Jul 30, 2011
Wasting the day with Eggplant
If you are like me, you plant way too much eggplant. Stunning to look at, not so much for eating here. Yes, I do like a good batch of Baba Ganoush, but that doesn't use up much of it. Well, if you have hours of time to devote (insert rolling of eyes here), there is always the big baked dish...
No, seriously... this took like 9 HOURS! I had a really big harvest the morning after our visitors left, and it was another 115º day, so why not?! I spent the better portion of the day making the sauce with the tomato harvest, not enough for a big canning batch, but was enough to make a big dinner. After cooking down fresh sauce with lots of basil, oregano and other random additions, I tackled the eggplant -
First, slice your eggplant in whatever fashion you like, I had lots of it so I was wasteful and only sliced off the bottoms and sides with no seeds. You then need to drain them. I layered the slices with paper towels then weighted them down for with a heavy baking dish for several hours.
This is optional, but I dipped the slices in an egg wash & breadcrumbs, then lightly fried in olive oil.
Below is all the "stuff". Eggplant, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan & noodles. I use the no-bake flat noodles from Barilla, as they really work well and don't rip and slide around like the rippled ones do, and I had an awesome coupon that allowed me to stock up! You could also omit the noodles completely if you wanted.
Below, layer in any fashion you like. Hey nobody said this was low-fat, just fresh!
I place my baking dish on a cookie sheet in case things bubble over into a hot mess. About 50 minutes at 350º under foil, then 10 minutes with foil off to brown the parmesan sprinkled on top. Let it rest for about 20 minutes before slicing, that's the key to keeping the stacked appearance on the plate - and when you spend 9 hours on something, you want it to look sort of appetizing! This is really filling so I was able to transfer half of the below pan to a freezer dish for another meal, and a few slices to a small leftover dish for hubby's work lunch.
Serve up with homemade bread - you know, with all that spare time you have! Of course, had it not been so hot outside, there would be no "spare time". Big bonus, the kids ate it - they didn't actually see me peeling or slicing the eggplant so by the time they came in the kitchen it was fried already and I told them it was fried cheese :)
The rest of the harvest was preserved easily and quickly. The bell pepper strips were frozen, and I made a quart jar of mixed veggie refrigerator pickles. Below are Mini Bell Peppers, cuke slices, and long Sweet Peppers in a vinegar mixture with peppercorns, mustard seed & garlic cloves. I still need to pickle the jalapenos today, but they will also be just a single jar of refrigerator pickles.
What are you doing to keep sane in the heat? I'm thinking of abandoning the garden to its own devices, I seriously can't take it out there. Today I'm really going to start cutting a pattern for an outfit for my niece, I've been wanting to do it for over a month. Where do you think hubby went today? The heat index is expected to be 110 again, we have 84% humidity and he left a little while ago with a friend to go on a little 30-mile bike ride! Can't wait to see what he looks like when he gets home! :)