Recipe: Imam Bayildi – Roasted Turkish Eggplant

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish Eggplant - Finished Dish

When we received an eggplant in this week’s CSA box, I knew it was time to make some Imam Bayildi. Rob doesn’t really like eggplant, so I get it all to myself!

Imam Bayildi is a Turkish dish of roasted and stuffed eggplant. It’s name, translated, means “The Imam fainted.” The story with the dish is that an imam married a woman who was the daughter of an olive oil merchant, and part of her dowry was 10 bottles of olive oil. On their first night she made him this dish and he asked for it to be cooked every night, and she complied for 10 nights. On the 11th night she didn’t cooked it, and he asked why. She explained that all the olive oil had been used up, which caused him to faint from surprise.

Imam Bayildi is usually more of an entree, but I’m sharing my family recipe with you today, which treats it as more of an easily scooped up appetizer. The ingredients are simple, but this recipe does take a fair bit of time. But I promise – it’s worth it!

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish Eggplant - Ingredients

You will need:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 8 tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil

Start with your onions, and chop them up into small pieces (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch). In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, heat up 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the onions to the pan and sauté for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent. Turn the heat down to medium, stir regularly, and let the onions continue to cook until they start to caramelize – about 30-40 minutes.

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish Eggplant Recipe - Onions

Take half of the sugar and sprinkle it over the onions. Cook the onions for about 5-10 minutes more. While the onions are finishing up, chop your tomatoes. Small chop/large dice size – about 1/2 inch. Add the tomatoes and the rest of the sugar to the sauté pan, and cook over medium until the tomatoes release their juice, about 10-15 minutes.

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish Eggplant - Tomatoes

Turn the heat down to low and let the mixture simmer uncovered until the liquid has cooked off. Depending on the type of tomatoes you use this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

While the tomatoes and onions are cooking down, it’s time to prepare your eggplant. Quarter your eggplant long-ways, and then cut into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Pour a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and spread around, then fan and overlap your eggplant slices on the bottom of the pan.

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish eggplant - eggplant slices

Then, take the remaining half cup of olive oil and drizzle it over the eggplant. Once the tomato and onion mixture is done cooking down, spoon it into the pan over the eggplant slices.

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish Eggplant - Ready for baking

Pop into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes. The edges will get nicely brown.

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish Eggplant - out of the oven

And there you go! It will take about 3-4 hours. But in the end you’ll have a wonderful sweet, tangy, glorious dish. In my family we let it cool down and then eat it with pita bread or slices of baguette.

Imam Bayildi - Roasted Turkish Eggplant - Finished Dish

I hope you enjoy it – Let me know what you think!

Summer CSA – Fruits and Veggies, Week 3


In atrocious news, I’ve herniated two discs in my back, and I’m in astronomical amounts of pain. It got so bad I had Rob take me to the ER in a desperate attempt to get some relief and figure out what was wrong. On the positive side, I’ve got some decent pain pills and I start physical therapy Monday. On the negative side, I’m still in crazy amounts of pain, and I’m worried that I might have to have back surgery. 🙁 Not the best news for the summer, but I’m trying to stay as positive as I can.

With all that excitement I haven’t spent much time in the kitchen. So with this week’s fruits and veggies, we’ve got a very full fridge, and I need to do some meal planning! This week we received:

Tagge Famous Fruit CSA Week 3

  • Two ears of corn! I love it when corn season begins
  • Two heads of lettuce
  • Two different types of green onions
  • one head of garlic
  • one cute little green pepper
  • one huge beet
  • three summer squash
  • a bunch of carrots
  • four apricots
  • a pound and a half of cherries
  • a bunch of green beans

This evening I made a nice chicken pot pie, and that used up a bit of the veggies, but we’ve still got enough around here to feed an army. We still have quite a few cherries left over from last week, so I think I’ll make a cherry tart tomorrow and use those up before they get too ripe.

Have a great week, and think some healing thoughts my way, please!

Summer CSA – Fruits and Veggies, Week 2

Tagge's Famous Fruit CSA Week 2

Since it’s still so early in the growing season, the produce that we see isn’t quite as overwhelming as it will be in a month. We still got some great fruits and veggies, though!

  • Two types of lettuce
  • Four summer squash (Zucchini, golden zucchini, mediterranean squash, and a pattypan squash)
  • Bunch of greens (I think it’s chard. I seriously don’t know my greens)
  • head of cabbage
  • Four huge apricots
  • And about two pounds of cherries

I’m looking forward to just sauteing up all that squash with some butter and olive oil. It’s going to be lovely!

Coffee Cake Recipe and Brunch with Friends

I knew it was going to happen, so I was prepared, but our social life changed once we had the ladies. Our group used to meet every Friday for coffee and dinner, and sometimes on Saturdays for a midnight “breakfast”, but with two babies it just isn’t a regular possibility anymore.

However, we miss seeing our friends, and one of our projects this year is to create ways to see friends more often. So we’ve started hosting a small, casual brunch. This way we can still see the people we love and catch up, but we can relax and let kids run around underfoot.

Coffee Cake recipe

The menu will change, but one item will probably always be present: coffee cake. When I was a kid, I assumed coffee cake contained coffee (please tell me I’m not the only one!) But coffee cake is just a sweet breakfast that goes very well with coffee (or tea, or cocoa for that matter.)

I’ve tried out many recipes over the years before embracing this one. The cake part has good texture and is not overly sweet, but the crumb topping is sweet, rich, and buttery and sinks down into the cake as it is baking. Lovely!

Coffee Cake recipe

Coffee Cake

Cake Ingredients
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Streusel Ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375* and grease a 9″ square pan.

Beat together sugar and softened butter. Beat in egg. Add remaining cake ingredients and stir until combined. (Yes, it will be thick!) Pour into greased pan.

Combine streusel ingredients and sprinkle on top of cake. Bake at 375* for 25-35 minutes, until brown.

Note: This recipe is easily doubled! If you double the ingredients, bake in a greased 9″ x 13″ pan, and add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.


Christmas Goodies – Coffee Liqueur and Chocolates

Tis the season for home-baked goodies! Rob and I have been busy working on Christmas presents – this year we’ve been making homemade coffee liqueur and chocolates. Rob has been making chocolates as gifts for many years now – and it’s a holiday tradition that I’ve been grandfathered in to. 🙂 This year we made mint chocolates, peanut butter chocolates, and candy cane white chocolates:

Homemade chocolates for Christmas

I think the white chocolate candy cane snowflakes are so pretty, and I could eat my weight in candy canes each Christmas.

Close up of white chocolate candy cane chocolates.

This year we’ve also made coffee liqueur, which has been fun, and so much easier than I expected.

Bottles of homemade coffee liqueur for presents.

One details we’ve not done before is sealing the bottles with wax. We picked up the wax at The Beer Nut, and dipping the bottles wasn’t a very big project… however if we had been making cases of liqueur I’m sure it would be a different story!

Wax seals for coffee liqueur.

I love these labels! I found them as a free download from A Printable Press, and they were quick and easy to personalize, and they look great. I just used a bit of Mod Podge to adhere them to the bottles.

Coffee Liqueur labels from A Printable Press

If you’re interested in making your own coffee liqueur, here’s the recipe we developed:

Sara & Rob’s Coffee Liqueur
(makes about 8 cups) 

4 cups water
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup instant coffee
750 ml vodka (this is a common bottle size)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, combine water, both sugars, and coffee. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Turn down to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often. If it’s too hot, and you don’t stir enough it will start to take on a burnt flavor. Remove the mixture from heat and stir in the vodka and vanilla extract. At this point, put the liqueur in a large container or two (I used two quart canning jars), and leave in a cool, dark place for at least a month.

What goodies have you been making for the holiday?

Birchbox Samples, December 2012 – The Holiday Edition

Last night I was excited to receive my last Birchbox of the year, all dressed up in some festive finery.

December Birchbox with Festive Decoration

I am happy to report that the final box of the year is a great one:

December 2012 Holiday Birchbox with samples from theBalm, 12 Benefits, Sampar, Fresh, and Emily's Chocolates

  • theBalm cosmetics Hot Mama Shadow & Blush
  • 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment
  • Sampar Ultra Hydrating Fluid
  • Fresh Citron de Vigne Rollerball
  • Emily’s Chocolates Chocolate Covered Fortune Cookie

The Emily’s Chocolates fortune cookie did not last long. As soon as the ladies heard the word “cookie”, it was only a few seconds before they had messy chocolate faces. The peppermint flavor, which I received, has quite a bit of bite to it, which I don’t think the ladies appreciated. I, however, thought it was divine.

December 2012 Birchbox - Holiday Edition with samples from theBalm, 12 Benefits, Sampar, Fresh, and Emily's Chocolates

I am very happy to get a haircare product this month; I feel they have been a bit absent lately. I am an avid fan of spray conditioners, and the 12 Benefits Instant Healthy Hair Treatment is lovely – good scent, and nice texture. I’ll see if I notice any big difference in my hair.

The Sampar face lotion is nice- it has a pleasant scent and a lovely, silky texture. It is, however, rather light. I tried it in the evening, and it just wasn’t robust enough for my night cream, but I will try it again for daytime use.

This it’s the second Fresh scent I’ve received from Birchbox; the other was Brown Sugar, which I do wear occasionally. This scent is a nice, crisp, wintery scent, and I do anticipate wearing it more than once or twice.

TheBalm hot mama is the only product I don’t anticipate using… I’m just not a big blush wearer, but it is a nice neutral color, and they do make very good products.

Have you tried any of these products before? What did you think? What did you get in your Birchbox this month?

RubySnap Cookies – December is for Noelle

Even if you don’t know one other thing about me, you probably know that I love RubySnap cookies. The entire family are huge fans! I remember first hearing about RubySnap cookies in the spring of 2010, and I’ve been carrying on a love affair with their cookies ever since.

RubySnap is a cookie bakery in Salt Lake City, Utah, and they’re inspired by the best cookie recipe your great-grandmother passed down, but they take it to the next level. Oh, and all the cookies have cute retro pin-up names and pictures to match the cookie.

RubySnap Noelle cookies

Every month they have a special cookie of the month, and most of them are wonderful, but December’s cookie is hands-down fabulous – the best cookie I’ve had. I wait all year for this cookie! So, Saturday Rob, the ladies, and I headed down to RubySnap for the first Noelle of the season.

Noelle is maple, chocolate, pecan awesomeness! A maple sweet potato cookie with pecans and chocolate chunks, with a maple icing and pecan on top. Once we got there, for a split second I was worried that Noelle wouldn’t be as good as I remember her. Not to worry – she was!

RubySnap Noelle cookie - chocolate, maple, pecan, awesome.

The ladies love RubySnap and have been coming here since they were born. Now that they are walking and climbing, they like to climb up on the bench and watch the cars and people go by.

The ladies at RubySnap

Here is Gloria, our favorite RubySnap employee (The employees are affectionately known as Snapettes.)

Working hard at RubySnap

The cookies are to die for, but I also love the fun retro vibe of RubySnap – from the store to the pin-ups, and even the packaging:

RubySnap Cookie Packaging

If you haven’t tried RubySnap before, you’re in for a real treat! You can get fresh baked cookies in their store, or at some of the Whole Foods locations in Salt Lake. You can also buy their frozen cookie dough in their store, online, and at some Harmon’s in Salt Lake.

I will be there every week this month, getting my fix of Noelle. Hope to see you there!

RubySnap Cookies
770 South 300 West
Salt Lake City, UT

Great Day – Happy Thanksgiving!

Phew! I bet you’re day has been just as busy as mine! But we’re home from the parents’, the ladies are in bed, and now we’ve got a bit of quiet time to end the day. I hope you’ve had a great Thanksgiving full of good food and the people you love!

Rob and I both had today off of work, so we spent the day playing with the ladies and getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. I was commenting to Rob earlier that I don’t even remember Thanksgiving last year – I think I was still in a new mom haze, so I’m glad that this year was much easier. Besides, I have these two little scamps to be thankful for:

Thanksgiving with Little Bean

(Little Bean)

Thanksgiving at the park with Cupcake


We spent some of the day going to a park that was rumored to have the little toddler bucket swings – Success! So we swung the girls, and they had their first opportunity to climb on playground equipment, and do a bit of sliding.

Our assignments for Thanksgiving dinner were a sweet potato pie:

pie crust for the sweet potato pie

Sweet potato pie, pre-baking

Sweet potato pie - All done!

And we also had to bring a squash dish. One of the last weeks of our CSA we got a banana squash, which I’ve been hesitant to cook because I knew we’d have more leftovers than we could handle! So it’s been sitting on my counter for a month and a half. 🙂 Glad I could finally roast it up today with some butter and brown sugar. But first, I had to cut it up.

Butternut Squash for Thanksgiving dinner

This was, to my recollection, my first time eating banana squash. It has a much brighter flavor than I expect from squash, but it turned out quite tasty.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Solo Birthday Adventure in Salt Lake City.

Yesterday was my birthday and I took advantage of the lovely baby-watching skills of my mom and spent a few blissful hours out on the town.

First I headed out to my favorite Mexican restaurant, El Chihuahua. Rob isn’t the biggest fan of Mexican food, so I take it when I can get it!

Birthday lunch at El Chihuahua

Then I headed to the craft store for some supplies for a new project I’m going to experiment with tonight. After that, I headed downtown to return some library books and get the best pastry in the world:

Kouing Aman from Les Madeleines Bakery in Salt Lake City

The kouing aman from Les Madeleines bakery.

Les Madeleines Bakery in Salt Lake City

I might have picked up a macaron or two as well.

Bakery Case at Les Madeleines in Salt Lake City

Then I headed over to 3rd and 3rd for some antiquing.

Shopping at Retro Rose

I visited one of my favorite spots, Retro Rose.

Adjust-O-Matic Dress form at Retro Rose

Look! They even have an Adjust-o-matic dress form!

I ended the afternoon at Carmen Mirandas, where I found a great 1950’s hat, then I headed over to Maccool’s pub for a couple of beers with girlfriends.

Later that night, Rob surprised me with a couple of cool Wonder Woman collectibles.

Definitely a happy birthday!

Tagge’s Famous Fruit CSA, Week 14.

So sad that there is only one more week of the CSA! But it’s probably a good thing, since I have a whole counter full of vegetables. Oh, and apples – lots of apples. 🙂

Tagge's Famous Fruit CSA, Week 14.

This week we had:

  • butternut squash
  • pumpkin
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • acorn squash
  • green beans
  • radishes
  • apples
  • small box of raspberries (not pictured)

It seems I always forget to take a picture of the raspberries before the girls start noshing on them. 🙂

Next week will be the last delivery of the summer – we’re definitely going to miss it!