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..

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Saturday Night’s ‘Sultan’s Favorite’ Dinner Party

This weekend’s special was Turkish cuisine for a dinner party of six at Lazy Cooks’. We were excited again to take out our oldest and the best Turkish cook book ‘Ekrem Yegen’ from the shelf and start cooking Hunkar Begendi Kebabi (Sultan’s Favorite Kebab with mashed eggplant) and Zeytinyagli Fasulye (green beans cooked in olive oil) after a brief beach session followed by a supermarket run on a not so hot Saturday morning.

our Ekrem Yegen book
We bought around 1.2 kg of cubed lamb for the kebab; three big size eggplants, shredded mozzarella cheese, plain flour and milk for the eggplant mash; and 1 kg Lebanese green beans that you can find in Waitrose (not the long, thin ones) which are very close to our 'Ayse kadin fasulye'.

First we fried one onion in a big pot with 50 gr butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil (this is much less than what Ekrem uses) and added the cubed three medium size tomatoes. We added the meat with one glass of boiled water and started to cook which lasted for about two hours. But here the trick is adding a glass of boiled water every time the water is reduced in the pot to keep the meat tender and soft and juicy. So don’t forget to check it every 10 minutes like we did! (At the end of 1.5 hours we saved the lamb just before it was burned and had to transfer to another pot and continue cooking for a little bit more. I think here it lost a little bit of its tomato juice!). We added oregano to the lamb while it was cooking.

In the mean time, we started to char the eggplants over the stove and prepare the mash. For this we put 3 tablespoon flour and some butter to a medium sized pot and stir them at low heat for 2 minutes until the mixture turned into a golden color (and left aside). We added the charred and mashed eggplants to this mixture while vigorously stirring and returned the pot to the heat with 2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 liter warm milk. The milk should be added really slowly. Later, 100 gr shredded mozzarella and some parmesan cheese were added to the mash.

stirring the eggplant mash
After taking out the sides and the edges, we organized the green beans inside the pressure cooker on top of two onion halves. And added two whole gloves of garlic, 2 medium sized tomatoes (shredded), ½ cup water and ½ cup olive oil, salt and pepper. This way the beans are cooked in about 15-20 minutes. We transferred them to the serving plate and left for cooling.

green beans in the pressure cooker
green beans cooked
The most suitable side dish to the kebab would of course be plain white rice. With an advice from Ayse Aksit, we added roasted pine nuts (frying the pine nuts with a knob of butter) on top of the rice for decoration.

Sultan's Favorite with rice
We had another lovely dinner with Martins and Jabours (see our Lebanese dinner with them). A bottle of very nice Lebanese red wine went very well with our Sultan’s Favorite and towards the end of the night with the coffees we had tel kadayif (a dessert made with pistachios and shredded dough) with pistachio ice cream from Mado* and ‘koeksisters’ (a very delicious sweets of South African origin).