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Tag Archives | Stuffed Eggplants

Kreativ Blogger Award

I have been very much flattered for the Kreativ Blogger Award nomination by one of my favorite blogs, Peri’s Spice Ladle; thank you very much Peri, your blog is truly inspirational for me and I have been very much touched by this special honor : )

So, in accordance with the “Rules of Conduct” for bloggers who win this award, I will now do the following:

  1.  Thank the blogger who gave me the award and provide a link (as above).
  2.  List 7 interesting things about myself that my readers might find interesting.
  3.  Nominate 7 other bloggers, provide links, and let them know.

Here are 7 interesting things about myself:

  1. Share food. One of the biggest pleasures of life for me is to share a delicious bite with family and friends – in Turkish we say “food tastes better when shared;” and I very much believe that. I am thankful to my parents for teaching us the value of good food and importance of sharing; which I hope to pass on through my blog.
  2. Teaching. I always loved food but the teaching part came much later in my life. Central Market Cooking School in Austin, Texas believed in me and gave me the chance and confidence to have a go on teaching Turkish cooking classes with them in 2006. Since then, I taught Turkish cooking classes with Central Market Cooking School in Austin, San Antonio and Houston for over 5 years. This has been such a milestone in my life, I can never thank them and all the wonderful foodie folks in Texas enough to help me find what I truly love – thank you !! I can’t wait to come back toTexas to teach more, hopefully in 2013!!
  3. Istanbul.. I am very passionate about my homeland, Turkey, and I am very much in love with the fascinating city of Istanbul. I have been lucky enough to live in Istanbul over 15 years; it is one of those places you feel alive 24 hours. It’s old but not tired, ancient yet alive; a vibrant, breathtaking, cosmopolitan city. One of my favorite parts of Istanbul is the Bosphorus strait (river) that flows through the city; a stroll and a glass of tea by the Bosphorus may just make the perfect day.

    Boats by the Bosphorus, Istanbul

    4. Travel. When I was a little girl, I always had a little bag (of my few favorite toys and a piece of clothing) ready by the door. I always loved going to places and visiting, and whenever a visitor to our home would say “Wouldn’t be nice to have Ozlem around to us?” I would wear my most charming smile and grab my bag to go – and truly hope they meant what they say! : )- I absolutely love traveling, seeing places old and new, and still have a bag ready to go, anytime.

    5. Patlican (Aubergine/Eggplant). Between us, my nickname, given by my husband is patlican (aubergine or eggplant in English). Patlican, eggplant, is our national vegetable (actually fruit, as it has seeds in it). I cooked Angus, my then boyfriend, now husband, my first Turkish dinner, the stuffed eggplant, Karniyarik,  about 15 years ago. He loved the dish and more than that, the name of it so much that he decided to call me “Patlican” or as short Patli! Though a little strange it sounds when we go back home, I thought it’s very cute and love it : )

    6.  Pilates & smelling the flowers. When I am not thinking of food, family or traveling, I would love to do pilates. A wonderful exercise for body and soul and a great reason to pause. The same way, I find being outdoors in the nature very uplifting, especially at the moment, when the earth is waking up, great excuse to be out and about and smell the flowers!

    7. Last but not least, importance of my family. My husband and our two beautiful children; my most precious treasures in the world. I am ever grateful for their unconditional love, support and the positive energy they give, a reason to smile every day 🙂

    The 7 blogs I am nominating for this award are:

    1. A Seasonal Cook in Turkey. Claudia is a fantastic foodie, who lives inIstanbul and writes about wonderful seasonal produce in Turkey and Turkish & International recipes. She also shares wonderful eateries and markets from Turkey, which I always look forward to. We are determined to meet up next time I am inIstanbul!!

    2. Cuisine de Provence. Barbara’s wonderful blog of Provence cuisine is always inspiring and delicious. One of the joys of  blogging is to meet wonderful bloggers like Barbara to share love of food. I have my eyes on her wonderful cooking classes Provencal style in Provence,  a dream to work in progress!

    3.  Tuesday Recipe by Tori Richie. I have been grateful to be connected toSan Francisco based award winning  cook/author/teacher Tori (thank you Gillian for this!). Her recipes are delicious, simple, and inspirational; I turn to them very often.

    4. Café Fernando.  Café Fernando’s Turkish food blogger Cenk  is a serious foodie, novice photographer, seasoned home baker and a shameless chocoholic from Istanbul, Turkey. His multiple award winning photography and recipes are truly amazing, so proud of him!

    5. As Strong As Soup. I really like Phil’s straight forward and easy to cook at home recipes. Try his Carbonade Flamande; just what I fancy at the end of a long day.

    6.  La Tavola Marche. American expats Jason and Ashley’s wonderful blog is all about local seasonal Italian recipes, organic gardening, food festivals & markets, day trips in LeMarche,Tuscany, Umbria & beyond. This blog takes me to the wonderful Italian countryside and the recipes are delightful.

    7. Istanbul Eats is a serious eater’s guide to Istanbul, aiming to bring you into the best undiscovered local eateries you might not always find on your own, and they do it so well, a great source of information, well worth checking out.

    I hope you enjoy strolling through these wonderful sites.





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Karniyarik – Stuffed Eggplants (Aubergines) with ground lamb, tomatoes and onions


Karniyarik; Stuffed eggplants with ground meat, onion, tomatoes

Karniyarik; Stuffed eggplants with ground meat, onion, tomatoes

This impressive dish is a legacy of the Ottoman Palace kitchens and yet another of the imperial demands for ingenuity concerning the much loved eggplant, aubergine, you will find this dish wherever you go in Turkey! Though traditionally made with ground lamb, you may prepare it with ground beef or have a vegetarian version too. Simply replace the meat with your favorite vegetable (mushrooms, chickpeas work very well), sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and bake it, it turns out to be a delicious alternative.

This Karniyarik recipe and many more are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, along with stunning photography and personal stories. Signed copies are now 30 % OFF for a limited time at this link and delivered worldwide including the USA.

You can cook this dish ahead of time and gently reheat in the oven. Karniyarik freezes very well, once cooked. Here’s also my YouTube video for how to make Karniyarik :

Preparation time – 45 minutes Cooking time – 55 minutes

3 dark purple eggplants (aubergines; small to medium variety if possible)
340 gr / 12 ounces ground (minced) lean lamb
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 gr /14 oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
240 ml / 1 cup water
1 bunch or 1/2 cup Italian (flat) parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 – 4 tablespoons canola oil or ground nut oil for shallow frying
6 thin slices of tomato and green bell peppers, seeded – for decorative topping
1 -2  teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F

Cut the eggplants in half lengthways leaving the stalk intact. In each half of eggplant, cut a deep split lengthways without cutting through to the skin on the opposite side and leaving 1/2″-13 mm- uncut at either end. Sprinkle salt over the flesh side of the eggplants and leave them aside for 15 minutes. Salt will help the moisture come out of the eggplants.

In a little of the olive oil, sauté the onions until soft. Add the ground lamb and cook until all the moisture is absorbed. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix well. Continue cooking for a further couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in most of the chopped parsley. Seasoning is important, so please check the seasoning of the mixture and add more salt or pepper if you would like.

Dry the eggplants with kitchen towel thoroughly. Lightly brown them evenly on both sides in the canola oil or gorundnut oil. With the split sides facing up, place them into a well-oiled ovenproof dish or a baking tray. Spoon the filling into the splits. On the top of each filled eggplant put a slice of tomato and a green bell pepper. Mix the water with a drizzle of olive oil. Pour this mixture on the baking tray. Cover and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for another 15 minutes or until they are tender and the eggplants are nicely browned on top.

Serve hot with plain rice and a dollop of plain yoghurt by the side.

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