Thursday, January 31, 2013

Birthday Dinner at Saray Sofra: Turkish Restaurant Review

Hey All. Well Today is the 31st and I'm sad to see January go. I love the month of January. It's the first month of the year, it's winter for the northern hemisphere (except Dubai where it's summer year-round) and best of all, my birth month! Not just me, but a ton of other people. I have met so many people who not only share the same birth month, but the same day too! It's always fun to meet someone who shares the same birth date.

Any way, since we were new in Dubai last year I didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but this year! Oh this year was FUN! Fun comes in doing things you love with those you love. For me, I've been obsessing over Turkey lately; learning the language, watching the famous soaps, and GOD WILLING!!! planing a trip! I cannot get enough of Turkey it seems like. So, the hubster surprised me with dinner at a great tasting and beautifully decorated Turkish restaurant in the heart of Dubai. Score!!

It was our first time going to Saray Sofra ( palace table or table of the palace) and the first thing that struck me was the decor. Oh, there is nothing like a beautiful atmosphere to really open-up ones appetite. Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone to take pics and even if I had my SLR, I don't think the other guests would like me taking pics like I'm prepping a spread in ELLE decor. HA! The thought.

Any way, I did my best with the iPhone so bare with me. First of all, honest to God! The same day we went out for dinner I saw this pic posted by Kung Pik Liu of Sakina Design on her FB page. I was just mesmerized. I think these are some of the most beautiful lantern lighting I've seen. Living out in the UAE you see a lot of these, but many times the quality is bad and they look tacky.

Check out Sakina's pinterest page for more inspiration
 and original sourcing. 

Egyptian Stuffing Recipe For Stuffed Veggies

Hey all! Hope you're living the best of times! Today, I'm going to share with you a recipe, but in all honesty if you are a new cook or are totally lost in the kitchen, this recipe will be your worst nightmare as the measurements are not exact. As my mom would say: "just eyeball it." Ohhhhhh Lord, do I hate those words and yet here I am, eyeballing ingredient measurements. So I took a lot of pics so you can get an idea of what each step should look like and if you have questions feel free to e-mail me at askdebdoozle (at) gmail (dot) com. Here we go (wiping sweat off my forehead).

I recommend making a large quantity for the stuffing, because what ever is left over, you can store in the freezer and use later.

What you will need:
For the stuffing:
4 medium onions diced or LIGHTLY spun in the food processor
2-3 cans 16 oz tomato sauce
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
1 bunch parsley finely chopped
1 bunch dill finely chopped
Salt to taste ( I used around 1 1/2 -2 tsp)
Pepper to taste ( I used 1/2 tsp)

For the seasoned water:
Small sauce pan almost filled with water
8 oz. tomato sauce
about 1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbs olive oil ( I used extra virgin)
Salt and pepper to taste

In the end 
1 to 1 1/2 cups Calrose rice
3 medium to small bell peppers ( I used red, orange and yellow. They taste the best)
3 Anaheim chillies. ( I don't know what they are called in the UAE, but just look for long green peppers they may be spicy or non spicy depending on which kind you purchase)
2 Mexican squash ( Also known as Marrow in the UAE)
1 to 2 FIRM tomatos. If you use soft tomatoes they will dissolve and ruin while cooking. MUST BE FIRM!!!)

My measurements are guesstimates; as I said before, I've learned to "eyeball" measurements as opposed to literally measure. Add salt little by little and taste as you cook and it should be fine.

If the herbs look dry after you put tomato sauce add more sauce. It should look loose and saucy not dry and pasty.

When gutting the tomatoes and Mexican squash/marrow save the flesh. You can puree the flesh with the left over seasoned water you used to cook the stuffed veggies in and make soup out of it. It's SUPER delicious and tasty.

First, take all the vegetables you will stuff and gut them. Wash and set aside to dry. Chop up all your onions.

Next you will heat some oil, eyeball the amount ;o) Just remember, the amount of oil should be enough for the onion to simmer in, but you don't want the onions swimming in it. After the onions are golden, and I mean really golden, not black or white, add the tomato sauce. At medium heat, stir regularly and do not let food stick to pan. After the sauce has simmered for about 5-7 minutes start adding the herbs. Any order is fine.

After each bunch of herbs you add, stir well then add another bunch of herbs. After all the herbs are mixed in add salt and pepper to taste. Make sure mixture does not look dry, if so add more tomato sauce.  Let that mixture simmer for another 5-7 minutes. Don't over cook or the sauce might become acidic which = HEARTBURN :o)))

Now take your rice (rinse first) and add a spoon at a time of the above mixture until the rice and sauce are an equal ratio. You don't want more rice than stuffing or more stuffing than rice. When adding the rice and stuffing to each vegetable, leave some space at the top for expansion. Maybe about 1/2 and inch. If you stuff to the brim the rice will over expand and spill into the pot. Line these up in a pot that takes the veggies comfortably. Make sure the long veggies like the chillies and Mexican squash are angled not flat in the pot.

Now, separately, fill a small sauce pan with water, but not to the brim. Add about 5-6 oz of tomato sauce. Then add the minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. After all those ingredients are added, bring to a boil. Once brought to boiling point, with a ladle add some of this seasoned water to each stuffed vegetable. Then take remaining water and add to the entire pot, but at the level of the stuffed veggies. Do NOT drown the vegetables in the seasoned water.

Cover well and let cook on low heat between 25-30 minutes. When it's close to being finished just make sure the rice looks cooked.

My veggies washed and ready to be gutted.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Planting a Pineapple

Hey folks!! Happy New Year! Even though I'm about 23 days late, it's better late than never, right?! Things were a bit hectic with visitors flying in, daily outings, and my poor time management in full throttle. ;o) Will you forgive me if I show you how to plant a pineapple? Great! Let's get started.

If you've been around for a bit you know I love planting anything. Seriously, anything that looks like it can grow a root, I stick in water and wait for those white beauties to sprout. One day, I was browsing the blog pages and found a blogger had briefly mentioned in an unrelated post a that her mom stuck a pineapple in some soil and a new pineapple sprouted. I couldn't believe it. But, since her post wasn't actually about the pineapple, she didn't give a tutorial on it.

Sooooo, long story longer, :o) I decided to take my pineapple crown and stick it in water and wait for the show.

My pineapple beauty. :o)

Basically, I cut the crown off the pineapple and stuck it in water. After a week or so 
these little roots sprouted. I decided to peal off the dead leaves. You can see them 
in the bottom of the sink. 

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