Do you ever find yourself staring into the depths of your refrigerator at 5:00 p.m. , wondering what on earth to cook for dinner? This happens to me more times than I care to admit. Menu planning sounds like a great idea in theory, but I’ve never been able to do it for longer than one week a year.
My favorite Turkish fast food restaurant in Istanbul, a meatball place!
photo credit: tecrubem.net
For those busy days when I’m short on time and inspiration, a good default menu for our family is köfte and pilav (meatballs and rice). Köfte is classic Turkish fast food. Of course fast food is a relative term since we live in a slow food culture, but I can make this meal in 35-40 minutes. I start with the rice and make the meatballs while it cooks.
2 cups white rice
1 TBSP olive oil
1-2 TBSP butter
4 cups of chicken broth (You can use bouillon cubes in a pinch, but it won’t be as good.)
Salt and black pepper to taste
Sautee the rice a few moments in the oil and butter until it is translucent. Add the chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, without stirring, until most of the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat, fluff with a spoon, and leave covered for 5-10 minutes before serving.
500 gm ground beef (1 lb.)
2 TBSP chopped onion
2 pieces of dry bread
¼ cup water
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ tsp dried mint
¾ tsp cumin
1/8 tsp garlic powder (1 minced clove if you have time)
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the dry bread in water a few minutes while you put the ground beef, onion, egg, ¼ cup water, chopped parsley and other seasonings into a bowl. Squeeze the water out of the bread and break it up with your fingers. Mix and knead the meat mixture a few minutes until it is thoroughly blended. Make flattened finger shaped meatballs with about 2 generous tablespoons of meat for each finger.
Cook the meatballs in a lightly oiled Teflon pan until browned on both sides.
Serve the meatballs with rice, plain yogurt, and a shepherd’s salad of chopped tomato, cucumber, fresh parsley, and onion, with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing.
Afiyet olsun! (Bon apetit!)
What’s your favorite quick meal, the one that rescues you on desperate days?