Thursday, July 27, 2006

Here ya go, V of F


2-1/2 lbs. medium eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
A roll of paper towels (very important)
Salt for sweatin’… and stuff
Black pepper, white pepper… whatever kind you like. I use both.

1-1/2 cup olive oil (I s'pose you can use whatever kind of oil you want... but I wouldn't use peanut...)
1 cup all-purpose flour

5 large eggs
3-1/2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan (~2 oz.) > I *always* use more
1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced > Yep, usually go overboard on this too…
Tomato sauce (separate recipe to follow)

1. Salt both sides of eggplant slices and sweat between paper towels for at least a half hour (you’ll have two or three layers, probably). I then usually put a chopping board on top of them along with some cookbooks or other weighty items to aid in this lovely process, but you don’t have to.

1.5. Go drink some wine at this point.

2. Come back eventually and rinse the salt from the eggplant. And, once again, put between paper towels to dry.

3. Meanwhile, stir together flour, salt and pepper (to taste… or eyeball, because you don’t really want to taste flour do you?) in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, and stir together panko and 1/3 cup Parmesan in a third shallow bowl.

*4. Working with one slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer until done. (*Have single sheets of the paper towels ready at this point because you’re gonna need ‘em. The Rolling Stones got nothin’ on these sticky fingers.)

4.5. My this is exhausting. Take a load off before you start frying… have some more wine.

5. Heat oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant 4 slices at a time, turning over once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain. (You may wish to disable your smoke detector before this step).

6. Spread about a cup of tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3-1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in one layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with more sauce (eyeball it) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with more Parmesan.

7. Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, about 45 minutes.

7.5. Drink more wine but don’t forget you’ve slaved over this and end up burning it. Use paper towels as napkins. After all, why not?

And now, for the sauce...


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. pepper, plus more to taste
2 - 32 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high flame. Add onion and garlic; saute until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Saute until all vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves; simmer uncovered on low heat until the sauce thickens, about one hour. Remove bay leaves; season sauce with more S & P to taste.

Easy, peasy, Japaneezy… Dicing up the mirepoix is the hardest thing about this recipe… and it’s not that hard. And I know it sounds really boring, but this sauce is superb!! I got it from one of Giada DeLaurentis’ cookbooks. I always always always add more garlic, and what’s a sauce without basil? Anyway, it’s good as is, but it’s fun to dress it up, too. And, gee whillickers, it goes GREAT with my paper towel recipe.


Who dat snappin' back? |

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Here's a picture of my very fat cat, Rufus:

A wee bit prissy without an ounce of pretension. He must weigh nigh on 20 pounds, and he is Gus' favorite toy. Mostly because he can't run away. Very fast anyway.
I should have named him Jeeves.

Here's Felix:
There's a whole lotta sass in that little feline body. This may be an awful thing to say, but of the two, he's my favorite. In fact, he was the only one I was going to take home, but my mom convinced me that it was more humane to take two. I will never listen to my mom again. I'm a critter lover, but I don't particularly need three.

Who dat snappin' back? |

Monday, July 03, 2006


I'm not a great photographer, but here it is:

Who dat snappin' back? |

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Morning, noon or night?

Are you a morning person... a night person... a nooner? Tell me why.

I'm a morning person and always have been (except for about 10 years or so in the 80s-90s). You know the saying: there's a time and a place for everything, and it's called 'college'. Yeah. Come to think of it, I was probably always awake and semi-coherent in the early mornings back then... before I went to bed. Hmm...

As a child, my father would awaken my sister and me around 5:30 am, Monday through Saturday to take us to our grandma's while he went to work at the dairy. If it was summertime, I'd hop on my bike and ride around, waiting for my friends to wake up. It always stymied me that kids my age could actually sleep until 10. After all, as Dad always said, "Morning is the best time of the day. Everything is still right." I liked it even then, but it was also the lonliest part of the day to me.

But as I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate the stillness of the early morning. Everything is fresh, starting over. The whole day (b)looms before you. It's not lonely at all. It's quiet and peaceful. And it's the best time to get ME TIME. You know what I'm talking about. Sitting around in your jammies, coffee, cartoons... Yeah, I still watch cartoons. 'The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy' is on right now. Love it. I've got a load of laundry in, the critters are being lazy. Here they are:

Gus (of course), Felix and Rufus (left to right) in the windows. Oh, and lookie at the upper right hand corner. That's a piece called "Home" that I got from Kelly Moore after I moved into this house. I love it. (Please check out his site linked on the right... the guy is fabulous AND a poet.)

Well, I've babbled enough for now. Time to start more laundry, and now that it's almost 8, I can go mow my yard before it rains. Here's wishing you all a wonder-full holiday weekend. Be safe.

Who dat snappin' back? |

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