An Ode to Eggplant

Halley here:

My love of oatmeal can only be matched by one vegetable (or birthday cake) and that vegetable is EGGPLANT.  Italy sparked my love for it, where I called it melanzane and really tried to bring that back to America, but after plenty of weird “oh please just speak English, we don’t care if you know 5 Italian words”, I stuck to the English pronunciation.

So I am gradually getting used to taking photos of my food and yesterday I forgot.  Oops.  But I wanted to share this recipe anyways.  I picked up some eggplant and zuchini at the best farmer’s market in Birmingham Saturday morning, Pepperplace (www.pepperplacemarket.com).  When I got home from church yesterday, I was ready to make it for lunch.  I searched on www.Cooks.com and found a recipe I could “modify” for “Eggplant Zuchini bake.”  So here’s what I used and what I did:

  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch circles
  • 2 zuchinis, “cubed” (must learn how to cut better)
  • Some tomato basil pasta sauce
  • Oregano, Basil, Salt, Pepper
  • Cheese

Directions:

  1. First, salt the eggplant slices and put them in a collander to let them sweat.  Apparently this gets the bitterness out?  I have watched Italians and food bloggers do this, so it must be legit.
  2. Get a shallow baking pan, size depending on how much you are making.  Cover with aluminum foil so you can throw away the mess.  Spray it with cooking spray.
  3. Put the eggplant circles down first.  Sprinkle with all the spices. 
  4. Put the chunks of zuchini in next.  Sprinkle with more spices.
  5. Spoon a light layer of the pasta sauce all over the veggie mixture.  Go ahead and sprinkle a few more spices. 
  6. Add some shredded cheese (I used a variety.)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or so.  I stuck it in the oven and then went for a run and was relieved that the house didn’t burn down while I was gone. 
  8. Let it cool and if you’re like me and like Balsamic Vineger with EVERYTHING, pour some of that on it and enjoy!

You could probably toss this with pasta, make a sandwich, put it in a salad, put it on pizza, ect, but I like eating it alone, so I can eat more of the vegetable delight.  Once again, sorry for no photos, but next time I make something without Vasu, I’ll take pics all by myself. 

So lets get the comment section going (because I know all 5 of our readers are just dying to comment.)  What is your favorite vegetable?  What is your favorite way to make it?  And shoot this IS oatmeal mountain, so tell us, what is your favorite way to make oatmeal? 

-Halley

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6 Responses to An Ode to Eggplant

  1. Hey Halley! I just saw your cute little blog on facebook and when I saw that it was about cooking, I got really excited! I love to cook and show a few recipes on my blog every now and then but I’m so excited to start reading yours. I haven’t seen you or talked to you in a while but I hope you’re doing great!

  2. Hey Jill! So good to hear from you! Yes I love all these blogging sites about cooking, it makes me want to expand and improve my cooking skills! I’ll be checking your site out for sure for some great tips and recipes! Thanks for reading!

  3. camille says:

    yummy! i love eggplant! Your recipe looks nice and easy too. I always wish restaurants would have dishes like the one you made. Instead, they always fry the poor eggplant so it no longer has it’s flavor nor its nutritional value. I might try that this weekend 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!
    oh and i’ll sometimes put french vanilla flavored coffee creamer in my oatmeal..sometimes even coffee! and if i’m wanting pancakes at the moment, ill put some diet pancake syrup in my oatmeal..delish!

  4. Britney Summerville says:

    Hi ladies of Oatmeal Mountain! Thanks for the new way to make eggplant, Halley. I only know how to make eggplant parmesan, so I appreciate the idea. I tried grilled eggplant this weekend for the first time. The skin was tough, but still really flavorful. Is it true that all of the nutrients are in the skin? I usually peel it mainly because my husband doesn’t like the skin, but I’ll keep it in the future if this is where the yummy goodness is stored.
    I’d love to see a posting on how to make spaghetti squash since it’s another healthy dish that I haven’t tried. Please include pics … I’m a little slow 🙂
    As for my favorite oatmeal … sorry ladies, can’t help you there. I’m a grits girl all the way. My mouth literally just watered typing this. YUM.

    • What a great question to ask Britney!
      The skin of the eggplant is rich in the antioxidant Nasunin, which according to the August 10, 2005 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” has antiangiogenic abilities. Angiogenesis is bad when it comes to cancer. According to the Cancer Center at the Angiogenesis Foundation, when cancer cells acquire angiogenesis ability, they can develop a way to increase their own blood supply, which causes them to grow rapidly. Nasunin in eggplant peels has the ability to help prevent angiogenesis from occurring.

      The rest of the eggplant is definitely a good source of fiber and other vitamins and minerals, so I’d say switch it up every now and then! Also, if you let it sit salted 45 minutes to 1 hour, that can aid in taking the toughness down a notch.

      We’ll ge to work on making spaghetti squash! It sounds so yummy right now! and don’t worry, my lifelong goal is to convert you to oatmeal! oatmeal rules, grits drools…but actually grits are wonderful too!

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