November 21, 2012


Turkey Meze

mezeCatherine and Abit

For another look at Thanksgiving, we asked Catherine Bayar of Bazaar Bayar, how she celebrates as an expat living in Istanbul and married to a Turk. Catherine and her husband Abit are vintage textile historians and experts. Their mission is about "Saving ‘endangered’ handmade textiles, reviving + reinterpreting disappearing handcrafts, employing local women artisans, and promoting cultural exchange between Turkey + our global visitors." You can read more about Catherine and Abit, their travel stories, find out about workshops and check out the textiles here.

About Thanksgiving, Catherine says:

"We do celebrate Thanksgiving, either in California with family, or here with American friends in Istanbul. Not sure what I'm taking this year, but the big hit with family when we're stateside are Turkish meze. Since most of my family has never been here, I like to share what we're thankful for eating here. I make 3 or 4 of the basic meze –hummus, saksuka (eggplant), pancar ezme (beetroot), but the favorite is muhammara (acuka, ah-ju-ka, in Turkish). What I love about this is the mix of vegetables, nuts and fruit - roasted peppers are of North American origin, walnuts bring prosperity, and pomegranates denote abundance. Pomegranate molasses is an essential ingredient in our house - it also makes the best salad dressing ever with lemon and olive oil.

I love Binnur's Turkish Cookbook – good versions of all mezes mentioned above can found in it. I use this recipe but add a healthy tablespoon of the molasses and chopped fresh mint as a garnish."


1 tablespoon red pepper paste,  or 2 roasted red peppers
 3/4 cup walnuts
4-5 tablespoons breadcrumbs
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon molasses

Directions for this recipe and others can be found here.

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