Living the Gourmet is pleased to present Aegean Flavors by Didem Senol Tiryakioglu.
Aegean Flavors covers a range of textures and flavor-keys that we at Living the Gourmet consider essential not only to good Aegean cooking but also Mediterranean cooking as a whole, and foundational to virtually all ‘fusion cuisine.’ That being said, we deeply appreciated what was on offer not only because of its familiarity, but also because of how expertly and artfully it was presented. Paging through the book, one will notice that the chapters are titled after areas of Turkey, with the chapters’ contents dictated by what one would typically and traditionally find in those areas. For example, the Alacati Odemis chapter features items such as mussels stewed in olive oil, and a linguine dish that features kopanisti peyniri and free-range eggs. In this way, the book serves as tour through the Turkish countryside, while offering gourmet takes on local fare.
The book opens with Havran, featuring items such as barley pilaf with lemon rind, as well as roasted rack of lamb with pureed potatoes with olives, and a recipe for spinach and Ezine cheese pizza. Perhaps intentionally, Havran sets the tone for the coming chapters, with its use of olives, slow-roasting, and lamb dishes. Urla picks up where Havran leaves off, opening with a lamb and cumin seed stew with gunbali. I was pleased to see the inclusion of an octopus dish so early on, a delicious and surprisingly versatile seafood ingredient that is often shied away from in mainstream cuisine. Urla also includes such offerings as pink potato crisps, hurma olives marinated in lavender, and a chocolate sauce among a variety of other dishes. Overall,Urla is flavorfully diverse chapter, serving as a quick glimpse of the book’s namesake Aegean flavors.