Sunday, January 30, 2011

Turkish Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

(Sulu Köfte)
Anybody who lives in Western Pennsylvania and regions close all have one thing on mind right now. STEELERS! Everyone is gathering their Super Bowl recipes and preparing to make an extravaganza of football munchies. Last weekend was the playoff game and I too was thinking about savory munchies. So in the tailgating spirit, with a bit of my international cravings, I found an easy Turkish recipe for meatballs in tomato sauce. No grape jelly and chili sauce meatballs in a Crock Pot this year - I am keeping things healthy and delicious.

Turkish Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
1/2 pound lean ground beef (90/10)
1/4 cup fine bulgur
1/4 cup long grain rice
2 small onions, one grated & one sliced thinly
2 cups beef broth
1 14.5 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (Halaby pepper)
2 cloves garlic, minced
dried parsley
gresh ground black pepper

Combine meat, grated onion, bulgur, rice, egg, mint, Aleppo pepper and garlic in a bowl. Season with a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper and a pinch of salt and set aside. In a heavy pot, saute sliced onion in olive oil and when transluscent, add broth, tomato paste, tomates and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. On a large dish, spread flour. Form small meatballs and roll into flour, making sure all meatballs are covered with flour. Drop meatballs into boiling tomato broth and stir slowly. Turn down heat to a simmer and cook meatballs for about 30 minutes until sauce is thick and meatballs are cooked. Garnish with parsley. After the meatballs are cooked through you can pop the meatballs and sauce in a Crock Pot and serve with the rest of your football nosh.

Izmir Kofte on Foodista

Sunday, January 23, 2011

White Portabella Pizza

Each weekend I try to explore a new recipe. I gather up information, tweak the ingredients to fit my healthy eating plan, seek the ingredients I can substitute or add and come up with something yummy. My experiments are all happily devoured. But each week I get the same comment from the man of the house. "How about something with mushrooms?" Gah! I can no longer escape this request! You see, mushrooms look scary to me. I don't eat them. I adore the mold that gives us stinky cheese and the yeast that makes bread and wine, but mushrooms are...fungus. And fungus is creepy. Sadly this is one reason I could never be a chef. I don't eat fungus and I don't eat critters who swim. Neither shrimp nor 'shroom will I consume. But he tells me these are scrumptious. Tell me if you agree, because I haven't tried one!

White Portabella Pizza
2 large portabella mushrooms
1/2 shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a small skillet, saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Remove from heat. Place portabellas top side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle with garlic oil, mound on 1/4 cup cheese over each and sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley. Heat until bubbly and melted, abut 5-7 minutes. Serve to your favorite fungus fan.

Portabella Appetizer on Foodista

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ethiopian Beef Tibs

This recipe is inspired by one I saw on the Cooking Channel show Foodography, a show that explores the history and variations of different foods. I was immediately planning my strategy of the making of Tibs. Ethiopian ingredients are not something one finds in their local rural grocery store. And being on a budget I swapped the Injera bread for a whole grain tortilla. It was a huge stretch but unavoidable. Then I moved on to the Berbere spice. Even my overstocked spice supply was inadequate. Thanks to Amazon, Berbere was mine in two days for under $10. On to cooking!

After cooking I dug into the warm beefy tibs. Spicy delicious yum! I tossed the tortilla in the end, it was too heavy and floury. Brown rice worked beautifully instead. Maybe some day I will get me to a place to try the real dish, but for now I am feeling the sweet heat and loving it.

Ethiopian Beef Tibs
2 lbs lean sirloin roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large sweet onion, sliced
1 14.5 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and cut into large chunks
jalapeño peppers, seeds and pith removed, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons berbere
1/2 teaspoon salt

Quickly saute beef until just brown in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Be sure not to overcook, let the meat be cooked medium. Remove beef and drain. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and saute the onions until barely translucent. Add the berbere and saute until fragrant. Add tomatoes, salt and beef and cook for a few minutes until the spices are blended in. Toss in the diced jalapeño and serve. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Spicy Beef Chili

My mother used to make chili often, but I have no idea what her recipe was. It's all lost now, and that is a sad thing. But back then when she was alive and I was young her chili didn't impress me at all. It had big scary looking beans in a rather smooth meat sauce and a flavor that was not exactly memorable. Now I crave something spicy and beefy and chili is the obvious choice. Since I don't have my mom's recipe to tinker with, I made my own. The beans are too valuable nutritionally to take away, so I did some fancy footwork to make them less obtrusive.

Spicy Beef Chili
2 pounds Ground beef
1 medium Onion chopped
3 cloves Garlic minced
1 can (4 oz) Mild green chiles diced
1 can (28 oz) Crushed tomatoes
1 can (8 oz) Tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Ground cumin
3 tablespoons mixed ground chiles:
    2 teaspoons Ground Ancho pepper;
    2 teaspoons Ground Anaheim pepper;
    2 teaspoons Ground Chipotle pepper

    1/4 teaspoon Ground Cayenne pepper;
    3 tablespoons your favorite chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
1 can (16 oz) Pinto beans drained
Rinse and drain pinto beans and pulse once or twice in a food processor to break them up. Set beans aside. Saute onion in canola oil until just golden. Add minced garlic and continue to saute for one minute and remove from pot. Brown ground beef in pot and drain fat. Combine all ingredients back into pot and allow to heat for an hour. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and bread, or Cincinnati-style with cheese and onions over spaghetti. You can also serve it on brown rice. Garnish with sour cream if desired.

Beef Chili on Foodista

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

(Kırmızı Mercimek Çorbası)
My daughter Mira and I are exploring many new meatless dishes for our "Meatless Monday" adventures. I have been trying to approach the day with more creativity than the usual weekday - to honor our new way of eating here at home. We have been keeping company with whole grain, lean meat and healthy fats simply because our low budget food choices were taking a toll on us all. At this point, the extra expense is paying for our long term health. The beauty of Turkish food is that it already uses these healthy ingredients, and is delicious. This soup is lick-the-bowl good and healthy too. What more can you ask for on a cold winter evening?

Turkish Red Lentil Soup
2 onions, finely chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup red lentils, washed and picked over
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
1/2 cup whole grain coarse bulgur
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
32 ounces vegetarian broth
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil
Dried mint to garnish

In a heavy pot, saute onion, carrot and celery in olive oil until golden. Add paprika, cumin, lentils and bulgur and continue to saute for a few minutes. Add tomato paste, water and broth and simmer for about 30-45 minutes until thick and lentils are soft. Using an immersion blender, puree to a creamy consistency, letting the bulgur wheat provide a bit of texture. Add lemon juice, salt and drizzle some cayenne oil on the top with a sprinkle of dried mint.

Red Lentil Soup With Harissa Paste And Smoked Hot Paprika on Foodista