Saturday, January 22, 2011

Turkey: 3rd Stop on the Culinary Tour

I didn't miss the third stop on the tour, did I? We're all packed and ready to go!

In 2006, R and I spent a couple of weeks in Turkey. We visited Istanbul, Oludeniz and the Cappadocia Region. Here is a selection of photos from our trip:


Oludeniz (by the mediterranean, a great place for paragliding, which is how these arial shots were taken):

Cappadocia (known for its caves and rock formations made out of lava)

Here's a selection of some of the yummy food we ate during the trip:

When I saw that Joan of Foodalogue was including Turkey as one of the stops along the culinary tour, I was really pleased to have a little nudge to try a Turkish-themed dinner.

I picked out everything middle-eastern looking in my house and dressed up the table with it:

I still have wine that we brought home from Turkey (as I mentioned in a previous post, I hoard specialty food products). But, I couldn't justify not opening a bottle of it for this dinner. This bottle comes from Tursan, which is located in Ürgüp (pronounced something like ur-guhp, with a rolled "r"), in the Cappadocia Region.

It's a pretty sharp wine. I left it in the decanter for a while, to let it aerate. But, I think that's just the way it tastes.

As an appetizer, we had za'atar pita with hummus along with cashews and almonds.

For the main course, we ate a pomegranate salad, kind of like this one.

For the rest of the main, I really lucked out with finding two great Turkish recipes:

Turkish Chicken

8 bone-in chicken thighs, (about 3 1/2 pounds total), skin removed, trimmed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons hot paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place chicken in a large bowl. Add lemon juice and toss to coat. Whisk yogurt, garlic, ginger, paprika, mint and salt in a separate bowl. Pour the yogurt mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Remove the chicken from the marinade (discard marinade). Place the chicken on a broiler rack and broil until browned on top, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the chicken is juicy and just cooked through, about 15 minutes longer. (Thigh meat will appear dark pink, even when cooked through.) Serve immediately.

Turkish Rice


1 bud garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil
3 tablespoons shredded cashews or pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup uncooked rice (I used long grain rice)
1 quart chicken or veal broth, or cube or canned consomme (I used chicken broth)

1. Start oven, set at Moderate, 350° F.
2. Saute the garlic in the oil 3 minutes. Add the nuts and heat 1 minute only.
3. Remove from the heat, add the salt, pepper and rice. Stir to mix thoroughly, then add the broth or bouillon. Pour into a casserole, and cover the dish.
4. Bake 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Only thing about the rice, which kind of threw me off from the beginning, is the ratio of rice to broth. I'm used to a 2-1 ratio. But 1 cup of rice to 1 quart of broth is a 4-1 ratio. I ended up putting closer to 1.5 cups of rice. I would probably add even more rice next time because it was a bit on the soft side.

For dessert, we picked up a selection from Swiss Pastries.



FOODalogue said...

That cinches it! Although I've had 2 brief stops in Turkey, I really want to go and spend some time getting to know the country. Thank you for showing those photos (I recognized the ones from Istanbul; unfortunately, I haven't been to the other cities.) Loved the shot of the feet!

Also, your dinner looks delicious. I've had chicken on the brain lately so I may just try both plates soon.

bellini valli said...

I often wondered where the photo was taken of you and your boots. Just too cool. I have read that there are hot air balloon rides over the valley. In my dvanced years I think it safer than hang gliding since it has been years.Your meal is right up my alley.

Psychgrad said...

Actually, funny you should mention that Val -- the hot air balloon was much scarier. By the time we were trying to land, the wind picked up and we couldn't stop the balloon. The ballon and basket ended up parallel with the ground and we were dragged across farmers' fields for a good kilometer or so. Thankfully, no one in my balloon started screaming, but I could hear other passengers in nearby balloons screaming in the distance. Up there as one of the scariest moments of my life.

The paragliding was fun and peaceful. We did a few arial tricks, but the more tricks you do, the faster the decline and I wanted to take pictures. The landing was soft.

That Girl said...

I'm so jealous of your travels!

kat said...

That Turkish chicken & rice sounds just wonderful! You vacation photos really make it look like a wonderful place to visit.

torwen said...

What a beautiful journey you had!And very thoughtful to bring some wine back home :)

The za'atar pita with hummus are definitely something I will try and thanks for pre-testing the pestle and mortar thingy. I will use my electrical coffee grinder turned spice mill right from the start :)

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

Really enjoyed the photos from your trip - that souk looks wonderful - and there is no way I would ever paraglide or hot air balloon so liked the bird's eye view.

Interesting about the Turkish wine - can't say I've ever tried it....must investigate.

Hopie said...

Wow, travel, now THERE'S a good cure for the winter blues. Turkey looks beautiful! And your Turkish chicken looks amazingly flavorful. I may have to try that. A friend of mine went to Turkey and brought back some ground cumin for me and I swear it is the freshest smelling cumin I've ever had. It's like 10-times more pungent than what you'd get in the supermarket here! I love it.

Ed Schenk said...

I am envious. this must have been a great trip!!
There was a Turkish restaurant in Windsor some years ago that was very good!!

Mrs. L said...

That Turkish Chicken sounds so easy and so good, I'll have to give it a try. You've made Turkey a place I now want to visit with those photos!

Sweet and Savory said...

Outstanding photos. I really enjoyed this.