Monday, August 24, 2009

Wonderful dinner!

Time really flys when your living life! I decided that I really needed to get serious about cooking, baking and blogging. I am determined to attempt a nice dinner at least once a week for my husband, Cemal. Tonight (really August 11, 2009) was a first attempt. I decided that we would go with a fruity theme. Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs, Watermelon, tomato, Kalmata olive salad and Banana Rum cake for dessert! I found it very nice and relatively easy, though I would probably have to make dessert the day before if I were going to do this meal after working all day.

First the Hawaiin Chicken Kabobs, , recipe courtesy of dailyn2003 at, though I made some adjustments due to what I had on hand.

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 3 tablespoons pineapple juice

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 2 inch chunks

  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained

  • skewers

In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, oil, pineapple juice and garlic powder. After dicing chicken breast into 2 inch pieces, lay out chicken and pineapple chunks in a shallow baking dish. Pour soy sauce mixture over the chicken, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. If using wooden skewers, soak in water during this time.

Place chicken and pineapple chunks in an alternating pattern on to the skewers. Grill until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 or higher, taking time to rotate skewers as to mark all sides.

While we enjoyed this part of the meal very much I think we could have added watermelon, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes and onions to the skewers for a little more variety.

The Watermelon, Tomato and Kalmata Olive Salad, recipe courtesy of ( ) was so much more than I thought it would be.

  • 1 pound watermelon, seeds removed and cut into large dice

  • 1 medium beefsteak tomato, seeded and cut into medium dice

  • 1 small English cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into medium dice

  • 2 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup pitted and halved kalmata olives

  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 packed tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint leaves

  • 1/2 ounce ricotta salata, cut into thin strips

Combine watermelon, tomato and cucumber in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and gently toss to combine. Set in a colander and let drain. Transfer mixture into a salad bowl and combine with olives, vinegar, olive oil, mint and fresh ground pepper. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

I forgot the mint and the ricotta salata but I added cantaloupe which added a nice sweetness to the salad. This salad was great the next day too!

Our dessert came from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgeri, Banana Rum Cake.

I thought this cake was very good, great. I used Bacardi dark rum but I think that the cake would have been better with a spiced rum. I don't think the coconut in the recipe really enhanced it and felt that something was missing. I think next time I will use walnuts pressed against the sides of the cake instead of the coconut. I also think a nice caramel sauce layer would be great with this. Friends suggested that the caramel be simply drizzled over the cake before serving it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Learning to create Turkish food!

My husband, Cemal, is from Turkey and now is challenging me to learn how to create his favorite dishes at home. This has been somewhat interesting and difficult due to the fact that most recipes are written in Turkish (which I don't speak yet) and his understanding of how cooking and baking works is limited. While my first dish (sarma) was not a complete failure it failed to live up to his Mom's. Tonight I made Pogaca, which is a yeast bread that is sometimes filled with cheese and herbs. After watching a Youtube demo (in Turkish) and then finding a recipe in English and arguing with my husband about which recipe to use, I finally got down to the business of mixing and making Pogaca. Utilizing what we had in the house, I substituted provolone cheese for goat cheese and rosemary for poppy seeds. The only complaint is there wasn't enough salt in the recipe even though I doubled it. The provolone added to the taste however I would probably use creamy swiss or goat cheese next time. The upside is now I know that I can make this relatively quickly for those days that I don't pick up bread at the market.