Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Expat Kitchen: Turkish Chicken Thighs, Tabbouleh, and a Brownie Cake

If you're interested in the recipes, here they are:

Turkish Chicken Thighs

(original recipe from Eating Well, with multiple changes by me)

- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup low-fat plain yogurt (I added an extra 1/2 cup since I wanted more sauce)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 3 stalks fresh mint, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together, spread over chicken thighs. Preheat oven to 375º F/190º C. Bake chicken thighs in the oven for about 30 minutes, baste chicken as needed.

I don't have many pans, so I ended up baking these in my German loaf pan. The original recipe calls for you to broil them but I didn't want to mess with that. Admittedly, the sauce isn't super lovely when it's done, but it is tasty. I think that could be remedied if you baked them in a casserole dish where they had more space rather than being in a cramped loaf pan. But hey, those are the perils of cooking in an expat kitchen ;)

recipe by me, so it's not very authentic, just how I learned to make it in France :)

-2 cups cooked cous cous or bulghar wheat
-2 chopped tomatoes
-1 cucumber, diced
-salt and pepper, to taste
-lemon juice, to taste
-a few stalks fresh mint, diced (as much or as little as you like)
-few stalks fresh parsley, diced (as much or as little as you like)
-garlic salt (I didn't want to overload it with garlic so I added a few dashes of this)
-2 tablespoons olive oil

Cook your cous cous/bulghar, chop your veggies and herbs, mix them all together in a bowl. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper, olive oil and the garlic/garlic salt if you like, and mix together. Taste, and add to it if need be. You might want more salt, more mint, more olive oil, more whatever! It's pretty much up to your tastebuds.

I love tabbouleh because it's so light and fresh. I think it's best when it's had time to sit for a while and let all the flavors meld together. I know my recipe isn't straight from a Lebanese grandma's kitchen, but I ate it a lot in France and I base my recipe on the French imitation of tabbouleh.

Brownie Cake
from Smitten Kitchen's one bowl brownie recipe (while making a brownie cheesecake!).

I followed her recipe, but I used a 9 inch round pan. For that, this recipe makes way too much, so I used what I needed and saved the rest in the fridge for later. I'm sure you could freeze the extra brownie cake for another time...if it makes it that long (which it definitely wouldn't around me!)

So once it's cooked and cooled, take a small sieve or a powdered sugar sifter or whatever you have like it on hand, and dust powdered sugar on the top. If you want stencil something on there, write your name or message or draw a heart (whatever you like) and then draw around it to make bubble letters. I guess you could print out the letters and cut that out, or draw fancy letters to begin with, but I like the look of your own handwriting. It's best to do these BIG. That was my mistake last night, I was being lazy and writing small and it looked awful.

Gently hold your stencil in place and slowly dust powdered sugar on top. Don't go too fast, because when you pull the stencil off the powdered sugar can fall off and ruin your lovely stencil. Once you've covered the stencil, remove it et voila! You have a lovely stenciled message on your cake. If it flops, don't worry, just powder over it and pretend you meant for it to look like that ;)

This could also work with cocoa if you didn't have powdered sugar.

Last night I sliced up some strawberries and decorated the cake with that, but hey, it's your cake. Go crazy!

this is a cake I made for my younger brother a few years ago. Same idea, just with cocoa. And a big congrats to him for qualifying today! So proud of you! :)

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