Oct 21, 2010

Potato Casserole from ancient trade capital of the world. Istanbul!

Did I ever say that my workplace was right by the ocean. And to think ,it is the biggest ocean of the world. The Pacific ocean

Every day I come to my lab/office. I get out of the shuttle. And the shuttle stop is right by ocean.Right there. And everyday I notice the tides. How big or small the waves are. Is it a low tide or a high tide. The surfers on the waves. The seaweeds on the beach. Now that its fall, the strollers and walkers on the beach. And I remark, without fail, on the color and hues of the ocean. But seldom do I look beyond the waves and the tides and the beaches and the strollers. But on some few days, very rare and one like today, my eyes seek out the far horizon. And the one beyond that. And for a split second I contemplate how vast this ocean is. How bountiful it is and how immensely important it is to the very existence of life. 

And in the distance I see a ship passing by. And I think of all the ships, that so long ago, used to traverse the length and breadth of this very endless ocean. Ferrying merchandise. Spices, ivory, gold silver, silk and porcelain. The wooden boats that on stormy nights were washed away without a trace of a plank remaining. The ocean, that looks calm and serene now, nurtures dark secrets in its bosom. Like treasure house whose lock has been lost forever. No wonder that some of the most richest, most vibrant and oldest cities are the port cities. These cities have traditionally been home to  swarthy people who challenged the vast unknown housing a million secrets,  on vessels which were really just wooden planks. 

Guess that is why such old trade centers of the world has food that can feed the daring.  Food that has the ability to withstand  the onslaught of all cultures and yet remain hearty and comforting.Reminds me of cuisines from Kabul, Malaga,Venice, Istanbul. To name just a few. Talking of Istanbul, I have to come back to my post. It was nice in the ocean while it lasted :)  Today's post is about a Turkish potato Casserole. I hear it is a popular one is Istanbul and really only the Turks could turn a potato salad into something so gourmet. 

A vegetarian food for the bold hearted, shall we say?

Recipe adapted from ' Classic Turkish cooking' by Gille Basan

1-2 lb of baby potatoes. Halved. Quarter the bigger ones. No need to peel those little guys
2 medium onions. Thinly sliced
5-6 olives. Smashed
6 cloves of garlic. Crushed
1 tsp of whole cumin
1 tbsf of vinegar. Red wine will work best. But use any you have handy.
1 tsp of sugar
A pinch of  cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp of paprika
2 tsp of dried oregano.
1 tbsf fresh parsley. Chopped. Optional
2 tbsf nuts. Toasted for 10 min at 400F. optional
2 tbsf olive oil
1/6 th cup of hot water
salt and pepper for seasoning

Its pretty neat how you do it!
Start by preheating your oven to 450F
In a shallow pan, fry the potatoes and onions in the oil until they take a little color. 6-7 min. Stir in the crushed garlic and cumin seed and cook for a couple of minutes. Don't burn the garlic!  Stir in the vinegar, Olives and sugar. Add the tomatoes, paprika, cayenne pepper, oregano and parsley. Season with salt. Carefully transfer to a oven proof tray and sprinkle the nuts on top (if you are using them) and bake in the oven for about 30 mins. Till potatoes are tender and liquid is almost gone

Serve hot or cold. Comfort is comfort. This casserole is one of the best potato casseroles I have ever, ever had and am sure you are gonna make this again and again :)

A sturdy comfort  for the outlaws in you :)

Happy eating and healthy living!


Danielle said...

sounds wonderful and warm and comforting.

Shabs.. said...

wow, u get to see the beach everyday?!you r blessed dear!i love beach an havent seen one for quite sometime.....nice comforting recipe!i loved ur write up too.

Susan said...

Interesting recipe, but I was blown away by your wonderful chatting about the ocean, where you work, and so forth. Thank you for sharing. By the way, can I go to work with you one day...just to observe? Or I could sit outside and wait for your day to finish and just stare at the ocean.

Lyndsey said...

I love living by the ocean or Gulf of Mexico in my case. I go walk the beach and gaze out any chance I get. This potato salad sund great, my daughter will love this!

Jhonny walker said...

Hey ladies

@ Danielle: glad you liked the comfort :)
@ Shabs: I don't quite like the beach but love to gaze at the ocean
@ Susan: You are more than welcome:)
@Lyndsey: You are a beach stroller!! I somehow get very cold :)

The Japanese Redneck said...

How nice to be able to see the ocean everyday.

My mind would never think of that when looking at the beach/water.

Have a great weekend.

Sanjana said...

Omg, perfect for tonight's dinner- I was wondering what to do with all of the potatoes in my kitchen! Lifesaver :D I love reading your blog posts- they're like mini stories which always hook me in. Thank you! :)

Murasaki Shikibu said...

I love Turkish cuisine in general and this looks very exciting too!

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

That sounds so delicious!!
I have to give it a try.

And thanks so much for the follow and lovely comments on my blog.
Gladly I'll follow you back when my GFC gets fixed. I have some problems with it for the moment. :(
Your blog is great!

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Jhonny walker said...

@ Ramona: As I have said...I like the beach from a far..not on it. But I love the ocean :)
@ Sanjana: hopefully those potatoes found some good place now :)

@ Betty: My pleasure my pleasure :)

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Well, as for planting herbs. They only need watering and sunlight and would grow perfectly.
I am now following you.
Btw, when you get a chance, would you please follow me through GFC...I'd love to show you as a follower on my blog, if you don't mind.

Have a great day!

Betty x

Dr.Sameena Prathap


The potato casserole looks inviting...:)



Jhonny walker said...

@ Betty and Sameena: Thanks so much.
betty I am now following you. Happy that you want me as a follower :)

Terrianne, Call me Ree said...

Working next to the ocean sounds like a dream.
And your potatoes sound dreamy, too. Yum. =)