Turkish Stuffed Eggplant – Imam Bayildi

Tender eggplant packed full of tomatoes, onions and spices! Heavenly!

Love eggplant? Looking for a hearty & delicious vegetarian & vegan recipe?

Meet Imam Bayildi.

It’s a Turkish dish that I learned in culinary school and every time I make it, it brings me back to Turkey every time.

Follow along with me with the video below ⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓

Imam Bayildi literally translates, “Imam fainted.” Why?

  • Some say that it tasted so good that he fainted after he took a bite.
  • While others say he fainted because it was too expensive.

Imam Bayildi (Turkish Stuffed Eggplant)

Serves 2 or 4 (as a side dish)

  • 2 large eggplant
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 cups crushed tomatoes (about one 14oz can)
  • 1.5 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt & black pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

Wash and dry the eggplant. Then partially peel it lengthwise to create a stripe pattern.

Rub the egplant with 1/2 TBSP of olive oil and place them in a baking dish.

Bake the eggplant for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1.5TBSP of olive oil in a frying pan.

Add the sliced onions and saute until they are tender.

Then add the garlic, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper, and crushed tomatoes.

Stir well and cover.

Place on medium low heat to cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If needed, add some water to keep it from sticking.

Using a knife, cut a slit down the middle of each piece of eggplant.

Take two spoons and place them in the slit and gently pull open the eggplant on each side.

Then take the filling and generously stuff the eggplant.

With the remaining filling, pour it into the baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the eggplant are tender.

Serve & Enjoy!

Afiyet Olson!

Sabich: an Iraqi Jewish Dish in Israel

If you’re looking to kick up your sandwich game, then you’ve gotta try Sabich!

A fresh pita packed full of tender eggplant, egg, hummus, veggies, tahini & more!

So, I’ll admit it. The first time I came to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I never heard of Sabich. I find that you’ll find dozens of places selling falafel and hummus, but only a handful of places that sell and specialize in Sabich.

When I learned about it, I was immediately interested. Like it’s cousin Falafel, Sabich is vegetarian. For me, as a known vegetarian, but as a veggie lover, I appreciate discovering new vegetarian dishes.

Secondly, Sabich is relatively healthy. I say relatively because the authentic version is made with fried eggplant, not roasted eggplant (like my recipe). So, anything fried, well it’s not rocket science, you’re smart, you get the picture. But, there are ways to customize it according to your taste and dietary restrictions. For example, cut the pita in half and pack it full of mostly veggies and a little less hummus and tahini.

Finally, Sabich is simple. It’s honestly not a lot of work to prepare it especially compared to it’s cousin Falafel, who requires soaking chickpeas, blending the ingredients, rest time for the dough, etc. I mean Sabich is close enough to the Hebrew word Sababah (which means cool) and I think it’s a really cool dish.

So, thanks for reading and if you find yourself in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and nearby, try Sabich! (Pronounced: “Sah-bee”). I bet you’ll be glad that you did. Meanwhile, here’s the recipe for you to try at home if you’re ever so keen.

Peace, Falafel & Sabich!

Sabich

Recipe by: EE Winkler

Serves 3-4

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup of hummus (homemade or store bought –no judgement here 🙂
  • 1/2 small onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1-2 cups Jerusalem Salad
  • 1/2 cup tahini sauce
  • 1/4 cup pickles
  • 4 fresh pitas
  • Traditional Way? Add Amba and Zhoug (see NOTE 2 🙂

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 190C/ 375F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or foil) and brush with a bit of oil.

Slice the eggplant in 1/4 inch rounds. Then place the eggplant rounds on the baking sheet in a single layer.

Brush the top of the rounds with a bit of oil and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, flip over and then continue to bake the eggplant for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Place the eggplant in a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, gather all of your ingredients and place them on the countertop. (NOTE: think of yourself like your own personal “Sabich Shop.” It’s so much easier when all of the ingredients are out and ready and you don’t have to fumble around your kitchen or fridge hunting for everything.

To prepare the Sabich: take a pita and cut off the very top of the circle, just enough to open the pouch. Alternatively, you can cut it in half if you’re only eating half a pita. Then place a spoonful of hummus, eggplant, egg, onions, Jerusalem Salad, pickles and tahini sauce. Repeat, until your pita if full.

 

NOTE: the order does not matter, at least not to me 🙂

NOTE 2: Traditionally Sabich is made with Amba, a mango chutney & Zhoug, a type of hot sauce. I didn’t make it the traditional way but feel free to make it according to your taste.

Voila! Now, take a big bite & enjoy.

P.s. this is a food coma type of food. You’ve been warned 🙂 I ate it at lunch and had to go back to work. Thank God for strong coffee! Lol!

 

Cultivate a Positive Mindset for Success

Success is something that starts in our minds way before we actually do anything. 

How To Cultivate a Positive Mindset for Success:

Dream BIG dreams: Sometimes if you fail and experience rejection enough times it can sometimes make you dream smaller or shorten your reach or settle for mediocre or ordinary. But what if instead of thinking of failure and rejection as limitations, we instead viewed them as stepping stones that propel us upward to achieve more and reach for more? The rocks that you encounter when you climb a mountain are not to be avoided nor are they meant to slow you down, they are meant to step onto and used as leverage to push yourself forward.

Don’t settle for Less: when it comes to a shopping spree or buying groceries, it’s nice to pay less. But the price you pay for success is not one of these coupon, discount, pay-less opportunities. Success costs a LOT. Although many will try to fluff it as something that it simple and easy and not costly, it will cost you more than you could ever imagine.

Catch Your Thoughts: what are you thinking about? Yes, right now. What are you thinking about? Are your thoughts limiting your success or building it? Ninety percent of the time are you thinking good thoughts or bad thoughts? Catch your thoughts. Don’t just think about whatever pops into your mind but think intentional good thoughts about yourself, your future and other people.

Searching for more inspiration? Check out my inspirational poetry & content!

Photo Credit: Photo by Gradikaa on Unsplash

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Hungry for Travel Adventures?

I always dreamed of seeing the world with my own two eyes. And now that I am so blessed to be able to see so many places, I want to share them with you!

If you’re hungry for a good travel adventure, then let’s go taste and see amazing places and food!

Traveling the world there’s a lot to see and a lot to learn. Ever since I was 8 or 9 years old, I have so longed to escape the ordinary and see the world. But it didn’t happen instantaneously. In fact, it seemed like it would never happen for me when I found myself working my way through college in my hometown. But through a series of events and a lot of growing up, I got the experience of a lifetime to travel the world via ship for graduate school (that’s a whole other story, so stay tuned for that one).

As a cook and a writer, long ago I combined those passions to start creating cooking videos. After experiencing rejection through auditioning for cooking shows, pitching pilot episodes through production studios and studying more and more about food I thought for a long time that I would just keep it as a dream within me.

But through the encouragement of my husband, on January 20, 2018 I started a YouTube channel as a place to publish and share my cooking tutorials and videos. I was humbled when people started subscribing and watching the videos and even more humbled when they cooked my recipes. I gave myself a goal of 50 published cooking videos in 6 months and I met this goal in about 4 months. Simultaneously, I was studying Turkish cooking at a Turkish culinary school (all in Turkish language) and I felt so amazing blessed to be able to spend so much time doing what I love.

This year, I have continued to expand on what I love by creating travel videos. Some of them are food focused travel videos and others are simply about places to see. My goal, is to create content that is entertaining, educational and informative. I want to take people along to see places and experience things that they may never see or do. For so long I appreciated cooking and travel videos as an outsider but now I appreciate them as an “insider.”

So why am I sharing all of this? Not only do I want to share my travels with you, yes YOU. But I also want to encourage you. If you’ve got special dreams hidden within your heart and you wonder, “how on earth will these dreams ever come true”? Don’t stop dreaming and don’t stop working hard. MANY people will not understand your dream. I can’t tell you how many people don’t understand my dreams but you know what? They don’t have to. Don’t let others discourage you but keep doing good work and learning and you’re going to see growth and change in some form.

If you’re hungry for a good travel adventure, then check out my travel videos. Let me know what you think.

Mama’s Cinnamon Rolls

Delicious yeast rolls packed full of cinnamon, sugar and plump raisins!

As a kid, I knew that cinnamon rolls were something that my Mom generally made during the holiday season. Early in the morning, I’d stumble into the kitchen and find her standing there with a piece of dough that covered our entire countertop (it was a pretty big countertop). Once she had it all rolled out, she’d cover it with a light layer of butter, sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar and then precisely scatter the raisins on top. Then seemingly with an effortless ease, she’d roll up the dough and slice it into generous rolls. Then the rolls would have a nice warm rise before they were baked to golden perfection in the oven.

Although my opinion is quite biased, I must say that my mom makes the best cinnamon rolls. This recipe is a close second but let’s face it, nothing is as good as mom’s.

 

 

Here’s the recipe:

Mama’s Cinnamon Rolls

     Recipe by: EE Winkler

For the dough:

  • 3 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBSP sunflower oil or melted butter +1 tsp for greasing the bowl (for the dough to rise)
  • 2 TBSP white sugar
  • 3 – 3.5 cups all purpose flour

For the filling:

1/2 cup butter (softened) + 1 TBSP for greasing the pan

2/3 cup sugar

2 TBSP ground cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins (rehydrated for 5 minutes in warm water, then drained)

For the topping:

  • 2 TBSP softened butter (to brush the warm rolls)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 TBSP milk

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Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine the yeast, warm milk, egg, oil (or melted butter), sugar and stir well. Then gradually add in the flour (NOTE: you may not need all of it, so add it gradually. This is something that can vary). Add enough flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Then turn the dough over onto a floured work space and knead it for about 7-10 minutes.

Then place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place to rise for 60-75 minutes.

Once the dough has risen (it should have doubled in volume), remove it from the bowl and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop.

Roll the dough out until it is about 1/2 inch (approx. 1.5 cm) thick.

Then spread the softened butter evenly over the dough with your clean hands and/or a pastry brush.

Then combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle it evenly on top of the dough.

Scatter the raisins evenly on top of the cinnamon sugar.

Then starting from the longest side of the dough, push the edges up and begin to gently roll the dough, being sure to not have too much slack dough and that the roll is tight and stable.

Once the dough is completely rolled up, cut the dough into slices about half an inch (approx. 1.5 cm) thick.

Grease a deep baking pan with the remaining butter and then place the rolls in the pan so that they are touching, side by side.

Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel and place in a warm area to rise for another 60 to 90 minutes.

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The cinnamon rolls before they rise…

Meanwhile, preheat the oven on 175C/350F.

After the cinnamon rolls have risen, they should have doubled in size.

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The cinnamon rolls after the rise

Remove the towel and place the cinnamon rolls in the oven and allow them to bake for about 30-40 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Then take them out of the oven and brush with the 2TBSP of softened butter.

Then to make the glaze: whisk together the powdered sugar and milk adding the milk gradually until the glaze it the consistency of a thickened syrup.

Immediately drizzle the glaze on top of the cinnamon rolls.

Serve & Enjoy warm (they’re soooooo good when they’re warm)!

 

Bon Appetit!

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©All Rights Reserved Wink of an Eye 2019

 

Chimichurri Chicken Tacos

Tender chicken marinated in a chimichurri sauce with all of your favorite tacos fixins’ in a homemade flour tortilla.

 

I love tacos. It’s one of those dishes that essentially is so unbelievably simply but so delicious. Take your favorite protein and fill up a tortilla with it and a bunch of veggies.

Every night can be taco night and this recipe is a great one to give a try!

Chimichurri Chicken Tacos

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 1 cup homemade chimichurri sauce
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups homemade pico de gallo
  • 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
  • sour cream or thick yogurt (as desired)

Preparation:

In a large bowl, combine together the chicken and the chimichurri sauce. Stir well until the chicken is thoroughly coated. NOTE: you can allow it to marinate for 30 minutes to several hours OR cook it immediately. Either way, it’s going to be delicious!

Place the marinated chicken in a large non-stick frying pan. NOTE: there’s no need for extra oil because there’s oil in the chimichurri sauce.

Sauté the chicken until it is no longer pink inside but still juicy and tender.

Remove from the heat and assemble your tacos to your liking. I fill my tacos with the chimichurri chicken, shredded romaine lettuce, pico de gallo and a dollop of thick yogurt or sour cream.

LOVE Guacamole? Check out my Homemade Guacamole Recipe!

Enjoy!

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©Wink of an Eye 2019

Veggie Supreme Burger

A veggie burger that’s far from average…

An all veggie burger layered with thick slices of roasted vegetables, topped with my special sauce and packed on a brioche bun!

Confession… I am not a vegetarian or vegan but I would consider myself a veggie lover! I’ve always loved vegetables and I always will! I was that strange kid begging my Dad to pack me cucumber or bell pepper in my lunch. It just tasted delicious to me and it still does.

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Anyway, I understand that maybe everyone is not a veggie lover, and despite the fact that this is a Veggie Supreme Burger (meaning it’s only veggies and no meat), I think you’ll love it.

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The vegetables are roasted in the oven until they are tender and caramelized. Paired with the savory special tahini sauce and a homemade brioche bun, it’s a match made in heaven. If you’re not convinced, watch the video above. I salivate every time I watch it even though I am the one who made it, lol!

Guten Appetit!