We spent the weekend enjoying the beautiful May weather both in State College and NYC. I don’t have many pictures at all, but will attempt to document the events with words.
Friday night, I worked on expanding my Turkish cooking portfolio. A family friend in Germany has created “Koch Dich Türkisch (cook yourself Turkish),” a website with Turkish recipe videos. He’s been doing this for several years and has built a remarkable following. I finally wanted to cook with one of his videos and chose this one, called “Imam bayildi,” which means “The Imam Fainted.” It’s a traditional eggplant dish. One of the myths about its name is that the Imam’s wife made this for him and he fainted because he learned how much olive oil was in it. Olive oil was very expensive. Another says he fainted simply because it was so tasty.
Imam Bayildi (serves 2 or 4, depending if you want one or two halves – vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free)
– 2 large eggplants
– 3 medium onions, diced
– 3 tomatoes (peeled or unpeeled, depending on preference)
– 2 garlic cloves
– 1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
– olive oil (amounts can be based on preference)
– 1 tbsp. sugar
– salt and pepper
– a little thyme, finely chopped
Halve the eggplant and slice the skin in a zebra pattern. Soak them in saltwater for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the onions and the garlic, as well as the other ingredients. Fry the onions, garlic, and sugar in a large pan. Once they are well-glazed over, add the other ingredients minus the parsley and fry everything for a few more minutes.
When the eggplants have soaked, pat them dry with paper towels. In another frying pan, heat up olive oil. When the oil is ready, place the eggplants face-down into the pan and sear them until the edges are browned. Place the halves into a casserole or baking dish, fill them with the vegetable mix, add parsley on top, and sprinkle them with more olive oil. Then bake them for 35 minutes and enjoy.
I had to cut the baking time for mine to 20 minutes because I was running late for a girls night with two friends at Gigi’s in State College. We sat on the back patio, drank wine, and enjoyed the view of the mountains until it got dark, we got cold, and we moved to a table inside.
Saturday morning, we tried to sleep in a bit to be well-rested for our trip to NYC. When he wanted to make omelettes for breakfast, Dave realized we only had one egg left, so he came up with this:
Cornbread-stuffed Italian peppers and cornbread muffins. His reasoning was that cornbread was the only thing he could think of that requires only one egg. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me.
We packed up fast for the one-night stay and headed out. Before we left town, we stopped at Wegman’s to get a gift for our hosts and pick up some food for the road.
I got Kombucha and a salmon roll.
This is where I stopped taking pictures, so forgive me if you are visually inclined.
We visited one of my co-workers who just helped open the Woolrich office in Manhattan a few months ago. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband. We got there around 3:30 p.m., got a tour of their house, and then walked around the neighborhood and the Brooklun Botanical Gardens. The weather was perfect. We also stopped at this amazing juicing bar and I got a kale and pineapple-based creation that can only be described as phenomenal.
We stopped at an authentic Italian pizza place and got takeout pizza and salads. They had three other people over at their house for dinner. We ate, made strawberry-mint ice cream (so good), and played The Settlers of Catan. Have you ever played this game? I just ordered it on Amazon this morning because I liked it so much.
On Sunday morning, Dave and I left their place early and headed to Manhattan on the subway to see the Civil War photography exhibit at the Met. The upper East side was full of runners, bikers, and families on walks. It was nice to be around large amounts of people again. We had some coffee and banana muffins at the cafe and then walked around the exhibit, which was fantastic.
Back in Brooklyn, we had some pizza for lunch and then headed out because we had a Cinco de Mayo party in State College at night. Our route took us across the Manhattan Bridge, through China town, and then put us back into New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel. Driving in China Town was definitely something I do not wish to make a habit. Way too many swarms of tourists not paying attention to traffic lights and too many crazy drivers. But it was worth it because the parking in Brooklyn was free.
We got back to State College shortly before 7 p.m., went to our friends’ house for the barbecue, and then did some grocery shopping to make sure we’re not entirely unprepared for the week. Dave got to sleep in this morning (lucky), but I was back at the office bright and early for the Monday groove. At least I have my second eggplant half saved for lunch today!