Roasted Eggplant Parmesan


Hello friends–  Got this recipe from a food blog that I just love– The RichmondAvenue   It’s written by smart and warm Jasmine, who combines really practical recipes with beautiful photography and a big dose of southern friendliness.  Her tortilla soup is awesome– as well as this big plateful of roasted eggplant parmesan.  I think you’d love her blog as much as I do.

2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2″ slices
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/3 cup panko bread crumb
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: basil leaves
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom sides are browned.  Then turn them over and roast for 10 minutes more.

While that’s roasting, heat the 3 tab. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drop in the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Then add in the garlic, dried basil and thyme.  Saute another 30 seconds.  Finally stir in the crushed tomatoes and leave on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the red wine vinegar, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (or a 7″ x 11″) with cooking spray.  Layer in a few spoons of sauce, a layer of eggplant and a sprinkling of the parmesan. Continue with 2 more layers until you’ve used all the eggplant, sauce & parmesan.  Mix the panko bread crumbs with the 1/2 tsp. dried basil and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant in the baking dish.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and hot in the middle.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Garnish with a sprig of basil.


Beef & Eggplant Ragu


Hello Pasta Loving Friends– We were talking about–“If you had to eat just one ethnic cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you pick?”  There were Vietnamese fans (those noodles!) and Chinese (so much variety!), but I was torn between Italian (pasta & gelato, of course) and Mexican (just because that’s what we eat in So Cal).

So for you who love pasta as much as I do, here’s a rich, thick, savory sauce to pour over the top of your favorite angel hair or rigatoni.

And thanks to Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen for this recipe — been reading her warm and friendly posts for years…

2 tab. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground sirloin
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 Chinese, eggplant, cut to small pieces
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup red wine
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. finely minced rosemary
16 oz. pasta
garnish: parmesan romano, grated


Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and then add in the chopped onion.  When it starts to wilt, add the garlic and cook a minute more.

Then add in the beef, chopping it in the pan with a wooden spoon, until it is all crumbled.  Cook until it is browned and then add the eggplant.  Cook 4 minutes more.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes, red wine, bay leaves and rosemary.  Leave it uncovered on a low simmer or 20 to 30 minutes until the flavors are melded.

While that’s simmering, cook your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package.

Drain the pasta and layer it on a large platter, topped with the ragu.  Sprinkle on the parmesan romano and serve it steaming hot.


Browned Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives & Feta

IMG_2050Hi there– I found this recipe in a magazine while I was sitting waiting at the ophthalmologist’s office for an eye exam.  (I guess a good recipe is some small compensation for a trip to the doctor!!)  Tempted as I was to tear out the page with the instructions, I took my waiting to time to commit it to memory (more of less) and here it is!

We’ve still got summer tomatoes at the market and who can resist a happy purple eggplant?  Made it up for dinner with some grilled talpia and a seedy chunk of bread.  Just about right for a warm end of the summer evening…

1 plump purple eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1 green heirloom tomato
1 red heirloom tomato
1/2 cup feta with herbs & garlic, cut in chunks
1/2 cup mixed olives
a splash more olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (cut if large)
salt & freshly ground pepper

IMG_2032Cut the eggplant into 1/4″ slices and set them on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.  Put it under the broiler on medium heat for 5 minutes and then flip the pieces of eggplant and broil for 5 minutes more.  (I had the rack about 10″ below the broiling unit– keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!)

While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes into pretty thin slices.

When he eggplant is done, brush both sides with the 1/4 cup olive oil and arrange the slices on a plate with the tomatoes.  Scatter the olives, feta and basil over the top of it all and give it a good splash of olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt & pepper.

Makes plenty for 4 people (maybe 6).

Eggplant & Pasta

IMG_9233Hello there–  With small 3 girls in the house, you can’t have noodles too often.  Those noodle-y dishes are always well received at dinner time.  So in my never ending search for new pasta  recipes, here’s this weeks version:

6 slices of bacon, cut to small bits*
1 large yellow oven, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Chinese eggplants, cut into nice chunks
(splash olive oil)
dash salt
2 14 oz. cans petite cut tomatoes with garlic & herbs
2 tab. fresh basil  (or 1 tsp. dried)**
16 oz. pasta

Cook the cut up bacon in a large pan for about 5 minutes.  Add in the onions and cook a few minutes more until the bacon is almost crispy.  Drop in the garlic and cook a minute more.  Then remove it all from the pan.

Leave in the drippings to cook the chunks of eggplant.  Stir and cook until they are cooked through– just 3 or 4 minutes.  Give it a couple shakes of salt as it cooks.  If it seems dry, add a splash of olive oil.

About now you might put the pasta on to cook according the the package instructions.

To the eggplant in the pan, add in the can tomatoes*** and the bacon/onions.  Heat and stir a few minutes until the sauce heats through.  Chop the basil and stir it in at the last minute.

Serve over the pasta with a bright salad and sturdy chunks of bread.  It’s just fine for small noodle eaters.

*If you want to skip the bacon, just brown the onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
**I used marjoram in place of basil, just because I have it growing in the yard.
***I’m serving this to the grand-girls, who would be happier without chunks of tomato in their sauce, so I blend the canned tomatoes with a stick blender to smooth them out a bit before pouring them into the pan.

Eggplant & Zucchini Pizza (with bacon)


Crust (makes 2 crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch the dough onto 2  12″ pizza pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put them in a warm place to rise while you do the rest of the prep.  (I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes, then turn it off to warm it a bit and set the pizza crusts in there to rise).

4 slices bacon
1 Chinese eggplant, cut in small chunks
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 zucchini, grated

Cut the bacon to tiny bits and cook it up in a nonstick pan.  When it’s done remove it from the pan to a paper towel to drain.  Toss the chunks of eggplant into the pan and brown it in the bacon drippings .

Mix together the olive oil and minced garlic, Then on the pizza crusts, that have been rising for 10 or 15 minutes, spread the garlicky olive oil with the back of a spoon clear to the edges.  Sprinkle on the cheese.  Then top with red onion, eggplant, cilantro, zucchini and then bacon.

Pop it all into a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is golden.  Eat it piping hot and I promise it will be delicious.


Chinese Eggplant with Pork & Rice

IMG_4426Hi friends– I’d love to tell you that I unearthed this authentic recipe from a small Chinese restaurant with a age old wok and a little granny cooking amid clouds of fragrant rising steam.  But it wouldn’t be true.  It’s just an old tried and true stir fry favorite.  But I’m sure though, if a Chinese granny happened this way, she’d say it was tasty!  I think you’d like it too…

1 cup rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tab. lime juice
2 tab. soy sauce
1-2 tsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tab. brown sugar
2 large-ish Chinese eggplants, cut into nice chunks
4 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup red onion, chopped to bits
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Cook the rice with 2 cups of water and the salt in a pan with the lid closed.  Simmer 10 minutes on low from the time it starts to bubble.  Turn off the heat and let it sit with the lid on.

Put the pork on to cook in a large nonstick skillet.  Chop it to small bits as it heats up.  While that’s cooking up, mix the chicken broth, lime juice, soy sauce, chili sauce and brown sugar together in a container with a lid.  When the meat is browned, spoon in 3 tab. of the broth mixture over the meat the keep heating a couple minutes until it coats the meat and evaporates.

Take the pork out of the skillet and reserve it.  Stir fry the eggplant in the skillet coated with olive oil for about 3 minutes.  Then add in the onion and continue cooking until the eggplant is browned around the edges and the onion is caramelized.

Add the cornstarch to the chicken broth mixture.  Put on the lid and shake it together until the cornstarch dissolves into the liquid. Then pour this over the eggplant. Add the pork back into the pan and stir a minute on high until the sauce thickens.  Mix in the chopped cilantro and serve it up over rice on a platter.

Makes 3 to 4 yummy servings.  Enjoy!

Easy Eggplant Marinara

IMG_0917Hello all–  A couple of those bright shiny purple Chinese eggplants found their way into my shopping cart again this week–too pretty to pass by.  And then I found a homey, simple marina sauce recipe browsing in a magazine.  Put them together– dinner!  It’s lovely that you can make it in about 20 minutes, hot and savory.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 Chinese eggplants, cut in nice chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp. dried basil
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil*

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Cook the onions about 2 minutes while you cut up the eggplant and grate the carrot.  Then add the eggplant, garlic and carrot to the pan.  Stir and cook about 5 minutes until the eggplant begins to brown around the edges.  Then stir in the crushed tomatoes and dried basil.  Salt & pepper just a bit til it tastes just right.  Cut the basil into bits and add it into the sauce just before you serve it up over pasta (I used 8 oz. of angel hair multigrain pasta– yummy and cooks in jut 6 minutes).

Makes enough for 3-4 servings– Dinner for us and leftovers for 2 lunches.
I think the grated carrot is the “secret ingredient” that gives it some sweetness!

*It’s cheaper to buy your own basil plant and keep it on your back porch or on a window sill and snip the leaves as you need them, than to buy cut basil at the market– and it lasts for weeks!

Salmon and Spicy Chinese Eggplant

IMG_9438Hello there–  Back from a weekend away.  It was just grand, but nice to be home– and back to school.  Funny how 3rd graders miss their teacher when she’s gone.  It was hugs galore this morning!  And I’m back to the kitchen after eating those lovely meals cooked by someone else for 4 days.  So here’s dinner–simple, quick and full of flavor…

2 skinless salmon filets
2 smallish Chinese eggplants, cut in slices
3 to 4 tab. olive oil
garlic salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tab. rice wine vinegar
1 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tab. brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. minced ginger*
1 tab. cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine

In a nonstick pan, splash in just a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Brown the salmon filets, about 3 minutes on each side (depending on how thick they are).  Salt them lightly with garlic salt as they cook.  Remove them from the pan and cover them on a plate to keep them warm.  Then add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and throw in the sliced eggplant.  Cook about 5 minutes, turning it to brown on all sides.  Eggplant really soaks up the oil, so you may want to add a big more.  Sprinkle with garlic salt as it is cooking.  Remove it from the pan and keep warm.  While the eggplant is cooking, in a container with a snug lid, shake together the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cornstarch and water until it’s thoroughly mixed.  Then pour it into the hot pan.  Stir until it thickens, just a couple minutes.  Add the salmon and eggplant back to the pan and warm it a couple minutes before you serve it up.

Ginger Pork and Chinese Eggplant

IMG_8583Hi there-  We’re tucked in for the night.  Larry is making a fire and I’m waiting for the rice to finish cooking so we can sit down to dinner.  This is bowl is chock full of  flavor– soy sauce salty, Sriracha spicy, charred onion savory and a tiny bit sweet.  And cilantro–  my favorite to top it off.  Hope you like it…

1 cup rice (brown or white)
1 pound pork, chopped to small chunks
1/2 onion, chopped fine
2 tab. olive oil
2 Chinese eggplants, cut into disks
4 tab. olive oil
a couple shakes of garlic salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tab. rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Sriracha chili sauce**
1 tab. brown sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

IMG_8578Cook the rice according the package directions.  Heat 2 tab. of oil in an ample pan and drop in the pork, cut in smallish chunks and the chopped onion.  Cook 8 to 10 minutes until the onion begins to char and the pork is browned around the edges.  Remove it from the pan.  Heat up the remaining oil and saute the eggplant until it is just starting to brown.  I sprinkled it with a bit of garlic salt and added a splash more oil as it cooked.  Take it from the pan.

To make the sauce combine the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger and water in a closed container. Shake it to thoroughly mix it up and pour it into the hot pan.  Stir until it thickens, just a couple minutes.  Then add the pork, eggplant and the cilantro to the pan and warm it in the sauce.  Layer it on a platter over the rice you’re done!

*I just got little pork cutlets on sale and cut them up.
**The recipe I worked from called for 1 to 2 tablespoons (!) chili sauce, but the 1/2 tsp. was spicy enough for us.  You can add more to your heart’s content.

Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini Stirfry

Hi all–  Here’s a weeknight dinner, simple, homey and filling.  Ready 30 minutes and it make a platter full, so we had some little boxes of leftovers to tuck in the fridge for work all week.  You know, one of those practical, make it often kind of recipes.

1 boneless chicken breast, but in small chunks
2 tab. olive oil
1 chinese eggplant, cut in chunks
2 smallish zucchini, cut in chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in strips
garlic salt
1/2 cup water
2 tab. soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup white or brown rice.

Put the rice on to cook while you’re making the stir fry.

In a heavy skillet, or your wok, if you are so lucky to have one, cook the chicken thoroughly in the hot olive oil.  Remove it from the pan.  Then throw in the eggplant and zucchini and cook on high heat til browned around the edges.  You may have to add a bit more olive oil.  Right at the end toss in the red peppers so they cook just for a minute of two–but keep their bright color.  Give the whole pan  few shakes of garlic salt to season. Take the veggies out of the pan.  Meanwhile shake up the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger and garlic in a sealed container until thoroughly blended.  Stir this mixture into the drippings left in the pan and keep stirring until it thickens into a beautiful brown sauce.  Add the chicken, eggplant, zucchini and peppers back into the sauce and stir gently to rewarm it all.  Spoon it out onto a platter of hot rice and grab your chopsticks.  Enjoy!