OK, Now We’re Cooking…

After re-reading yesterday’s whiny post about how a) I never know what to make for dinner anymore and b) the natives are getting restless about it, it occurs to me that I rarely plan ahead these days. Dinner doesn’t cross my mind until about 20 minutes before someone wants to eat it, which explains why it’s either the same old stuff or nothing at all. (In the camper I could get away with that, which kind of makes me miss the camper.)

After yesterday’s epiphany I decided to change my personality and reform completely. (Historically my personal reformations last for about a week, but we’ll see.) From now on I Shall Plan and Make Meals Ahead of Time.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m going to lean on Ottoman dishes since they involve a lot of braised veggies in olive oil that marinade overnight. Easy. Totally delicious. But one HAS TO MAKE THEM AHEAD OF TIME.

I should be able to that.


Here’s what I picked up yesterday at the Fethiye farmer’s market:

That’s a cabbage, an armload of leeks, red onions, a kilo of various peppers, green onions, dill, parsley, rocket, apples, and oranges. We also got some süzme—a thick, strained yogurt we live on for breakfast— as well as a hunk of peynir (cheese).

And here are my food concepts for the next few days:

Braised leeks: Loosely based on this recipe for Zeytinyagli Pirasa (but I omitted the rice. Also I only had one carrot instead of two.) I made the this afternoon and they look out of this world. Seriously, how could anything with leeks, lemon juice, orange juice, salt, sugar, and olive oil not be?

These are the leeks so far:

Stuffed cabbage leaves: Loosely based on this recipe for Zeytinyagli Lahana Sarma (but I added ground beef and completely changed the spices & herbs). I’ve made the filling but will roll the leaves tomorrow, since today I had to use my large pot for the leeks.

Chicken stew: No recipe, just tossed this one together. (Fresh chicken stock I made yesterday, three sliced leeks, three sliced peppers, a bay leaf, salt. Let that cook down, removed bay leaf, added shredded chicken and sliced potatoes. Will serve w/ parsley. Easy. Smells good.) That’s for tonight.

I’d intended to document everything as I cooked today but kept forgetting to photograph ingredients before tossing them in the pot.

So much for my career as a food photographer.

By the way this was our breakfast, which was based on a Turkish meneman but frankly tasted way better. It’s just onions, peppers and tomatoes cooked down in olive oil and topped with a couple of fried eggs, a few crumbles of peynir, and some green onions & parsley. Tasty but no bigs.

OK, this is fun! Here’s what I made for breakfast yesterday, while the cupboards were still bare. Frankly I thought this was a pretty impressive save on my part:

It’s french toast made from stale ekmek (the local bread). No Canadian maple syrup unfortunately, but I dusted the plate with hot-cocoa mix and then drizzled pine honey over the whole thing. Very tasty. (No complaints from the peanut gallery anyway.)

Bye now!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason @Travel Junkies November 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm

That French toast looks really good. Have you tried it with powdered sugar and lemon juice?


2 Renee December 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

That’s a great combination, Jason. I love Dutch babies, which I always serve with butter, lemon and powdered sugar.


3 Clélie November 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Braised Leeks! Yum. That recipe looks good in your photo and in their instructions. Leeks are one of my favourite veg. Shall try it.


4 Clélie November 30, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Oh, and let me know about the personality change. Mine never last more than 30 minutes or so.


5 Elif November 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Hi Renee,
Nice to see you’ve tried out recipes from ottomancuisine.com. I’ve always appreciated the way my national cuisine treats the vegies, thanks to extra virgin olive oil and the overnight rest we give to those dishes, aka “yıldız görme”.

Thanks for the pingback too.

Elif – author @ottomancuisine.com


6 Renee December 1, 2011 at 10:45 am

Elif! Thanks for popping by. Yes my family and I are becoming big fans of the olive-oil/overnight-rest treatment for veggies. Absolutely delish and often so easy to make.

I love your site by the way. Not just the recipes, but the writing and layout too.

Renee 🙂


7 Jason @Travel Junkies December 2, 2011 at 12:09 am

Elif: Your website has made me hungry! I must try some of your recipes.

Renee: Thanks for posting the link. I love trying new dishes!


8 Renee December 2, 2011 at 7:59 am

Let me know how they work out. 🙂


9 Sonja December 1, 2011 at 4:18 am

Oh man… NOW I’m really hungry!! Great last 2 posts there Renee! Your “cooking” block.. lol.. that is how it goes for you creative food folk!! I get the hankering to do something a little “different” for food often.. but fail to embark on a new journey often enough (at least not often enough for my cravings!) Thanks for sharing your foods! YUM.. yes please.. remember MORE pics! 😉 Keep on blogging!!


10 Renee December 1, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Thanks, Sonja! Will do. 🙂


11 Elif December 1, 2011 at 7:24 am

Oh forgot to say, you can get maple syrup from Carrefour, in the organic food section, at least in Istanbul that’s where I find it at, and as for the french toast, I sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar mix on it right after frying, it tastes like cinnamon donuts, I’ve seen this on Nigella.


12 Renee December 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

Cinnamon sugar! Brilliant. Will try that next time. Thanks for mentioning it.

Over the summer I got hold of a nice ricotta, which I crumbled over french toast along with some chunks of lovely Turkish nectarine, a few chopped walnuts and a drizzle of honey. That was scrumptious.


13 Jenn December 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I love this post! I tried the Braised Leeks (Zeytinyagli Pirasa) tonight and it was DELICIOUS!! I added wild rice to it and put a cube of chicken stock (what can I say, we like those chicken cubes) and a dash of French Provencial seasoning. We don’t like cold soup, so we ate it hot, lapping it up with some French bread. Brian couldn’t get enough of it, but I’m not surprised because he LOVES Turkish food. Thanks for sharing!
Great photo of the veggies by the way! Oh, just picturing the busy Fethiye market now…..We bought pomegranates there like it was going out of style. Yum!


14 Renee December 2, 2011 at 8:16 am

Same: Scout prefers that I heat up the dishes, and I added chicken stock. Usually we love citrus flavors, but for some reason not so much with the leeks, and the stock helped balance out the flavors for our palates.

Cheers about the photo. Mark and I spent ages tinkering with the fruit-and-veg arrangement, lol. As for the pomegranates, I’m getting dangerously hooked on the nar soyu that’s all over the place. What will I do when we leave here????


15 Dogan Sahin January 7, 2012 at 6:35 pm

When there is talk of food, I’m there! Sounds like you will have an attic full of recipes by the time you settle at some place…Migration route is lengthy though…


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