A Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

And on the very last day of Christmas, Regina finally linked with Heidi and her great blogging idea by sharing a recipe that she made 5 times for those 12 days. Also, while you are at Heidi’s, follow her. She’s great. 

And for the record, my kids are way past Christmas interest and back to Halloween. When I responded “no, sorry,” to their “Can we go trick or treating again?” they doubled down with, “But what if we ask for candy AND sing Silent Night?”

Confession: While I may not be the actual worst cook in the world of moms, I am certain that I burn the most things. While kids are sometimes the culprit, almost catching the house on fire is really more often a result of distractibility, forgetfulness, and a general state of scatterbrain. My (sorta) point is that it is not often that a dish I intend to bring to a party comes out of the oven in an edible condition, and due to my sub par cooking skills, it is even less likely that someone asks “could I have this recipe?” Unless of course, I make my tedious, yet mostly Regina proof, Eggplant Parm. Everybody is happy, until Josie helps and dumps the entire container of sea salt on it. Then, it tastes like the ocean.

The discovery and evolution of this delicious dish is a result of dumb luck.

Ingredients Serves 4-6

2 Eggplants

A roll of paper towels

Sea Salt (a bunch)

3 Hours

Olive Oil

2 Eggs

1-2 C (approx) Breadcrumbs seasoned to your liking

1 C Flour

Buffalo Mozzeralla

Fresh Parmesan

Fresh Basil

Delicious Sauce (I mix and match or make my own until I like the way it tastes)

Photography courtesy of my 4-year-old. I think the facial anxiety suffices the need to explain the dialogue of my interior thoughts. 

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Steps

1) Peel the skin of the Eggplant and begin slicing long ways. Salt each side. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels and lay the salted eggplant. Cover up with more paper towels. This is not an attempt to hide anything, but rather, they will absorb the incredible amount of water inside of the purple plant. Stack a plate or something with a bit of weight on top. Come back in three hours, prepared to get messy. (The first time I made this, unaware of kitchen duties that didn’t involve scrambling eggs, and not yet blessed with children, I left to go take a nap, and came back to discover the eggplant had released a lot of water.) 

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2) Underneath the plate you will find soaking wet paper towels and a much less bitter-tasting eggplant (naps have several benefits). In three separate mixing bowls, put flour, breadcrumbs, and beaten eggs. Prepare each piece of eggplant to be friend by covering first in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. (Most of you wont make a mess in this stage but I do.)

3) When all the eggplant is breaded up, place an uber generous amount of delicious Olive Oil in a big pan and heat. Fry each eggplant until golden brown on both sides.

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4) Just like a lasagna! In a casserole dish add a layer of sauce, then eggplant, spoon more sauce, add a slice of mozzarella on each piece, sprinkle parmesan, sprinkle basil. Repeat until there are no more ingredients.

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5) Put in the oven for no longer than 40 minutes.

6) Pour some Cabernet or Merlot and get at it.

Questions?

May the dead of winter be as tasty as it is bitter cold and boring 🙂 

Sibling Love…or something.

Her mane grew wilder as she catapulted through the air and onto his sleeping person. The sound frequency of the cackle competed with that of the cry, but there are no winners at 5am on a Sunday, and even fewer with two children in their parents bed. The First Offense. 

As the elder household members called on Hercules for strength to roll over and stand up, awareness of awake being greater than the state of sleep energized the oldest brother to forget his younger sister’s airbud tackle at the opportunity to return the favor to the youngest and nicest. At the sound of the second scared and startled cry within the first 30 seconds of a still pitch dark sky, the temptation to roll back over, curl up, and pull the covers over head was powerful and alluring, to which both parental units fell as an intense “not it,” stalemate grew more pathetic with each kick and sigh. Dad lost because he’s the nicest and least dramatic. The Second Offense. 

The chicken offended her more than a sibling could, or so it seemed by her wailing. He sat, and so did the youngest, settling for the chicken, but happy about rice being tiny, sticky, and difficult to clean. For no reason other than a special flare for antagonism, she chewed that chicken with no intent to swallow. With his attention on adding “please,” and fewer head flails and tears to the request for his mother to retrieve him a straw, she called on her acrobatic ability and cat like reflexes to jump over the table and release the chewed chicken, moistened thoroughly with spit, to the not yet eaten lunch of her brother. In moments like this, its best that adults turn their heads and attempt not to laugh so hard that shaking blows their cover, lest they be considered bad parents. The Third Offense. 

The last applesauce. The best seat. The ability to turn off the TV. Naturally slower legs. Standing anywhere and being 1yr old and non verbal. Stollen Leggos. Chewing toys. Eating Chapstick. The pink hat. The horse socks. Easily grabbed hair. Clumsiness. Intent to destroy any working train. Love of order. Love of Chaos. Etc X 5 billion. Offenses 4-the daily 5 billion. 

As I observed the daily battles among my own children, I thought about my own siblings, and all the times they told me I looked more like a monkey when I cry more than an actual monkey does. The sweaters hidden under my bed, and the desire to be as smart, as good, and just their friend.

As the first people to annoy me, and they, the first people I annoyed, I say with Gratitude, the word of the year, THANK GOD FOR SIBLINGS AND ALL THEY TEACH US ABOUT LIFE. And though I wish my kids would lay off the “tut up, I fate you’s” a bit more, I know that they are getting to know some of the best people they will ever know and ever love.

Because in between the daily offenses are snotty kisses and belly laughs, ganging up on mom, discovering how easy it is to do, and making fun of her for the rest of their lives.

To my siblings in 2014: May we continue to grow in friendship, with God as our guide and reason to unite. May we say “thank you,” much more often than “you suck,” and may we never quit annoying each other for that would mean we have grown apart.

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One Final Confession in 2013

1.) As Christmas Eve night became early Christmas morning, my desire to bag the trampoline grew with each and every spring to attach and tie to secure, and I discovered it is not actually a good idea to begin building a large, time-consuming, dangerous toy hours before children wake and after Christmas dinner wine. Alas, we dawned our Christmas pajamas and raced our brothers and sisters via text message photo evidence to see who could bring the Christmas magic first. We lost. Also, we were the only household to send its matriarch through the basement ceiling tile after bouncing on the children’s trampoline slightly too enthusiastically. I’m ok, but the ceiling is broken.

2.) Upon witnessing the activity inside the mesh walls of the trampoline on Christmas morning, St Nicholas delivered a special message to my children via fake cell phone call, “Dear Kids, I hope you enjoy this trampoline I’m letting you borrow for the Octave while dad is still home and mom is not solely responsible for your livelihood!” And with absolutely zero guilt, I’m going to enjoy the remaining gullible years and spend my Sam’s club refund on diapers.

3.) The case of the Stocking Stealer/Alphabet knowing Manipulator: “Mom!” he whispered -10 millimeters from my face as his morning breath spewed from his loud and airy whisper. “Santa Claus put a stocking on my door. Isn’t that so special?” “Yes, it is so special,” I replied to my Christmas morning boy. “I checked the girls’ rooms. He didn’t bring them one. ONly me” he lied revealing both his perfect innocence and faith in magic and complete greed/manipulation. “Are you telling the truth?” I asked. “No! I took it all!!” he said point-blank indicating further his disregard for guilt or fear of self-incrimination. “But, could I just have their pencils because they don’t even know their letters?”

4.) Each and every time someone asked “so what did you get Jim for Christmas,” I paused in hesitation. The truth is I spent a slew of cash on a remote control car, and he was maybe happier than the kids.

5.) We’ve ingested several crayons around here, but on the nontoxic scale, where exactly is chapstick?

6.) For anyone who fell behind on Christmas cards this year: I sent out an unknown number of addressed envelopes without cards in them. Feel better.

A very Happy New Year to you all! May the NYE babysitting availability be better for you than it is for us, and may the Bourbon flow like Wine. New Year’s Day Post to follow…

Celebrate Well!