Thursday, February 10, 2011

Güray Pottery (Avanos, Turkey)

Hmm, so far, still no food posts from our trip to Turkey. But, bear with us while we feature other things. For example, images from our visit to a pottery maker while in the Cappadocia (Kapadokya) region of Turkey.

Güray in Avanos, Turkey.

Cave structures are common in this area of Turkey. We even stayed in a cave hotel!

See, very cave-y.

As one may assume, such a "visit" is probably an attempt to sell products to gullible tourists. ;)

In actuality, the whole affair at Güray was quite low pressure. Good thing, otherwise I wouldn't have enjoyed the visit at all!

We learned about the two types of clay (red and white) and a host of other things (very specific, I know), and watched their artists hand-paint intricate designs onto various objects.

Look at that design in the photo above! Holy. I feel like my eyes will go bad if I ever attempted to draw/paint such a thing. ;)

Painted works; not yet fired.

We also watched a pottery wheel demonstration. While they mostly use automated wheels now, they used one that needed to be turned with one's legs for the demo.

Being a family business of multiple generations, these two men are related.

Lookee what I found! Videos of the pottery demonstration at Güray! It's even the same guy doing the demos. There is also a longer video of the tour (approximately 8 minutes); you will feel like you were right there!

Watch videos #1 to #5.
Video #4 is the extended video.

Me with my creation.

After the pottery wheel demonstration, they asked for a volunteer to give it a try. Of course, you-know-who -- that would be me! -- volunteered. They gave me those loosey-goosey pants to wear to protect my clothes. I managed to pull out that pot/container above. The presenter was quite surprised; he said people do not usually manage to make anything remotely resembling anything when they have a go at the wheel. Well, I have used the wheel in the past, but that was only 2 or 3 times when I was in high school. So, I still think I deserve a pat on the back! =D

Psst! Look at that drawing in the back. Isn't that image quite puzzling!?!! It looks like an old man wearing a bra, doesn't it? If anyone can explain it to me, it would set my mind at ease.

After the fun at the pottery wheel demonstration, it was time to go to the shop!

The above two photos show a type of design that was commonly seen in souvenir shops and such.

Blue and white.

Small stuff.

Hittite designs

My favorites were the Hittite-design items. Look at the wine jug with the hollow center! We were told this probably made it easy for someone to carry multiple wine jugs; one simply had to "wear" them on their arms!

I was actually a little tempted to buy something from their store, but it was just too impractical. Imagine lugging breakables around!

My favoritest. Too cool.

For more photos of their many pottery pieces, visit their website:
Güray Ceramik House

They also have a 360-degree photo tour of the premises. I highly recommend taking a look: 360° Güray

eatingclub vancouver in Turkey (September 2010)
Sultanahmet Camii (Blue Mosque) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia) (Istanbul, Turkey)
Topkapı Sarayı (Palace) Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)
Turkey Flora
Hierapolis Ruins and Travertines (Pamukkale, Turkey)
Güray Pottery (Avanos, Turkey)

For Turkish dishes:
Turkey (the country, not the fowl)
Turkish Çay (Tea)

Enjoyed this post? Why not subscribe to our blog? Subscribe via reader or subscribe via email. Thank you!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Chinese New Year Menu (2011)

Happy Chinese New Year!

To celebrate, our family will be dining at Fisherman's Terrace tonight. However, we also had a party at home last night (New Year's Eve), inviting friends and family/relatives.

Our Chinese New Year Menu
(This will be one of those "ugly pictures, good food" kind of moments.)


Dumplings are supposed to resemble gold ingots, and hence, are good to serve during New Year dinners. We did two types: a plain one with a soy sauce-based dipping sauce, and another with Sichuan chile oil sauce.


Sichuan "Crossed Hands" Wonton Dumplings, Two Ways

Red-Braised Pork


I don't know what this dish is supposed to represent. It just happens to be delicious and popular. =)

Mao's Hunan Red-Braised Pork (毛氏紅燒肉)

Noodles: Pancit Canton

Of course, the Chinese New Year table has to have noodles to symbolize long life.

This is one of CSC's absolute favoritest dishes. Just the mention of "pancit canton" lights up her face and sets her eyes a-twinkling.

We have previously mentioned that we always make a humongo batch of pancit canton. Well, for this party, it was even more humongo than usual!

Yup, we used this whopping 18QT pot. And, there were barely any leftovers!

Recipe: Pancit Canton (Philippine Braised Egg Noodles)

Whole Chicken

Hmm, it seems impossible to make this dish look good in photographs.

This is simply whole chickens poached with leeks and shiitake mushrooms, served in its own broth. Oh, for interest, I made the standard Chinese ginger and green onion sauce to serve alongside.

When serving chicken for New Year's dinner, one has to serve the chicken whole to symbolize togetherness. There's the proof above: the chicken feet are still attached to the chicken bodies!

Mussels: Baked Tahong

Clams and mussels are supposed to resemble coins (money, in other words). Of course we would want them on the table!

We decided to make the Filipino/Philippine classic, Baked Tahong. Mussels are topped with garlic butter and cheese, then baked. The aroma when they came out of the oven was swoonworthy!


Baked Tahong (Mussels)

Vegetable: Braised Napa Cabbage with Abalone

This is one of those dishes with a "subtle, yet profound" taste profile.

A Chinese meal won't be complete without vegetables. We were also going to cook a broccoli dish, but did not have time. We had to pump this out quick!

We braised some napa cabbage in stock until soft, then simply used canned sliced abalone. The stock was then thickened slightly with cornstarch slurry.

That's it!

Shrimp: Shrimp and Walnut with Honey Mayonnaise

In Cantonese, at least, the word for "shrimp" sounds like "ha". Hence, it is quite nice to have a lot of "ha ha ha" when celebrating the coming new year. =D

This is our ghetto take on the restaurant dish of honey walnuts and shrimp with mayonnaise sauce.

In my much simpler version, I toasted the walnuts first. Then, I cooked the shrimp (seasoning them as I did) and set them aside. I made sure the pan I used was dry before proceeding. I heated some oil, added the walnuts and honey, stirring them round. Next, the mayonnaise went in. When they were well-mixed, I turned off the heat and added the shrimp back. I stirred until everything was well-coated.

This dish is so popular that even my poor-man's version went fast!

Whole Fish

Last, but certainly not the least, whole fish!

For me, there is nothing like Cantonese-style steamed whole fish. And so that's what we made. In this case, we used tilapia because that was the only fish available live at the Chinese supermarket.

Needless to say, one has to serve the fish whole!

Why serve fish, you may ask? Let me show you this sign at the Chinese supermarket which offers the explanation:

"The pronunciation of FISH in Chinese is as surplus which implies surplus of wealth."

To make this, we lay the fish on a little julienned ginger and sprinkled them with a little bit of coarse salt. I topped them with more julienned ginger, then some yellow chives. A little splash of Shaoxing wine, and the dish was covered with plastic wrap and microwaved for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Yes, you read right! This was simply microwaved. Easy.

In the meantime, I heated a small pot with a little bit of peanut oil and in a small bowl, added sugar, Shaoxing wine and sesame oil to soy sauce.

Instead of the usual green onions and cilantro, we opted to use yellow chives. So, when the fish finished steaming, I topped them with the tender portion of the yellow chives, then poured the hot oil over them. Sizzle! The soy sauce mixture was poured in next.

And that's our Chinese New Year menu!

Once again, Happy New Year to all!

We are off to Fisherman's Terrace to have professionals cook for us! What to have? Peking duck? Whole steamed fish? Crab or lobster?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Sautéed Shrimp with Sacha and Cilantro

Man, these shrimp were really shrimp-y! So tiny!

We had other plans for these tiny shrimp but that never came to pass. So, we had to make do with them. It was one of those use-it-or-lose-it moments.

In addition, we were pressed for time and had virtually nothing in the fridge. Our solution was this three-ingredient dish.

No joke, this dish really has just three ingredients. As the title of this post suggests, the ingredients are:

1) shrimp
2) sacha/satay sauce
3) cilantro


Sacha Sauce

We've used sacha sauce before, in Mama's Fish Head Soup and in our Mashed Potato Beef Burger (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Satay Cheeseburger).

Sacha sauce is also a popular condiment for Cantonese-style hotpot. It's made with some aromatics, chile peppers, brill fish and dried shrimp.

This (or something very similar) is also sometimes referred to as "satay", although this should not be confused with the peanut-based satay sauce, nor the Indonesian/Malaysian/Singaporean dish of skewered meats.

Anyhoo... it packs a big wallop of flavor is the thing to remember.

To make this dish, we heated a pan and added some oil, tossed in these tiny shrimp, some sacha sauce, and when the shrimp were cooked, some cilantro.

Easy, easy, easy.


My only complaint, as you may have already guessed, is that these shrimp were too small! They were not really stir-fry type of shrimp.

But, the sacha sauce was very flavorful and the cilantro did its job of lending a bright, fresh taste to the whole thing. This dish went very well and was very satisfying with some plain white rice.

We used sacha sauce in the following dishes:

Mama's Fish Head Soup
Salmon à la Mama's Fish Head Soup
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)

Enjoyed this post? Why not subscribe to our blog? Subscribe via reader or subscribe via email. Thank you!

Sautéed Shrimp with Sacha and Cilantro

sacha sauce

In a pan, heat oil over high heat. Add shrimp and as much sacha sauce as you like. When shrimp are cooked through, toss in cilantro.

Serve hot with plain white rice.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stuffed "Muffuletta" Flank Steak

Oh my, it's been a while since we last surfaced! So yeah, belated Happy New Year to all! ;D

Some of you may remember the muffuletta we made about two years ago. (Wow, it's been that long?!)

Oh, wait, you don't?

That towering muffuletta sandwich has salami, mortadella, Provolone cheese, and most importantly, an "olive salad".

The mere thought of that olive salad is enough to make my mouth water.

I mean, just look at that! The olive salad is a mixture of green olives, black olives, roasted bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, some garlic, some dried oregano, lemon juice and olive oil. Oh, and some parsley too.

So, when we had some flank steak sitting in the fridge, we thought, "Why not stuff it with the muffuletta flavors that we love?" And so we did.

I semi-butterflied the flank to even out the thickness, then layered a few pieces of salami, mortadella and Provolone cheese near one end. A generous amount of olive salad went on top of those ingredients, then I rolled the beef and tied it up.

My first attempt at butterflying flank steak resulted in some tears and such. Oops.

I seared the outside of the rolled flank, then finished it in the oven. As you can see, the Provolone oozed out a bit from the tears in the meat. But, no biggie.

We already know we love these muffuletta flavors, so it was no surprise that this dish was a success! Really, that olive salad is killer.

One little flank like that did not actually last until dinnertime; we treated it as an afternoon snack.

Enjoyed this post? Why not subscribe to our blog? Subscribe via reader or subscribe via email. Thank you!

Stuffed "Muffuletta" Flank Steak

1 piece flank steak
salami, sliced
mortadella, sliced
Provolone cheese, sliced
olive salad (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350F/374F.

Butterfly and/or pound the flank steak until even in width. Place slices of Provolone cheese, salami and mortadella near one end of the steak. Spread the olive salad (use as much or as little as you wish) on top of the other stuffing ingredients. Roll flank steak and tie with butcher's twine to make a roast.

Heat a pan over high heat, add a little bit of oil and sear the flank roast on all sides until brown. Place browned roast in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until desired doneness.

Let sit for a few minutes, slice, and serve.

Olive Salad
part of the Muffuletta recipe in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

1 cup green olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (1/2 cup)
4 ounces oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 garlic clove, minced

Mix, cover and refrigerate (8 to 24 hours).

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs