Here in Sapanca I am learning to appreciate the beauty of humble food cooked to perfection. I am grateful for that opportunity as otherwise I am hungry for complications at the kitchen: recipes that take hours to make, ingredients that are many, tastes that are not so straightforward.
The other day Marina showed up at my door with the hunts from our Kadıköy market: a bunch of buffalo heart tomatoes and Turkish takes on rocket salad and mozzarella. She said, “Lets just do a 3-ingredient dish for a change”. I sliced mozzarella and tomatoes, tore the rocket and arranged in layers on a large flat plate. Then I sprinkled some extra-virgin olive on it. Then I grabbed a bottle of pomegranate molasses (nar ekşisi), wonderfully thick in texture and exquisite in taste, sort of balsamic vinegar of Turkey, – also to sprinkle it on the salad. Still feeling the acute incompleteness I crashed some walnuts and tossed them over. Marina sighed about her unrealized aspirations for simplicity but enjoyed this Turkish take on Italian caprese salad. This is pretty much typical of me.
This is why I am bewildered by the beauty of humble food that comes down on me here in Sapanca. Few ingredients – bought fresh and locally, easy to make dishes, lots of love and dedication, and little spices and salt – this is how Özgür’s mom is feeding us. And her food leaves me silently contemplating over her every single meal. Everyday cooking can’t be anything else, I reckon. When there are lots of errands to run, guests to handle at the hotel and restaurant, food to be made, place to be cleaned, shopping to be done, construction to be finished – you just don’t have the luxury of spending lots of time on making our own meals. Yet, the cult of good food is so strong in the family that even quick food is made heavenly tasty.
Today, inspired by the Almost Turkish I cooked a light summer lunch of tomato pilaf and decided to serve it with cacık, Turkish summer soup of yoghurt and cucumbers. As Özgür came down to the kitchen saw me doing that he grabbed some olive oil and red peppers flakes to give final touch to this super simple soup. This is what I love about this family: whatever is done is the best effort, everyone contributes their 2 cents and real simplicity comes with a known degree of sophistication. And not only in food.
Cacık (Turkish Cold Yoghurt Soup) Recipe
Super easy and super refreshing addition to any summer meal!
Prep Time: 10 Min
Total Time: 10 Min
- 2.5 cups Greek yoghurt
- 2.5 cups water
- 3 cucumber grated
- 1 clove garlic crashed
- 3 tbsp fresh dill coarsely chopped
- 6 ice cubes
- extra virgin olive oil for seasoning
- red pepper flakes for seasoning
- Water down greek yoghurt with water using a whisk. Toss in grated cucumber, fresh mint and crashed garlic – mix well. Add ice-cubes. Serve immediately and dress the soup with some olive oil and red pepper flakes.