Tag Archives: meat

The G20 Series: Turkey

24 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Usually when you think of Turkey, you think of  Turkish Coffee.

I think the perception is that it is similar to Greek coffee in that it is strong, as well as thick.

Nope, just thick.  Turks get their caffeine from tea, funnily enough.

Here in Toronto, many Turkey dishes are readily available – Doner Kebap, Koftes, Baklava, Borek (flaky pies filled with meat, cheese or potatoes) – but I am fascinated by one of their breads called Pide. It looks like a cross between a french loaf and pita bread.

Here is a Turkish Pide Bread Recipe from Epicurean.com.

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3 1/2 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Nigella seeds and/or sesame seeds

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water and let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in the flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 30 minutes.

To finish the dough, put the flour in a large bowl, made a well in the center, and put in the sponge, salt, olive oil, and lukewarm water. Gradually work in the flour to make a soft and sticky dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 15 minutes. The dough will be very sticky at first, but as you knead, it will gradually cease to stick to your hands. You should have a damp and very springy dough that will offer no resistance to kneading. Put the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1 hour, until well swollen.

You can refrigerate the dough at this point until you are ready to use it. To shape the pide, divide the dough into 2 pieces and shape each into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 550 degrees, and heat the quarry tiles 30 minutes before baking. Flatten one piece of dough slightly. Wet your hands, press and enlarge the dough outward into a circle. Stretch out the circle, pressing hard, particularly with the sides of your hands.

When the dough is stretched to a 10-inch circle, paint it generously with egg. Using the sides of your hands, mark a border 2 inch wide all around the edge. Dip your fingertip in egg; holding your hands above the circle, 4 fingertips pointing down, mark 4 horizontal rows of indentationsparallel to each other with your fingertips, staying within the border. Rotate the circle halfway (180 degrees) and mark 4 rows of indentations parallel to each other and perpendicular to the previous rows. Let your fingertips go down deep, stopping short of piercing the dough. Sprinkle a wooden paddle with some flour. Lift the pide, holding it at both ends, and stretch it into an oval shape while placing it over the paddle.

How it should measure approximately 9 by 15 inches. Make sure it is well brushed with egg and sprinkle it with some nigella seeds or sesame seeds. Slide it gently onto the hot tiles and bake 6 to 8 minutes. As it comes out of the oven, keep it in the folds of a towel. Repeat with the remaining dough. Pide will be at its best fresh from the oven, but can be reheated in foil if necessary.

Makes two large loaves.

Binnur’s Turkish Cookbook has a recipe for Spinach Pide, which is making me drool all over my keyboard.

Here are some places to discover Turkish cuisine in Toronto:

Anatolia Traditional Turkish Cuisine – 5112 Dundas St. W.

Cafe Istanbul -1440 Bathurst St.

Champion Kokorech – 980 Danforth Ave.

Levante’s Gourmet Kebaps -1406 Yonge St.

Pizza Pide Restaurant -949 Gerard St. E.

Turkish Delights Istanbul -444 Yonge St.

The G20 Series: South Africa

20 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Probably the thing I consume the most from South Africa is their wine. Expensive, but delicious!

In terms of the food, what I like most about South African cuisine is that there is a little bit of everything from around the globe.  A little bit from the British Isles (meat pies), the Germans brought their pastries and touches from various areas give South Africa a cuisine that is unlike any other.  And gives you the diner, the pleasure of trying so many different tastes and influences without having to travel very far.

The names of the dishes are as intriguing as the flavours – Green Bean Bredie (Lamb and Green Bean Stew), the fish and rice combo called Cape Kidgeree, the beef pie named Bobotie, served with yellow rice,  Biltong (jerky) Klappertert, or Coconut Pie to us North Americans and Mielie Pap, which is a staple of their diet – a cornmeal mix.

I was surprised to learn that South Africans love to barbecue.  Theirs are called braais.  This is where the spicy sausages called Boerewors are cooked, as well as many other meats.

I don’t know about you, but this post is making me hungry.

Anyone know where I can get a Boerewors on a bun?  Maybe two?

In the meantime, you can read up on the history of South African cuisine.  It’s absolutely fascinating.

The G20 Series: Russia

15 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

I love the fact that Russian cooking includes a lot of cuisines.

In The Best of Russian Cooking by Alexandra Kropotkin, soups not only get their own section, it’s early on in the cookbook, which isn’t always the case with North American cookbooks.  I like to believe this is because they place a lot of importance on them.

I also love that there are a ton of both cold and hot soups available.

According to Wikipedia:

“Russian soups can be divided into at least seven large groups:

  • Chilled soups based on kvass, such as tyurya, okroshka, and botvinya.
  • Light soups and stews based on water and vegetables.
  • Noodle soups with meat, mushrooms, and milk.
  • Soups based on cabbage, most prominently shchi.
  • Thick soups based on meat broth, with a salty-sour base like rassolnik and solyanka.
  • Fish soups such as ukha.
  • Grain- and vegetable-based soups.”

Over at Yulinka Cooks, Julia in Wisconsin gives you the low down on Borsch with her Borsch 2.0 entry (note there is no “t” in hers).

I like the decoding of Uzbek Soup in Anna’s Recipe Box.

Schi, a traditional Russian soup, might sound a little hearty for this warm weather, but I say give it a try.

If you live in Seattle, you can learn to make Russian soups like a pro.  But since you probably don’t, you can make some of the soups from The Food and Cooking of Russia by Lesley Chamberlain, discover Russian Food Culture and learn to read Russian menus.

And on your way to Russia, shop here for your authentic ingredients.

In the meantime, Clear Russian Fish Soup with Lime and Dill sounds delightful:

* 8 cups fish stock, clarify

* 1 pound white fish fillets, sliced into 6 serving pieces (salmon fillets are also excellent)

* 6 paper thin slices of lime

* 1 Tablespoon finely cut fresh dill leaves

Bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Lower in the fish fillets and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 3-4 minutes–until the fish is just opaque. Carefully lift the fish out and put into flat soup bowls. Pour hot stock on top, squeeze a little lime juice into each bowl, float a thin lime slice on top, and sprinkle with dill. Serve at once.

Friday 5 – Yes, it’s back!

4 Jun

By Chris Garbutt

Back to start your weekend off right. Check these out:

1. Grill brownies? Yes you can!

2. In China, what do they call Chinese food? Well, they call it food. If I ever get to go to Beijing, I definitely have to visit Roast Fish Legend.

3. The case – from a vegetarian no less – for a carnivorous environmentalism. Key quote: “Eat less meat. Eat better meat.”

4. While they’re still in season, try making a shaved asparagus pizza.

5. Strawberry Risotto? Are you kidding me?

Monday Review: Food 2.0

17 Nov

food203

Food 2.0: Secrets From the Chef Who Fed Google by Charlie Ayers, DK Publishing

By Stephanie Dickison

The basis behind Charlie’s cooking at Google was, he says “I want to help people eat better.”

When he was hired at Google back in ’99, it was to create food that would energize people, stimulate them and introduce healthy, organic and sustainably-sourced food into their diets.

That’s quite a lofty list – trying to persuade programmers and computer folk to eat well AND eat local.

But Charlie made over the office cafeteria into a feast for the eyes and stomach, all the while serving healthy food, including at least 2 raw salads a day.  He says that “You can save time and enzymes by eating raw foods,” and offers 5 easy ways to go raw.

In Food 2.0, Charlie lays out what every cook should have in their pantry, with fun and interesting options.

In fact, the book is laden with helpful hints and tips, whether you are a cook just starting out or an avid foodie who never leaves the kitchen.  The whole first half of the book is actually just information – what condiments to stock, how to freeze meats and broths, and why you want to invest in a rice cooker.

The second half is all recipes, which is what I am most excited about.

And in keeping with the pro-health lifestyle that Charlie writes about, the recipes begin with yogurt, smoothies and fresh juices and shakes.  The Wake-Up Shake-Me-Up Power Shake with black tea, rice milk, honey and strawberries?  Now that’s how I want to start my day!

And for lunch, I’m going to make his Dragon Breath Noodles with fresh egg noodles, peanut butter and chili flakes!  Don’t worry, I’ve got gum for afterwards…  And then there’s the Apple and Brie Quesadillas, Seattle Jim’s Pea Salad and Silicon Valley Split Pea Soup.  This is what lunch should be like every day – fresh, invigorating and yet so very healthy.

The dinner options are just as exciting – Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce, Snapper in a Yogurt Coat and Filet Mignon with Crisp Bacon, Seared Polenta and Wilted Spinach Salad.

I am not afraid to say that there are bits of drool on some of these here pages now.  I was trying to decide what to make for dinner.  I think it’s down to the Wild Salmon and Warm Beet Salad, but it’s still early.  I may yet go with Spinach Latkes and a salad or start all over again.  The photos and layout make it completely enjoyable to flip through over and over.

For some reason, maybe because he worked at Google and that says to me big corporation and lots of computers, I was expected a very different book – a more straight-ahead cookbook of standard recipes (read: boring and expected).

But this is a lively, very of the moment book with a lighthearted, yet easy-to-follow guide of fresh recipes that are good for you and lots of advice that may just change the way you cook – and the way you eat.

This is a great gift for the upcoming holidays.  And you might just want to go ahead and order yourself a copy while you’re at it…

They’re just a little more honest about it than we are…

24 Sep

From the Walrus: restaurants in Korea are much less squeamish than their North American counterparts about advertising what you’ll be eating.

Monday Review: How To Cook Everything – 55 Recipe Cards

28 Jul

How To Cook Everything – 55 Recipe Cards

by Mark Bittman

By Stephanie Dickison

Usually, if you’ve been cooking for awhile, the books and cards about the basics go to the wayside as the piles of large coffee table books amass on niche topics like carpaccio, bone marrow and vegetable terrines.

But there is a reason why we also go back to the basics – because they are simple, comforting and oh-so-good.

Mark Bittman has compiled 55 recipe cards that come in a bright lemon box, complete with dividers. The cards are cleanly designed and easy to read, which makes them much more accessible than the ones that are in a small italic, serif font that are yellowing on my bookshelf.

The dividers are easy to see and read:

Salads, Side Dishes and Soups

Pasta, Grains and Beans

Fish and Seafood

Poultry and Meat

Desserts and Quick Breads

And the recipes within are really all you need to make good food all week long.

There’s the comfort of a simple Vinaigrette, Chicken Soup with Rice or Noodles and Classic American Potato Salad. There are also those dishes that are great ones to master like Simple Roast Chicken, Classic Meat Loaf and Pot Roast.

For a girl like me, who finds cooking a breeze, but baking perplexing, I am grateful for the uber simple (and fast!) dessert recipes like Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, Quick Coffee Cake and Corn Bread.

There’s nothing wrong with branching out and trying new things, but I promise you – you’ll always come back to the oldies and goodies.

And now they are completely accessible and readable in a convenient yellow box.

I put mine right next to the stove, right where it belongs.

Friday 5 – Lists of Weird Food

18 Jul

by Stephanie Dickison

As a restaurant critic, I get to eat a lot of weird stuff, but nothing as crazy as some of the items listed here.  I thought maybe it would neat to look at what people in different parts of the world eat and what they consider to be normal…

1. Weird-Food.com – Weird food mecca with stuff from around the world that will blow your mind!

2. Weird Meat Master List – Do not read this if you love animals, are a vegetarian or are susceptible to a queasy tummy.

3. Weird Household Uses for Food – Look! You can find anything thanks to the internet…

4. Weird Food T-Shirts – Show your love of Fugu or Lutefisk.

5. Japanese Weird Food – no one does weird food like the Japanese….