Saturday, July 16, 2011

Eggplant

Who loves eggplant?


Yes, we all do.  What's that?  You don't think you do?  Oh, you don't?  Well, trust me, you do.  You just don't know it yet. 

When I get time away from work, sleep, and training, one thing I do love to do is cook and one of my favorite dishes - thanks in part to my semi-chef of a roommate - is Eggplant Parmesan! 

I'm not sure exactly how this love for eggplant parm started, but I know there were a few involved parties.  An ex of mine is a really good cook; if her and I made the exact same thing from the exact same recipe, hers would be rated 9 or 10 while mine might be 5 at best.  Anyways, she got me hooked on eggplant parm.  It wasn't, however, until a couple of Italian friends showed me how to make homemade tomato sauce that I started making it myself.  I tweek the sauce a little differently each time and I bake the eggplant instead of fry it.  Let me tell you, one batch can disappear over night if you catch me at the right time. 

One thing I love to read on all of your blogs is food ideas, so I thought I'd share.  Here is my recipe for today's homemade tomato sauce and baked eggplant parm.

Kurt's Homemade Tomato Sauce

Ingredients
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Garlic
- Red Onion (1 medium)
- 2 cans of Whole Plum Tomatoes
- Mushrooms (6 medium or 1 portobello)
- Parsley (fresh or dried)
- Oregano (fresh or dried)
- Salt
- Pepper
- Sugar

1.  Cover the bottom of a large pan with extra virgin olive oil ("EVOO", if you're a Rachel Ray fan) and heat on medium (my stove goes from "Lo" to 10; I set it to 4).

2.  Finely chop (I used a small food processor) garlic and add to heated oil.  Today I used a good 8-9 cloves (double what I've done in the past).  Let garlic heat until the aroma fills the kitchen; just a couple minutes. 

3.  Chop one medium red onion to preferred consistency (I, again, use the food processor) and add to the garlic and oil.  Heat for another couple of minutes.  If garlic begins to turn tan/brown, skip ahead immediately.  You may use another onion if you'd prefer.  I use red onion for the flavor and greater amount of nutrients. 

4.  Chop, mince, puree, or otherwise cut up 2 cans of whole tomatoes.  I prefer my sauce slightly chunky, so I will "puree" for a few seconds in a smoothie machine and leave it as is.  Add to the garlic, onion, and oil and heat on high until it begins to boil.

5.  While you wait for the sauce to boil, add parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.  Generally, I add greater amounts of parsley, a small amount of oregano, and a dash of salt/pepper/sugar.  I find that increased oregano works well for pizza sauces.  Today I used sugar, but no salt/pepper.

6.  Finely chop mushrooms and add to sauce at any time.  Since fresh mushrooms have very little taste, I added these today to increase the chunkiness of the sauce. 

7.  Once sauce begins to boil, turn heat down to 1 or 2 and cover.  Let sit for approximately 45 minutes, stirring it every 5-10 minutes to keep the oil and water mixed.  If at any point you feel the sauce needs more seasonings based on taste, feel free to add. 

8.  After approximately 45 minutes, take cover off and continue to heat sauce.  This is meant to boil off the water in the sauce.  You may notice the volume decrease; that's ok.  It's all based on personal preference though, so do as you wish.

9.  After an additional 15 minutes of heating, let sauce cool and serve!


Kurt's Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients
- Eggplant
- Eggs
- Bread Crumbs (flavored or plain)
- Cheese (I use slices of Muenster)
- Baking pans

1.  Heat oven to 400*

2.  Cut eggplant to desired thickness

3.  Dip one individual slice, first into whisked eggs and then into bread crumbs.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining eggplant.  I cut the eggplant length wise, but you can do as you wish. 

4.  Bake eggplant at 400* for 10-15 minutes.  Flip each slice and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  This may require more or less time depending on thickness of slices.  If the edges are crisping, then cut time shorter.

5.  Layer tomato sauce, eggplant, cheese of choice (I choose muenster since my sister has me hooked on it), in a baking pan.  Use as many layers as you would like as well as much sauce as you would like.  I use more sauce than my roommate does; my personal preference.

6.  Place baking pan back in oven and cook at 400* for 20-25 minutes. 

7.  Let cool and enjoy!!


For those of you who have and have not clued in yet, NO, I do not use parmesan cheese on my eggplant parm.  Does that make it something different?, maybe.  Maybe it should be called Eggplant Muenster?  I'll let you decide.

After making this D-E-Licious dish today and eating two servings of it, I now have the desire to make eggplant chips!  Maybe I'll pick up another eggplant this week and do that.  If I do, I'll let you know how to make 'em; they're quite easy!!

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Question
1.  Are you a fan of Eggplant?

2.  Have you ever made homemade sauce?  Do you have a sauce preference?
I've never gone back to pre-made tomato sauce.  Everything I make will be with homemade sauce now.

3.  What is your favorite dish to make at home?, or to be made for you at home if you're not the cook.
Besides the Eggplant Parm, I really like Italian Stuffed Portobellos, Teriyaki Burgers, and just about anything my roommate makes (Oh, coconut shrimp!)


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  Stay safe. 

4 comments:

SupermomE12 said...

I LOVE eggplant and crazy love eggplant parm. I have to avoid dairy when i am running a lot, but this one is worth cheating for. Thanks for the recipe!!

Coy Martinez said...

Did you watch Kona on NBC today?? All I wanted to do the entire time was swim, bike and run...and then drive to the store and buy a new bike!

Aimee said...

Yum...I love eggplant! My husband makes a really good eggplant parm, with homemade sauce too! Being a vegetarian, I've also found lots of really good eggplant recipes! Yum, yum, yum!

Richelle said...

Yum, I will have to try out this recipe!

I have a homemade pasta recipe that I love to make during summertime. I also have a delicious cooked kale recipe that I love to make... it's so easy and nutritious!