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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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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!



Sizzling Mexican Steak Fajitas October 18, 2010

Posted by Deniz Olcay in Mexican Dishes.
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“The most important thing to remember about fajitas is to eat as fast as you can, before your stomach realizes it is full” –  Anonymous

You will need

1 pound of skirt steak
Flour Tortillas
Pepper Jack Cheese
Sour Cream
3 Small Peppers (red, green, yellow)
Red and White onions

You will need for marinade

2 teaspoons of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon hickory salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of hot english mustard

You will need for guacamole

2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon of lime juice
1/4 red onion finely chopped
1/4 white onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Black Pepper to taste

You will need for salsa

2-3 chopped tomatoes
1/2 chopped red onion
1/2 chopped white onion
2 tablespoons of cilantro
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Black pepper to taste

Combine ingredients for marinade in a bowl

1. Combine 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of hickory salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon of english mustard and some black pepper in a small mixing bowl.

Cut excess fat from steak, and tenderize with fork

2. Cut the excess fat from the skirt steak, and use a fork to tenderize. This will also help the marinate infuse quicker if you do not have time to wait!

Pour marinade on the steak, and place in fridge for 12-24 hours (ideally)

3. Pour the marinade over the steak, and massage it in. Ideally the steak should marinate for a day. I definitely did not wait longer than 1 hour and it still tasted great!

Let onions soak in lime and salt for 5 minutes

4. While the steak is marinating, get a separate bowl for the guacamole. Chop a 1/4 red onion and a 1/4 white onion and let it soak in 1 tablespoon of lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for 5 minutes.

Mash the avocados and add the cilantro

5. Mash the 2 avocados with a fork, and add to the bowl. Also add 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro leaves. Do not discard the seeds, as they help prevent the guacamole from turning brown!

Combine ingredients for salsa in a separate bowl

6. Combine 2-3 chopped tomatoes with 1/2 a chopped red onion and 1/2 a chopped white onion. Add 2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons of lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I also add some Black Pepper to taste.

Chop peppers and onions, which will accompany the steak

7. Chop 3 tri colored peppers (red, green, yellow) and 1 red onion and 1 white onion.

Saute the vegetables in a cast iron skillet in vegetable oil

8. Preheat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet. Saute the vegetables until tender (5-10 minutes)

Cook the steak until medium, about 5 minutes per side

9. Remove the vegetables from the pan, and set aside with a cover to make sure it keeps warm. Using the same pan, cook the steak for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and let it rest for another 5 minutes. Once cooked, cut the steak against the grain of the meat.

Cut the steak against the grain, and serve with sour cream, grated cheese, warm tortillas and margaritas!

10. Place vegetables on a platter and put the sliced steak on top. Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, guacamole, salsa, warm tortillas and margaritas! Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds if necessary. Enjoy!

Eat quickly so you can have another one!