Lor Tatlisi – Creamy Cottage Cheese With Sour Cherry Jam

Lor tatlisi is an unforgettable Cunda treat… 2 weeks ago, my husband and I had a short vacation to the northern Aegean coastal town of Ayvalik, more specifically an island called Cunda. We stayed in an old Anatolian-Greek house, now turned into a hotel with only 7 rooms. Hotel’s decoration had an antique touch to it and the house itself was built from a local stone called sarimsak tasi. It had a very high ceiling, wooden floors, gorgeous wooden windows, vintage heaters with flower patterns and antique furniture.

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Balik Corbasi – Fish Soup

Balik Corbasi - Fish Soup

It’s definitely not the best time of year to crave fish, but I can’t help it. Period. Those cravings would not be satisfied with frozen or farmed fish and I’m not an easy going person when it comes to less than perfect food. ‘Perfect’ fish is a bit expensive around this time of year, so the best thing to make with it is a fish soup, of course Ottoman style. In certain parts of the Black Sea region this recipe is still very common, with generous amounts of lemon juice and a hint of saffron, just like it used to be served in the Ottoman Palace. I’ve met a lot of people who fell in love with this soup at first sip, even those who claim to not like seafood. Here is the guide to your ‘Love at first sip’!

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Firinda Cipura – Oven Baked Gilthead Seabream

I’ve been craving fish for months, bluefish is my favorite, turbot comes next. There are rumors flying around about the soon-to-go-extinct bluefish, advising against consumption of it if smaller than 24cms, so I had to convince myself not to buy bluefish until the larger ones are abundant and the prices go down correspondingly.

If you’re asking what does all this have to do with the gilthead seabream recipe, it arrived just in time when my cravings ran in full force. They sell farm-bred seabream all around and it tastes like grass, so I would never recommend it. Farmed seabass is a bit more acceptable in terms of taste, but no farmed seabream for me, thanks. The one I baked was from Western Black Sea and so fresh and full of flavor. By the way, hubs is not a fish-fan at all, but once I had the time to check out on him while nibbling on my yummy fish, he was sucking the gelatinous bits over the bones. Here is how I baked it and let the flavors come out:

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Taratorlu Deniz Borulcesi – Marsh Samphire With Tartar Sauce

Meze dishes are the stars of Ottoman cuisine. The word meze refers to side dishes that accompany alcoholic beverages or main dishes. The other day, I saw a news report on a national TV channel saying that some freaks (yeah I am jealous, I should have thought of that before those guys) decided to take the Guinness challenge of cooking 1500 mezes in one day, original recipes from Ottoman cuisine and they succeeded. I am sure this samphire meze was one of those 1500 dishes. It’s a widely available dish in Turkey, especially at seafood restaurants. I suppose the plant is also quite common in the UK and Australia, I don’t know about the US though. In  Turkey the best deniz borulcesi, i.e. marsh samphire, is available in spring through early summer. The greener the better, as it reddens it gets saltier and coarser, you wouldn’t want that on your plate, considering the stringy bits in the cores of the stalks. Another trick is buying or picking them with the roots still intact, as this makes the process of removing the strings easier. If you ever decide to make this into a salad or meze, make sure that you season it with garlic, the two go really nice together.

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