Saturday, 9 June 2012

A Multicultural Mezze...

A day off with nothing in particular planned usually means I spend the day thinking about what to make for supper. Further to this, my next day off is a week away so I also need to think of things to make that during the week can be easily reheated or reinvented (a nicer way of saying "leftovers"). Unable to draw one specific meal from my global repertoire, I decided why not make a whole bunch of little things and serve them on one plate. Essentially, I made a mezze.
At its basic form, a mezze is a Turkish term for a meal that comprises of many smalll components, each bringing a different flavour and benefit to the meal. Though close in concept to Japanese kaiseki or Spanish tapas, the dishes of a mezze are all served at the same time on one platter from which diners pick their favourites and dip in an assortment of sauces.
An olio of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare, mezze is one of my favourite ways to dine as I often have trouble deciding on just one thing to eat (deciding on which wine to have is another story...). Still, my epicurian eccentricities led me to create a mezze that is not just of one culinary style but instead comprises of influences from my varied "homes;" a multicultural mezze if you will.
Represented on my mezze plate tonight are the following:

Krumb Mahshi: Epyptian cabbage rolls stuffed with turkey, bulgher wheat, herbs and spices (cabbage is currently thrives in my rain-soaked garden...);
Horenso Goma-ae: Steamed spinach in a Japanese sesame dressing (I add a Middle Eastern flare by using tahini flavoured with pommegranate molasses instead of soy sauce);
Quesadillas: I fill mine with aged pecorino cheese (rather like parmagiano) and cilantro before pan-frying;
Poulet a la Provencale:  Oven-roasted chicken in a pesto of sage, thyme, and rosemary (all from the garden, of course); in other words, Swiss Chalet two-point-oh;
Feijoada: Portuguese/Brazilian bean dish made with spicy peri-peri peppers and chorizo sausage (pork usually, but I of course subsitute with turkey);
Tabouleh: Bulgher-parsley-mint salad with lots of lemon juice, but since I used all my bulgher for the cabbage rolls, I used couscous instead....quinoa would also have been a fun option;
Kabu no Tsukemono: Japanese "pickled turnip"; I pickled baby turnips from my garden last year in ricewine vinegar, kelp, and rice bran (nuka);
Kaktugi: Korean kimchi made from daikon radish (kimchi stands as one of my favourite foods, and I have to admit that Koreans think my kimchi is pretty fly for a white guy...);
Gado-Gado: Sweet and spicy Indonesian peanut sauce (every mezze needs nuts, so why not branch out?);

With most of my favourite regions of the world covered on this plate, I'm sure you're wondering where New Zealand fits in all this. To finish, I've reinvented afghans into brownie form. As a kiwi can be a bird, a fruit, and a person in New Zealand, an afghan can be a dog, a knitted sweater, or a chocolate cookie made from corn flakes; my dessert is the latter, but thickened with eggs to form into a brownie.

I bet you thought I would say New Zealand would be represented in the wine. Since I've yet to include a Turkish component to what is no longer a classic Turkish dinner (the turkey chorizo and turkey-stuffed cabbage do not count as representing "Turkey"), my wine tonight is a Calkarasi-Bogazkere blend. These grapes are Pinot Noir like in structure as it is light in body with light tannins and an earthy-strawberry character.

So there you have it. A model UN in mezze form. Recipes for all these dishes go to the first person who sends me a comment on this entry!

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