Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spinach and "never had it like this" Steak

Couple of days ago during the office hours, suddenly I craved for spinach (but not the raw spinach salad). They say, if you crave for something, your body generally needs it. So we went ahead with the urge and for our small dinner party on Saturday night we cooked spinach as a side dish to the grilled ribeye/sirloin steaks with two different sauces. Peanut sauce at the bottom and salsa sauce on the top of the medium rare grilled steaks.

peanut & spices are toasted for the peanut sauce

salsa verde
The sauces (the recipe from Jamie Oliver) were prepared an hour ahead. As you see, there are lots of ingredients, especially lots of spices. We were a bit doubtful at this stage about this fiesta of different tastes but no need to worry as they all workout wonderful together.

The spinach leaves first washed 17 times as it came with mud, and then are fried on a large pan with couple of tablespoons of olive oil while stirring them with a fork holding a clove of garlic. In about 5-7 minutes they were cooked and seasoned with salt and pepper.

And we decided to cook the potato-pea mash (see the recipe) as another side dish to add a bit of carbohydrate to the picture..

Just before sitting on the table, we grilled the steaks on our good old heavy griddle pan; 2 minutes each side for medium-rare (or 3 for medium). And after grilling, we rubbed the steaks with the cut side of the garlic clove and whipped it with rosemary for more flavors (tip from Jamie).

The steaks are served sliced on top of peanut sauce and the salsa sauce comes on top as you like it.

Delicioso! The salsa sauce adds a freshness and lightness to the steaks on top of the intense flavor of the peanut sauce. And it made us feel we are having a supper in the backyard on a breezy summer afternoon. And yes my craving for spinach was fulfilled..

A happy comforting breakfast

We woke up on this hot Saturday morning hungry and thought about going out for a breakfast as a change. But then considering our options for breakfast places we like (not many), we decided to scan our 'Comfort' book and spend this shiny happy morning in our kitchen. The bacon-potato frittata cooked in muffin cups was the most tempting to all of us and Alp was quickly engaged in the making of it while the rest of us were still in pj's walking around the house aimlessly.

All you need for the frittata are eggs, potatoes, some pieces of bacon and crème fraiche (no butter, no oil). For 12 frittatas, you need 3 potatoes peeled and cut into cubes boiled until tender, 6 eggs, 200 gr of creme fraiche and 30 grams of grated parmesan cheese for the mixture. Now, first potatoes go into the muffin cups, after that the bacon pieces (as much as you like). Then the egg mixture is divided on top and they go into the 180 degree heated oven for 20 - 25 minutes. They are easy to cook, light and so tasty.. 

Definitely, no need to struggle for a breakfast table in an ordinary Dubai café where you can’t even sit outside as the humidity in here has not stopped yet!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Seafood Pasta Extravaganza

After many discussions, it’s decided that this Thursday night’s special at LazyCooks’ kitchen will be rigatoni with shrimp, calamari and basil from Bon Appétit. For the shopping, we went to our favorite supermarket (Waitrose) to buy 250 gr large shrimps, 200 gr cleaned calamari, leeks, fresh basil and pecorino cheese. We love the fish/seafood sections in the markets. Even if we’re not buying we must have a look and funnily our 4 year old daughter as well.

After reserving half of the shrimps and calamari, we chopped the other halves and put them in the processor. We’ve never cooked calamari before so we’re a bit excited.

Shrimp and calamari mixture is sautéed along with the vegetables.. The sauce unfortunately is cooked without the clam juice but fish stock with some white wine was a perfect substitute (we think!).

The reserved shrimps and calamari sizzling…and thrown in to the pasta with the cheese and basil to be tossed….

And thank you Bon Appétit. This seafood pasta was probably the best we've ever cooked..

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rivington Grill rocks...

Last year as a family tradition we were going to Rivington Grill almost every Saturday for lunch. Sometimes only three of us, sometimes with friends. I had a thing with their warm salmon & potato salad and pinot blanc and Alp loves their meat dishes and interesting beers and Asli's favorite is kids’ fish&chips. I don’t know why we stopped but Rivington is one of our favorite restaurants in Dubai.

So last night we went there for dinner happily. We sat inside and actually we prefer the atmosphere inside even when the weather is nice and the fantastic fountain show is on every half an hour (this is another story). We even like sitting at the bar for dinner (when we are two) watching the dynamic kitchen. It was packed on a weekday night so I guess Rivington became one of the ‘in’ restaurants in Dubai with its food and atmosphere.

The menu was a little bit changed. There were some interesting additions. We had an interesting sweetbread and mushroom dish (which was among the specials of the day) and a leek&pea soup which came with a divine hot scone besides. I was a bit suspicious about the soup by its appearance but it was really tasty (we generally share a starter and have main for each but I guess we were really hungry this time).

The mains (lamb chop and another special of the day – chicken with some strangely called mushrooms) were just great.

Of course no place left for their famous sticky toffee pudding but everyone should try this at least once. It is soo good..

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roasted Salmon for Hotel LaLaLa'a Special Guest

I don’t know if you’ve heard about virtual L. Gaga visiting the funkiest boutique hotel in the blogosphere recently – Hotel LaLaLa. Well if you haven’t, we urge you to check immediately. We as lazy cooks were flattered when the hotel manager (Asli) asked us to cook a special seafood dish for Gaga. We decided to go for roasted salmon as it seemed to us she likes fish looking at her gorgeous dress in LaLaLa! 

We went to our usual organic supermarket to get a fresh, good quality salmon fillet, creme fraiche, a fennel bulb and some fresh herbs for roasting. For this, we seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper, squeezed in some sliced fennels within the fish, spread some crème fraiche over it (not too much) and finally sprinkled some fresh herbs on top (parsley, mint, basil in our case, thyme would be great but it was out of stock). The fish will be cooked in generally 15-20 minutes until the center is translucent (cut the thickest part of the fillet to see) as an overcooked salmon is just a waste. 

This very simple-to-prepare dish is actually very tasty so we hope Miss Gaga enjoys her fish with a potato and pea mash on the side. For this we peeled and sliced the potatoes, boiled them in salty water. When they are cooked, we put them in a pan along with 1.5 glasses of milk, a knob of butter and some frozen peas to simmer for couple of minutes and to be mashed together. But not with a food processor as it should be coarse and of course seasoned with salt and pepper.

Bon appetite Miss Gaga!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We love you Eren Spaghetti Bolognese

Today is a very special day to lazy cooks. And on such a special day instead of crying ‘why we are not with Eren on his 30th birthday as there are thousand miles between us’, we decided to cook one of his favorite foods (and lazy cooks’ as well) and celebrate his 30th with a huge Spaghetti Bolognese and a very good bottle of red wine.

This special dish is a classic for the lazy cook kitchen especially for the Saturday evenings when the weekend is over and we invite over couple of friends and start to cook early as the sauce needs to be cooked for at least two hours for all the ingredients to be blended and so you cannot distinguish while you’re eating where the bacon is or the mushroom or the celery within the sauce. I cannot remember which recipe we were using in the beginning. I think with each bolognese recipe we saw, we added a new feature. 

So we fried pancetta in melted butter for 5-6 min, then added onions, garlic and continued frying for a few more minutes. Added chopped carrot and celery; tucked in the bay leaves and cooked for another five minutes. Then we put in the beef and broke with a fork; fried for a few more minutes, then added the tomatoes, stock, wine and spices. This is cooked on low heat (barely bubbling) for an hour. Then we added the cream and cooked for another half hour. And the pasta was cooked al dente and ta-daaa... Ah, of course lots of grated cheese.

Happy birthday Eren. 30s are the best (seriously). We love you and looking forward to building our voltran again ‘iki su bir misir (or iki misir!)’ very very soon.

Ingredients for 4

- 70 gr of cubed pancetta
- 1 carrot
- 2 sticks of celery
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 good quality canned tomato
- 500 gr minced beef or lamb (or combination)
- grated nutmeg
- few bay leaves
- some oregano
- 200 ml red wine
- 200 ml vegetable stock (cubes are fine)
- 100 gr mushrooms
- 150 ml of cooking cream
- 50 gr butter
- grated pecorino or Parmesan

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good to be back home Roast Chicken (14/09/2010)

Yes the lazy cooks are back home and trying to get into their usual cooking routine. For me, after a long holiday it’s always difficult to go into any routine (and especially when the weather is this humid after a sweet breezy week in Istanbul). But we forced ourselves to go to the supermarket and buy our favorite organic chicken pieces (we would prefer whole chicken but they were out of stock) and Alp’s favorite chorizo and some potatoes, bring them home and cook Jamie’s Super Tasty Spanish Chicken. Since we forgot about the parsley and we couldn’t find it in the vicinity later, we had to roast the chicken without the parsley stalks and prepare the gremolata without the parsley! But the smell around the house while roasting was so tempting thanks to the hot lemons placed in between the chicken legs and thighs. And the taste was really super tasty. The best side dish for this juicy chicken would be just plain brown rice and it worked perfect for us and for our guest as well. We’re glad to be back to our sunny kitchen..

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Where the sea meets the mountains (September)

Lazy cooks were away in the Aegean sea side (Altinoluk-Assos-Kaz Daglari Region) for a week doing nothing except swimming, reading, walking around the villages in the mountains and eating very good food from Ayse & Hale. As a sample we’re displaying couple of shoots here with some recipes..

Grilled Sardines – our favorite fish from Aegean Sea. And the season is just right. It shouldn’t be cooked too much to not to lose its juice. With a big bowl of green salad (the green lettuce and tomatoes are phenomenal here in this region), it’s perfect for a casual summer night’s dinner in the garden with family. Well, if you go to the fish market in the village in the afternoon when you are really hungry, you cannot stop yourself and buy another kilo of sea bass on top of 3 kilos of sardines. So we also had grilled sea bass and it was fantastic. 

Deniz Borulcesi (Salicornia europaea) - A classic favorite among mezzes. This seaweed like dish is actually grows at the sea shore. It's simply boiled and as a dressing olive oil, lemon and garlic mixture is added.

Zeytinyagli Barbunya  / Zeytinyagli Fasulye - just simple dishes for some, "meaning of life" for the others...

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers – this exceptional dish from the region is one of our favorite along with the others above. The preparation of dolmas requires almost a day’s work. And we ate one of the best stuffed zucchini flowers here cooked by Saadet. The zucchini flowers should be bought early in the morning from the bazaar and should be treated very delicately as they can be damaged easily. For this they should be washed one by one by putting each into a bowl of cold water and draining. They should be left in the sieve to be dried. For the filling, fry the diced onion in two tablespoons of olive oil until they are softened and add 1 cube sugar. The rice, thinly sliced dill and mint, salt and spices will be added to the onion and stirred. Add one glass of boiled water to this mixture and leave it covered to be cooked until the water is evaporated. Then it should be left for cooling.

Hold the drained zucchini flowers in your hand and very carefully open the leaves to put the rice filling with the help of a teaspoon and close it back (this part is really tricky). And place the dolmas in a small pot. Add the olive oil and 1.5 glass of water. Leave it for cooking covered in medium heat. In about 15-20 minutes the flower stems should be softened. This dish can be served either warm or preferably cold.

  • 25-30 pieces zucchini flower
  • 1 onion
  • 1.5 glass of rice
  • 1 glass of water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon raisin (optional)
  • Small bunch of fresh mint
  • 5-6 stems of fresh dill
  • 1 cube sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • salt & pepper