It is the season of the fig, and there are fig trees all around. I grew up in New Hampshire, where figs were flown into the grocery store and sold at exorbitant prices, and were at least a week old. Here I can pick a fig off the tree and it is glorious.
I have been simultaneously trying to eat as many and few figs as possible. For this to make sense you need to know two things.
1. I love figs, tremendously.
2. Figs are natural laxatives.
So up in Seferhisar, the fig tree was in the neighbors yard. We still had full access to the tree, because Bulet’s uncle is married to the neighbors daughter. When it was found out how much I loved figs, I was inundated. Every morning they would pick fresh figs for me. They sent Bulent’s 12 year old cousin up into the tree to pick the best ripe ones they couldn’t get from the ground. Several times Uncle Hadi would run over with a fig in hand, saying here—this is for you, a perfect fig!! And they were. The thing about figs is that when they are ripe they are soft. The softer they are the sweeter and juicer they are, however, there is a thin line between the perfect fig, and a soured one. Right before they go bad, they are perfectly ripe. So they would run over with the perfect fig and hand it over for immediate consumption, sweet and warm from the sun. We left for Marmaris yesterday, and with us they send back several pounds of figs, in different stages of ripeness—so that I could triage.
And so I am eating figs. Many figs. But only when we do not have plans far from the house. Just in case.
While my own mother is on a different continent far away, this is what she would have enjoyed had we been less than 6000 miles apart. Instead I made this for Bülent’s mother and grandmother. The menu was as follows:
Broccoli and Feta Quiche
Instead of pie crust I used Yufka, a savory fillo type product that is used to make böreks.
French Toast with Strawberry Syrup
I had to make the syrup because Maple Syrup is not commercially available.
I used about a pound of strawberries, pureed and boiled down with sugar, fresh orange juice and orange rind, which gave it a nice bright flavor. Credit to Emeril Lagasse for the recipe.
Simit and Poğaça
Cheese Plate and
Tomato and Cucumber plate (Traditional Turkish accouterment)
I did send my mother some tulips and a card. I am not a completely horrible daughter (unless you count the fact that I have moved so far away). And thanks to Skype we had a nice chat.
You KNOW you are jealous. Or if you aren’t you will be. Last weekend at the Farmer’s Market we picked up some home made cheese which turned out to be from manda (water buffalo) milk. It is amazing. Creamy. Tangy. I know this is because of the high fat content so I am limiting myself to one piece each day. But really I want to rip it out of the fridge and eat it with a spoon.
P.S. Manda yogurt is also spectacular. Thick. Creamy. Tangy. Am I repeating myself? I must be dizzy with desire for the rest of the cheese. Or some more of that yogurt. When you cut it with a knife it holds an edge. Ridiculous.
I have been inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, TFP aka The Food Pornographer, to post more of the foods I eat.
Reason one, they are incredibly delicious! Reason two, the food here is different from the food back home and it might be nice for people to see how it varies. Reason three, the aesthetics. I believe I am a fairly good cook, and even a good hostess. I set the table nicely, and arrange the food semi artistically, well, the food is presented in some way, not just slapped onto a plate like prison sludge. However, my food and presentation has Nothing, Nothing on the aesthetics slammed out on a regular basis by the hostesses here.
His mother’s table. This is not a special occasion setting. This is how it looks anytime we eat over. The color scheme changes depending on the dining mat colors, which match the napkins. I had to go out and buy a table cloth for Thanksgiving.
Salad. In my house salad usually accompanied by dressing, some tomatoes or apples on top, certainly attractive. Nothing like this salad, which kicks my salad’s ass. Once again, not a special occasion, just aesthetically pleasing.
When serving a pasta dish of some sort I would make sure it looks nice, then serve it family style. Looks good at first and then by the time it is on the plate the visual is gone. Here each plate is dressed accordingly, and looks as good as the first. Below is Manti, a delicate meat ravioli, covered in a garlic yogurt sauce onto which a red pepper sauce is drizzled. mmmmmm
PS. I am going to the gym on a regular basis. I really am.