under the sea in an octopus’ garden

It takes time to cook an octopus sous vide. But it’s worth the wait! You end up with perfectly cooked in its juices octopus, naturally and fully flavored, its skin intact. If you refrigerate it after cooking still vacuum packed, its juices gelatinize. It tastes amazing! It is beautiful served!v

December 28, 2017
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Vegetable Tian

For years my tians looked similar — overlapping round slices of vegetables layered in an alternating pattern. After the successful variation of Patlican Kebabi, I wanted to try the same arrangement of vegetables for tian. And loved it!

August 14, 2017
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Patlican Kebabi | Oven Roasted Eggplant Kebab

This recipe is an adaptation of southern Turkish style kebab, prepared in the oven. Eggplants are cooked twice — either grilled or fried first, and then baked with meat in a tomato and pepper sauce — to concentrate flavor. My version of Patlican Kebabi doesn’t look the same as Turkish, but the idea of vertical rolls allows to use large Italian eggplants we mostly have available in Central Texas.

August 2, 2017
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Lazy Rabbit

…I closed my French cookbook and made a lazy version, the one that requires the least amount of work and time in the kitchen. It was served with a glass of good brut only (lazy!), but of course, there are many choices for side dishes including spaetzle, pasta, vegetables, etc.

April 21, 2017
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Khashlama

I prefer slowly cooked beef shanks for plain khashlama and leg of lamb for festive version. A slow cooker/crock pot is the most convenient device to make this dish. Otherwise, assemble vegetables and meat layers in an iron pot, start on the stove to bring water to boiling and finish in the 300F oven by slowly cooking for another 3-4 hours. There is also a version when meat is cooked first; then it is layered with vegetables in small ceramic or clay pots and cooked in the oven to serve khashlama individually portioned. In this case, it only takes 1-1.5 hours in the oven — just to cook vegetables.

January 27, 2017
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Poultry Hearts and Gizzards Confit

Oh, this dish sounds so romantic in French — Gésiers de Canard Confit — duck gizzards, slowly cooked in duck fat. When cooked confit, strong muscle of gizzard becomes a soft and plump morsel, full of flavor, with a hint of gaminess. Gésiers de canard confit is a specialty in South West France that pleasantly surprises many tourists who try it for the first time. Gésiers are respected ingredient in a variety of warm salads, including famous Landaise salad. They are gently fried in a little duck fat before serving. They are also very good with buckwheat, roasted potatoes, or sautéed winter squashes.

October 7, 2016
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Carnitas

To cook 4 pounds of pork using traditional method, we need 4 pounds of fat. For people who count calories, it sounds really, really scary! Since so many people swear old school carnitas are the best and I call my kitchen a lab, I tried different cooking methods to see for myself. I slowly cooked larger and smaller pieces of pork in the oven, in croc pot, in a pot of lard, etc. Then I found Chef Roberto Santibañez’s recipe and that was the end of my search. I am a big fan of slow cooking and I am not afraid of fat, but for my taste these carnitas are the best.

October 6, 2016
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Bangladeshi Cuisine Inspired: Seafood in Mustard Sauce

My journey into the Bangladeshi cuisine started with making Kasundi and learning about one of its most popular dishes Shorshe Ilish, hilsa shad in mustard sauce. Just like some other ethnic recipes in my collection, this one is not authentic. I think of it as some sort of bridge between West and East for mustard aficionados.

August 24, 2016
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Chakapuli | Lamb Stew with Green Plums

The recipe below is a modified version of Chakapuli (Georgian: ჩაქაფული), a Georgian stew made with onions, lamb neck, unripe cherry plums (tkemali), fresh herbs (parsley, mint, dill, cilantro, tarragon), garlic and salt. It is considered to be one of the most popular dishes in Georgia.

Choosing the right lamb cut for the dish is crucial. This dish is cooked low and slow to make sure all flavors are developed. Lean lamb will become tough and dry at the end of the process. We need something with bones and connective tissues. The best cuts, in this case, are the leg and the neck of lamb. The neck is often sold as a cross cut steak and makes this dish very flavorful. This recipe doesn’t use any additional liquid. The meat is cooked in its own juices.

April 11, 2015
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