Continuing with vegetarian cooking, I decided to make the Turkish dish Imam Bayildi for dinner. Imam Bayildi contains my favorite veggies – oven roasted tomatoes and eggplant as well as caramelized onions. Yum!
The name Imam Bayildi literally translates into “the imam fainted”. There are a couple of stories behind the name:
1) A Turkish imam swooned with pleasure at the flavor when presented with this dish by his wife and he fainted upon hearing the cost of the ingredients or the amount of oil used to cook the dish.
2) An imam married the daughter of an olive oil merchant and her dowry consisted of twelve jars of the finest olive oil, with which she prepared each evening in an eggplant dish with tomatoes and onions. On the thirteenth day, there was no eggplant dish at the table. When informed that there was no more olive oil, the imam fainted.
This dish came about by accident. Originally I wanted to make Green Kitchen Stories’ Involtini di Melanzane, or rolled stuffed eggplant, because I had tomato sauce left over from a couple of nights before. But it turns out I am awful at slicing eggplant. You have to slice the eggplant very thinly, but mine were uneven and all but a few weren’t the entire length of the eggplant. Because the eggplant needs to be grilled in the oven before rolling, I had an idea for making lasagne after seeing the slices laid out in a casserole dish. So instead of pasta, I used the eggplant slices! Mmm…it turned out very well!
The 21st of July is the Nationale Feestdag van België. The south of the Netherlands proclaimed independence to form the Kingdom of Belgium (the official name) on the 25th of August 1830. This was the start of the Belgian Revolution, which ended on the 14th of July 1831. Leopold I became the first king of Belgium the 21st of July 1831, and every year on this day everyone celebrates in Belgium.
But because the 21st was on a Saturday this year, I went to the Netherlands to spend the weekend (it’s rare that I have 2 days off in a row!). Koen and I had a relaxing time in Roosendaal, enjoying good wine (from Grand Vin, of course), food, and weather.