Friday, November 7, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy.

     I've had so many drafts that I was scheduling to post to this blog regarding a great many things - however, I've been extremely swamped over the past year. Has it really been that long?

     My daughter now lives with me full time, I've made a career change, and am starting back to school after nearly a seven year hiatus. All grand and wonderfully exciting things, but also a great deal of added stress.

     I've also begun writing for a local publication called the Free-Times as a freelance music writer, and am still trying to finish some audio work I did for a friend of mine who is an author. It's not my first narration, but my recording of an actual novel and I'm becoming overly paranoid about how it may not meet the level of perfection that I want it to. I should be within the last phases of editing this weekend though.

     As far as my culinary adventures I've begun to teeter more outside of my comfort zone, and have become far more willing to take risks - to experiment with new and exciting ingredients. In Columbia there isn't a huge global marketplace but there is a location called the "International Corridor". I've become extremely fond of squeezing that phrase into conversation with Jenn whenever possible. In any event, I've been able to locate some of the ingredients needed for certain recipes that I can't find in conventional stores or even specialty markets.

    I have sort of consigned myself to the facts of being a full-time father and soon-to-be student that traveling abroad is more than likely not going to be in the foreseeable future. With that being said, I really think that other than reading articles and looking at pictures of far away lands that I can really understand the culture in the best way that we can understand one another without music - Food,of course.

     In the meantime, I'll be compiling recipes for some fo the foods that I've been working on such as Pan De La Muerto that I baked for mine and Jenn's Day of the Dead Party, Tom Kha, the technique I learned to roll heart shaped sushi, and much more.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kofta Burgers and Greek Potatoes

The Plan

Jenn and I ate at the Mediterranean Cafe in Lexington and I had the Kofta dish, and I couldn't stand that Jenn couldn't have any due to her lack of eating mammals. I decided then that I had to adapt a recipe with ground turkey for her, but I couldn't just leave it at turkey Kofta, I wanted to make a burger. I scoured the interwebs in search of something similar to my idea - a burger on flat bread or pita, maybe even a pita pocket. To no real avail. I decided that I wanted to make my own Tzataziki Sauce, Hummus, Oliveda, and instead of lettuce - shredded grape leaves.

Turkey Kofta

2 lbs Ground Turkey
2 Tablespoons Coriander
2 tablespoons Cumin
2 tablespoons Turmeric
2 tablespoons Allspice
2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Ginger
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Fresh Diced Parsley
1/2 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs

Mix all ingredients together working everything together in a large bowl. Cover and allow to sit refrigerated for thirty minutes. When ready pat meat into 4 ounce thin patties (for my purposes, I used a George Foreman grill, and it only took around 4 minutes or so for them to cook). Makes eight 4 oz. servings.

Tzataziki Sauce

2 cups plain Greek Yogurt
1 cucumber seeds removed and diced
1/4 cup minced dill
1/4 minced mint
1/4 cup lemon juice

Really good, and really simple sauce. Basically, cut the cucumber in half and remove the seeds with a spoon and dice it into small centimeter sized cubes, and then mix all ingredients together.


1/2 cup pitted Kalamata Olives minced and strained
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 dash olive oil

Dice the olives finely and strain off any additional juice with a sieve or pat dry with a paper towel and combine other ingredients.

Greek Potatoes

3 large Russet potatoes diced
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Rinse and dice the potatoes, mix all ingredients together making sure to coat potatoes with oil and consistently with paprika, bake at 350 degrees until tender.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Zuppa Toscana!

     I am normally not much for chain restaurants, but my father had me convinced that I should give Olive Garden a try - if only for the frugality of soup, salad, and breadsticks. My daughter recently moved in with us (halfway through winter break), and on her first day Jennika and I decided to go to Olive Garden as a sort of treat for everything we had accomplished for the day.

     I decided to go with the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks with Zuppa Toscana as my soup choice. It was a really simple soup with kale, cream, and ground Italian sausage, but extremely flavorful. Apparently, you can choose a different soup throughout the meal, but I must've had three bowls of Zuppa Toscana, and had no room for anything else.

     Up to this point, I had never really had many Italian soups - sans Italian Wedding Soup and Minestrone.  I was beginning to wonder if Zuppa Toscana was just a soup devised for marketing by the executive chef for Olive Garden, but my googling determined that this was not the case and that it was a legitimate Italian soup. I decided to take on trying to cook it for Dacey, Jenn, and I, but I also knew I'd have to modify it because the original recipe obviously has pork sausage and bacon in it, and Jenn doesn't eat mammals. We were able to locate some Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage at the local grocery and some turkey bacon. So I worked the recipe in this manner:

  4 Sweet Italian Turkey Sausages
1/4 Cup Minced Marinated Garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Medium Onion Diced
1/2 Cup of Turkey Bacon Bits
4 Medium Potatoes Diced
32 oz. Chicken Broth
1 Bunch of Kale cut into strips
2 Cups Heavy cream

     Remove sausages from casing, add to stockpot with minced garlic, diced onion, and olive oil. Cook sausage until browned. Add broth, potatoes, and kale. Cook until potatoes are tender, then add heavy cream. Simmer for 15 minutes.

     For the extra kick from using mild sausages Jenn and I added some crushed red to ours individually. All in all, I think it turned out splendid, however I'd use about a good tablespoon of fennel seed for my next adaptation.

     That's all for now.