Best wishes for a prosperous, happy and healthy Year of the Goat (or Sheep)!
We were not here much during the Year of the Horse -- I count something like 10 posts for 2014. It's not as if we don't have an excuse -- we've spent five of the last 11 months in Turkey collecting recipes, stories and photographs for our forthcoming cookbook. When we've not been in Turkey I've been immersed in recipe development and writing, leaving little time or energy for this space. (If you ever wonder where we are, check Dave's Instagram feed.)
But I miss writing here, and I hope to be here more often in the coming months.
In the meantime, a few bits of news. Though we're spending about half our time in Turkey, Penang is still home. So for this month's issue of Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia I wrote on what I love about living in George Town .... and why I know the UNESCO world heritage site will not be home forever. It's a slightly bittersweet feature story, accompanied by soulful photos by David Hagerman. Here's a link to a PDF.
On a brighter note, for this weekend's New York Times Travel Section Asia seafood roundup I wrote a little ode to Penang's spicy-sweet-sour-fishy asam laksa, my very favourite Malaysian dish.
After Christmas in Cambodia (articles forthcoming), a wintery month in far eastern Turkey and yet more winter in Boston and NYC we're now in New Mexico, where I've commandeered my parents' kitchen to continue developing recipes for the book. My folks don't have particularly adventurous palates, so I am excited that they seem to be truly loving the dishes from Turkey that I've been preparing for them.
Last night's Sanliurfa-style yaprak pirzola ("leaf" lamb chops) -- flattened chops smeared with a delicious spicy marinade and grilled -- were especially popular. All of this love from my harshest critics (I don't get a pass because I'm their offspring!) for the foods of eastern Turkey -- so many of which are unknown beyond Turkey's borders, yet ingredients for which I was able to find even out here, in the American southwest -- bodes well for the book. At least I like to think so.
To hone my recipes I've been working with a small corps of testers since late last summer. In another 1 or 2 months I'll be putting out a call for additional recipe testers. So if trying out 2 or 3 dishes from eastern Turkey and/or Istanbul is something you'd be interested in keep an eye on this space and/or on the EatingAsia Facebook page.
Eventually I'll begin putting up recipes here on the blog.
Finally, next October Dave and I will be partnering with writing coach, editor, journalist and author of Will Write for Food (and two pizza books) Dianne Jacob on a 3 1/2-day / 4-night food+travel photography and writing workshop in the beautiful town of Alacati, one hour from Istanbul by air. (How good is Dianne? She coached me to a winning book proposal.)
We have 5 spaces left for the workshop, which takes place less than four miles from the Aegean Sea and includes group instruction, private coaching, lots of hands-on practice with your camera, a cooking class, a day-long excursion to one of Turkey's largest once-a-week farmer's markets and -- needless to say -- lots of fabulous food and drink. It will be an intense few days -- but lots of fun too.
For more details head over to the workshop website, here.
In the meantime, Dave has put together a slideshow illustrating 12 tips for making beautiful food photographs -- a tiny taste of techniques he'll be focusing on in the workshop.