Imam Bayildi "The Cleric Fainted"

Traditionally Greek
This is the Turkish name for a dish that is also very common in Greek cuisine. There are many foods that are debated over whether it is originally Greek or Turkish, but of course it is difficult to determine because of the 400 year occupation. This had many consequences, one being a very big recipe exchange. But I am not here to give you a history lesson (today) or tell you of a tragic story, rather, just to share this amazingly delicious recipe. 
Stuffed Eggplant and Greek American Salad
Stuffed Eggplantsserves 4 half sizes
 2 eggplants, aubergines
1 lg. or 2 small white onions, chopped
1-2 mushrooms, chopped (optional)
About 1/4 – 1/2 cup of Greek olive oil, plus a little extra
1-2 tomatoes, pulped and strained, or 1/2 cup tomato sauce + pinch of sugar or carrot juice
1-2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 T. finely chopped parsley
2 T. breadcrumbs 
1 tsp Greek oregano
Salt and pepper

Wash eggplants well and slice evenly down middle.
Using a sharp knife, remove the inside of the eggplants, leaving the skins intact. 
Sprinkle salt inside each eggplant and the removed chopped eggplant, turn over and let drain for half and hour. Preheat oven to 350° F. (180° C.). Rinse the eggplant with water, drizzle generously with oil, then place the eggplant skins under the broiler and cook until soft. Typically, this is the point that the eggplant halves are fried in oil, but I prefer to use the oven for a slightly healthier version. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and add the chopped eggplants. Remove the eggplants from the oil and set aside. In the same oil the eggplants were fried in, add the chopped onion and sauté slowly until golden, then add the eggplant and tomatoes (with sugar) and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes then remove pan from heat and allow mixture to cool slightly.Carefully fill each eggplant with generous portions of the onion mixture, being careful not to tear the eggplants. Once the eggplants have been filled, pour any remaining oil from the frying pan over everything. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs overtop of each stuffed eggplant and then place pan in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until very tender.                                               
Best served warm and slightly room temperature with feta or Greek yogurt. 


Greek American Salad

Fresh cut Romaine lettuce 
Tomatoes 
Cucumber 
Onions 
Greek Feta 
Kalamata Olives 
Green Pepper (optional) 
Homemade croutons 
Drizzle olive oil 
Splash vinegar 
Pinch salt, pepper, oregan

Traditional Greek or village salads are not served with lettuce, but rather only sliced tomato, cucumber, onion, feta, peppers, olives, croutons, and dressing as above. I prefer the health benefits of eating lettuce, but can easily be altered to suit your preferences too!

Kali Orexi!

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