Friday, February 1, 2008

Say Hello to my Turkish Friends

A few days ago I prepared a meal for 4 Turkish people. They are in the US for 6 weeks and are all restaurantors. Needless to say I was a bit nervous to cook for people with such discerning taste. I thought at first that I should get them liquored up so they couldn't tell the difference between a fillet mignon and a flank steak, but they had just met me and were hesitant to drink diet Miller. It ended up being one of the best dinners I have ever served. I broke in the new fryer with some spicy Calamari Fritti. Then we had some Bruschetta with tomato, basil, and garlic. Then we had beef kabobs with mushroom, onion and peppers. All drunken down with some fresh diet Miller and a few bottles of Smoking Loon red wine. The booz was cheap, but good enough to get the job done. And the Turks opened up a bit after they had a few drinks in them. Despite their above average English proficiency, they were very friendly and open. But I like anyone who likes to drink and eat.

The kabobs and bruschetta are pretty easy to make (post a comment if you want the recipe), so here's the recipe for the calamari fritti: (by the way, this is yet another cheap recipe. 2 pounds of squid cost me about $6)

Serves 5 people as a small appetizer
2 pounds of squid
Cayenne pepper
McCormick's Season All
Old Bay Seasoning
Knorr's Aromat Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Fryer with Peanut Oil.

  • Clean the squid. Take out the tentacles (cut them up to fry later, being careful not to break the ink sack). Be sure to take off the skin. Cut the squid into small round pieces about a quarter of an inch wide.
  • Soak the squid in milk for 1 to 2 hours
  • Heat the peanut oil to 350 degrees
  • Put about a cup of flour into a bowl and add all of the seasoning from above. I don't remember how much to put in. If you want it really spicy, put in a bunch, if not, don't.
  • Take the squid out of the milk (don't fully pat dry, just enough to make sure the squid is not dripping with milk when you put it in the flour mixture) and put it into the flour mixture.
  • Toss the calamari in the flour mixture until it has a very thin coat. It should not be soggy, but have a nice thin layer of the flour and spices.
  • Put one layer of calamari in the fryer for about 1 to 2 minutes, that's it!
  • Dump the cooked calamari on a paper towel and let sit for a couple of minutes before serving.
  • The sauce I used was simply a store bought marinara sauce kicked up with some cayenne pepper, black pepper, and a bit of hot sauce.

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