Eggplant Parmigiana

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I am trying to be present here more. I think it would be good for my well being to cook more and thus post more. Let’s see how this plan goes.

According to River Cottage Veg this is a lovely dish to make on a long rainy afternoon when you don’t have much to do. It is the first recipe in the book, perfect to start my new cooking-more adventure with. So after work on a Thursday at 7:30 pm I embarked on the eggplant parmigiana journey. It would be no problem I thought, You just layer everything and cook! Not realizing that the sliced eggplant should sit for an hour and the sauce needs to be prepped then cook for an hour and once assembled the dish itself needs to bake for an hour. Determined to see it through I didn’t take as much time as needed to let the sauce thicken and the eggplant drain but I did eat around 11 pm that night and it was worth it. Next time, though, I’m saving this for a lazy weekend day… This cooking new things after work will be learning process. 😉

Eggplant Parmigiana ~ Adapted from River Cottage Veg

4 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds)

4-5 tbsp of olive oil

2 balls of buffalo mozzarella (about 4 oz each)

finely grated parmesan cheese, or other hard cheese

For the sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 (14 oz cans plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (any stems and skin removed)

1 bay leaf

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

a pinch of sugar

*I ended up only using 2 (12 oz) cans of already chopped tomatoes. Maybe the ratio to the whole ones is different. Either way it isn’t a bad thing to end up with to much home-made sauce.

Trim the eggplants and slice lengthwise (thinly). Layer the slices in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt. Leave to drain for an hour or so. (I skipped this step but I think it is a useful one if you have the time).

Make the sauce: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute   for about 10 minutes, stirring on and off, until soft and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juice and the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer then simmer briskly stirring often for around 30-45 minutes. The end result should be a nice thick sauce. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar.

Rinse off the eggplant slices and pat dry. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot fry a batch of eggplant slices for about 2 minutes per side, until golden and tender. Remove and set aside. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices adding a little more oil before each batch.

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. In an oven proof dish (8 by 10 inches) layer a third of the eggplant slices. Cover with sauce (make sure to remove the bay leaf first). Then top with teared pieces of the mozzarella and sprinkles of the grated parmesan. Repeat this layering process until the dish is full, about 3 layers of each.

Bake for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is golden on top. Great on its own but also perfect with a large salad to make a meal.

Enjoy!

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Curry & Lemon Roasted Vegetables with Hummus

Welcome Fall. My first dish of the season not eaten cold. Hearty Veggies with a lemon twang and topped with a creamy goodness. YES. Welcome Fall.

Purple potatoes are a million and one times better then your average yukon gold. Their dark mysterious skin gives way to vibrant tie-dyed insides that not only taste great but up the cool-ness level of your dinner a few notches.

Curry & Lemon Roasted Vegetables with Hummus

{any vegetables you have on hand will work}
I eggplant, halved length-wise & chopped
2 medium sized potatoes, halved & chopped
3-4 large carrots, chopped
2 large leeks, halved length-wise & chopped
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp red curry paste
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all of the chopped vegetables in a baking dish. In a small bowl whisk together all other ingredients until combined and the curry paste is completely dissolved. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until everything is coated. Sprinkle with additional salt/pepper if desired. Roast for about an hour, until all vegetables are soft and cooked though. Eggplant may get a bit crispy around the edges.

Serve over salad, pasta, rice or as a side dish. I spooned mine over a bed of fresh spinach and topped with a generous spoonful of smokey baba ganoush (hummus is also equally delicious).

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Honey & Coriander Roasted Eggplant Strips & Chopped Radishes

A lovely reason to buy more summer vegetables.

A quick and easy summer side dish that welcomes creative spice pairing.

Honey & Coriander Roasted Eggplant Strips & Chopped Radishes
 
1 medium eggplant, chopped into strips
8-12 radishes, washed and quartered
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
coconut oil
honey
coriander
salt & pepper
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper, and spread out the chopped eggplant, garlic and radishes evenly. Drizzle with coconut oil (you won’t need very much) then follow with a drizzle of honey. Season generously with coriander then salt and pepper. Toss to coat then arrange evenly on the baking sheet again. Roast in the oven for around 30 mins, times will vary. When the eggplant is cooked through with crispy edges everything is done, the radishes will remain a bit crunchy. Serve as a side dish with fish or roasted chicken and a small salad.  

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Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil

Is there a better name for a vegetable? For me, no. For others, probably. But when I saw fairy tale eggplant for the first time last weekend at the farmers market I immediately felt enchantment in the air. I waited for a moment to see if a unicorn would poke its head around the corner of the tent…..just a moment… Apart from their adorable miniature size fairy tale eggplant do not differ too much from your average eggplant. Wanting a refreshing summer dish, I found pasta the best way to go. Sautéing the eggplants with garlic and lots of spring onions. A touch of lemon zest over thin pasta noodles with lots of fresh arugula and basil and finished with a drizzle of cool olive oil.

Fairy Tale Eggplant Pasta with Wilted Arugula & Basil:
10-15 fairy tale eggplant
2-4 servings of pasta (I used pasta made with corn flour, any variety will work)
coconut oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
chopped spring (green) onion, enough to equal 2 large handfuls
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
a pinch of chili flakes
fresh arugula
fresh basil
1 large tomato
olive oil
salt and pepper
 
Coat a medium-large skillet with coconut oil and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the spring onions and chopped fairy tale eggplant and cook until the eggplants are soft and tender. Roughly 15-20 minutes, stir occasionally, they will loose their bright purple color. Stir in the lemon zest and pinch of chili flakes while the eggplants are cooking. While this is going on cook your pasta. When both are done turn off the heat. Toss the arugula in with the eggplant for a minute until wilted, add the pasta and toss everything together lightly. Transfer to a large bowl. Top with lots of fresh basil, chopped tomato, and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, and the lemon juice to taste. Serve with a light salad and a lemon wedge. 

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato

The anticipation of summer is in the air. And along with the lazy afternoons I’m daydreaming of spending on a picnic blanket, somehow the work load picks up. Funny how these two are playing hand in hand. To cheer myself up I induldged in purchasing this lovely lovely book that I have been awaiting to read: la tartine gourmande. It is absolutely spectacular in every way. My friends laugh but I know that if you are reading this and love food/cooking like I do then wanting my life to be more like a cookbook is not crazy. One day…..one day.

BUT. . . . Until that day I have some equally delicious eggplant to share.

Eggplant has become my new favorite food. I can’t get enough of it….One evening I set out to make stuffed eggplant…became distracted by the roommate and ended up chopping and talking till I had a bowl full of eggplant circles instead of the intended slice down the middle. No matter…for then this dish was born and it is as easy as pie to make. Chop. Roast. Eat.

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato

One regular eggplant – rinsed and chopped (anywhichway)

I large can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes (fresh will be great when in season)

2 cloves chopped garlic – or a large spoonful minced

seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried thyme, dried basil)

Olive oil

Shaved parmesan cheese to top

Grease a baking sheet and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and chop the eggplant and mix in a large bowl with tomatoes. I drain some but not all of the juice, most will cook away regardless. Add garlic and a few dashes of spice. I normally toss a bit of olive oil in as well. Stir, then lay in an even layer on the baking sheet. Cooking times will vary around 45 min to an hour, I’ve done two before, and everything should be roasted perfection. Serve hot with shaved parmesan and Enjoy the tantalizing taste of eggplant.