Whether it's the cold wind blowing from the north this week or the vacuum felt as my warm old friend summer steps away, I find myself seeking comfort in recently purchased but forgotten cookbooks. Inspiration: that's what I seek! So too, distraction from the sudden change in temperature; it calms my soul. So, I search in a basket where those cookbooks live in my kitchen and it is here where I find my newest comfort: lentils! As well, I find two great recipes in The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton and Turkey –More Than 100 Recipes With Tales From The Road by Leanne Kitchen – (referring to Turkey the country, not the bird).
The earthiness of the Turkish soul, expressed through its food, captivates my raw, chilled being. Lentils cooked in a thousand different forms, disk-shaped flatbread dough cooking atop wood-fired ovens, charred eggplants transformed into "mezes" or small bites, a dizzying amount of varied seafood and honey from the Van area sounding so exotically delicious that I am ready to dive into a vat. Even though, unfortunately, I dislike its flavor (honey tastes like whiskey to me thanks to my dad's whiskey-soaked-cotton-ball remedy for a sore tooth suffered as a kid). As I read about the friendly and inviting personalities of the Turkish people and try out the recipes, savoring the new flavors, I feel my soul nourished.
Transforming into a lentil-ivore, I'm featuring a dish from Chef Silverton that is outstandingly easy and delicious and can be served as a side dish or main part of the meal. From Chef Kitchen's book, I've chosen a lentil and meatboal soup recipe that captures Turkish flavors with allspice and cinnamon. I hope the heartiness of these dishes transports you through the chillier days ahead. Afiyet olsun!