Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, All For You in One Turkish Breakfast for Lunch
Long time readers of this site know I love Turkish Breakfast. In it’s simplest form, Turkish breakfast is an excuse to eat tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and cheese for breakfast, or more likely, since I like to eat olives, cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes a lot, I needed a name, an excuse. As one cannot get cucumbers and tomatoes year-round, the concept of Turkish breakfast has come to encompass any like mix. To have Turkish breakfast there must be a mix of seasonal vegetables, as salads, spreads and other preparations; preserved and pickled products, and cheese, without vegetables it is simply Ploughman’s lunch. It should have bread, maybe more types of bread, with butter and jelly and honey and a rich cheese spread called kajmak, but this Turkish breakfast I had above, for a late lunch substituted roasted potatoes for the carbs.
It struck me after eating, how perfectly it encapsulates how I approach the concept of “eating local.” My late afternoon breakfast included a couple of items roasted, an item from a jar and something that only needed a wash and trim. The carrots and radishes came from our Tomato Mountain CSA (more on radishes soon). The accent to the carrots was a locally made, locally sourced, harisa. The potatoes were a mix of russets, yukon golds and fingerlings picked up across the winter at various markets. You might not be able to tell, but within the potatoes were garlic from last year’s CSA, onions, probably also from last year’s CSA, and thyme from last year’s CSA that we dried for preservation. Along side that plate, adding spark to the bite, diversity to the palate, as well as a bit of richness, barrel feta from Greece and Middle Eastern style pickled green peppers. Like all Turkish breakfasts it played out as an array of textures and flavors merging into one long mouthful.
The lessons I want to impart from this plate are three-fold. First, eating local is never about absolutes, rules, dictates or requirements. If you did not pickle your own peppers last year, find a decent copy. And as many great local cheeses exist around here, we don’t always have to be so chauvinistic. Second, it’s an on-going process. You have to think not just what you will eat this day but how you will eat every day. Make sure you save up some onions; dry your herbs. Make preparations ahead of time for all your meals. Finally, you need to work your sources. It can’t hurt to subscribe to a CSA, but you also need markets and other outlets. Get your food. Put this all together and you have lunch. Even if we call it breakfast.