olives were thrown in with vinegar drizzling all over the vegetables. When the vinegar evaporated, we added the tomatoes and left it for simmering for 15 minutes. Before serving we drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled chopped parsley leaves (you can add slightly toasted sliced almonds here as well, we didn’t have it). Our rice was ready in the rice cooker in the meantime. And we had a healthy, fulfilling, South Italian dish in our breezy backyard.

Note: So what make this dish different than our usual ‘Turlu’ is obviously adding olives and capers to vegetables and vinegar while cooking them. Also non-peeled big chunks of eggplants and tomatoes make the dish really light and tender (as they don’t absorb too much oil and get squashy).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Turkey Piccatta

When I was shopping for Asli (we always want her to try different things other than usual chicken, meatballs and veggies however most of the time we’re unsuccessful!), I bought turkey thighs in order to make her a turkey schnitzel. And for us as well, of course. As we were scanning one of our new cookbooks (a gift for my 35th), we came across a different version of schnitzel called piccatta. Instead of breadcrumbs he was using parmesan cheese. We thought it would be nicer and decided to cook this one. The book is called "Chef at Home" By Uwe Michelle (he is apparently a chef in Dubai and won couple of awards).

turkey thighs cut into thin slices
So we took the thighs, cut them into thin slices and season with salt and pepper. We combined 2 beaten eggs, some chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese together. We first dusted the thighs with flour, then dipped them in the egg mixture and fried them until they are golden. They looked in fact more like omlettes because of two eggs (I guess) and taste not better than a usual schnitzel (and to be honest a schnitzel is crispier). However with a home-made pesto pasta* on the side and a bottle of beer we had a perfect dinner in the backyard (by the way if you’re ever looking for a non-alcoholic beer, Holsten is the best). And most importantly our daughter liked it (the piccatta, not the beer!).

piccatta and pesto pasta

*For pesto: Combine ½ clove of garlic (chopped), a pinch of salt and a bunch of basil leaves (chopped) and pound them in a food processor. Add a handful of very lightly toasted pine nuts and grind them again. Put them in a bowl to mix with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Stir while adding some olive oil (just to bind the sauce). After seasoning with salt and pepper, add some more parmesan cheese and olive oil until you’re happy with the taste. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another feel food and feel full pasta – Tuna Puttanesca

One of our favorites for a Saturday night (after a busy weekend) is eating pasta while watching our favorite series (probably I’m repeating this a lot here). This Saturday tuna puttanesca was picked among our favorite pastas list. Especially after we found out that the best source of Vitamin D is fatty fish (as I have Vitamin D insufficiency in one of the sunniest places on Earth!), we try to include fish in our meals as much as we can.

So we started with cooking a classic tomato sauce (from Jamie Oliver). For this, we fried two chopped gloves of garlic with some chopped basil stalks and a pinch of dried oregano for a few minutes. To spice it up we threw in a whole red chili pepper (pinched so it doesn't explode!). Then we added two cans of good quality plum tomatoes, seasoned it with salt and pepper and let it simmer for half an hour. Towards the end we added a swig of balsamic vinegar to sweeten the sauce. 

tomato sauce simmered and the puttanesca ingredients added

For our puttanesca we added a handful of pitted black olives, a couple of anchovies (drained), a handful of capers and a can of tuna flakes. By the way the best canned tuna we’ve found until now is 'Pan de Mar' from the Organic shop or Calvo (from any supermarket). The pasta was ready within 5 to 7 minutes.

two bowls of delicious pasta
We love pasta and Mad Man!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chicken on Weber

Now that the hype around the house calmed down and as the weather is getting sweet, we decided to take out our favorite cooking tool – Weber and cook a 1.5 kg whole chicken in it. The free-range chicken is chosen from the Organic shop and we used a ready-made chicken marinate that we borrowed from a braimaster (Garth!) to marinate it (we added some herbs as well). 

marinated chicken
We tied the legs, put one carved lemon under the legs, put some butter under the skin and put the chicken in the Weber (don’t forget to put an aluminum plate under the grill so that the drips won’t go into the fire and it’ll keep the chicken moist) to be cooked for about 1.5 hours. Closed the lid with the vents open (circulating air in the Weber gives a great smoky taste). Ah and don’t forget to put some whole potatoes into that plate as we were so upset with ourselves later. The potatoes roast so well there as you would probably imagine.

on Weber
As the chicken was cooking in the garden, we prepared the Turkish broad beans dish (Zeytinyagli barbunya). For this we first fried the onion until it got softened for about 5 minutes. We then added the capsicum and carrot for another 4-5 minutes. The tomato and about 2 cups of water then were added to the pot with some salt and left for simmering. In the meantime the beans were boiled for about 15 minutes and drained to be added to the simmering pot with one teaspoon of sugar. The beans were cooked in about 30-45 minutes in medium heat covered. They are left for cooling until the chicken was ready.

Zeytinyagli Barbunya
And the chicken was ready in 1.5 hours. We carved the chicken after it rested a little bit, drizzled the sauces that dripped down to the aluminum plate! And served with our favorite green salad (with fattoush modification) and plain brown rice..

carving the chicken

Ingredients for Zeytinyagli Barbunya:

- 1 kg broad beans
- 1 green and 1 red capsicum (sliced)
- 1 carrot (sliced)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 2 small tomatoes (cubed)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- salt and pepper

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And Kiki’s Halloween/birthday party

After thinking and planning for couple of weeks, finally the day Asli turned to 4 came and we did the Halloween dress-up party on Friday.. Asli was the cute little witch in ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ (Majo no takkyubin by Hayao Miyazaki) that we watched couple of weeks ago (and we are obsessed with the movie now). We found her a purple dress and a huge red ribbon (from Monsoon/Accessorize). And of course the main accessories of a witch – a broom (from a party shop) and a black cat (after going to each toy store, I could find it in Borders and it’s the cutest black cat toy). 

All her friends’ costumes were amazing including different versions of witches, pirates, an Incredible Hulk, a butterfly and the cutest little pumpkin. We had some decorations around the garden with lots of orange and black balloons and a pumpkin piñata which took an adult’s strength to be broken (after the children hitting it for half an hour)!

And for the food: In the morning Asli, Ayse (anane) and Bulay hala made cookies with sesame seeds. We will get the recipe from Bulay hala as they were so delicious and the kids loved them. We had our usual (and everyone’s favorite) cheese pastries (sigara boregi). We had Halloween shaped cookies from Lime Tree Café, marshmallows and monster shaped sweets and chocolates. 

Asli rolling the dough for the cookies
and here it is to be turned into circular cookie shape
adding sesame seeds
ready to go into the oven
And the birthday cake for which we designed the shape (same as her invitation) from Sugardaddies. They have done a great job with the shape and the cakes from there are always delicious. (The photos for the food are limited as we had chaos throughout the party). The children had so much fun and we all sweated like crazy because of the humidity.

After everyone left (except the family), and our little exhausted Kiki fell asleep, we had a very pleasant dinner with our aunt, cousins and parents with a big pot of our favorite feel-good-pasta (see here), a mixed salad and a bottle of red wine celebrating once again…

Thanks to everyone who were there with us….

Sugar Daddy's Bakery in Dubai

Kiki's Delivery Service

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Mid-autumn night

(This post supposed to be posted last week...but we've been busy busy busy and lazy.)

Last night we had a pleasant, sober, chilled party in our crazy garden (the plants in the garden suddenly grew like crazy as the weather is getting better and it feels like we’re in the midst of a jungle).

our jungle
We had some hot and cold tapas (no photos unfortunately) including:

- Broiled beef and chicken meatballs:

For the beef meatballs as usual, minced meat, chopped parsley, chopped onion, cumin, salt & pepper and olive oil (all according to your taste) well mixed and rolled into medium size balls; for the chicken meatballs, minced chicken, one egg, chopped onion, grated zucchini, grated parmesan, salt & pepper and olive oil mixed and rolled same as in beef meatballs. They are cooked in about half an hour in the preheated 200 degree oven.

- Turkish cheese pastry (sigara boregi – by Ayse Aksit):

For this no dough beats the Turkish one (yufka!), which our moms bring whenever they come to Dubai. First the big circular dough is cut into big triangles. For the filling feta cheese, grated mozzarella cheese (optional), chopped parsley (optional) and black pepper is mixed. The filling is put into the base of the triangles, then rolled like a burrito. After the rolling, you should put the edge of the triangles into the water to be able to paste it (see ‘Annem Sigara Boregi Yapiyor’ chapter in Orhan Pamuk’s latest book “Manzaradan Parcalar” for a nice and graphical version of how to roll this pastry!).

- Sausages:

Just boiled..

- Rice Salad (idea by Ayse Aksit):

First we boiled the rice (no oil, no salt). We chopped some parsley, mint, and dill. We boiled some sliced mushrooms as well. We mixed all above and the sweet corns adding lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (and salt & pepper) according to the taste. It is colorful, light and tasty.

- Cold-cut and cheese platters with Spanish garlic bread:

These are classic for parties with different kinds of cheese and cold-cuts. For the bread after toasting, we rub them first with a cut garlic glove and then with a cut tomato. This way they get all the flavors and perfect for the cold-cut & cheese platters.

And we had several drinks including a Moet&Chandon…and we had cookies (made by Candan Ayhan) and we had a big chocolate cake (which was surprisingly light) from Sugardaddies (our cup-cake place)..

And we had a good weather…and a very good company…

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Feel Good Pasta

It’s been and will be really busy days for Lazy Cooks that’s why the limited posting. Travelling, crazy office hours, having our friend over, then having our family over. Coming birthday party for big girls, then coming birthday/Halloween party for little girls, coming dinner parties for the family…all exciting and fun stuff and we’ll keep posting as much as we can…but before all this here is our Feel Good Pasta for a quiet evening:

We were surprised that among the 39 posts we blogged since July, we haven’t included one of our favorite quick pastas. It is the zucchini-bacon pasta we’ve modified over the years. There is the carbonara version as well. However uncooked egg may be harmful for some of us right now! Anyway, it is light, healthy, tasty and quick to prepare, so on a weekday night you can crawl on the sofa with your bowl of pasta and a glass of red and watch your favorite series (House Season 6 or Mad Men Season 3 for us!).

Ok, we first slice the zucchinis very thinly along with the onion. We take out our cubed pancetta and start with frying the pancetta and onion in olive oil for 10 minutes until the onion becomes soft. We add the zucchinis, some fresh thyme leaves, a tablespoon of chopped parsley and one or two stalks of fresh rosemary leaves (if you don’t have fresh go for the dry one, but fresh is highly recommended), grated garlic and grated zest of 1 lemon. Season with salt and pepper and the sauce is ready when the zucchinis are cooked, which takes generally another 7-8 minutes.

onion, zucchinis, bacon & herbs in the pan
After the pasta is cooked al-dente, we don’t forget to reserve a half glass of its water before draining it. We combine the sauce and pasta in the same pot and add its reserved water (as it’s needed). Don't forget to add lots of grated parmesan. And the pasta is in the bowls, little girl is in the bed, The Mad Men is starting…a happy quiet Tuesday evening…

pasta in our usual pasta bowl!

Ingredients for 4:

- 500 gr zucchini (or courgette), cut as matchsticks
- 70 gr cubed pancetta, streaky bacon is just as good
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon of each fresh rosemary, parsley and thyme leaves (chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- parmesan cheese

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jazz Bistro Salmon-en-croute

For a short while we lived in one the most charming cities in the world - San Francisco (well, Alp lived there longer but together only for 6 months). And Jazz Bistro on Ellis Street was our second home. This place is timeless for us with its live jazz music every night, the most tempting chocolate croissants and fresh black coffees early in the mornings, its traditional French food and above all having a good chat with our cousins at the back office and family dinners at the dinner area just before it gets crowded.

So last night we decided to cook one of the classic dishes at Les Joulins Jazz Bistro – ‘salmon-en-croute’ for our friends who came to Dubai for a few days from Istanbul. For this we went through couple of recipes and decided to go ahead with Gordon Ramsay’s. This experimental dish (for us) is actually described in Gordon’s video (in the website) very clearly from a to z, it is really hard to go wrong.

de-skinning here
We first started with de-skinning the salmon (of course this could be asked in the supermarket where we bought the fish!). Thanks to one of Gordon’s video, this wasn’t as difficult as it seemed. The trick is to hold the skin and with a very sharp knife cut deep into the skin (not into the fish). Otherwise most of the salmon is wasted.

dill-basil-thyme-lemon butter
pasting the butter to one of the fillets, the other one gets the mustard
salmon sandwich
We prepared the mixture to be pasted to the salmon with roughly chopped fresh dill, basil and thyme which are then mixed with softened butter and lemon zest. This paste was applied to one of the salmon fillets. For the other fillet we applied grainy mustard and these two fillets were combined like a sandwich.

salmon in the pastry
The short-crust pastry we bought from the frozen section of the supermarket needed to be thawed for 1.5 hours at room temperature. And we put our salmon sandwich in the middle of the pastry. We applied 1 beaten egg to the sides of the pastry around the salmon and seasoned it with salt and pepper. We closed the pastry, did another egg wash on top of the pastry and put it in the oven which was preheated at 200 degrees.

boiled potatoes with herbs

broccoli with garlic and chili

While the fish is in the oven, we prepared the side dishes: boiled new potatoes with drizzle of olive oil and chopped fresh dill, basil and thyme; and broccoli which are first boiled for a few minutes then stir-fried with olive oil, crushed garlic and red chili pepper for another few minutes.
just out from the oven
le salmon en croute
The fish was cooked in about 20-25 minutes and that’s when the pastry became golden. It looked beautiful (but not as fish shape as in Jazz Bistro!) and all of us really found it delicious, we decided to include this classic Jazz Bistro dish to our guest menu..