Eggplant Bolognese




This recipe came from Whole Foods website. Not sure what rabbit hole got me there, but I thought I'd try it (we had a spare eggplant). It had great flavor for sure. It wasn't very saucy- the chopped veg is just chunky and the sauce was pretty runny (vs a nice thick, stick to your noodle sauce). We ate it over spaghetti noodles the first night and then took the leftovers and used them as a pizza topping the next day. Davey (who eats cheese) did; crust, pizza sauce, Bolognese and covered it with cheese for his 1/2. My 1/2 had; crust, olive oil, shredded FYH "mozzerella" and Bolognese on top. It was so-so. Davey said his was great. I doubt I'd make it again because it's not really my thing. But, if you're into chunky veg, this may be the sauce for you.

The recipe is HERE.

Ratatouille




This is my first foray into Ratatouille/ French anything since being vegan. Partially b/c French food is pretty inherently non-vegan. Butter, cream, foie gras...

Anyway, I re-watched Julie and Julia and fast forwarded through the "Julie" parts. I also picked up a biography of Julia Child as well as "My Life In France" by her from the library. And, I see how Julie got obsessed. Julia is an utter inspiration to anyone over 30 (she first found her calling in food at 37). Also, I really would have a hard time believing that any other cookbook author tests their recipes like she did. To take 10 years to pour over dozens of ways to make mayonnaise, french bread (for volume 2 of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"), etc... it's just remarkable. That is the way that cookbooks should be authored. I suspect that contemporary books are nothing like that (see the "brownie" below). I am buying "Mastering" one and two, despite being able to make little if anything from the books only because I know that they were made with such an intensive process. I can't help but think that I'll learn something from them!

So, I was inspired to make Ratatouille. Not from a Julia/ Simone recipe, but from "The Compassionate Cook". It was good. I have no frame of reference for what it should taste like though! But, what could be bad about eating eggplant, zucchini, red and green bell peppers, etc? I guess the only down side for me is that I'm not a huge fan of all-vegetable meals (crazy coming from a vegan, I know). But, it's good. If you can hunt down a copy of the Compassionate Cook, it's worth making for sure. Crusty bread is mandatory, though.

Eggplant Stacks




A frequent fave of ours, this was modded out a bit from a Peta recipe that I got about 100 years ago. I'll share b/c we've changed it a bit. The eggplant is fried, so it may be a bad New Year's resolution dish, but it's also a decadent treat.

1 large Eggplant
1 jar red pasta sauce (or equivalent homemade, I made RFD's tomato sauce which was amazing with it)
1 package Angel Hair Pasta
soy parmesan
1/2 c Olive Oil
1-2 c Flour
1 T salt
Lots of paper towels.
Parmesan cheese (if you're into that kind of thing)

*goes nicely with red wine and crusty bread


If you're making your sauce, do that first or be sure that it's ready to go.

Wash the eggplant and slice horizontally into disks. Dissolve the salt into the water, add the slices, weigh them down with a plate and leave for 20 minutes to de-bitter the eggplant (I've read a lot about this being unnecessary, I'm too scared about ruining a dish to skip the step, so far, it works out great, so I do it).

Preheat oven to 350 and get a 9x12 baking pan ready. In a large skillet, heat the oil until it's almost bubbly. Leave all of your slices in the water, they'll need to be wet. Place a wet slice into the flour and coat both sides, put floured eggplant into the oil and repeat with other slices. Fry the eggplant until both sides are golden brown, let drain on a paper towel (or 12). Once your slices are all cooked up, you can start your stacking.

Pour enough sauce in the 9x12 pan to coat the bottom. Place eggplant slices into the sauce (about 6 fit into the pan). Now, if you eat cheese, this is amazing with a good parmesan that you can layer in at this point the way that you would lasagna. I don't- and it's still good. put a spoonful of sauce on each slice of eggplant, cover with another slice of eggplant, etc. You're basically just making layered stacks; sauce, eggplant, sauce, eggplant... until you run out of eggplant. I finish it with a dollop of sauce on top too to keep the top layer from drying out. Pour any extra sauce into the pan being careful not to drown your bottom layers.

Heat for about 12 minutes. If you've cheesed it up, that's a great way to know if they're done or not (when the cheese is melted and browned a bit). If not, 12 minutes will suffice.

While the eggplant is baking, boil your angel hair. Drain, and then make little nests of noodles on your serving plates. Once the eggplant is done, spoon some sauce from the pan onto a noodle nest, top with a stack, dust with vegan parmesan, and you're done! A nice crusty bread goes well with this too (what doesn't go well with a nice crusty bread?!)