Monday, June 05, 2006

Eggplant with Italian gravy (another recipe)

Weekend edition: post date 06-02-06
Right now I am cooking eggplant with Italian gravy and rediscovering the mega-radness that is TAB (w/ Scotch...…shhh! It'’s Friday). Eggplants are bizarre fruit. Yes, I said fruit. Did you know that eggplants are actually a type of berry?? Fuck yeah. Anyway, I'm cooking and it's hot and I'm suddenly remembering that eggplants at one point played a very embarrassing role in my life. Did I mention that it was hot?
Some time during the spring of 1993 I thought it would be really cool and mysterious to leave an eggplant in the mailbox of a boy I thought I loved very much. It was pretty clear that he didn'’t love me, I doubt he even liked me. The fact that he refused to speak to me during daylight hours might have been a clue, but I was 18 so... do I really need to explain it? In a frantic burst of stalking genius I started leaving poetry in his mailbox...…actually his parent'’s mailbox. (Hey, it wasn'’t my fault he still lived with his parents). Letters followed and when they failed to convince him that I was truly his true, true love...…I left...…an eggplant.
What. The. Fuck?
What must he have thought? Oh god! What must his parents have thought? For that matter and all matters what the fuck was I thinking?
Sitting here, at 31, I still couldn'’t tell you or him or anyone. I honestly have no frigging clue. I think I'll just drink my TAB and pretend it never happened.

Eggplant with Italian Gravy

1 egglplant
5 cloves of garlic
1 red onion
1 bell pepper
a lot of mushrooms (more, if you want to go veggie)
1 can tomato paste
1 big can of tomato sause
1 HUGE can of crushed tomatoes
olive oil
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
parm. cheese
ricotta cheese
1 lb. hot italian sausage (ground) - optional
1 lb. hot ground beef or turkey - optional

Ok, so you dump some olive oil in a huge pot. Saute chopped garlic and onions until everything looks glossy. Add chopped bell pepper, mushrooms, chopped basil, chopped chives and salt and pepper. Cook that up a bit and then if you're going meaty, add the italian sausage and cook until it's no longer pink. Do the same with the ground beef/turkey. Add cayenne pepper, some more salt and pepper and about a tsp of garlic powder. Once that's all cooked up. Add all of your tomato stuff: paste, sauce and crushed. Simmer over med-low heat for at least an hour. (The veggie version will need a lot more spices to give it flavor, so just keep tasting it and adding stuff until it tastes how you like it).

Peel and cut the eggplant into little medallions (about half an inch thick). Mix bread crumbs with about a tablespoon of garlic powder and in a separate bowl, whisk the egg.
Dip the eggplant medallions in the egg batter and then coat with bread crumbs.
Saute in a medium skillet with olive oil until brown on both sides. (Make sure the oil is sizzly hot before adding the eggplant or it could get mushy).

Place the finished eggplant pieces on a baking dish. Cover with Italian gravy. Sprinkle with parm cheese and add a generous dollup of ricotta to every piece of eggplant. Cook in a 425 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese looks all awesome.

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