I once created a cooking class, called 'Zen in the Kitchen'. Then wrote a book called the same. Then started the group with that name and the blog came after. All this happened in Turkish. Now is the time for the English version of it. Let's see what will cook here!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Love story

Have you ever fallen in love with a certain type of cheese? Stupid isn't it? Silly... But no. You may. It only takes few moments. You go to a far, far city.
It's called Kars. Then you go to a far, far village. In that village,
there is this guy with blue eyes. A tall guy with a beard. He makes gruyer
cheese as his family have been making for almost 100 years. The big, big
rounds of gruyer cheese -each weighs 70 to 90 kilos- are resting in cool rooms,
warm rooms. Some sweat. You take a piece of cloth and clean the sweat. They are like babies. They require attention. It takes almost two months for the big rounds to be ready for sale. How do you not love this cheese? Then you buy some, slice and eat them with few grissinis. A glass of wine is also required. Is it possible not to have wine with it?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Simple, yet colorful breakfast

Breakfast is the favorite meal for so many Turks. We love colorful breakfast tables. This simple, yet colorful item is called 'simit pizza', which can be served for breakfast. Simit is kind of a round bread with sesames which is sold on the streets of almost all Turkish cities. To prepare this recipe, you need 'fat' simits. You cut them in three or four pieces, then make deep cuts from the inside, empty the inner parts. To prepare the filling, you need to cut mozarella cheese (or any cheese that can melt) in small pieces, mix them with small chunks of red and green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms. You can add cold cuts or olives too. I like to add a little olive oil and dried oregano. Fill the inner parts of the simits and put them in the hot owen. 200 centigrate degrees is OK (400 F). In few minutes, your simit pizzas are ready to be served. Isn't that simple? You can serve it to your afternoon guests. I like to serve it with tea but red wine would be great with it too!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sweet bread

This is a sweet bread. Not because they add sugar or any kind of sweetner but it's because they use a traditional yeast, made of chickpeas. Yes, chickpeas. Surprised? Chickpeas are crushed and left in water for the evening, at a warm place. It becomes bubbly, then the water is used as a leavening agent. You're surprised? Yes, there are so many things that surprise us, when we go deeper in the traditional ways, old ways, our mother's, granny's ways... (Sorry that I confuse you. In Turkey, it's called yeast but yes, that's true that chickpea is not a yeast. It is the leavening agent.)

There is a traditional mezze in the Aegean coast, called the 'shipman's mezze'. It's made with dried slices (rebaked) of this sweet bread. What you do is mix grated tomatoes, grated cheese, oliveoil and if you wish some oregano (fresh or dried) and spread the mixture on the hard bread. With the juice of the tomatoes, it becomes soft and you eat it with much pleasure. I took the picture above in Karaburun, few years ago, when they served us this mezze on a different kind of dried bread, which is called 'peksimet'. If you're Greek or have been to Greece, you might have seen it there too, which is called almost the same. Greek seamen were also taking the dried breads when they had to be away from home (also the soldiers) for a while. It's still made and eaten in the villages in Turkey. At homes, they break the bread by hand but at the bakeries, the 2 day old bread (that is not sold on the day it's baked) are slices and rebaked to be sold as peksimet.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Make a wish

Make a wish.
Not for yourself only.
Not for your parents,
For your children,
For the loved ones only.
Make a wish.
Then tie it on a tree,
On the lonely tree of the savannah,
The pine on the hill of the island,
The mimosa, although it's not blossoming this season.
Tie it.
Then blow it,
So that it can fly to freedom,
So it can reach where it belongs to.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


They sometimes,
Fly with the wind.
Sometimes they break the wind,
with their wings.