Monday, August 15, 2011

Part Two: Western Turkey

After Istanbul, we traveled west along the Aegean sea.  Next stop on the trip was İzmir: the third largest city in Turkey and a beautiful coastal city with a nice sea walkway.  Also, on the agenda were Çeşme: famous for wind surfing (there was a wind surfing competition when we went there).  Additionally, we stayed near Fethiye giving us a break from the heat by swimming in beautiful, clear blue water.  Here are some select pictures from the past week of traveling.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Part 1: Istanbul Sights

Here are a few pictures taken over the past few days of traveling in the city of Istanbul.

Pictures taken in Istanbul's Spice Market.

Various views of the city taken from different points along the Bosphorus.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Hünkar Beğendi: Sultan's Pleasure

Hello from Istanbul!

Yes, over the past week of silence I ımanaged to slip away and to make my way to Turkey for a vacation.  My boyfriend is from Turkey so we are currently traveling in Istanbul, followed by several spots along the Mediterranean, and then a visit to his home town.

In the spirit of the trip I have prepared an authentic Turkish dish. The dish that I made is called Sultan's Pleasure (in Turkish it literally translates as the Sultan liked it).  It is a traditional Turkish dish that combines pureed eggplant with ground beef, two main ingredients that are easy and inexpensive to cook with. I have been using eggplant often these past few months so this recipe stood out as something that would be fun to make.

Although I wasn't sure how an eggplant puree would taste, I really liked the final result.  Neither the meat or the eggplant is overpowering, instead they compliment each other in taste and texture.

makes 2-3 portions

1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped into cubes
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
olive oil

1/2 pound of ground beef
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons water
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

For the eggplant:

1. In a large pan heat olive oil on medium heat.  Fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until soft.

2.  Add the eggplant, milk, salt and pepper to the pan.  Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the eggplant is soft.

3.  Once the eggplant is soft, pour the mixture into food processor and mix for 30 seconds to get a puree.

4.  Return the eggplant to the pan and mix in the cheese.  Warm the mixture until the cheese melts.

For the meat:

5.  In a frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the onions and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until soft.

6.  Add the beef, tomato paste, water, paprika, salt and pepper until the meat is fully cooked, about 7-10 minutes.

Serve by pouring the eggplant mixture on a plate and topping it with the meat mixture in the center.