Lunch at The Mansion
September 23rd, 2008 | Category: Friends, Turkish Cuisine
No recipe today. Just some snaps from a lunch we had at The Mansion last week. We were sitting around the table, reading the paper and having tea and all of a sudden we realized that it was way past lunch time. The lady of the house started listing what she had in the fridge from the day before: “Let’s see… We have braised Romano beans, borek… We can prepare a simple salad, reheat the fish left over from dinner.. And Cenk brought a Peach Crumble!”. Not a single word from anyone. This is so typical. In a matter of minutes, she’ll suggest that we set the table for a late breakfast and everyone will agree. Sliced tomatoes swimming in extra-virgin olive oil, local cheeses, black olives, homemade sour cherry jam, Nutella and toasted bread. No one will say no to those. Instead, she proposes “Menemen”! And we’re sold. We are SO sold.
The above dish is called Water Borek. Instead of buying store-bought dough (called yufka), you prepare the dough yourself, boil the thin sheets of dough in water (hence the name) and arrange layers in a baking tray with cheese or any other filling and cook it on a stove-top until the top and bottom get crusty. Next to it is Braised Romano Beans.
As always, Ralph is strategically located under the table, closest to the clumsiest guest. He is the smartest dog when it comes to food. He can determine who will drop the maximum amount of food with a single look at the crowd.
Here’s the Menemen prepared with lots of tomatoes and peppers. As you can see from the first picture of the post, some of us dove right in. Menemen is a Turkish dish that is prepared with eggs, onions, tomatoes and green peppers. I like it heavily seasoned with freshly-ground black pepper and hot red pepper flakes. We like it on the light side, so we use olive oil instead of butter. The dish is very similar to the Tunisian Shakshouka. First you fry the diced onion in oil, add the peppers, then lots of tomatoes and stir until everything gets soft. Then you add the eggs that are whisked with salt and pepper and cook just until the eggs are set. Allow me to experiment with ingredients and I promise to revisit this dish with a recipe.
I took a short cut this time. Instead of poaching the peaches in vanilla and star anise syrup, I’ve used vanilla sugar for an instant kick. Hope you are not throwing away your vanilla pods after you scrape the seeds. If a recipe calls for just the seeds (rather than the whole pod going into the pot for poaching), I always stick the used pods into a jar full of granulated sugar.
A week later, you’ll have a jarful of vanilla-scented sugar. And after a month, the smell gets even stronger.
And of course, tea with dessert.