So how's that leftover turkey coming along? About ready to throw in the towel? I'm guessing you are.
If you're like me, you're probably craving a change of pace after a week of turkey sandwiches and leftover casseroles. Something healthy, maybe even something a little exotic. But not too exotic, now that your system is just beginning to recover from the onslaught of gravy and whipped cream.
I've got just the thing for you. It's called eggplant paradise, and you'll find it in a charming little eatery called Sage Cafe in Chapel Hill's Timberlyne Shopping Center. The restaurant is run by the mother and son team of Homa and Rahin Jahannia, and it specializes in vegetarian fare with a Persian accent. In the Jahannias' native tongue, the name of eggplant paradise is khoresh-e bademjan.
Once you've tasted this exotically fragrant stew, you'll agree that eggplant paradise is a suitable translation. The bliss begins before you even taste the dish, when the aroma of cinnamon announces its arrival at the table. Then you bite into the deceptively simple-looking stew of eggplant, split peas, tomato and onion, and you discover that cinnamon is just the lead player in a complex chorus of flavors that also includes turmeric and just a whisper of garlic.
Eggplant paradise is served with a small salad of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and onions, as well as your choice of brown or basmati rice. I favor the basmati, which is flecked with saffron-tinted grains and is some of the fluffiest, most fragrant rice I've ever had. But if you're really feeling the need to go healthy all the way, go ahead and order the brown. I'll understand.