Sunday, January 30, 2011

After a long, busy week, my husband and I both look forward to our martini night in Istanbul.

It’s our one night where we can finally reconnect and kick off our weekend together.

We started this tradition a few years ago when we were living in Baltimore, MD. That’s when we both were working at least 60 hours a week. Friday night was our night together to unwind and relax. I’d have one of my girly martinis – usually chilled vodka mixed a red fruit juice such as cranberry or pomegranate – garnished with a lime wedge. Jason always drinks his extremely dry gin martini served straight up with olives.

I often joke with him at least he could have a backup career as a bartender instead of being in the financial world. He makes a stiff drink and makes me laugh.
Jason's extremely dry martini served with Turkish olives.
Living in Istanbul, we have continued this tradition with a few new additions. Alcoholic drinks, like martinis, often cost upwards of 20 to 30 lira ($13 to 20 USD) at a bar! Since Jason returns home late from work, we usually stay in and save a little money by making a round (or usually two) of martinis at home.

On Friday afternoons, I try to stop by Şütte – my favorite, local delicatessen in Nişantaşı  Inside this small shop, you will find many local and imported cheeses and cured meats, Turkish olives and meze, as well as a variety of American and European specialty items such as maple syrup, marshmallows, candies, cereals, Cajun spices, dry goods, etc. 

The Turkish satıcılar at Şütte recognize me by now. I imagine them saying to each other, “Oh, here comes that silly American girl again that is obsessed with the Italyan domuz.”

Pork is difficult to locate here. So, yes, I will be that crazy American girl that shops at your store every Friday.

I smile at one of the satıcı.Merhaba,” I said and point to two of the different cured salamis aka Italyan dolmuz.

Yuz gram ve yuz gram,” (100 grams and 100 grams) I said and motioned “approximately” with my hands.

The satıcı thinly sliced the salami while I admired the cheese selection. This week, I also purchased a wedge of French Brie and 100 grams of Dutch Gouda.

After I’ve procured my Italian meats, I turn right and head to another favorite foodie stop – Bahar Pastanesi. The pastry shop’s windows are filled with scrumptious looking pastries such as chocolate-dipped chestnuts, colorful macaroons, chocolate bonbons and elegantly decorated cakes.

Even though I’ve sampled several of Bahar’s delicious pastries, I’m after one particular item on Fridays. This shop makes some of the most thin, crispy crackers I have found in the city. The freshly-baked crackers are flavored with Parmesan cheese, toasted sesame seeds, fennel seeds or Turkish red pepper.

With my Italyan domuz, assorted cheeses and crackers in hand, I stroll back to our apartment down the hill in Nişantaşı. At home, I sliced some of the cheeses and arranged them with the salami and crackers on a small platter and wooden cutting board. 
This week, I also cut into a spicy Bulgarian pork-beef sausage that my friend had given to me the previous week.
This Bulgarian cured sausage tasted almost like a Spanish chorizo sausage.
I poured myself a glass of Turkish Kocabağ beyaz sec sarap (dry white wine), wrapped myself in a warm blanket on the couch and waited to hear the sound of ice being shaken by my husband.

Afiyet Olsun!

Teşvikiye Cad. No:9, Nişantaşı

Bahar Pastanesi
Harbiye Mah. ATİYE Sokak No: 3/A, Nişantaşı

Jason’s Very Dry Martini
Martini Extra Dry Vermouth
Bombay Sapphire Dry Gin or Hendrick’s Gin
Ice cubes
Assorted Turkish olives

1. Place ice cubes in a metal martini shaker.
2. For a single martini, use approximately 1 teaspoon or splash of vermouth and enough gin to fill the selected martini glass. Add to the shaker.
3. Vigorously shake the ingredients for 20 seconds.
4. Let the mixture rest for a minute while preparing the olives on a skewer.
5. Place the olive skewer in a chilled martini glass first and then pour the liquors over the olives. This step helps “infuse” a bit more of an olive flavor in the martini.
6. Lastly, be sure to clink glasses together with your wife. Sit down, relax and enjoy!

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bienal said...

Hey I keep watching you,

And it is so nice to see your adventures.

Can you give me a clue how to prepare a dry gin martini? What are the proportions? :) I have martinis at home (purchased them from Italia) and tried them without mixing it with something. Aftrer that I never touched them. Didn't like them as they are.

And for Turkish language learning thing; dolmuz should be domuz by the way :)


Joy said...

Hi Bienal,

A very belated reply...I don't understand why I missed the comments. =( And yes, I definitely know by know that pork should be domuz. Oops! Thanks for the correction.

I do not like gin martinis at all! Def. an acquired taste I believe. Did you ever make them again? I like my girlie martinis which is made with fruit juice (nar veya karsik kirmiz suyu) and vodka.