I had been looking forward to Ozlem’s Central Market class for MONTHS when I heard she was coming back to town, so imagine my excitement when the day finally arrived! To add to the honor, I was asked before class to be the official “photographer” using Ozlem’s digital camera (and I also took photos using my iPhone 6).
During our evening class, Ozlem walked us through the following dishes:
• Hearty red lentils and bulgur soup with dried mint and red pepper flakes, Ezo Gelin Corba
• Turkish flat breads with crumbled feta, pepper paste, zahtar and sesame seeds; Biberli Ekmek
• Lamb (or beef) stew over smoked eggplant and yoghurt puree, served with roasted vegetables, Ali Nazik Kebab
• Pilaf rice with chickpeas and sautéed onions; Nohutlu Pilav
• Baklava with a delicious and lighter twist; filo pastry with hazelnuts in milky syrup; Sutlu Nuriye
• Turkish Coffee and Turkish Delight
Many of my classmates had previously taken classes or tours with Ozlem. I have taught many Turkish students and have several Turkish cookbooks, but this was my first time really getting to know the cuisine in a meaningful way. I loved the combination of Turkish pepper flakes and dried mint in the Ezo Gelin Corba, the blend of feta, pepper paste and zahtar in the Biberli Ekmek, and the smoky nuanced notes to the smoked eggplant and yogurt puree and these are all dishes that I think I will find myself making on a regular basis.
It was a very memorable evening with excellent company and a wonderful instructor in Ozlem; I’ve followed her blog / website Ozlem’s Turkish Table for the last several years, and was so happy to finally have the chance to take a class from her. My next dream would be to take one of her guided culinary tours of Turkey!
You can take Ozlem’s virtual cookery course online at https://www.mer-ka-bah.com/course/cultural-cuisine-turkey/?ref=21 and find many more Turkish recipes and stories at ozlemsturkishtable.com.