Last week, we had friends come out to the village to partake in a little Turkish food workshop. For most of the guests, this was their first time in Turkey and tasting Turkish food. While some of the food and mezes were ready upon arrival, Salih's mom made fresh gözleme filled with spinach, meat, eggplant, cheese, and more. I want to describe and share some of our favorite foods to put on the table when guests come for a visit.
I like a classic and simple garlic hummus when there is a large selection of foods on the table. I follow the recipe from a wonderful Turkish chef name Refika Birgül. Her recipe is simple. She shares a couple of great tips to achieve maximum smoothness. I top the hummus with pools of olive oil, spices like mint, sumac, or Aleppo pepper and then surrounded the hummus with crunchy and convenient crackers.
This salad is simple, and I made it up on the fly. The day before the guests came, I made a quick pickling solution for the red onions. They soaked for just over 24 hours before tossing them in the spinach salad with lor cheese (a mild Turkish farmer's cheese), pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, chopped walnuts, olive oil, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. I was pleased with the result of this salad, even if I did not know where it was headed.
A classic Turkish meze - this a yogurt-based, cold side dish. Carrots are grated, sauteed in the pan with olive oil, cooled, and then mixed with full-fat Turkish yogurt and labne. I like to add a bit of garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped walnuts for garnish. I will be making this soon to share my personal recipe on the Hasat blog. Stay tuned!
We had a small assortment of mild Turkish cheeses, some soft, some hard. The cheese in the middle of the platter is akin to string cheese, and it peels apart as you hold it. Salih and I both love Izmir Tulum cheese which is a bit more firm, nutty and salty.
If you have been following recent Hasat projects, you might have seen a whole article dedicated to artichokes where I included this recipe for a grilled artichoke tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. I cannot recommend this recipe enough - it is a hit every time we make it!
An eggplant spread made of oven-roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and spices. I have found that both eggplant lovers and eggplant haters both can get behind this spread. This is not to be confused with baba ghanoush, which an eggplant spread made without tahini. I top my dip off with pomegranate seeds and herbs like dill and mint.
Can I make them? Yes. Do I make them often? No. These delicious grape leaves are stuffed with a rice mixture, tightly rolled, and then cooked over a low simmering flame. They are certainly my favorite food in Turkey. However, I know the power of delegation, so I will happily accept the help of my mother-in-law or aunt to assist me with making these time-consuming delicacies.
While in Turkey, somewhere near you, there is guaranteed to be a patient and strong woman sitting low to the ground, rolling out the renowned Turkish stuffed flatbread known as gözleme. This snack consists of a thin layer of dough stuffed with goodies and then seared over a convex gas-powered griddle. While cooking, the dough becomes speckled with dots resembling eyes (the Turkish word for eye is göz). It is a classic Turkish dish, and I just so happen to have many women in my family who are gözleme professionals!
Things I am Loving:
1. Photos of the Week curated by Alan Taylor from The Atlantic — Some stunning and impacting images worldwide.
2. Have you heard of the Bird Language still spoken in a small village in Turkey? Check out this video to learn more:
Notice some recent changes around here?
We are in the process of rebranding the blog! For quite some time, I have known that Hasat Günü is a mouthful, especially for those not used to speaking Turkish. We shortened the name to 'Hasat,' meaning 'harvest' in Turkish. Our new website URL is www.hasatco.com, and our Instagram handle is @hasatco. If you are already following or subscribed to the blog, you do not need to update or change anything about engaging with this space. This is simply an update that changes are happening, new designs are coming, and the creative energy is flowing! Stay tuned!