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Istanbul

fresh figs

Here are a few pictures from my recient trip to Turkey, very hard to choose photos that show just how rich and beautiful the country is. When I stepped off the plane at Istanbul airport and took my first breath, I knew I would love the city. What I didn’t know was how beautiful and untouched the south west coast is and how much I would like exploring by boat. Sleeping on deck under the full moon in secluded bays and listening to wild goats on the surrounding rocky headlands was just what I needed!

But first there were 5 amazing days in Istanbul.

outside our hotel/appartment in Galata

entering the Grand Bazaar

cat under chair

I loved this peaceful little court yard, we came across it following a rug seller to his warehouse.

In the Bazaar we spent hours talking to antique watch sellers, jewelers and towel specialists. I loved the way tea would appear on a tray as if out of nowhere and be handed out in shaply glasses with bright saucers. After many  glasses we pulled ourselves out and walked through winding streets to the spice market.

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stuffed summer squash

stuffed squash with pesto infused quinoa and roasted cherry tomatoes

I have made these lovely little stuffed squash a couple of times over the summer to rave reviews. This is a great way to take advantage of any shape of summer squash you may find at the market or have growing in your garden. I loved stuffing the round, 8-ball and avocado squash as the larger ones are a perfect main course size, but large patty pan also work well and you can use more small squash per person if that’s what you have on hand.

beautiful summer squash and a purple pepper

I hesitated to post the recipe because I haven’t measured the amounts of quinoa, tomatoes and pesto needed to fill squash – it does really depend upon what size your squash are. I found everyone was happy to have left over components anyway, so I’ll do my best. But, please think of this recipe as more of a guide to the last of summer’s abundance.

cherry tomatoes

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potato salad

I rarely make potato salad, but when I saw these lovely little colorful potatoes, I couldn’t resist bringing them home from the market. They sat on the counter for a few days, looking like lovely river pebbles and I thought I’d taken their picture at least once; now realize that I had not.

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tomatoes on toast

I’ve been eating a lot of tomatoes on toast these days, To me this it’s the perfect breakfast to capture the flavor of summer before it slips away.

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chickpea mash

chickpea mash

I am finally moving back into a new kitchen and have been in domestic bliss the last few days placing bowls of fresh garlic and heirloom tomatoes on the counter, organizing grains and beans into jars and finding places for crockery and other kitchen things that I had forgotten about.  Such a pleasure!  And with the farmers market overflowing with gorgeous organic vegetables, I can hardly wait to spend a day cooking here. Continue Reading »

date almond praline tart

This was the last dessert that I baked in my old oven.  Since then my kitchen has been undergoing a major renovation and is still not finished. I have greatly missed posting recipes and sharing thoughts on the food that inspires me. I think the most striking thing I have learned in this period of transformation is that I actually really need to cook and that cooking not only nourishes me creatively but also grounds me. I really can’t live without it and I can’t imagine life without my own kitchen again!
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Labneh

labneh and olives

This labneh, or yogurt cheese as it is sometimes called, was served with the chickpea tagine that I last posted. All it really is, is yogurt strained for about 5 hours or overnight. The whey drips out and what you are left with is a lusciously thick and creamy cheese. It’s a great way to add a rich accent to otherwise vegan meals, and a tasty alternative to other dips for crudités and crackers.You can flavor it with any herbs you like. I love adding chives or dill but it is also delicious seasoned simply with and a drizzle of olive oil.

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