As the season with the food tours and cooking classes have started in a big way I am less at the farmhouse. No wonder when I am there I appreciate the place more. This week I came for a few days without my laptop and camera left behind in Istanbul. So there was time for studying the blossoming garden, walking with Ömür, chatting with Özgür and foraging the wild herbs.
I have got a taste of simple unplugged life. I traded checking emails on Sunday night for a walk with Ömür – experience we repeated the next morning. Instead of the Mac’s screen I let my eyes indulge the deepest green enveloping the hill. Sounds of the real twittering birds replaced the town gossips shared in the 140-character messages.
Then splashing cold water on my face from a stream coming down the hilltop. Little bunch of melissa picked on the way for my tea. Watching the walnut tree aments falling off. Making coffee for Özgür and sitting at the captain table at our restaurant to marvel the view of the lake and the hills down – our little Bosphorus away from Istanbul. And then foraging..
Since the nettle soup endeavor my foraging curiosity has grown many folds. On a number of occasions there was more nettle: we have foraged it number of times to use for börek stuffing, I dried a lot for my herbal tea mixes and I made green fresh pasta by adding nettle into the dough.
Then there came star flower which my mother-in-law used for scrambled eggs and I added to my grilled vegetable sauce I served another batch of fresh pasta with. The leaves tastes pretty much like spinach or just any other collard green. Curious are the stalks: when cooked they have the flash and feel of mushrooms. And these are stalks – smelling and tasting cucumber – which don’t let the star flower quality for soup: it becomes a dark green unappetizing jelly I have learned.
And then a nostalgic thing occurred: I found some sorrel just outside of our kitchen and then came the memories of the one we used to find by the fence in my grandma’s garden late spring. They were always just few: my granddad would pick, wash and give them to us. Sometimes sorrel will make it into the salad but most of the time we would eat it like that – few sour and bold green leaves.
My mother-in-law likes processing those wild greens and fortifying them with something more substantial – eggs or dough so they can make a meal. I like to keep them as fresh as possible. This was my intention with the sorrel. Hence the sorrel salad which my conservative Turks have eaten willingly to my big surprise. I gave a spoon to everybody as a vitamin boost on the side the meal we had on that simple unplugged day.
Sour, sweet, crunchy – the most cheerful and quick salad you can put together this spring.
Prep Time: 10 Min
- 4 cups sorrel thoroughly washed, drained and coarsely chopped
- 2 apples cut into long thin strips
- 1/3 cup roasted chickpeas
- 1/3 cup dry cranberries
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- pinch freshly ground black pepper
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- pomegranate molasses to drizzle
- Immediately brush freshly cut apple stripes with lemon juice – baking brush is a very handy tool to get your apples nicely coated and prevent browning. Mix the ingredients, drizzle with olive oil, freshly ground black pepper and salt – shake well and serve right then.