Oh, Honey!

    Amaretto and Honey Grilled Bananas

    Amaretto is an Italian, sweet, smooth, almond liquor.  It is wonderful in cookies, and cakesor even savory dishes like lamb.  My dad is a retired Italian man, which mean the 3 liquors always on hand are: grappa, limoncello and amaretto.  A couple other kitchen staples of my parent’s are bananas and plain Greek yogurt.  One morning I was staying at my parent’s house and decide to throw these flavors together for breakfast.  This is shaping up to be a deliciously spiked Sunday….

    The Amaretto and honey are so delicious together! Beware though, I kept making more and before I knew it I had the munchies :o)

    I put this over greek yogurt, but how delicious would this be poured over pancakes!?

    Serving for 2
    Ingredients:
    Equal parts Honey to Amaretto (up to you :o) )
    I did 1/4 cup of each
    2 bananas sliced at an angle
    1 cup Yogurt
    Slivered Almonds for garnish
    Preheat the broiler
    In a bowl mix the honey and liquor
    add the bananas and toss gently
    leaving the extra sauce in the bowl, use a fork to gently place on a baking sheet
    Broil for 3 minutes
    Meanwhile, divid the yogurt among serving bowl and drizzle with the extra sauce
    Take the bananas out, gently turn each banana slice over and return to the broiler
    Broil and Additional 3 minutes
    Divid the slices among the yogurt and top the Slivered almond
     

    Strawberry Sunday

    There are few things in life better than waking up on a Sunday with absolutely no obligations and plans.
    To have the whole day to do whatever makes you happy… How often does this happen, really!?
    I love a culinary challenge and any opportunity to get creative in the kitchen.  I thought, “Well, I have a big carton of strawberries, why not make every meal today involve strawberries somehow!?”
    And that’s what I did: created, cooked and indulged in 3 meals plus dessert!
    Breakfast:
    Baked Strawberry Oatmeal Crumble

    Lunch:

    Melting Cambozola, Strawberry and Thyme Crostini

    Dinner:
    Seared Ahi Tuna with Strawberry Salsa
    Dessert:
    Chocolate Lava Cake with Strawberry Coulis
    What a delicious Sunday!

    I’ll write down my recipes before I forget, and post soon.

     

    Packet of Provençal

    fish, herbs, main entree 1 Comment
     My favorite way to cook fish is provencal style:
    capers, olives, tomatoes, rosemary in white wine is a heavenly combination!

    I love cooking fish is in a parchment paper packet for s many reasons.  It is simple with very little hands-on time.  It’s a healthy way of cooking because the fish is steamed in it’s one juices.  They are fun to serve at dinner parties, guests are impressed.  And the possibilities of herbs, vegetables and fish used are endless!
    This dish is a perfect example of when I cook and not use a recipe or really pay attention to quantities. It’s really up to you and your preferences.  If you really like capers, add more! Or use thyme in stead of rosemary if that what you have on hand.  So, with that said, I’l list the ingredients but don’t pay too much attention to the quantities- make it how you like!
    Serves 4
    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes halved
    1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved or chopped
    2 T capers
    1 T rosemary
    2 T white wine
    4 pieces of cod
    2 cups of a cooked grain
    Preheat oven to 350
    Now the fun part- assembly!
    In a bowl combine the fist 5 ingredients
    Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper into large oval shapes, as wide as the length of fish
    Fold the paper in half
    Place 1/2 a cup of rice right beneath the fold
    Season the fish with salt and pepper
    Top rice with fish
    Evenly top the fish with your caper olive combo
    Fold over the parchment paper and crumple close the packets
    Place them on a baking sheet
    Bake for 25 minutes
    Careful when opening, steam is hot
    This is nice served with roasted asparagus
    While the fish is cooking toss asparagus with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper
    Spread on a baking sheet
    When you take the fish out, turn the oven to broiler, and put in the asparagus
    Set the timer for 2 minutes
    Meanwhile, open the fish packets and plate them
    Toss the asparagus again and return to the broiler for 2 minutes
    Divide asparagus evenly among the plates
     

    My Summer Soup has a name and it’s “Pistou”!

    soup, vegan 0 Comments

    I love making fresh vegetable soup with a mix of beautiful seasonal veggies.  I had no idea that the product of my mornings trip to the farmer’s market is a specialty in Nice, France.  You see, I belong in France!

    You can get creative with the ingredients and ratios.  Do not make this so technical.  If you want more of one veggie than the other, go for.

    I didn’t use a recipe, becaue like i said, it’s usually just a random combination of seasonal market finds, but here is one I found that is very similar and will work lovely
    Cookbook: Mediterranean, a taste of the sun in 150 recipes
    Ingredients:
    1 small shallot, chopped
    1 carrot chopped
    1 boiling potato chopped
    8 oz can of chopped tomatoes
    5 cup vegetable stock
    1 zucchini chopped
    8 oz can of white beans (optional)
    1 cup green beans, cut into 1/2 ince pieces
    1/2 cup peas
    4-6 T Pesto
    1 T sun dried tomatoes
    sea salt and fresh pepper
    Fresh parmesan (optional)

    Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large pot
    Bring to a boil and simmer, covered for 20 minutes
    Meanwhile chop up the sun dried tomatoes and combine with the pesto, set aside
    Add the green beans, peas, beans and zucchini
    Season with salt and pepper
    Cook until the beans and zucchini are just tender
    Cruncher is better than soggy, in my opinion
    Ladle the soup into individual bowls
    Top with pesto and fresh parmesan

    Pasta shells or rice is nice here too.  If using rice add it in the first step.  For pasta add it with the beans.

    Bon Apetit!
     

    Eggplant with Cinnamon, Pine Nut and Currant Pilaf

    main entree, vegan 0 Comments

    The funny thing about cooking all day for a living is that by the time you get home, the last thing you want to do is cook for yourself.  In an attempt to try and eat more well rounded meals (how long can I live off of Greek yogurt honey and walnuts) I thought a good place to start would be to make something that I can cook in advanced and reheat during the week.

    Stuffed veggies are a great option for vegetarians
    Big, hearty and healthy, plus they reheat well!

    The combination of pine nuts, raisins and cinnamon was inspired by a dish I had in Turkey this summer.

    Side dish or light lunch for 4
    Ingredients:
    4 small eggplants
    2 T olive oil
    3 T pine nuts
    1 onion, chopped
    1 t coriander
    1/4 cup currants
    1 T dried dill
    1 tomato seeded and shopped
    1 1/2 cup of grains (I did a combo of rice and quinoa)
    salt and pepper

    Preheat the oven to 350
    Slice the eggplant lengthwise
    Rub a little olive oil on the cut sides, place face down on a cookie sheet
    prick with a fork
    Bake for 25-30 minutes
    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and stir in the pine nuts, cook until golden
    Add the onion, and soften
    Add coriander and currants
    Add the sugar, cinnamon, dill and tomato
    Toss in your grain and mix well to coat
    Pour in 3 cups of water, add a little salt
    Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer slightly covered for 30 minutes or until rice is cooked

    Scoop out the inside of the eggplants, leaving at least a half inch
    Chop up the insides and mix into the rice
    Season with good salt and fresh pepper
    Stuff back into the eggplants
    Garnish with chopped parsley, pine nuts and currants

    These also freeze well.

     

    Warm Avocado and Pesto Crostini

    I feel so sorry for avocados.  They have such a short life.  Really, only one perfect day to be enjoyed at its best.  And once you cut in, there is no going back.  It’s only downhill for the little lady from there.


    My beautiful little Hass Avoacodo had been sitting on my windowsill for a couple days now, just waiting to ripen to perfection under the sun light.  This morning, I reached up to give her a little squeeze and she waaaaaaas perfect!

    Now my favorite part of being a chef begins… coming up with something delicious and creative with a few given ingredients.

    My culinary wheels did a little spin that went something like this:
    Basil on it’s last leg of life, why not pesto (my recipe made with brazil nuts),
    Marinated feta I’m currently obsessed obviously must be smothered on top (recipe)
    A big hearty slice of bread, because what’s better than crostini?
    And all put under the sizzlin broiler to let the flavors really melt together!
    Oh, and of course finished with fresh ground black pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of extra aged balsamic!

    Please don’t end!

    I was not planning on having an entire avocado for lunch today, but honestly, I didn’t feel I had a choice :o)

    For those of you who like to eat gluten free when possible, you have got to try this bread.
    I keep it in my freezer and cut off pieces as I like
    And this is my favorite Balsamic, from Napa Valley

     

    Like Pesto- But Not Really

    herbs 0 Comments

    I loooooooove pesto, and have so much fun experimenting with the herb and nut combos!

    This recipes is one of my favorites and in an attempt to make it a little more of a guilt free spread I gave it a few tweaks.
    I skimp on the oil, keeping the calories down and making it a thicker, and use Brazil nuts instead of the traditional pinenuts.  Brazil nuts are super healthy for you and I just read that they are considered a complete protein (here)  woooah!
    I like to get creative with this type of spread, I think you will have fun experimenting with the combinations too!

    A few of my Favorite Combinations:
    Mint and Pistachio is great with Lamb
    Parsley/Cilantro (3 to 1 ratio), Yogurt and Almonds go well on Fish Tacos
    Parsley, Feta and Walnuts on Moroccan Tangine

    So I guess really there is nothing “pesto-y” about my version except that it is a combination of herbs, cheese and nuts.  Traditionally pesto genovese (originally from Italy, Liguria) is made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmigiano and olive oil.  The best pesto outside of Liguria (and I would know!) is at Farina in San Francisco’s Mission District.  Really, you will be licking your plate!

    Base your choice of ingredients off of these ratios:

    Ingredients:
    2 cups of Basil
    2 cloves of garlic crushed
    1/3 cups Brazil nuts
    1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup olive oil

    Put the garlic in the food processor and pulse a few times
    Add the basil in batches, pulsing each time
    Add the nuts and continue to mix until well combined
    While the blade is running pour in the olive oil
    Add the Cheese, mix just a bit
    Add the salt and pepper
    Adjust the ingredients to your taste

     

    Marinated Feta and Roasted Asparagus on Crostini

    Oh my gosh, talk about a party in my mouth! This was inspired by the pound of asparagus lingering in my fridge and my latest obsession with marinated feta.  Well, not to mention, I had an hour to think about what to have for breakfast as I was waiting for my car tire to be patched (I’m always driving over nails!)
    Oh I just thought of something great! How delicious would a poached egg be on top? So the order would be: toast, asparagus, egg, crumbled feta.
    Ah, I cant wait to try it! can’t it be tomorrow morning already!?

    Ok, this may look time consuming but it is sooooo simple.  I literally cooked everything at the same time on one pan.

    Ingredients:
    Marinated Feta (recipe)
    3-4 Spears of asparagus per crostini
    Olive Oil
    1 Garlic Minced
    Baguette
    Parmsean
    Blsamic

    For the crostini, cut your baguette at a major bias to really get a nice big surface
    Preheat Broiler
    Toss the asparagus in oil and garlic
    Drizzle the sliced baguette with a tad oil and rub with garlic
    Place asparagus and bread slices on a cookie sheet
    Broil for 3 minutes (set a timer!)
    Take out and toss the asparagus a bit, turn the crostini and drizzle with a tad more oil
    Return to the oven and broil for 3 more minutes (timer)

    *oh, if your marinated cheese has been in the fridge like mine, place it in the oven to warm up (in an oven proof dish).  The oven will be warn because your broiler is pumpin!

    Spread the Feta over your Crostini
    Top with a few pieces of asparagus
    Drizzle with balsamic (I like the really thick, super aged kind)
    Sprinkle with parmesan
    Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper

    Good Mornin!
     

    Marinated Feta

    Spread over warm crostini and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic


    Mindee and I were first introduced to marinated feta in Greece this summer.  You know the Greeks…they looooove their feta!

    Since then, we always have a bowl of this deliciousness marinading in the fridge.  It has become my new favorite condiment, and I’m sprinkling it on almost everything these days, from my poached egg in the morning to my crostini with grilled asparagus (recipe) at lunch

     

    There are only a few ingredients here, so choose good quality cheese and oil! I used sheep feta but goat is just a yummy. I think next time I make this I will use a harder cheese.  This brand happened to be a little too soft, which has great flavor but you want the cheese to keep its shape more than mine did.
    Ingredients:
    20 oz feta
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1 T garlic infused extra virgin olive oil
    1 Heaping T of Herbs de Provence
    1 t black pepper corns
    1/2 t sea salt, or to taste
    Directions:
    Cube the cheese and set aside
    Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl
    Add the cheese and gently toss
    Let sit for 30 minutes before serving
    Serve at room temperature
    Transfer to a container with a lid so you can keep it in the fridge
    Enjoy- I know you will!
     

    Quinoa Tabbouleh

    All the times I enjoyed tabbouleh in Greece and Turkey this summer, I thought, “how nice would this be made with quinoa as oppose to bulgur”


    Well, quinoa has yet to find its place on shelves in Turkey, but it is available anywhere rice is sold here in California.  I assume always use quinoa in a recipe that calls for a grain.  Not only because it is gluten free but it is also a complete protein, making it the ideal grain for vegetarians.

    I added chickpeas and stuffed into heirloom tomatoes (sorry no pic) and garnished with lemon zest and a mint leaf for a light lunch
    For dinner, omit the beans to keep it as a side dish, serve along grilled salmon and and asparagus, oooo and lots of lemon zest! Perfect!

    Serves 6 side or 4 main
    Ingredients:
    1 cup quinoa
    1 large cucumber, chopped
    3 tomatoes, seeded and cubbed
    2 cups parsley, finely chopped
    1 cup mint, finely chopped
    1 can Chickpeas, rinsed well

    Lemon Dressing:
    1 lemon, juiced
    1-2 garlic cloves, to taste, minced
    3 T good quality olive oil
    sea salt and fresh ground pepper

    Directions:
    Cook the quinoa.  set aside in a bowl, even in the fridge, to cool completely.
    Whisk the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside

    Meanwhile, prepare all the vegetables.

    Toss the quinoa with veggies with the quinoa and gently toss with dressing
    Season with sea salt and pepper
    Garnish with lemon zest and whole pretty pieces of mint

     

    Roll into Spring

    appetizers, vegan 0 Comments

    I am so overwhelmed right now with food, I don’t know where to begin.
    Lists. Lots of them. Big ones.
    Recipes I’ve made and need to share.
    Recipes I’ve had on recent travels and need to share.
    Recipes that look delicious and I must make, devour and share.

    Checking off a recipe from my “I’ve made and must share list” are these fresh little bites of springtime.  Fresh Herbs are the key ingredients, but really anything seasonal and fresh will be great.  The filling possibilities are endless!

    The creamy nut sauce is so good, you may just eat it on its own

    I make these for vegan clients for their lunches and as appetizers at private parties.  They can last a couple days in the fridge with a wet towel around them.  Therefore, I recommend making a bunch… rolling takes a while to get the hang of, so the first few may be a little wobbly looking, and the assembling is easy once you have all the ingredients laid out and ready to go.
    Don’t let the rice paper intimidate you, like it did me at first. Soaking them in water for 20 seconds is all it takes

    Ingredients for Asian Rolls:
    Rice Paper
    Rice noodles Tossed in Sesame oil
    Bell peppers
    Cucumbers
    Cabbage
    Shredded Carrots
    Cilantro and scallions
    Tofu (optional)
    Sprouts for garnish

    Ingredients for California Rolls:
    Quinoa tossed in a almond oil
    Romaine
    Avocado
    Cucumber
    Shredded carrots
    Asparagus
    Basil and mint
    Shrimp (optional)
    Sprouts for garnish

    Have ready:
    Big shallow pan for dipping the papers in (I use a big skillet)
    All your veggies to one side in bowls
    A work surface for assembling with a a damp cloth
    Cutting board
    Directions:
    Place a rice paper in the water and rotate for about 20 seconds
    Lay it on the damp towel
    Place your grain or noodles across the bottom third in a thin line
    Top with a few veggies
    Tightly roll and set aside
    After you have a few made, cut them at a diagonal
    Top with sprouts and Peanut sauce

    Asian Peanut or Californian Almond Sauce:
    3 T Creamy Peanut or Almond Butter
    3 T rice vinegar
    2 t soy sauce
    2 t brown sugar
    red pepper flakes to taste 1/2 – 1 t

    Directions:
    Whisk together and enjoy

     

    Turkish Sultains Ate Beans Too

    beans, vegan 0 Comments
    Turks and Beans go hand in hand
    Vegetarians and Beans go hand in hand
    Me and Turkey go hand in hand

    I admit, I can be a foodie brat sometimes.  And the fact that I don’t eat wheat, factory farm animals and processed foods make it all the more difficult to please me.

    With that said, I am more than happy with a well seasoned, perfectly cooked bowl of beans and rice  Not to mention, beans and rice make a complete protein.

    These Turkish bean dishes satisfy the foodie in me for sure
    The picture above is of one of my favorite meals in Istanbul, a restaurant right outside the walls to the Istanbul University in a beautiful plaza on a beautiful afternoon.  It was 2 pm and very table was occupied by groups of friends from the university: well dressed and well mannered.
    Our meal ended with Turkish coffee and what other than…baklava!
    Here I’ll share my two favorite Turkish bean dishes
    Green Beans with Tomatoes and Dill

    So fresh and clean tasting, you can serve at room temperature with rice on a hot summer day or serve warm with crusty bread on a chilly night
    Adapted from The Turkish Kitchen
    Ingredients:
    1 Onion Chopped
    2 Garlic Cloves
    2 T Olive Oil
    1 1/4 lb Green Beans
    1 T Sugar
    Juice of 1 lemon
    14 oz can chopped tomatoes
    Handful of fresh Dill, roughly chopped
    Salt and Pepper

    In a large sauce pan, cook the onions, garlic, and oil over low heat until softened
    Toss in the Green Beans, coating them in the onions and oil
    Add the sugar and lemon juice
    Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a boil
    Lower the heat and add the dill
    Cook for 35-40 minutes, or until beans are cooked and sauce is thick
    Season with salt and pepper

    White Bean and Tomato Soup
    Photo: 2 tl for 1 kilo = 50 cents for 1 lb
    This traditional Turkish soup is o simple yet incredibly satisfying
    It’s no wonder they have been making it for hundreds of years
    Serve this soup with a little parsley sprinkled on top and steamed rice on the side

    Adapted from the Sultan’s Kitchen
    Ingredients:
    2 T olive oil
    2 T butter
    1 onion chopped
    3-4 garlic cloves, minced
    2 Large tomatoes, diced
    2 T tomato paste
    1 1/2 cups white beans
    4 cups vegetable broth
    1 carrot diced
    1 celery diced
    1 t red pepper flakes (I add more- I love spice!)
    Salt and Pepper
    1/4 cup Parsley

    In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil and butter
    Cook the onion until softened, about 2-5 minutes, add the garlic
    Add tomatoes, paste, and beans
    Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes
    Add the carrot, celery, and red pepper
    Cook for another 15 minutes or until the veggies are cooked
    Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley

    Before : 
     

    Pick Me Up Rice Pudding

    When you’re feeling a tad down in the dumps, there’s nothing better than a little warm creamy sweetness to get your happy pheromones jumping :o)
    Rice pudding does the trick
    I’m in Turkey and midway through my month long hiatus from reality (aka work and responsibilities) when I started feeling a little anxious.
    The thoughts like, “What the hell am I doing?  I can’t just leave for a month? I have a life back home, emails to return, clients to cook for, responsibilities, bills to pay” started haunting me.
    We had plans to go horseback riding in an hour and I knew I needed to calm my nerves before hopping on a horse.
    At this point my stomach is turning, though I hadn’t eaten all day, and the only thing sounding appetizing is a bowl of creamy rice goodness.
    Luckily for me, this is a specialty in Turkey and sold at every corner bakery.

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup short grain pudding rice (I used sweet rice) rinsed thoroughly under running water
    8 cups full fat milk
    1-2 t vanilla extract
    2 T rice flour
    *Get creative with this: chopped nuts on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Use coconut milk and sprinkle with shredded coconut

    Place the pudding rice in a deep, heavy pan, pour in enough water to just cover the rice and bring to the boil.
    Lower the heat and simmer the mixture for 5-6 minutes, until the water has been absorbed
    Pour in the milk and bring to the boil, stirring, then lower the heat and simmer until liquid begins to thickens
    Add the sugar, stirring all the time until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the vanilla a simmer for a further 15-20 minutes
    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400
    In a small bowl, moisten the rice flour with a little water to make a smooth paste
    Stir in a spoonful of the hot liquid
    Add the rice flour mixture to the pan of rice, stirring all the time to prevent lumps
    Once the liquid has thickened a little, transfer the mixture to a large ovenproof dish and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the pudding is lightly browned on top
    Remove the pudding from the oven to cool, allowing a skin to form on top

    Bodrum, Turkey

    Cals: 365, Protein: 12, Carbs: 50, Fat: 13

     

    Slow Cooked Lamb, Mastello

    lamb, main entree 1 Comment

    Mindee and I quickly became obsessed with Mastello, a specialty on Sifnos Island.
    Mastello is lamb cooked in wine for hours and to the point of melt-in-your-mouth tenderness

    We ordered Mastello our first night on the island and for the next week never looked back, lunch or dinner, we were lovin it!
    We were so impressed with our meal the first night, Mindee has decided to have her wedding reception here next summer (check out the rest our our meal here)

    What makes Mastello so special is the way it is cooked for hours in a clay pot.
    For centuries potters have been making the cooking pots with clay from island.
    I am assuming you do not have have a clay cooking pot, in which case, you can use an ovenproof pot with a lid.

    Generally, I am not a meat eater.  On the rare occasion that I do eat meat I like to know where it came from, like a nice small farm on Sifnos and not a cramped, stinky factory farm somewhere in the midwest.
    Also, I do not like dry, chewy meat that has been thrown on a grill with no love at all.  Just not interested.  It must be tender, and melt in my mouth.  Otherwise, what is the point?  You have just slaughtered an animal only to cook it to a point where I don’t know if I’m eating bark or flesh.

    This recipe will definitely remind you…

    Ingredients:
    3 lbs of lamb cup into potion
    3-5 cups of red wine, for washing and cooking
    1 handful of dill
    salt and pepper
    Grape vine twigs for the base of pot

    Wash the meat with a cup of red wine
    Add salt and pepper to the meat
    Rub very well with dill
    Put the vine twigs in a cross grid in the bottom of the pot
    Place the meat and 2 more cups of wine in your pot
    Cover the pot with foil and prick with a fork
    Cook for an hour at 390
    Turn it down to 200 and continue cooking until melt-in-your-mouth-tender

    Serve with crusty bread or boiled potatoes

     

    Turkey…not the kind on Thanksgiving…

    Destinations 0 Comments

    I’m having trouble beginning this post… four times now I’ve gone to the kitchen to eat peanut butter out of the jar in an attempt to get my creative writing wheels turning

    Turkey’s culture is so diverse I think it’s easier to just write a list:
    Ancient. Modern. Secular. Allah. Conservative. Liberal. Spices. Herbs. Skyscrapers. Caves. Asia. Europe. Educated.  Illiterate. Wealth. Poverty. Snow. Beaches.
    Turkey, as we know it today, has been the home for many different types of people for centuries while under constant transformation and rule: Hittite, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Mongol, Ottoman…
    Which explains its diversity:
    From worshiping Greek goddess, missions by Saint Paul,  the home to Mother Mary, the spread of Islam and since 1924, freedom of religion (as recognized in the constitution)
    The people in Turkey also come in many different shapes and sizes.
    In the north you will find Turks with light skin, red hair and blue eyes,
    while in the south it is common to look dark and have Arab features.
    In the east cuisine is inspired by spices from Asia whereas along the Mediterranean lots of fresh herbs and lemon are used
    Traditionally, Turks are known for enjoying their afternoons at a cafe playing Tawula, Turkish Backgammon
     and sipping coffee in the shade
    while modern Turks enjoy expensive cafes on the water.
    Turkish rugs hang at a store.
    Behind on the hill is Bergama, ruled by Alexander the Great in 300 bc
    At the acropolis in the ancient city, Bergama
    With Turkey’s lush terrain comes an abundance of produce
    Basically my heaven on earth at every corner (and cheap!)
     Coastal cities on the Aegean and Mediterranean look a lot like Greece
    with white stucco, blue window trim and bougainvillea
    Many nights were enjoyed dinning on the water
    with a large selection of regional mezes
    and delicious seafood
    The best octopus I have ever had! I insisted the chef come out to talk with me and share his secrets :o) 
    Mansions line the Bosporus in Istanbul
     While fishermen still live on the boats in small villages
     Turkey is mountainous and lush near the sea
    while a little dry and hot inland 
    Not to mention the locals are incredible friendly
     Traditional dance, pinkies together now, everyone!
    and the service is great and up to western standards.
    Compared to your coffee taking 30 minutes to arrive in Greece
    After 3 wonderful weeks exploring the Aegean and Mediterranean coast, I must say I am very much in love with all that Turkey has to offer.  
    I can’t wait to get back some day.
     Bosporus in Istanbul, connecting Asia and Europe