Turlou Turlou (mixed up vegetables)

This is a summer dish, but because of the winter we’re having so far I think I need a taste of summer. Turlou turlou means “all mixed up” in Greek. This resembles a vegetable casserole, similar to Briami or French Ratatouille, or even a Sicilian Caponata. Moms version is done in a pot on the stovetop instead of the oven. Even though my father was a hunter and liked his wild game this happened to be one of my dads favourite meals. I use cilantro here but flat leaf parsley is more common. You can omit the beans if you cannot find them, also I use a chilli for some heat and squash but again it’s not that traditional. Classic Mediterranean Diet food, (olive oil, veggies, tomato, herbs). This is a very healthy meal as a meal in itself or a side or appetizer for fish, chicken, rice, pasta or even a salad of mixed bitter greens. Allow the eggplant to be the star here… should be the most important vegetable in Turlou Turlou. Okra, sweet potato, cauliflower and a few other veggies would all work but I’ve personally never tried them. Have fun a please comment. Thank you.

Ingredients

2 zucchini
1 large eggplant
2 tomatoes
1 small butternut squash
2 red or orange bell peppers or combo
2 large carrots
2 small potatoes
1/2 cup large frozen Lima beans
1 onion chopped
12 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
Pinch of sugar
Olive oil
Handful chopped cilantro leaves
3-4 fresh basil leaves torn
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 birds eye chilli smashed (optional)

Instructions

Wash all the veggies (tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, carrot, peppers, squash, potatoes) and chop into 1″ cubes but DO NOT peel the skin off any vegetables. Set aside cubed veggies in a large bowl tossed with a couple big pinches of sea salt and a couple glugs of olive oil. Using your hands mix everything together until well coated in oil. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, add the a coating of oil and begin to fry the onions and half of the garlic. Toss in half the veggies and begin to gently stir with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes until all the veggies have had a chance to touch the bottom of pot and are well coated in the hot oil-onions-garlic. Add in the remaining veggies and keep stirring gently for a few more minutes, now add the remaining garlic, sugar, tomato paste, oregano and chilli pepper if using. Lower the heat to simmer, cover the pot and allow to steam for about 15-20 minutes. Uncover pot and mix the veggies, add the herbs and using a fork pierce a bean, potato or squash to make sure that they have softened to your liking. Turn off the heat and if mixture is too dry mix in a little water, taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. If you want it to be oily, add more raw extra virgin olive oil or to preferred individual serving plates and garnish with more herbs.

You will not be disappointed with the sweetness of this wonderful food. Serve hot or cold or even at room temperature, cut up a bunch of crusty bread and let people at a party help themselves to some turlou turlou. Other serving suggestions that will compliment include cheese plates, crackers, smoked fish. Alternatively you can take leftovers and purée in a processor and there you have it: “veggie dip”

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Grilled Halloumi with sweet n spicy sesame seeds

Happy new year fellow foodies

This may seem odd to some of you, but cheese, sesame and honey really go well together. Halloumi is a cheese from Cyprus and should be available at Middle Eastern stores, Farmboy, Superstore and Sobeys. This kind of cheese doesn’t melt to a liquid like mozzarella, but you can grill, fry or bake this cheese without it losing much of its shape.

Ingredients:

One package Halloumi cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Instructions:

Mix sesame seeds with cayenne pepper and lightly toast in a dry pan over medium heat, tossing for a few minutes and set aside–careful not to burn the seeds. Slice halluomi cheese into 4 equal pieces and brush each side with olive oil. Prepare BBQ or grill pan for high heat and lay slices of cheese on grill and cook 3 minutes per side until cheese starts to melt and have nice golden char marks on each side. Remove cheese to a plate, drizzle with honey and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds so they will stick to the honey coated cheese. You can serve this as an appetizer, dessert or even a side dish. Accompany this with toasted bread, wilted greens or sauteed cabbage. (future post)

I find this will pair well with a dry white wine, rosé or even some sweet wines should go well also.

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