Eggplant Parmesan


It was a cold January week and I was craving something warm and hearty.  A dish with a great marinara sauce sounded delightful, but the thought of meat was drowning my hopes.  I’m not exactly sure why, but I’ve been craving vegetarian dishes more and more.  Vegetables with marinara provide a lot of options, but eggplant parmesan was calling my name.  I just couldn’t resist…

eggplant parm

Eggplant Parmesan
1 large eggplant
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs italian seasoning
1/2 c red wine
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c breadcrumbs
1/2 c parmesan cheese, grated if using
12 ounces grated mozzarella cheese if using

The morning of slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.  Lay on a baking sheet lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.  Layer eggplant with salt and paper towels until all are covered. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

In a large pot heat 1 tbs olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, garlic and italian seasoning, cook until onions soften about 5 minutes.  Add red wine to deglaze the pan, cook until liquid reduces by half.  Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Cook over low heat covered for 30 minutes.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Make an assembly row with flour in a plate, eggs in one bowl, breadcrumbs in a plate (in that order).  Remove eggplant from frig and discard paper towels.  Working one at a time dredge the eggplant slices first in the flour, then dip in the beaten eggs, and then dredge in the breadcrumbs.  Meanwhile heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add eggplant slices without crowding the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, you will need to work in batches.  Once cooked place on a paper towel lined plate until all are cooked.

Spread 1/4 c of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 8×8 inch dish.  Place a third of the eggplant rounds in a single layer on top of the sauce.  If not dairy free layer 1/3 of the mozzarella and parmesan on top of the eggplant.  Repeat 3 times.  Bake for 30 minutes or until thoroughly warmed.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.


Sheikh El Mahshi


This is one of many lebanese dishes that I can hardly pronounce, yet it remains my favorite.  I learned the basics from my family, but have taken time to perfect my technique.  First it didn’t have enough spice, then it wasn’t quite beefy enough, but this recipe is hands down the best.  I made this last night, and I already can’t wait to make it again.  Don’t you love recipes like that?

Food 209

Sheikh El Mahshi
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 lb ground beef
2 tbs tomato paste
1/4 c parsley and more for garnish
2 c beef broth
1 beef bouillon cube
rice for serving

In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, eggplant, and spices; cook for 5 minutes.  Add ground beef, cook until browned.  Mix in tomato paste, parsley, beef broth and beef bouillon cube.  Bring mixture to a simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour, until liquids have reduced and flavor is concentrated.  Remove from heat, add additionally parsley for garnish and serve over rice.

Eggplant, Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Dip


I knew I would like this dip, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it.  For a quick snack I ate some with pita chips, then later I ate some on a sandwich with arugula and thinly sliced red onion (prosciutto and fresh mozzarella would have been good additions as well).  This dip has so much flavor packed into every bite, also making a perfect appetizer for drinks with friends.  This recipe makes 1 c, I suggest doubling the recipe for more than 3 people.

Food 026

Eggplant, Sun Dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Dip
1 baby eggplant, chopped
3 garlic cloves in skins
1/4 c sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
1 tbs oil from sun dried tomatoes
6 basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350.  Place chopped eggplant on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt until evenly coated.  Place garlic cloves in aluminum foil with a bit of olive oil and salt, then seal and place on baking sheet with eggplant.  Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes.

Carefully remove garlic from skins then place in a food processor with cooled eggplant.  Add sun dried tomatoes, oil, and basil.  Pulse until smooth.  Spoon into a small bowl or ramekin then serve with pita chips or sliced veggies.