Monday, April 26, 2010

Turkish Ev Yemek (Home Cooking)

We had dinner at Bulent’s aunt’s home the other night.  It is always a treat because she is a great cook.  It is also really fun because I get to practice my Turkish with her.  She is really patient and so excited by my progression in Turkish that she heaps on tons of compliments (positive reinforcement) and I always feel really confident speaking with here which actually raises my language level. 

This is one of my favorite foods.  Eggplant salad.  She roasts the eggplant ( it has that yummy charred taste), and then mashes it.  After she adds yogurt and garlic that she has pulverized with a mortar and pestle (it has a different taste from a garlic press when you process it that way, I have no idea why.)  It is creamy and tangy and just amazing. 


You can’t see this well because of the decoration of eggs and tomatoes but this is piyaz, a cold white bean salad, made with onions, parsley and apple vinegar.   

013 These are whole stuffed artichoke hearts, stuffed with peas and carrots and potatoes, topped with dill.  They are considered an “olive oil” dish and served cold.   


Below is a vegetable rice pilaf molded and served with green onions on top. 


This is how they serve steak in Turkey.  Meat is never eaten rare in Turkey.  This is called bonfile or tenderloin.  was cooked casserole style with tomato sauce and mushrooms topped with cheese.


She really went all out with the food that night.  This is great because I am still learning how to cook Turkish foods, and seeing and eating it give me a better idea of how and what to prepare. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pazar Again


For 30 liras at the pazar I got…

2 kilos of village spinach
1 kilo of Ankara Pears
1 kilo of Amasya Apples
1 bunch of mint
1 bunch of parsley
Fresh Garlic
Green onions
Bananas from Antalya
Local Eggs
2 kilos of garden Strawberries
Red leaf lettuce
2 bunches of arugula
1 package of balsam bread
half a kilo of manti
1 bunch of tere (greens related to arugula)
1 bunch of (unknown) greens that taste faintly of lemon*

Oh Boy!  So I bought all this stuff at the pazar then lugged it home and had to deal with it.  If I don’t take care of the produce purchases on Sunday, I may not use it, and then have to throw it away, which is wasteful and heartbreaking. 

To set myself up for the week I washed all the produce (you have to do this VERY well in TR to avoid Hep A.)  After I washed it and dried it I packed it carefully so it will stay fresh as long as possible.  Now all week we will have salads and veggie dishes that will be super quick to prepare because the produce is clean and ready.  It was a long hour in the kitchen, but when I get home late during the week it will be great to have food ready to go!

*If you have any ideas what these could be please let me know.  Also—What in the hell it yemlik, I CANNOT find an English translation.  It is an herb sold in the pazar which looks a little like grass.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Set The Kitchen On Fire. AGAIN.

A few weekends ago I went to the pazar and bought this cute chai demlik (2 part Turkish tea pot) to replace the stainless steel monstrosity that came with our apartment.   I was so proud of myself.  I have learned enough Turkish to argue.  Also I have learned enough about the bargaining culture to actually be able to get a good deal even though I am a foreigner. (Foreigners usually get ripped off.)  I was able to bargain down a third of the price!   I was so happy, a good deal and the pot was adorable.   I had been using it to heat water for Nescafe, but hadn’t actually brewed Turkish tea in it.  You have to brew Turkish tea for a half an hour. Apparently my new chai demlik couldn’t handle the heat.  After a while I smelled something funny.  It was my tea pot melting.  When I got into the kitchen the handle had melted off and was in a pool on the range—On Fire.  

Thankfully it was easy to put it out, and it was my kitchen.  It is always awkward when you set someone else’s kitchen on fire. 


Poor sweet thing. It did not deserve to end this way. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cute but Cursed


This is Butterfinger.  She is cute, but fate hates her!  Because she is not human, though she thinks she is, she needs at least two walks a day.  We try to take her out for at least two half hour walks a day.  But lately she has been screwed.  I am telling you, it can be sunny all day and then when I put on her leash it starts to pour.  A few weeks ago I took her out and I swear there were hurricane force winds.  Car alarms were being triggered by this wind. 

Today it was a little gray and then the sun came out.  I took her out for a walk, it was a little cool.  It had been warm and lovely for days.  So today when I took her for her evening walk I grabbed my coat.  And wouldn’t you know the second we stepped outside it stated to  rain. Not a problem.   We persevered.  But the rain started to come sidewise and it was very cold.  Butterfinger herself decided to turn around and come back.  by the time we cam back she looked like a drenched rat and my glasses were all frosted and my nose was red.

That poor dog.  Every time the sky looks grey, all it takes to unleash the wrath of the sky is to take out her leash.