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 Vegetables, Week 1

There are so many milestones that can mark the beginning of summer – Memorial Day, the last day of school, the 4th of July… One that I’ve looked forward to the past couple of years is the first day of our CSA!

Rob and I invest in a local CSA, Tagge’s Famous Fruit, and this week was our first pickup. Here’s what we got:

Tagge's Famous Fruit CSA, Week 1

  • One tomato
  • One bunch of beets
  • one bunch of turnips
  • One head of lettuce
  • One bunch of green onions
  • One bunch of chard
  • Six apricots
  • Two pounds of cherries

One of my goals this summer is to use or give away everything we receive each week. Sometimes it’s just so much food that I have a hard time finding room in the fridge for it, or I don’t know how to prepare it. Fortunately, I’ve learned quite a bit over the past two years of CSA’s, and stock-piled some recipes, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be successful this time around.

One of the tastiest dishes I made this week was turnips and greens. I took the turnips and cleaned and peeled them, then diced them up into bite sized pieces and sauteed them with some olive oil and garlic for about 7 minutes. Then I cleaned and chopped the chard and threw that in on top and covered it until it had all wilted and cooked down. Finished it with some butter and some salt and pepper and it was a lovely side dish!

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?

Recipe: Moroccan Chicken

Here is one of my favorite easy weeknight dinners. Should only take about 30-40 minutes, and it’s insanely good!

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion (I use pre-chopped frozen to cut down on prep)
1/2 tsp garlic (I use the chopped in a can kind, again, to cut down on prep)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup wine (you can substitute chicken stock if you prefer to not use wine)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp honey

Combine the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes, and rub on the chicken. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Without cleaning out the pan, add the onion and cook for two minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Stir in the tomato paste and then add the wine. Let everything cook down for about a minute.
Add the can of tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and honey. Once it is boiling return the chicken thighs to the pan, cover, and lower to medium low heat. Let everything simmer for 5-10 minutes until you’re sure the chicken is cooked through, and then serve over couscous.

Recipe for chicken cooked with Moroccan spices, tomatoes, and chickpeas.