Saturday, June 5, 2010

stuffed eggplant

A couple of weekends ago, our boy and I went on a little hike and talk on the "edible forest" given by our local ecology center. We woke up to pouring rain that day, which I remember being very surprised at, considering the forecast had called for sunshine. But after a quick trip to the market, off we set for the ecology center. T was quite certain we couldn't hike in the rain (he's such a fairweather boy!). But after a few minutes looking around the center (T fell in love with a large diorama of the forest which depicted many trucks (in farming, logging and quarry applications) and after pressing all the buttons, setting off bear noises and the like on the wildlife display, off we went with our group for a walk and talk in the rain. Along the way through the canyon we learned about the salmonberry and thimbleberry, the western hemlock and red cedar, the oregon grape and the licorice fern. T was being his annoying 4 year old self, humming loudly and saying " my legs are too tired, I want to go home", in between "I'm bored". But we completed the walk and afterwards went for tea and apple juice and then went on to Auntie Kerry's. She had asked D to come over and see her lawnmower and possibly fix it. T and I went along to play and afterwards we were all going out for a greek dinner at the restaurant just up the street. D managed to fix the lawnmower and while Auntie K took our boy to the park to play ball, we cut the grass in their small back yard. And then we all trooped up the hill for an early greek dinner. We were the only diners in the restaurant for a while and T did some kind of crazy Greek/Kung Fu style dancing while we were waiting for our food. Kerry choose a dish from the vegetarian options that I'd never heard of before - on the menu as Imam Balti - stuffed eggplant. It looked delicious so I googled it a few days later with an idea to try it at home.

I discovered it had many different names - usually Imam Bayildi or fainting cleric, with some stories of a holy man fainting because the dish tasted so good or alternatively, because so much olive oil was used in making the dish.

So I bought 4 small eggplants from the local farm market and gave it a try. First I roasted the eggplants, then I cut them in half, scraped out the flesh and diced it. I sauted the eggplant with 1/4 of a large diced onion,  plus three chopped tomatoes, 1 diced red pepper and ~ 1/4 cup of crumbled feta. I added some quartered green olives, oregano, lemon juice and zest to the mix once the vegetables were soft. Then I added the filling into the eggplant shells and baked for 30 minutes at 350 deg F.

I served it alongside some roasted red potatoes, with garlic and lemon.

The filling was delicious but I found the eggplant shells tough so next time I think I would soften them a bit by rubbing a bit of olive oil on them before roasting them.

No comments: