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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Turkish Delights - Last night with the MLCC and the Assiniboine Park Conservatory

Last night I had the pleasure to present some Turkish recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservatory at the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission at Madison Square. Gary Dawyduk, a MLCC/Liquor Marts Product Ambassador from the MLCC provided excellent pairings with each course. Enjoy!

The evening started with a welcome drink of Ouzo 12 Liqueur (Greece, #123133)$21.95
It was served with tonic water and I provided a small piece of wonderful local goat feta from Oak Island Goat Dairy.

The cheese is available at DeLuca's on Portage Ave. When the water is added to the Ouzo or Raki, it becomes a milky colour, referred to as Lion's Milk.

Paired with Pinot Grigio n/v – Barefoot Cellars (California, #4206) $9.99
1-2 cups plain yoghurt, drained
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic, mashed
pinch black pepper
2 tsp good olive oil

Drain cucumber and mix all ingredients together. Cover and chill. Enjoy with flat bread, as a salad or a topping.

Making your own yoghurt

4 litres milk (at least 2%)
2-4 tbs plain yoghurt (NO GELATIN!)

Pour the milk into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Let the milk cool to 100º to 110ºF. It should feel slightly warm to the touch. In a non-metallic bowl, whisk up the starter yoghurt and slowly add by the ladle-full, the warmed milk. Pour in the milk after a few ladle-fulls. Mix well and cover bowl with plastic wrap, cover in towels or blankets and keep in a warm place for 8 hours or until set. Refrigerate and you can use this for your next starter.

2. Stuffed Grape Leaves with Ground meat (Etli Yaprak Sarması)

Paired with Nemea 2007 – Boutari (Greece, #281956) $12.99

Sarma refers to a dish that can be prepared with grape, cabbage, or chard leaves. The term sarma derives from Turkish verb "sarmak," which means to wrap or to roll. It can be prepared with rice and spices (vegetarian) or with rice and ground meat. Both are delicious. Sometimes sarma is called dolma, too, yet on the western part of Turkey, rolled leaves are always called sarma.

makes 50-60 stuffed grape leaves
1/2 lb ground meat
1/3 cup white rice
2 medium size onions, grated or chopped finely in a processor
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup dill
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp olive oil or 1,5 tbsp olive oil + 2 tbsp butter
juice of 1/2 lemon

grape leaves
-If you have fresh grape leaves, boil water in a pot. Cook grape leaves ~1 minute in boiling water. Take out and let cool.
-If you are using jarred grape leaves, soak them in cold water for an hour; they tend to be salty.
-Put ground meat, rice, onion, black pepper, salt, parsley, dill, and 1,5 tbsp olive oil in a bowl.
-Dissolve 1 tbsp tomato paste with 3 tbsp hot water and pour this into the bowl.
-Mix all the ingredients.
-Save the broken, faulty leaves. Use them to cover the bottom of a pot with grape leaves to prevent them from burning.
-Take one leaf. Place it on a smooth surface the vein side up/shiny side down. Place a spoonful of stuffing at the bottom center of the leaf close to the stem. Fold in two sides first and then the bottom. Then roll it neatly like a cigar. Keep rolling until all the leaves are gone. If you still have stuffing, you can use it to stuff small bell peppers.
-Stack stuffed grape leaves in the pot tightly layer by layer.
-Add 1,5 tbsp olive oil or butter, juice of half lemon and water to barely cover the sarmas.
-Place a flat-ish plate on top of stuffed grape leaves so that they won't move around. Cover and cook on low for 35-45 minutes.
-Serve with crusty bread and yogurt.

Vegetarian version
• 3 C. rice, soaked in boiling water and salt for 1hr.
• 1/2 C. olive oil
• Juice of one large lemon
• 1 bunch green onions, chopped
• 1 bunch parsley, minced
• 1 large, firm tomato, chopped
• 1 tsp. dried mint (optional)
• Salt and pepper to taste
Thoroughly rinse rice and drain well.
Mix the rice and all the above ingredients in a bowl.
If you are using fresh grape leaves blanch in boiling water for a minute.
Stuff and cook.
You could use torn grape leaves or slices of tomato to line the bottom of the pan so that the bottom layer of stuffed grape leaves won't scorch.

3. Kofta

Paired with Zinfandel 2007 – Rosenblum (California, #6670) $19.02

1 lb ground meat (lamb, elk or bison)
1 fennel or Italian sausage, casing removed
2 tbs Baharat (or combination of mint, cumin, chilies, pepper, etc.)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs or Panko
1 egg

Mix all ingredients well together and form into small oblong shapes. Broil or grill for a few minutes on each side until done. Enjoy with pita, yoghurt tahini sauce or other dips.

It is often broiled in a large pan with hot peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic.

4. Turkish Green Beans (Zeytinyağlı Taze Fasulye)

Paired with Cappellaccio Aglianico Riserva 2004 – Rivera (Italy, #9250) $16.91

1 pound of fresh green beans or
1 pack of frozen green beans (either French style or Italian cut)
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
2 big fresh tomatoes, finely chopped, grated, or blended or 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup hot water

1/8 tsp ground cumin
pepper/ crushed pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste

-If you're using fresh green beans clean and trim them to 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
-Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the chopped onions and garlic until lightly brown.
-If you want to use tomato paste add it at this point and stir for a min.
-Add the beans and stir them until they slightly change color (app. 6-8 mins).
-Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins and then add sugar (cumin and pepper), water, and salt. -Cover the pan and cook with low heat until the beans are soft (30 mins with frozen beans - 45 mins with fresh ones).
I cook it for far less time as I don’t like very soft beans.

This is traditionally served cold, but it's good when it's warm too.

5. Turkish Pumpkin Dessert (Kabak Tatlısı)

Paired with Guinness Draught (Ireland, #643650, 330 ml) $2.36 and Vinsanto 2004 – Badia di Morrena (Italy, #7997) $28.98

Pumpkin dessert is a very easy-to-make popular and traditional recipe.

pumpkin or butternut squash
4-5 cloves
crushed walnuts

The ratio of pumpkin to sugar is 1 to 1/2. I used 3 cups of squash and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Peel the pumpkin, cut it into big chunks, and put in a pot. Put sugar on and let it sit over night. It will release water, so you don't need to add water when you're cooking it. The next day, add 4-5 cloves in to the pot and cook on medium until the pumpkin is soft, approximately 30 minutes. Let it cool and garnish with walnuts or grated coconut.

For an Irish touch, serve with Guinness.

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