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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Things That I've Done With Eggplant



I apologize if I am missing sentences or words in this post, I've been entirely distracted by Angelina Jolie's lips in The Tourist. Pause at 31:56 when she is shmoozing Johnny Depp in Venice and try not to freak out about her face.


I went to the Farmer's Market two Sundays ago and came home with a mother load of mini eggplants and small yukon gold potatoes. I wasn't thinking clearly, considering I had just gotten off of the night shift so when I woke up at 6 P.M. that evening I was surprised to see a half eaten raw potato in bed with me. That's not Ambien folks, that's just plain crazy sleep deprived.


Everywhere the public looks there is Eggplant Parmesan. By everywhere I am referring to Olive Garden, so eggparm was not an option for my eggplants. I looked to my copy of Joy for advice. I learned two things, eggplant changes moods like an angsty teen, and it soaks up liquid like a Bounty paper towel. If you keep it for too long it gets bitter and needs to be immersed in sea salt for 1-3 hours to extract the bad taste, but if you use it right away it will take up all of your olive oil and butter and water and the juice from your chicken and the moisture in the air of your kitchen. I found the best way to beat the system is to score the surface deeply with a knife and then stuff the cracks with garlic and onion powder before steaming in the microwave for 5-8 minutes (depending on the size). Excess liquid will seep out of the cracks during steaming and the garlic/onion combination will cover any bitter taste. I did this with the clean yukon potatoes and mashed both veggies together with some pepper and olive oil. Add some feta cheese to the top and you have an amazing remake of the mashed potato.


That's not feta cheese stuck to the side of the bowl. That's a dog. She was dying for some eggplant.


In another bout of insanity I decided to use up the terrible olive oil that was brought to me when I sent a college male out to fetch me groceries during a frantic day in the kitchen. I dumped some EVOO into a bowl, squeezed in half a lemon, spooned in some honey, and added some chopped walnuts and a shake of pepper. While the olive oil was fermenting my walnuts, I sliced some eggplants and tossed them in a colander with sea salt. Since my patience is about the size of a Ken Barbie doll, I immediately covered a baking sheet with tin foil and doused it with more olive oil. Before the EVOO could eat through to the pan I threw down the eggplants and spooned my cocktail over the top. I sprinkled everything with feta cheese in hopes that it could thwart the molotov of heavy flavors and popped it into the oven at 350 degrees. After the eggplant had sizzled and browned slightly, I pulled it out and set to curling some prosciutto for the tops.


I folded one slice over, stuck it into my mouth and immediately felt my lips crack. It seems that eggplant can also absorb salt crystals. I suggest never immersing them in a salt bath and just compensating for the bitter taste with a different flavor. Other than that, my improvisation turned out fairly well, although I'll probably just stick to mashed eggplant next time.

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