Today was the birthday of our good friend, Possum. She spent much of her early years in Turkey and has a lifelong fondness for the people, culture and foods of the region. We were invited to help celebrate this special day by enjoying a dinner of some traditional Turkish foods.
The celebration was a gathering of good folks and a sharing of laughter and good conversation. It was held at a local restaurant owned by Turkish friends.
Dinner started with a bowl of red lentil soup (mercimek çorbasi). This traditional Turkish soup is usually vegetarian, but can also be made with meat stock or pieces of meat. Other ingredients may include vegetables - carrots, potatoes, celery, parsley, and onion. Commonly added flavorings include garlic, cumin, lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar. The soup was so wonderful that it was gone before I remembered that I hadn’t taken a photo!
Next came an appetizer of Lahmacun. This Turkish equivalent of pizza is a thin, round piece of dough topped with spicy chopped meat or lamb. Lahmacan is often served sprinkled with lemon juice and wrapped around vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, and parsley or cilantro. This dish can be found in many countries with sizeable Near and Middle Eastern communities - where it is often called Turkish Pizza.
Shish Kebab was the main course.The term shish kebab comes from Turkish words that mean “skewer”" and “roast meat,” and it is a signature Turkish meal. A shish kebab is a skewer with meat and vegetables that are usually grilled. It can contain lamb, beef, fish, or chicken, as well as vegetables like green peppers, onions and mushrooms. Often, this dish is commonly misspelled as shish kabobs or shish kababs.
Ready for dessert – who could resist this sweet treat?
Baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of phyllo dough filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and much of central and southwest Asia.
Thanks, Possum, for inviting us to share in your Special Day – Happy Birthday !