Its the last week of summer hols around here. I am jittery. Guess why ? Big sis S starts Grade 1 next week in the big school. Yeah the little girl who was a couple months short of 3 when I first started this blog is going to be a first grader now.
Last week we went uniform shopping for her. Since she doesn't meet our township's cut-off date she is going to a private school for a year and then will be back in the public school system in Grade 2. Now this school she is going to is a Catholic School and they have uniforms.
That had made me very happy initially. Having been straitjacketed into uniforms 12 years of my life, I love them. What I didn't realize is, it was my Mom who shopped for my uniforms and also largely maintained them while I was merely a bystander. Now roles have shifted.
It was there at the uniform store, it hit me that I really need to live up to the role of a Mom . Nothing before, nor even the stubborn lactation consultant had thrust this thought into my face so hard as did the uniform store.
I realized that there are only so many shirts and tunics and gym shorts you can buy. I also realized that I need to gauge and buy the perfect size which will fit through whole year. Of course I can be extravagant and buy all sizes but then I won't be writing this blog, there would be someone writing it for me.
And because of the limited buying you need to maintain these stuff. As a responsible Mom you would need to iron the shirts every couple of days, you will have to sew on buttons 'coz those goddamn shirts have numerous buttons ready to fly off any minute, you might have to hem or un-hem skirts depending on how the child grows, you might even have to mend a rent in those expensive knee-highs, and then keep those black shoes shining bright.
The very thought that my Mom did all this and more through most of my school years, wanted me to book her a flight and bring her here. To reach that exalted position I need to apprentice at a laundry and go get a needlework for dummies. Till then I keep my fingers crossed that the dad does the ironing and I can fix those buttons with glue.
Now as part of the celebrations I mentioned last week I made an exotic turkish dish for the small gathering at home. Exotic seems to be the right way to describe anything Turkish I feel but this one is really exquisite. And to think that I had no clue that such a dish existed on the face of earth until August 1st.
That is when we were visiting some friends. As kids were being taken care of and I had ample time to rummage through their book shelves I found a cookbook with this recipe. The name caught my attention. "Imam Bayildi" or The Imam fainted. Why, You say. Try this beautiful eggplant dish doused liberally with olive oil and infused with herbs, and you will know for yourselves
I also referred to this blog for very nice step by step pics as to what exactly should be done while peeling and stuffing, though my version was a tad different. This recipe has the measurements, mine are eyeballed.
The recipe is for 4 eggplants
Get those long slender eggplants and trim the “heads”. Do not cut them completely off. Peel the eggplants in stripes i.e. the skin and the peel should run parallel. Put the eggplants in salted water. After 30 mins remove and drain on paper towel
Heat 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is a must and no other oil will do.Add two chopped red onion and saute till pink. Add 8 cloves of garlic minced.
Add 1 large juicy tomato chopped, 1/2 cup of chopped coriander(the recipe said parsley), some chopped dill, 2 tsp of citrus zest, salt and sugar to taste. Saute till the tomato softens and is cooked. I added some Red Chili powder and also some garlic chives from my garden to spice it up.
Remove and keep aside
Now you need to fry the eggplants whole.
Heat 1/2 cup or a tad less of olive oil in a deep bottomed pan. Saute the whole eggplants till they are lightly browned on all side and a little soft but not thoroughly cooked. Do not try to do all the eggplants together, saute them individually. Note: I had to chop of a fraction of the eggplant tip because they weren't fitting into my frying pan. However if you are doing so do not cut from the head end
Arrange the eggplants in a baking dish
Cut open a slit/pocket in each eggplant. You might need to salt the pockets at this point if needed. Spoon in the stuffing in generous quantity into the pockets. If they spill over it is better. Pour in the juice and about 1/4 cup of hot water + olive oil into the baking dish.
Preheat oven to 375F and cook covered till eggplants are fully done. At the end of the process remove the cover and keep in oven for few more minutes to dry out any excess liquid.
Serve whole at room temperature
Trivia:The BIG question. Why did the Imam faint ? Multiple choice, pick your own: a) The imam (Muslim prayer leader) fainted or swooned when he tasted how good it was b)the stingy imam fainted when he saw how much expensive olive oil was used c)the imam was delighted when a shopkeeper's wife was required to quickly prepare a dish for the imam's unexpected visit