Thursday, September 23, 2010

Moving is never easy. I’ve moved six times since 2004. Turkey was my first international moving experience, and so far so good.

The “BIG” day went surprisingly well. It felt like we had an army of movers bringing in boxes and helping us unpack. I didn’t cook the first night as we were (and still are) living out of boxes.

However, I spent the following day organizing my kitchen and three bookshelves that house my cookbook collection and other fiction books. This project took several hours since I’m very particular on where I like my kitchen necessities located. Finally, I realized I needed to actually buy some food to stock up the pantry and to make dinner.

I decided to make a salad and cook pasta because it’s easy. I sautéed some diced chicken breasts and garlic, which I then added to the cooked penne pasta and finished with fresh basil. Season with salt, pepper and a little olive oil – Turkish of course!

My favorite go-to salad is the Turkish “Çoban Salatası,” which means Shepherd’s Salad. It’s a perfect combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. You see the salad on nearly every menu. We’ve tried it a dozen or so different times, and it seems like every restaurant has its particular version. I’ve created my own version too.

Çoban Salatası is very easy to make and tastes light and refreshing. It’s also a good way to use up any late summer tomatoes or cucumbers you have in your own garden or from the farmer’s market. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 4, or approximately 2 large portions for 2 people):
3-4 tomatoes, medium diced
2 small-sized cucumbers, halved, quartered and then sliced
¼ red onion, chopped small
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 T. fresh dill, chopped
1-2 T. extra virgin olive oil,
juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper.

In a bowl, mix the vegetables together with the parsley and dill. Simply, drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice on top. Season the salad with salt and pepper.

Joy’s other options: Along with the parsley, you can add some fresh mint or basil. We also drizzle ours with “Nar Eksisi Sosu” – a tangy pomegranate syrup. Not traditional, but you can add fresh feta which is similar to the crumbly “beyaz peynir” (literally means white cheese) we use here.

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