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Leeks and Carrots in Olive Oil (a la Turka!) June 18, 2014

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Healthy Eats, Quick Eats, Turkish Dishes.
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2 comments

I’d consider myself a professional eater (I’ve actually been eating every day for the past 28 years), and I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two paths to success in cooking a delicious dish:

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Ask mom.

Now, most of us might want to go route #2, because let’s face it, mom always knows best. But for those days when you’re feeling adventurous, traditional recipes just don’t satisfy one’s creative hunger.

When I say keep it simple, I don’t mean that you should throw some Chef Boyardee in the microwave. I’m referring to the rule of 3.

Use 3 main ingredients in your dish, and you’ll be surprised with how quickly you’ll be able to create a delicious dish. For this post I wanted to recreate a Turkish classic that follows this rule, which I’ve been eating since my childhood. I hope you enjoy it and are inspired to come up with your own original twist on it. Afiyet olsun (bon appetit)!

You will need:

The 3 main ingredients (you can also try tomato, green bean, and onion):

  • 2lbs of leeks (thinner the better, cut the green parts off, peel the outermost layer, wash thoroughly)
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 4 medium sized carrots

The supporting cast:

  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of short grain rice
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 or 2.5 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • Chopped parsley

1. Finely chop the onion and set aside.

2. Cut the green parts off of the leeks, and peel the outermost layer. When picking the leeks make sure you choose the ones that are thin. Wash thoroughly.

Chop the leeks at an angle, about an inch in length

Chop the leeks at an angle, about an inch in length

3. Using a dutch oven (if you have one) pour the 3/4 cup of olive oil and sautee the onions and chopped carrots (also cut at an angle)  for about 5 minutes.

Sautee carrots and onions for about 5 minutes.

Sautee carrots and onions for about 5 minutes.

4. Add the leeks and sautee for an additional minute or two.

Sautee the leeks for an additional minute

Sautee the leeks for an additional minute

5. Add 2 or 2.5 cups of boiling water to the pot (the water level should be equal to the level of the leeks in the pot. Don’t put too much.) Add 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the juice of half a lemon.

 

photo 2

Add water, salt, lemon, and sugar

6.Cook over low heat (simmering) for about 10 minutes (covered).

7. Add 4 tablespoons of rice and simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes (covered).

8. This dish should be served cold after resting for a couple hours in the fridge. You may also eat it lukewarm if you want, just let it rest in the fridge for a bit and serve. The longer this dish waits, the tastier it becomes. It makes for a great and healthy lunch.

9. Sprinkle some parsley over the plate (we eat with our eyes first, presentation is key!!), garnish with a slice of lemon, and put some fresh ground pepper on top. Enjoy!

Healthy and yummy!

Healthy and yummy!

 

Stuffed Grapeleaves with Olive Oil March 13, 2011

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Healthy Eats, Middle Eastern, Turkish Dishes.
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3 comments
After a long and lazy break, I decided that it was time to get back on track with my blog. And what better way to do it than posting the recipe for stuffed grapeleaves: a healthy dish that keeps well in the fridge, and can be enjoyed without the hassle of reheating or plating!
 
Since this dish takes quite a while to make, I typically make a huge batch and eat them all week long. Not to scare you away or anything, just make sure you have a couple hours to spare while attempting this dish.
 
I hope you enjoy this recipe, it has been field tested many times, and has received great results =)
 
 
You will need:
  
1 Jar of grapeleaves (make sure the leaves are light green, if they are dark, they are NO GOOD)
1 Lemon
2 white onions (medium size)
2 yellow onions (medium size)
2 cups of short grain rice
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of dried mint leaves
1.5 teaspoons of ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
4  teaspoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of blackcurrants (kus uzumu in Turkish, mainly found in specialty middle eastern stores)
1 cup of chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of salt
 
 
Ingredients for stuffed grapeleaves

1.. Open the jar of grapeleaves, drain the brine, and boil the  in water for about 20 minutes. Do not boil them over high heat, make sure it is a gentle boil. Drain, then set aside to cool.

 

Boil the jar of grapeleaves in water for 20 minutes

 
2.. Chop 1 cup of parsley and set aside.
 

Chop 1 cup of parsley and set aside

3.. Take 2 cups of short grain rice, and wash them over a strainer and cold water. Set aside.

Wash 2 cups of rice and set aside

4.. Take a small tupperware container and add 4 teaspoons of sugar, 4 tablespoons of blackcurrants, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1.5 teaspoons of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of dried mint leaves. Also set aside 1/4 cup of pine nuts, 1 cup of chopped parsley, and 2 yellow and 2 white onions chopped.

Prep all the ingredients and set aside

 5.. Heat 1/2 cup of Olive Oil in a medium pot, and add 1/4 cup of pine nuts. Cook for about 3 minutes, before the pine nuts start to brown.

Cook the pine nuts in olive oil

6.. Add the 2 medium white onions and 2 medium yellow onions into the pot, and cook until the onions turn translucent in color.

Add onions and cook until the onions turn translucent

7.. Add 2 cups of the short grain rice which you washed earlier, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add rice into the pot

8.. Add the dry ingredients which we set aside earlier.  4 teaspoons of sugar, 4 tablespoons of blackcurrants, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1.5 teaspoons of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of dried mint leaves. Also add the juice of 1/2 lemon and the 1 cup of chopped parsley.

Add dry ingredients into the pot

9.. Add the 1 cup of chopped parsley and 1/2 cup of boiling water into the pot. Simmer with the top covered until the water is absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat, and set aside with the top covered for 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Add 1/2 cup of boiling water and simmer over low heat until water is absorbed

10.. Once your stuffing and grapeleaves have cooled down, place 1 tablespoon of stuffing into the middle of the grapeleaf. Make sure the veins are facing up.

Place 1 tablespoon of stuffing into the middle of a grapeleaf

11. Fold the left hand side as shown.

Fold the left hand side

12.. Fold the right hand side as shown.

Fold the right hand side as shown

13.. Roll tightly from the bottom up.

Roll tightly from the bottom up

14.. Keep rolling, making sure the stuffing is not popping from sides.

Keep rolling, making sure the stuffing is nice and snug, and not popping from sides

15.. Viola! Repeat until finished with all the stuffing. (Yes this is the long part)

There you go! Repeat until finished!!

16.. Use the ripped or disfigured grapeleaves to line the bottom of a big pot. Drizzle some olive oil at the bottom and place your finished grapeleaves on top.

Place a row of ripped grapeleaves at the bottom of a big pot. Stack the finished grapeleaves over

17.. If you have grapeleaves left over, place them over the very top layer. Drizzle 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, and juice of 1/2 lemon.  Place a plate over the top layer, or just place the pot lid loosely so the water vapor can escape. Add 2 cups of boiling water and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Once finished, place a plate over the grapeleaves. If you do not have one that fits, place the lid of the pot loosely so water vapor can escape.

18.. Typically this dish is served cold. So When finished cooking, place the grapeleaves on a plate and set aside in the fridge until they have cooled down. Garnish with extra lemon slices.

Enjoy served chilled.

19.. Close up! Enjoy!

Yummy!!! What a healthy vegetarian treat!