Posts tagged ‘eggplant’

A trio made in heaven: zucchini, eggplant and tomato

When I did an online search for “zucchini, eggplant and tomato” the results went on for at least thirty pages before I stopped clicking through looking for something that wasn’t a recipe. From ratatouille to gratin and ravioli to grilled kabobs, the possibilities of combining these three lovelies are endless. This time of year is an especially good time to try some of these recipes with all three of the leading ingredients in abundance in home gardens and farmers markets.

This morning I knew I needed to find a recipe to use the two Japanese eggplants I had harvested from our garden last week, so I did a quick search for eggplant on Pinterest. One of the most tantalizing options that appeared was called “Teglia Di Melanzane, Zucchine E Mozzarella Di Bufala” which roughly translated to “Pan of Eggplant, Zucchini and Mozzarella.” Yum.

After reading the translated ingredient list, I knew I had all I needed except fresh mozz. Luckily, I had heard from a friend they were having a 2-for-1 sale on fresh mozzarella logs at one of the grocery stores, so I stopped by and got four. 🙂

Tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.

Here is the rest of the ingredient list:

  • 2 eggplants (360 gr)
  • 2 zucchini (300 g)
  • 360 g red tomatoes
  • 12 slices of mozzarella 1 inch thick
  • 1 clove garlic
  • olive oil
  • basil, chopped
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Here is my edited version of the translated instructions:

Wash the eggplant and cut into slices one centimeter thick. In a bowl, cover the slices with coarse salt and put a weight on top. Let stand for about an hour.
Wash the tomatoes and score the skins. Boil a pot of water and add the tomatoes. After about 20 seconds, remove and peel the tomatoes. Remove all the seeds and chop.
In a skillet, saute the garlic in a tablespoon of oil. Pour in the diced tomatoes, reduce heat, add salt, cover and cook for about ten minutes. Turn off the burner and add the basil.
Rinse the eggplant slices.
Wash the zucchini and cut them in slices.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (this is 350º F).
Brush the zucchini and eggplant with oil and saute in a hot cast iron skillet.
Pour a little oil on the bottom of a baking dish.
Place the tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange alternating slices of eggplant, zucchini and mozzarella on top of the sauce.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, pour a little olive oil, pepper, garnish with fresh basil and serve.

MY NOTES: This recipe was very easy. It takes a bit of time to wait for the eggplant to “sweat” but otherwise, it is pretty “low tech” and fast. For the garlic, the original translation said to remove the garlic. Maybe that didn’t come across from the Italian correctly, but I can’t imagine any reason to remove garlic, so that stayed in. It also said to add “one leaf” of basil, which seemed silly, so I added about three tablespoons.

The taste on this dish was excellent. Smooth, salty, rich from the oil, but also very much something I would describe as friendly for many palates. Like ratatouille, but in a casserole dish. Overall, a perfect choice for a late summer dish for the whole family.

August 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm 4 comments

Plant sale extravaganza!

Here in Minnesota, where Spring first peeked out two months ago, then retracted in to cold, rainy April, we are very ready to get our garden on. This past weekend, we were given the gift of two warms days on which to do our major plant shopping. Fortunately, it also happened to be a BIG weekend for plant sales.

I started my weekend with the annual Spring Plant Sale and Open House at Minnesota Food Association (MFA), which I have also volunteered at for the last three years. An organically certified farm, MFA’s plants are grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or GMO seeds. I spent the day helping others decide what to take home for their gardens, and then filled my own boxes full of tomatoes, peppers and our family favorite – Brussel sprouts! I’d like to take a moment to put in a plug for my favorite sweet pepper, the Gypsy pepper, which I discovered through the MFA sale last year. They start out light yellow and progress to bright red (see picture), and become the most magnificently sweet delights you could imagine.

The next day, my friend who runs Norsejenta’s Seedlings, had her annual batch of tomatoes and peppers ready for pickup. For tomatoes, I went home with wonders like Anna Banana Russian, Isis Candy and Mortgage Lifter! And of course, I couldn’t leave without a KBX, my favorite I discovered at this sale last year.

Next I headed across the river to the Friends School Plant Sale for their final day when everything is 30% off. I love going on this day because I am usually not looking for anything in particular, which is good because its pretty picked over, but I always find some fun (or funny) treasure. Last year it was “Gretel” eggplant (I didn’t get there in time to get the matching “Hansel” plants). This year I picked up a Thai Green eggplant and two varieties of kohlrabi.

If you missed out on any of these (or you’re in another part of the country), don’t fret, there are sure to be more in the coming weeks. Wherever you are, be sure to check them out and this year, consider getting something fun and new to try!

May 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm Leave a comment


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