My find at the farmers market this weekend was fresh eggplant. It is generally considered a vegetable, but it is actually a fruit. This spongy vegetable has many health benefits:
high in antioxidants
may help keep blood sugar in check
low in calories
Let's take a look at how to prepare an eggplant.
You don't need meat to make jerky.
eggplant (about 2 to 3 small)
red pepper flakes
Thinly slice the eggplant: Use a mandoline or sharp knife to thinly slice the eggplant vertically into slices about 1/8 inch thick.
Marinate the eggplant: Combine the teriyaki sauce, water, and red pepper flakes in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add the eggplant slices and toss to coat. Marinate for 2 hours, flipping them over about halfway through.
Hack a dehydrator: Arrange a rack in the lowest part of the oven, remove all other racks, and heat to 115°F or its lowest setting. Make 12 aluminum foil balls, each about the size of a golf ball, and flatten slightly.
Lay out the eggplant: Lay the eggplant slices onto 2 to 3 wire cooling racks, making sure they do not touch. Stack the racks onto a baking sheet, using the foil balls as spacers in each corner between racks.
Dry the eggplant: Place the baking sheet and racks in the oven and dry until the jerky is dry to the touch and chewy, 4 to 6 hours.
EGGPLANT PIZZA BITES
Who doesn't love pizza? Eggplant makes a good base.
1 large eggplant cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon salt
3 cloves garlic minced or crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup pizza sauce
1 cup mozzarella shredded
Sprinkle the eggplant with the coarse salt, let sit on paper towels for 10-15 minutes and wipe dry.
Preheat oven to 400F. In a small bowl, combine the crushed garlic, olive oil, and Italian seasoning, Brush the mixture onto both sides of the eggplant slices and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove eggplant from oven and flip eggplant slices, top each slice with a tablespoon of marinara sauce, and a sprinkle of cheese. Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.
CRISPY FRIED EGGPLANT
Cheesy crispiness. I'm in.
1 pound eggplant (cut crosswise into 1 cm - 1/2 inch rounds, 453.6 g)
1 cup crushed pork rinds (1 oz/ 28.35 g)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 oz/ 28.35 g)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
Prep. : Slice the eggplant into 10-12 rounds, sprinkle them with salt and put in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. Dry completely on paper towels. Meanwhile crack the eggs in a shallow bowl (cereal or soup bowl) large enough to hold an eggplant round and scramble with a fork. Mix the pork rinds, cheese, and seasoning together in another shallow bowl. Ready a small sheet pan.
Procedure: Pick up a round with a fork and flip it back and forth in the egg until completely covered. Pick up with a fork and let the egg run off. Place into the crumb mixture and cover the top with crumbs. Press the crumbs onto the top. Then, flip the round over with the fork and do this again. Lift the eggplant round out and shake off the excess crumbs. Lay on a sheet pan. Repeat the process on all of the rounds. You should have enough for 10-12 rounds depending on how big they are.
Cook: Heat an iron skillet or a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Alternately, you can use a big pancake skillet and fit all on the skillet at once. When hot, add the oil (you will need much less oil in a non-stick skillet). When the oil is hot, add 3-4 round to the pan and let cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel to drain then to a cooling rack. As you go, you may need to add a little more oil to the skillet or adjust the heat down just a bit. The eggplant will be brown and very crispy. Serve with tomato sauce, spicy mayo or eat as is!
BAKED STUFFED EGGPLANT
No pasta is needed in this bake. Use your eggplant "noodles."
1 medium eggplant about 1 pound, thinly cut lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup cottage cheese low fat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
2 cups marinara sauce
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place slices of eggplant onto a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
Sprinkle with salt.
Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
Pat dry with paper towels and bake for 15-20 minutes until eggplant is softened and bendable.
Allow to cool enough to handle.
In a bowl mix the rest of the ingredients.
Add 1 cup tomato sauce to a 9 by 13 dish and spread over the bottom.
Add about 2 -3 tablespoons, (depending on size of slice) filling onto the middle of each eggplant, roll up and place seam side down onto the sauce in the baking dish.
Pour final cup of sauce over the tops of roll ups.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
GARLIC LOVERS STIR FRY
Make this tonight! It will become your new favorite
1 1/2 lbs zucchini, yellow squash, and/or eggplant, cut into same size pieces (use any combination of these vegetables)
2 T avocado oil
2 T finely minced garlic (or less)
1 onion, sliced top to bottom in strips about 1/2 inch wide
1/4 tsp. salt
3 T Oyster Sauce (look for it by the Asian foods in any supermarket.
Cut vegetables into pieces that are the same size and same shape, cutting away the inner seeds from squash and larger eggplants before you cut them into short strips about 1/2 inch wide.
Get oil, oyster sauce, salt, and measuring spoons out and have ready on the counter near the stove.
Put wok or frying pan on the stove and heat 1-2 minutes, until it’s too hot to hold your hand over it. (You should be able to almost see the heat shimmering up from the wok.)
Add the oil and heat about 30 seconds.
Then add minced garlic and sliced onion and cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly.
Add the rest of the vegetables all at once, add salt, and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring every 20-30 seconds, or until vegetables are barely starting to soften.
Add oyster sauce, stirring gently so all the vegetables are coated with sauce.
Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring a few times
ratatouille (see last week's blog)
lasagna (replace noodles with eggplant slices)
toss with pasta
stuff it with a meat & veggie mixture (meatloaf)
Try an eggplant today. Make sure to pick a firm eggplant with a smooth skin. If it's too soft you'll have a lot of seeds and it will taste bitter.
Here's to your health! Happy Cooking!