I once created a cooking class, called 'Zen in the Kitchen'. Then wrote a book called the same. Then started the group with that name and the blog came after. All this happened in Turkish. Now is the time for the English version of it. Let's see what will cook here!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pumpkin ravioli with a sage hazelnut dressing

It's pumpkin time, isn't it? Halloween is just celebrated, now it's Thanksgiving time. Americans will give their thanks, by eating lots and lots next thursday. Among the dishes, will be a pumpkin pie, as usual. But they won't eat pumpkin ravioli. They won't, but we had it the other day. Not made by me, no no, I'm not that patient. Visiting a famous ravioli and pasta shop some time ago, which is Piemonte in Little Italy, it was impossible not to buy pumpkin-ricotta ravioli. It was an exciting buy, I must say. But then, I had to find a sauce for that. It was the easiest part. I typed 'pumpkin ravioli' and googled. Recipes started pouring from the screen, screaming, try me, try me! I didn't want a heavy sauce, that I knew. One of the recipes were standing there, silently, with an elegant smile. I chose that, from the food network: Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage and Roasted Hazelnuts. I didn't apply the recipe exactly, since I had my pumpkin ravioli already. I found the butter too much, and I didn't have parmesan at home. So I used 1/8th of a stick (approx. 1 tablespoon), I roasted the hazelnuts, I added 6-7 sage leaves to the butter. I had great Asiago cheese, from Buon Italy at Chelsea Market. So I grated some to go with another Italian delicacy. So happened this dish. We liked it. I think this simple sauce can be applied to pasta as well and as a Mediterranean by soul, I should have used olive oil instead.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Roasted peppers for pasta

I love the recipes that arrive as a bonus. So simple, so unforgettable, so appetizing, so unexpected. I love recipes that are created through a question: "What if?" What if I make a pasta sauce with the roasted peppers, that are sitting on the counter? Was my question. It was fall and I was buying kilos of red, sweet peppers each time I go to the farmers' market. I love them roasted. A wonderful addition to already colorful fall breakfasts; with some olive oil, homemade vinegar, sea salt, garlic and thyme (fresh or dried). That time, one of those gorgeous days in Antalya, I washed the peppers, roasted them (in the oven, around 200 -400 Fahrenheit- degrees for about half hour) and left on the counter so that they could cool a bit. I was in a mood for pasta. I looked at the roasted peppers, they looked at me. I said, what if I turn part of these peppers into a sauce. It could be like a basic tomato sauce, with slight differences. I could use heavy cream, if I had some. I only had some labaneh ('labne' in Turkish, a lighter version of cream cheese). The decision is made: Some of the roasted peppers are peeled, cleaned and put in a blender. The pasta is cooked, then garlic is sauteed in a bit of olive oil, then the roasted pepper puree is added, then some labaneh, a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then they became 'one'; pasta, cheese, garlic, peppers. Then I ate a bowl full, with some roasted pinenuts. I loved it so much. I had another bowl. I felt guilty. Oh yes, I did feel guilty but it wasn't my fault. The sauce was so out of this world!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good old pancake

Who doesn't have memories with pancakes? I do. Like the ones my roommate Heidi used to make, with her dad's recipe. Like the ones we made on the trip to Boston, in our old bus, with the Green Tortoise tour. Like the ones I made for my brother, when he didn't have an oven at home and when he asked for a cake or something sweet. So easy to make, such a great comfort food. Mine have apples and raisins and I used a mixture of flours (wholewheat and regular flour). I cut the apple (just one) in small pieces, I measured a quarter of a cup walnuts and 2 tablespoons raisins. One egg is required and I seperated the white. To the yellow of the egg, I added 3 tablespoons of grape molasses (you can use brown sugar instead), a cup of milk and a little olive oil. I mixed a little salt and 1 teaspoon of baking powder with the sifted flour and added the flour mixture to the batter. Last, I whipped the egg white, until it became like snow and added it too. You know what comes next, raisins, apples and walnuts. When they're all set, you just need to heat a pan, start by dropping a tablespoon of the batter. When it becomes bubbly, turn and cook the other side. If the pan is big, you can cook few of them together. Cook until you go through the whole batter and serve it by itself or with fruit or with jam or with marmelade or with honey or with maple syrup or with whatever you might want to eat with it. I love these simple comfort foods. Especially with a glass of tea, on a cold day...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Shiny golden potatoes

Shiny golden potatoes,
just out of the owen.
They shine, they shine, they shine,
you look, you look, you look.
You can't wait to eat'em,
but you can't take your eyes off'em.
Easy. Take organic potatoes. Scrub them well, under running water.
Cut them in chunks, like the ones on the photo. In a bowl, mix fresh rosemary (cut in small pieces), fresh thyme, salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika, lotsa olive oil (virgin please!) Put baking paper on the tray, dip the potatoes in the mixture, put on the sheet. Heat the oven. 200 celcius (400 fahrenheit) is good enough. They need to be baked at least 30-35 min. Check after half hour. Then serve'em with fish, meat, burgers, veggies, salad, or eat as it is. Too good to be true. Too easy to be true.