In all of our cooking vacations, you’ll learn about the culinary traditions of a particular region or country. But traditions don’t just vary from region to region, but also from cities to towns, which is something Aslihan, from Cooking on Turkey’s Aegean Coast and Olive Harvest Weeks on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast, discovered when she moved to the Aegean Coast. Here, she talks about delicious healthy Turkish cuisine that relies heavily on seasonal vegetables, even in the Winter.
“Bodrum, Aegean Coast of Turkey, if you are a culinary enthusiast, it is definitely heaven. About five years ago when I moved to Bodrum, I had habits of a city person meaning I would buy fresh vegetables and would try to freeze them so I would have some vegetables to use for my cooking in the winter. First year, people thought I was crazy, and I would not understand why.”
“Then I remembered my grandmother saying that we should eat everything that is in season which most of us forgot in the cities. Now I think I was out of my mind; in this heavenly place vegetables are so fresh at the local farmers markets all year. After five years I still can not stop myself from buying excess fruits and vegetables.
“We have a magic sauce here that is garlic, lemon and olive oil. We whip all of them together and pour it over any vegetable that is slightly broiled like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, anything you can name that is special to this area like sea beans (samphire). It becomes a heavenly starter and everyone of them tastes totally different, bringing the aromas of the vegetables out.
“The olive oil is not just olive oil in this land, its tradition, its life, it is like wine in France. Every family has their own olive trees if not olive orchards. Every family has their own ways of treating olives and making olive oil. Most of our guests are impressed with the amount of olive oil we use in almost every dish.”
By Peg Kern
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Originally published November 29, 2012.