12th June 2008

    Kefta Kebabs and Cauliflower with Taratur Sauce

    Turkey Kefta
    Two new dishes for us tonight: baked cauliflower with a delicious tahini sauce, and ground turkey meatballs with a pomegranate syrup. We had originally planned to make this cauliflower dish (from Lebanese Cuisine) as part of the Lebanese feast last weekend, but there was already way too much food, and so we made an excuse to try again this week. The kebabs are listed as a variation on a turkey burger recipe in the How to Eat Supper cookbook; it isn’t exactly “authentic”, but the kefta was delicious all the same. To round things out, Lisa made baby bok choy sauteed with plenty of onions and garlic.

    Lisa says:

    This turkey kefta is way different than the versions I had growing up… but you’re right, it’s really good.

    Chris says:

    Yeah — no pine nuts or bulgur in this one… Yum, I really like the way the cauliflower is cooked — I don’t think I’ve ever had it any other way than raw or steamed. I strayed from the recipe and used Jenn’s baking method instead of the one in the book.

    Lisa says:

    …that taratur sauce on it rules.

    Chris says:

    Oooh — the sauce is actually also good on the kefta.

    Lisa says:

    I like how there’s not really a ton of tahini in it, but the sesame flavor really comes out.

    Chris says:

    I like how there’s not really a ton of kefta left, because most of it is already in my belly. The flavor really went in.

    Turkey Kefta Kebabs
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 large onion, finely diced
    1 large tomato, diced
    2 large garlic cloves, minced
    salt and pepper
    1/2 tsp coriander
    1/2 tsp cumin
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    1 lb ground turkey
    1/4 dry white wine
    pomegranate molasses

    Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a nonstick skillet, and cook the onions and tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper, over high heat until the onions start to wilt and brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
    In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, onion-tomato mix, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, cilantro, and wine. Mix together well and form into small balls. The mix will feel *really* delicate and sticky.
    In the skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, and rotate every 30 seconds or so until all sides are seared. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 150. Serve on a plate and drizzle the pomegranate molasses over the top.

    Makes ~14

    Cauliflower with Taratur
    1 head cauliflower
    olive oil
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    1 tsp salt
    3 tbsp tahini
    2 tbsp water
    1/3 cup lemon juice
    powdered red pepper

    Heat the oven to 450F. Break the cauliflower into florets and place into a small bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil over the cauliflower and add a pinch of red pepper. Toss until all the cauliflower is coated, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and tender.
    In a bowl, mix the crushed garlic and the salt. Add the tahini and blend well, then add the water and mix thoroughly. Add the lemon juice and blend until the sauce is whitish and smooth. Add red pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and serve.

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    posted in How to Eat Supper, Main Dishes, Middle Eastern, Sides | 9 Comments

    12th June 2008

    TasteSpotting: Say it ain’t so!

    :(

    TasteSpotting was without a doubt my favorite food site — I can’t tell you how many recipe ideas and food blogs I discovered though the wonderful photos posted.  I certainly received quite a few visitors myself via TasteSpotting.

    I’m obviously not alone in my mourning… hopefully details will surface soon.

    Any replacements out there?

    Update: Here are some sites attempting to be TasteSpotting replacements:
    Food Gawker
    Recipes2Share
    Food Porn Daily

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    posted in Site | 0 Comments

    9th June 2008

    Salmon Grilled in Grape Leaves

    Salmon Grilled in Grape Leaves

    This recipe is from Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible, and we both really enjoyed this new way of preparing salmon! It’s stuffed with a walnut-cilantro-dill filling, and then wrapped in grape leaves and placed on a hot grill. We served the fish with roasted sunchokes drizzled with truffle oil. Fancy!

    Lisa says:

    My dad would really like this one…

    Chris says:

    You can totally taste the flavor of the grape leaves on the salmon.

    Lisa says:

    So you’re not supposed to eat the grape leaves?

    Chris says:

    The recipe claims not, but I just took a nibble — crispy, smoky, and salty… I’m sure it’s fine if you want it!

    Lisa says:

    This is a lot of fish; here, take a lit– hey, hands off my delicious filling!

    Chris says:

    Sucka!

    Salmon Grilled in Grape Leaves
    8 to 12 grape leaves packed in brine
    2 salmon fillets, skinned and deboned
    salt and freshly ground pepper
    1/2 cup shelled walnuts
    1 clove garlic
    1/2 tbsp dried dill
    1 tbsp cilantro
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    2 paper-thin lemon slices

    Rinse the grape leaves and soak in cold water for 30 minutes or so. Drain them and pat dry with paper towels.
    Rinse the salmon under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Place the fillets on a cutting board, and with a knife parallel to the board, cut a deep pocket in each fillet, starting and ending about 1 inch from each end, cutting almost all the way through. Season the fillets with salt and pepper, inside and out.
    Combine the walnuts, garlic, dill, cilantro, and lemon juice in a food processor and mix to a coarse paste. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Spoon the stuffing into the fillets, dividing evenly.
    Arrange 2-3 grape leaves on a work surface to form a rectangle 2 inches larger than the piece of salmon. Place a piece of salmon on the top of the grape leaves, place a lemon slice on top, then cover the salmon with the remaining grape leaves. Fold and tuck the ends under the salmon. Secure with — well, we used floss. ;) Repeat for the other fillet.
    Set up the grill and preheat to high heat. Brush and oil the grill grate. Place the wrapped fish over direct heat and grill until the grape leaves are browned and the fish is cooked through, about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish.
    Using a spatula, transfer the fish to a serving plate. Unwrap the salmon and discard the grape leaves before eating.

    2 Servings

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    posted in Main Dishes, The Barbecue Bible | 5 Comments

    8th June 2008

    Chicken & Shrimp Laksa

    Chicken & Shrimp Laksa

    Tonight Lisa made this Chicken & Shrimp Laksa, a curry laksa, adapted from a recipe in Asian Flavors. This Malaysian dish consists of wide rice noodles, chicken, and shrimp in a nicely seasoned coconut broth; stir-fried bean sprouts and snow peas add crunch, color, and texture to the soup.

    Lisa says:

    I think it needs just a little salt and a little bit of Sriracha.

    Chris says:

    Those noodles really soak up that broth; seems like it thickens as it sits. I like it.

    Lisa says:

    It would be really good with mushrooms and carrots… next time I’ll add those in.

    Chris says:

    Yum! And we’ll have to find shrimp paste; our anchovy-paste-and-fish-sauce substitute probably wasn’t quite as intense.

    Lisa says:

    Well there you go, now we have an excuse to make it again.

    Chicken and Shrimp Laksa
    2-3 tbsp peanut oil
    4 red shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    1 tsp minced fresh lemon grass
    1/2 tsp shrimp paste
    1 red chili, seeded an finely chopped
    1 tbsp ground coriander
    2 1/2 cups chicken broth
    1 3/4 cups light coconut milk
    1 tbsp brown sugar
    1 boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
    16 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
    9 oz flat rice noodles
    6 oz snow peas, sliced lengthwise
    4 oz bean sprouts
    scallions

    Soak the rice noodles until they are tender. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan and fry the shallots over low heat until softened. Add the garlic, lemon grass, shrimp paste, red chili, and coriander and continue to cook over low heat for two to three minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, coconut milk, and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken, shrimp, and noodles and leave over a low heat until the chicken is cooked through.
    Meanwhile, heat the rest of the oil in a wok and stir-fry the snow peas and bean sprouts for two minutes or until they start to soften.
    Spoon the laksa into serving dishes and stir in the snow peas and bean sprouts. Garnish with scallions, and extra chili peppers.

    4 Servings

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    posted in Asian, Asian Flavors, Main Dishes | 1 Comment

    8th June 2008

    Arak Cookies

    Arak Cookies

    We had a Lebanese food fest at our friend Megan’s last night, and one of the items we brought were these delicious Arak cookies, adapted from a butter cookie recipe in Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen. The original uses orange flower water, but I thought they’d be delicious with the anise-flavor of arak. Boy was I right — the flavor level was right on: just a hint of licorice without it being overwhelming.

    Lisa says:

    These are so addicting…

    Thad says:

    Mmmmm… very good.

    Chris says:

    I think they’re awesome — they’d be great with pistachios.

    Lisa says:

    Then they’d totally be Lebanese…

    Abbie says:

    These are delicious — and I don’t even like arak!

    Megan says:

    Yeah, how’d you think to use arak in these? Genius!

    Chris says:

    I’m trying to make room in my belly for more, but the other 9 courses we had tonight are making that quite difficult…

    Arak Cookies
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup powdered sugar
    2 tbsp arak
    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    Almond slivers

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugar, and arak until the mixture is light and fluffy. With a wooden spoon, gradually mix in the flour.
    Preheat the oven to 325F. Pinch off walnut-sized pieces of dough and roll them into balls. Arrange the balls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Gently press to flatten each ball to make round cookies about 1 1/2-inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle 3-4 almond slivers (or one pistachio) into the center of each. Bake the cookies at 325F 20 to 25 minutes or until they are firm to the touch. Don’t let them brown!
    Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets 5 minutes; sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

    24 Cookies

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    posted in Desserts, Middle Eastern, Recipes and Remembrances | 6 Comments


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