Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Last night, we had one of the most bizarre meals that I’ve cooked for us at home.

I’ve been cleaning out our freezer in Istanbul, and I’ve stumbled across all sorts of strange foodie items from our travels.

Lemongrass and fresh turmeric from Bali.

Raclette cheese from Zürich.

Spicy pork salami from Budapest.

Cheddar cheese from London.

As you know, whenever we travel, I always bring back food items and spices that I can’t readily find here in Istanbul. And I know I’m not the only expat that does this either.

Last night, hubby also enjoyed our last Brooklyn Brewery Stout that we smuggled back from our last trip to NYC while I had a small cocktail using our leftover homemade strawberry-vanilla vodka from the summer.

For dinner, we started with a totally Turklish salad made from lettuce, roka, tomatoes, cucumbers and beyaz peynir, drizzled with Turkish olive oil from the Ayvalık area and aged balsamic vinegar from our Bologna trip.

That sounds sort of healthy, right?

Well, for our main course, things got rich.

I slathered an Asian peanut marinade all over a defrosted pork tenderloin purchased from the mysterious, lone Istanbul pork butcher. Then, I made a small pot of grits brought back from Charleston, S.C., with a homemade parmesan cheese broth and garnished with sautéed taze sarmısak (fresh spring garlic).
Finally, I boiled some quartered, peeled potatoes until tender. Then, I placed the potatoes on a baking tray, topped with pieces of the truffled raclette cheese. This went into the oven under the broiler for just a couple of minutes until the cheese got all oozy and gooey.
The truffle scent made my head whirl! One bite of these potatoes and I was in heaven!

There was no room for dessert after all this!

Afiyet olsun!

Have you ever made a meal like this – using whatever non-compatible ingredients you have on hand?

Raclette Potatoes with Truffled Cheese
Basic ingredients:
1          pound              small potatoes, or normal potatoes, peeled and quartered
1          package           Swiss Raclette cheese
To taste                       freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sized pot, boil the potatoes in salted water, until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

Place potatoes on an aluminum-lined tray, lightly brushed with olive or vegetable oil.

Place pieces of the cheese on top of the potatoes. Season with a little black pepper.
Make sure your oven is turned onto the broiler setting or about 200 C. Place tray of potatoes into the oven. Let cheese melt. This only takes a few minutes so don’t step away too far or you could burn your cheese.

Serve immediately.

Note: To eat Swiss raclette the traditional way, you would use an open fire or special grill pan to melt the cheese. I don’t have either of these options so this is how I did it.

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Julia said...

Aww, sad but nice that you're clearing out the freezer. How on earth did you manage to save the pork salami from Budapest for so long? A Hungarian friend brought some back for us once and we devoured it within days. :)
Afiyet Olsun. Looks like a good mix. :)

Karen said...

I have only had one Raclette meal in my life when I was 17 years old traveling through Switzerland - but it was with a giant wheel of cheese and the big tool for slowly putting melted yummy cheese on the plate. Memorable! Yours looks just as yummy - only missing the tools!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

we eat raclette a lot. i have 2 of the raclette ovens. i have never had it truffled before but i know we would all love it! this is my kind of meal!

BacktoBodrum said...

Sounds delicious , wish my freezer would yield such luxuries .

Umbereen said...

Am really going to miss your blog :( I look forward to your Polish adventures- but it was so special being able to read your blog one day and then go try and do the same the next day. Good luck with the move!

Unknown said...

Well at least you cleaned out the freezer and had a delicious meal out of it! xx

Joy said...

@Julia, I know! ;-) Our problem is that we bring the items back and I think we forget about them, wanting to saw them for a special day.

@Karen, raclette is slightly stinky, buy melty goodness.

@Joyce, Wow - 2 ovens, lucky you!

@Annie, Thanks! Unfortunately some things were freezer burned so we had to toss.

Joy said...

@Umbereen, Don't worry! I still have lots to share about Istanbul and Turkey. :-) More to come soon.

@Claudia, trying to make lemonade out of our lemons.

Ozlem's Turkish Table said...

loved all these treasures in your fridge!! - mine is very boring compared to yours : ) Just see what other treasures await you at your next adventure, but please keep on blogging, we will miss you : ) xx ozlem

Joy said...

@Ozlem, Hello dear! At least I'll clearly be able to stock up on pork now. ;-) I also bought a half kilo of pul biber to bring with me. More stories to come. xo