Friday, August 24, 2012

Food Friday - Poaca

Before I post the last installment of Turkey and Greece 2012 and move on to our giveaway, I thought I'd leave you with an easy and, more importantly, delicious Turkish recipe from my Sister in Law.

Driving back to Gundogan from Gumusluk we stopped at a tiny bakery for a snack...HEAVEN IN MY MOUTH!! It is called Poaca (pronounced po-ah-cha). It is best served room temperature with tea!

This recipe calls for Nigella Seeds. If you've never used them they look like black sesame seeds but they are not. They have a very distinct taste and in my opinion those and the dill make this recipe so special.

Poaca - Dill and Feta Snacks

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 3 Tbs yogurt
  • 4 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg white (reserve yoke for an egg wash)
  • 1 bunch dill
  • 2 Tbs. Nigella Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Feta cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Finely chop 1 bunch dill (I used a food processor)
  3. Mix all ingredients together except egg yoke and Nigella seeds.
  4. Form dough into small balls and push balls to flatten in your hand.
  5. Fill with roughly a tsp. size of Feta cheese.
  6. Place formed Poagca on a lined baking sheet.
  7. Wash each with the egg yoke and sprinkle with Nigella seeds.
  8. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Turkey and Greece - Part 5

I know, I know. Slacking.

We came home from this epic and eventful, yet relaxing trip abroad and then SLAM, the busy starts. Work began....DRAMA.
Mom and Dad had a humongous car accident...DRAMA...They're ok (Thank Heaven) but poor Granny; broken nose, ribs and contusions all over. The moral of this not avoid the raccoon.
And for some reason, I have withdrawn from the world at large for no particular reason...DRAMA!

I am to the fifth installment of the Turkey and Greece trip which means this begins my plunge into Bodrum! We had fifteen days in a sensational villa with spectacular views and an even better seashore on which to get the best sun! And oh, the seafood...

Upper left: the said villa, upper right: the villa's view, lower left: my view (on the shore) lower right: medye dolma
While the shore is where we frequented for most of our 15 days, rest assured there was a host of other fruit fillings in this sweet treat we call Bodrum. There are a few places on Earth, that I have commented as "Heaven on Earth." Ireland is one, Hawaii (the Big Island) is another and Bodrum, Turkey on the Aegean Coast makes a trifecta that can't be beat.

The farmers market was rife with a morning mixture of any kind of dry goods you can think of including painted pottery, hookah and pestamal. But the real jems of this morning marketplace is the produce. I have always emphatically exclaimed that we Californians are spoiled to have the greatest produce in the world. That was before I had gone to Turkey and this market in Bodrum is unlike any I have seen before. It is a covered green grocery that spans acres and acres and if you want it, you'll find it. I had never seen hazelnuts as they occur in nature, eggplants, spices, miles of tomatoes, cucumber and green onions the size of which I had never seen. There were what seemed like miles of Turkish sweets, cultivated seaweed and pickled grape leaves, ready for stuffing. Then the crowning glory...gozleme, too (that my husband had once and again the following week because it was melt in your mouth deliciousness).

Upper left: Hazelnuts, Upper right: two varieties of eggplant, Lower left: dried fruits and nuts, Lower right: three kinds of peppers

Upper left: olive oil, honey and olives, Upper right: lots of Turkish Delight, Lower left: garden flowers, Lower right: grape leaves ready for Dolma.

This guy was great. He was so proud and sweet.


Let's not forget an evening in Bodrum City. We stayed in a region of the peninsula called Gundogan. On the other side of lots of little houses and a trek on a curvy road is the Bodrum city center with the famous Club Halikarnas. Although that was not our speed for this trip. Instead of dancing we were far more interested in shopping and eating. Let me show you the fish markets open late night for all your seafood needs!

One of my favorite meals on this trip (and I say "one of" because there were several -- Obam, Teyze's house and Galimera -- not to mention my sister in law's daily breakfasts) was at a place called Aras 63 Urfa. Aras serves Pide and Lahmacun and a host of other delights but those two delicacies have a special place in my heart so I focused there. When my husband and I were only dating, we went to dinner at the Guvenc house. Muberra is an amazing cook in all disciplines but since she is Turkish she is most skilled in Turkish Cuisine. She cooked Pide and Lahmacun that night. When we sat down to the table, Bulent was silent and satisfied with her meal and when he was finished he said, "if you can cook this, I will marry you!" I went straight to grocery store the following day and made Pide and Lahmacun with the skill of any Turkish woman! I was also married to him less than 2 years after :) !

Upper Left: Lahmacun, Upper Right: Gavurdagi Salatasi, Lower Left: So many meals are served with simple vegetables. It's such a shame I can never find fully grown rocket here in the states. Lower Right: Pide (It is believed that the Italians called Pizza after this.)
And then there's the shopping!

My favorite store was in a teeny beach town called Gumusluk - pronounced: goo-moosh-luke - or Myndos which is the ancient Greek name. This little town is friendly and sweet and smells of sea air. It is also the home of a lovely beach in a very small bay and a shallow waterway that allows you to "walk" on water to an island.

The store was called Cadi. Cadi means witch and can't understand why the store was called witch when it was a place of fairy treasures. So by my estimation, it should've been called Fairy! Becasue the only things witchy about itare the prices. A bit dear if you ask me!

Gumusluk was wonderful. A place to stroll for hours or for my husband and sister in law a place to eat Lokma and drink chai for hours while I mesmerized myself with the goodies in Cadi. The giveaway after post six of Greece and Turkey will be a treasure from Cadi, by the way. But only if I get 20 new faces in the box to the left!

This brings us to the end of this post. The following and final post of our epic trip to Turkey and Greece will be our trip to Greece, our drive back to Istanbul and our last day in Turkey, a day at the Grand Bazaar. See you soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Turkey and Greece 2012 - Part 4

Note: As I travel to different coffee shops around town it reminds me that later I will do a post about the best and the worst of these little hipster hubs.

But today, it's back to Turkey. Epic! I know. I've beaten a dead horse saying over and over how spectacular this trip was but I cannot overemphasize the nature of these grand places! And, what made them even more special was being there with family!

After a really fun trip to Ephesus (the most fun was our niece - but that's a different story) we made our way to the The National Park Beach. Absolutely stunning clear Aegean waters where you can just picture Jason and the Argonauts and Ulysees running their quests on the rocked shores of this amazing Nationally preserved park.

My sister in law asked what our favorite part of the trip was...though it was difficult to pinpoint any singular thing, the National Park Beach was an exceptional reprieve from the heat, from people, from reality itself.

We had a picnic with cheese and watermelon and pastirma. We tossed rocks. We drank Turkish Coffee and laughed. A lot.

And with scenery like this you can understand why...

It was a perfect afternoon.

As if things could get any better.... Roadside figs!!!!

And then.....

We drove into Bodrum at Sunset.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Turkey and Greece 2012 - Part 3

We woke early the following day to get a jump on Ephesus.  Being a history teacher makes this place extremely appealing. The ancient structures, the clever engineering, the unfathomable arches and a string quartet?! Yes, there were lovely fellows playing for the droves of tourists. I love imagining being present with the Ephesians. When you walk these ancient marble paths you wonder, What did they eat? How did they engineer aquiducts? How did they carve marble columns?  And how did Paul come to be here? Obviously they didn't have the technology we had but the structures facilitate something so sophisticated! They had toilets with plumbing. Houses with chambers that were attached to kitchen as dining rooms and bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and the mosaics...oh my, the mosaics. Ephesus is even mentioned in the Christian bible several times. It was quite a romantic place and it was sensational to be there with my family and husband. It was hot but the reward was a trip to the seashore before wending our way to Bodrum.

The Temple of Artemis

This is a 3000 year old structure!

Yeah. It's me. I think I'm more focused on the hat than the ancient avenue behind me. Still, it is a pretty nice hat.

After visiting Ephesus we travelled to the Virgin Mary's house. It is said that after the death of Christ, Mary fled to Turkey to avoid persecution. Such a pilgrimage...

The entrance to her modest home.

Prayers written on primarily T.P. and tied to the fence.

Ok. so I'm extended my original 5 day post schedule of Turkey and Greece to now, six. Five posts just aren't enough to really give you the feeling of grandeur that I experience. EPIC...I know I already said that but I can't help but emphasize the awesomeness...

So, next post, The National Park and BODRUM!!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Turkey and Greece 2012 - Part 2

I figured I'd start you out with the same map of Turkey I used previously. Other maps simply did not show what I want you to see. Pamukkale is in a region called Denizli. It includes Heiropolis and a host of other ruins. It is extraordinary and beautiful.

The drive from Afyon took a few hours but was painless with the inclusion of the iPad, Sekker Pare and the fam.

The day was hot and we were all exhausted but such is the life of a traveler....



Pamukkale is a place that tourists save their whole lives to visit. It was great but even better and rarely visited by Americans was a little place called Sirince (Pronounced Shir-in-jay). Sirin means cute - and oh, it's cute. But it was first called "Ugly" by it's Greek inhabitants because they did not want to be disturbed by outsiders.

The locals live a simple life. 

Vendors are out selling wares all over this village. Can you believe cars drive on these roads?

A sweet little church tucked in the Turkish hills.
We found a covered courtyard. So simple. A dirt floor, low tables and mismatched chairs. We ordered our tea and enjoyed the view. The gentleman that owned the tea house sat down and told us the entire history of Sirince. My husband translated for me...In not these exact words the man told us that the Greeks were here as slaves and set free to start their own lives. They found this little hillside and called it ugly to ward of unwanted guests. Then the Greeks left and this quaint hillside was re-found by the Turks. The name changed and folks settled, they struggled to make a living. So they opened up the "cute" place and began selling home cooked meals and local wines. Visiting "cuteville" was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. After, we ventured to Kusadasi (pronounced "Koo-shaw-de-si") to find a place to stay for the night.

This is a sweet memory for me. We stayed at a clean, small hotel which happened to be hosting a HUGE engagement party. The sun went down and we went into town to see the sights. I loved being in a place that my husband remembers so fondly. He talks often of summers in Kusadesi. It has been since overrun with tourists but it is still a charming place to visit, regardless.