52 weeks of cooking – Showing Off
I’m always on the quest for something new, with so many different dishes out there in the world, why eat the same thing twice. I put a lot of work into finding new dishes to make or even a twist on something old, because of this I spend a lot of time looking at food blogs. I have a handful of favorite blogs, ones that consistently update and have great recipes that I don’t often need to tweak. When looking for something new I start with the blogs, see if I can fall down a rabbit hole and get my hands on something unique, find an idea that leads me into more research. Other times I turn to Wikipedia and read about a cuisine from a country I don’t know much about, usually it’s this way that I find something really interesting.
Now that I have the name and description of this new dish I need to make I need to find out more about it. I read at least half a dozen recipes or more, see what they have in common see what makes them different from one another. From there I try to narrow it down to two or three and then combine the different things I like together to make my own version. If it’s a dish I’m not at all familiar with then I’ll follow the recipe’s measurements more closely, if not I’ll wing it and write down notes as I go. I like being able to cook by feel rather than a strict set of measurements, I encourage everyone to be comfortable with the food they make and eventually to make most dishes by taste.
This dish is born from a lot of research. Turkish manti are tiny dumplings stuffed with a simple ground lamb mixture and accompanied by two sauces, it’s the sauces and the texture of the dumplings that make this dish. After the dumplings are baked and boiled they get tossed in butter, slathered with caramelized tomato paste and finished with a dollop of garlicy yoghurt. The smaller the dumplings are the more fun they are to eat!
I sometimes make a cheater version of this dish, forget the whole dumpling folding part and make it a simple pasta dish instead. Make all the same elements, toss spaghetti in the caramelized tomato paste sauce, top with meatballs of the filling mixture and a good blob of the garlic yoghurt. Same great flavor at a fraction of the work.