We are now in the throes of Summer. The fresh seasonal and local produce is all around us. My favorite time of the year! AND it’s also when my family takes it’s annual vacation. This year we did an “AmazingRace” like whirlwind from Belgium to Amsterdam to Germany to the Czech Republic to Poland to Slovakia to Hungary to Austria….take a breath,…then we finished the trip flying from Salzburg Austria to Istanbul Turkey. Wonderful time, no problems, no issues, phenomenal scenery and people, many time zones, currencies and of course…THE FOOD!!! What’s a food blogger to write about first? Really!! I have 3000 pictures of sights and foods to remember the great trip by and the food choices along the way were varied and fantastic. Again, where do I start to share my food finds? Last night I was at a Farmers Market here at the Jersey Shore and it came to me that my first “What did I eat on my Summer Vacation” post came to me. Fresh vegetables. They were at their peak wherever we went and they are at their peak here at home. I’m going to ease my way back into blogging, I did give myself a 3 week break, so I’m happily back to work at it now. My choice was a simple salad that was made extraordinary by the local seasonal vegetables used by the cooks. It’s a chopped vegetable salad that is a common salad in Turkey. First, this is my lingering view of Turkey:
Sit back from your screen and drink that view in. It’s of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul taken from the Karakoy Ferry we were on. It took us from the European side to the Asian side of Istanbul, the only city that straddles itself on two continents. Like that? Good. I’m glad. Now we move into the kitchen to prepare what the Turkish call ” COBAN SALATASI”, a common version of a Mediterranean chopped vegetable salad. As with most heritage and regional recipes there are variations with Feta or no Feta cheese. The version we had, see the lead picture, contained no Feta. The taste was crisp, clean, and refreshing. Maybe the amount of parsley in it contributes to that too. So, I’m giving you, the cook, the option to either include the Feta or not. Next time I make it, I’ll add some feta.
COBAN SALATASI—–TURKISH SHEPHERD’S SALAD
SERVES: 4-5 TIME:45 MINUTES
2 RIPE LARGE TOMATOES, DICED
2 MEDIUM SIZED CUBANELLE (ITALIAN FRYING PEPPERS), SLICED AND DICED
1 MEDIUM CUCUMBER, DICED
1 SMALL SWEET ONION, DICED FINE
1/2 BUNCH ITALIAN FLAT LEAF PARSLEY COARSELY MINCED
1/4 CUP CUBED FETA
SEA SALT/KOSHER SALT
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
JUICE OF ONE WHOLE LEMON
Whisk 1/8 cup Olive oil with the lemon, season with salt and pepper. Let this sit for about 1 hour. Then whisk again. Mix all the vegetables together. Then pour the seasoned Olive Oil and Lemon over the whole thing and mix. Let this sit for 1/2 at room temperature.
that’s it… It’s simple, clean, and goes GREAT with the usual American table of grilled or BBQ meats and seafood we enjoy through the summer. It also makes a wonderful entree for a summer meal. Grilled smoky pita bread, olives, cheeses..see where I’m going with this? Well, nice to be back home with lots of memories to keep my fingers typing and kitchen cranking and hopefully some new things for you to make in your kitchens!!
Before we leave this Turkish delight….enjoy this pic of the interior of AYASOFYA, or HAGIA SOPHIA. For any fan of World Art and Architecture this is one of the sights one wants to see. I’ve wanted to see this since I was a kid first seeing it in a National Geographic Magazine.