I mentioned in my last column that I would like to go back to Turkey for a visit.
I never said why, but two good reasons are the food and ambiance. If you like shopping you would love the Covered Bazaar: 4000 shops and 30,000 people working in those shops. Maybe more—I last visited the country some time ago.
Of course I also visited the Turkish baths, but that was a bit of a let down. Everybody who was in the bath I visited was in a dour mood. Or maybe they did not like talking to strangers.
The taxi drivers made up for it. They talked all the time and were generally in a good mood.
This is all in Istanbul since it was the only city I got to see. But what a city: museums, mosques, tombs, ruins, a Roman theatre, temples, plenty of churches and even authentic turkish carpets for a bargain.
Everything is spotlessly clean in the city, and the people, for the most part, are very friendly.
Of course, me and my buddy visited several nightclubs to watch the belly dancers. And we were not disappointed. The ladies of Istanbul are truly lovely.
In one of the more seedy bars we wound up at, on the advice from are cabby, I fell in love with a belly dancer. She invited me on the stage with her, and we were having a great time when two really big Turks took me aside and told me I could either walk out of there or they would carry me out.
One of the men, a fellow with a huge black mustachio that curled like a mountain sheep’s horns told me that he hoped I hung around. He said he needed to exercise. I left.
We were actually not allowed to be in Turkey, so we had to be on our best behaviour. We left the dive and walked to a strip mall. They called it something else, but no matter. The food was delicious.
We started with fish and ended with lamb, plus freshly baked bread and all the manner of vegetables served on a platter all through the meal.
One vegetable that impressed me the most was egg plant. I had never been a big fan of that veggie up till then, but the way the chef did it there in that little restaurant. It was marvelous.
I will give you the recipe shortly. In any case we finished off with strong black coffee and baklava, it was a meal to remember. In fact, we never had a bad meal in Turkey, and we sure had a lot of good ones. Okay here is the recipe for Egg Plant in Tomato Sauce.
1 large egg plant, peeled, cut in slices and placed in a casserole dish
4-6 italian tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. each of savoury, thyme and marjoram
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese, grated
4-6 whole garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
Dash of cider vinegar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Arrange the tomatoes with juice on top of the egg plant and add the spices, garlic, parsley, sugar, vinegar and cayenne pepper. Bake at F 350 for 20-30 minutes—until well done—then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Let melt and brown, then serve.
This is excellent with any Lamb dish. Garnish with currents and chopped sweet onions if you like, and serve. Enjoy.
See Ya Next Week!