My Thanksgiving Tradition

I have hosted Thanksgiving for the last three years. This year is my first year that I am not hosting.  Because I lived in San Diego and my whole family lives on the East Coast Thanksgivings usually included close friends rather than family. To that effect I began to create my own Thanksgiving traditions. I will share with you the most fun: The Apple Cider Martini.

Delicious, simple, and makes Thanksgiving a party!

Apple Cider Martini

2 parts Apple Cider

1 part Vodka

Place vodka and cider in martini shaker with several ice cubes and shake well.

Strain ice out and pour into martini glasses with cinnamon-sugar rim.

If you cannot obtain apple cider, “Simply Apple” juice works well as a substitute.

Cinnamon Sugar Rim

Mix equal amounts cinnamon and sugar. Pour onto plate. Use a lemon slice to moisten rim of martini glass. Dip rim in cinnamon and sugar so that the rim is evenly covered.

Warning: Serve these only after you have finished cooking. I cannot recommend using the stove or handling hot dishes while drinking these tasty martinis. Trust me. Please.

Iyi Bayramlar!

Happy Bayram! Last month was Ramazan, a month where practicing Muslims fast from sunup to sundown as one of the pillars of Islam. During this time people who are observing Ramazan pray more and ask for forgiveness for past sins.

We are not religious but we tried not to eat in public during Ramazan. We were aware that many people around us were fasting, and felt uncomfortable eating in front of people who were not able to eat or drink all day.

Today is the last day of Şeker Bayram. It is three day holiday that falls on the first day after Ramazan. The fasting had ended and now people get together—and eat. People dress up and visit family members, usually the households of older or elderly family members. Tea or Turkish coffee is served along with cookies and borek. The name of the festival is actually Seker Bayram or “Sugar Bayram” Candy is usually handed out to children and passed around at the family visits. The Next Bayram is the 3rd week in November is Kurban Bayram or “Sacrifice Bayram.” More on that Bayram later.

Road Trip(s) and Food

We have traveled quite a bit recently.  To Bodrum for our friends’ (from San Diego) Turkish wedding reception.  Then another week we drove to Bulent’s grandmothers in Seferhisar and on the way we visited Bodrum, Kusadasi, Izmir and Cesme.  Bodrum is an adorable Aegean town/city.  It is very developed and has a very busy party scene.  It has a lovely marina that runs the length of the main tourist drag, as well as a historical castle right on the sea and a renowned underwater archeology museum.

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While we were there we had some Lokma, which is cousin to If Jesus was a Baker.  Sweet dough, deep fried then soaked in a sugar syrup. While you eat them, you can actually feel your fat cells expanding.  But very delicious.

Marmaris JulyAug 2009 068 Once we got to Seferhisar our days consisted of visiting with family, eating, swimming and preparing to eat.  Uncle Shadi grilled every night, there were koftes, and veggies and lamb chops and chicken. Marmaris JulyAug 2009 146

Anything that didn’t move fast enough was grilled.  It was tasty.Marmaris JulyAug 2009 136 Here you can see koftes, corban salad, bulgur pilaf, and grilled tomatoes and peppers. That was my plate, I was excited to eat.  Don’t I look happy!

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Also naked!   I would like to state I was not eating dinner topless with Bulent’s grandmother.  Though it may appear as so.

Though in other news I over came  my shyness enough to tan topless in the yard.  Where people saw me.  Yay!

Some days…

I miss things.  Like 4th of July.  I really wanted to be at a BBQ eating messy ribs or burned hamburgers, drinking beer and watching fireworks.  Normally I would have just thrown my own BBQ, however, circumstances prevented that.  But, I think I am going to have one next week.  There will be burgers,beer, deviled eggs, potato salad, watermelon,  beer, ice cream, beer and maybe some vegetables.

I have been a little nostalgic about the US lately.  Last night I went out and did something about it.  I watched “Angels and Demons,” there is nothing like Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor to make you feel at home.  Especially when they are saving Vatican City, or destroying it.  Or simply standing still so I can look at them.

I have also been craving certain types of food that are more difficult to get here.  Like martini olives.  I am in mourning over martini olives, I can’t find them anywhere, it is really tragic.  Though I did find vermouth, which was exciting.

I have been craving Mexican food and sushi.  I miss the Mexican food from San Diego, you know the kind where the restaurant only takes cash, looks like a hole in the wall and has Abuela in the back cooking.  You know what I mean, that place people used to think it was a sex shop because of the loud moans, and if it was on fire the patrons would put it out with their bodies lest they could not get an orgasmic burrito in the Burn Ward.

So before Angels and Demons we went out for Mexican food.  It was actually “El Toritos” a California Mexican restaurant chain.   Not authentic, but close enough to appease the hunger.

The other food I have been yearning for is sushi. I want it pretty hardcore.  I am afraid to go snorkeling in Marmaris–if I see a fish—I just might just take a bite.  So if you know any good places to go for sushi in either Ankara or Marmaris, let me know.   I really prefer wasabi with my raw sea creatures instead of a la snorkel.

ALONG 101 WITH VOLKAN 10-2008 (1)