“He has got interesting relationships with food, my brother. He needs to find something beautiful that would be worth eating” – Özgür’s sister Özge says.
Is not that interesting that some people are more fussy about their food then the others? It does not take much effort to figure out good food and become reasonably fussy, if you ask me. We all practice eating three times a day for many years which gives a natural ground to develop substantial expertise in food. Yet, some people are happy with any food they get and some are very particular about what they are eating.
Sometimes I think that Özgür is so fussy because he was brought up by a Mediterranean grandma. With my two Central European Plain grandmas I am very jealous. I do have tender memories of potato stew with forest mushrooms, pies with pickled cabbage and juicy fried bream but I chock with saliva when I think of freshly caught octopus thrown on grill, succulent eggplant dishes and a variety of deliciousness created with bulgur. No doubt, having a Mediterranean grandma refines your food upbringing.
Then his mom is to
blame thank for the fuss. When I first stayed with her for a month last year I felt like aTurkish kid spoiled with the scrumptious meals cooked by a loving Turkish mom. Zeliha Hanım is very quick in planning and executing a meal, however big. She turns gold every ingredient she touches. And her food is one of the best you will find in Turkey.
One morning Zeliha Hanım made hot sandwiches. She put a mixture of leftover cheese, chopped green peppers, parsley, dill and red pepper flakes on the pieces of stale bread and sent them to the oven for a bit. Once the sandwiches were served – piping hot- diligent munching of 8 eaters was the only sound you would hear for the first couple of minutes. “Really, you think it is so special?“- Özgür asked me when I eventually broke into a speech, giving praise with my mouth full. “This is my mom, you know. She has always being doing things like this. I have started taking it for granted. If you had not mentioned I would not have really noticed anything special“.
But then besides his grand and mom his fuss may be because of ample dining out. I have seen many instances of how even people with mediocre food competence have developed with regular dining out practice. Especially if you often travel for business or travel is your business, as in the case with Özgür. You get to eat at finest places at all those different cities around the world and once you have done that you would never go back to mediocre again. Özgür was the first person who brought me to the no-BS Istanbul restaurants beyond the traditional set of tarihi (historical) eateries which most locals refer to and half of which are not that great as they used to be 50 years ago. He doesn’t eat at BS places.
And besides that he cooks. With such mom and dining out one would not really need to cook at home. But he does. Not very often but he never makes a fuss of the occasion how some people may when they leave the kitchen half destroyed after the endeavor. His cooking is organized.
And he always makes something wonderful. Like this world-class easy eggs with grated potatoes. Simple dish but still little bit more fussy than your regular eggs. I think that’s why I love him: he may fussy about his food but in a very beautiful and delicious way.
Easy Eggs with Grated Potatoes (Patatesli Yumurta)
Easy eggs with crispy grated potatoes, tangy feta cheese and fresh parsley is so addictive that you will want to make them for breakfast, lunch and then dinner.
Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time: 20 Min
Total Time: 30 Min
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium size onion finely diced
- 80 g mushrooms finely diced
- 2 medium size potatoes grated
- 4 eggs
- 40 g feta cheese crumbled
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
- pinch of dry thyme
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- pinch of salt
- Warm up a large skillet on a medium heat. Pour olive oil and as it only starts sizzling in a very subtle way – thrown in the diced onions. Cook onions for 3-4 minutes until golden stirring now and then. Add diced mushrooms and grated potatoes, mix well and let cook for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a medium size bowl whisk eggs with salt, dry thyme and red pepper flakes. Add crumbled feta cheese and coarsely shopped parsley and mix well. Set aside.
- Back to the potatoes: lift the edge of the potato mix with a heat-proof wide spatula to see if the bottom is slightly brown and crispy. If so, slip spatula under the mix and turn as large piece upside down as you can. Repeat until the browned side of your potatoes faces up – this way the potatoes will have crispy top.
- Just as you’ve turned the vegetable mix upside down pour the egg mixture over it making sure it spreads evenly and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes. Now and then make little cuts on the eggs with spatula so that the eggs cook better. Once the eggs are cooked at the edges and only slightly liquid at the center, cover the skillet with a lead and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lead, cut in wedges and serve hot with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce.