One Eggplant to Start

eggplant 2 3.23.13Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant. To quote the wonderful title of an essay written years ago by the late writer Laurie Colwin in Home Cooking, her collection of food essays.

That was me one day this week. When I was sure there was nothing in the house to eat…or, at least, that I’d feel like making. Because I’d been sick, and was basically in reheating/microwaving/leftovers mode, having had soup three times, two of those times my own leftover celery and rice soup from last week.

But I needed something more, something that felt like a whole meal.

There wasn’t really nothing in the house to eat, but I had allowed the contents of the refrigerator and cabinets to dwindle. Except for basics and some odd and end that might catch my eye when shopping, I hadn’t restocked. Intentionally. My husband was out of town most of the past couple weeks, I didn’t need much, and it seemed a nice opportunity to give everything at hand a chance to be used.

So I opened the fridge, and there it was, an eggplant. One of the odds and ends I couldn’t resist buying the week before.

And so there I was. Alone in the kitchen with my eggplant. Deciding what else to pull out.

And one by one I set them on the table. The eggplant. A package of prepared beets. A head of garlic. Some romaine. A few very limp-leaved scallions. Blue cheese and gorgonzola that might or might not still be good. Fresh dill left over from last week’s post. A couple of eggs.

Roasted eggplant. Salad. Omelet.

I turned the oven to 400° and cut the eggplant into 1/4″ vertical slices. Tossed those together in bowl with three cloves of minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, and then laid the slices on a baking sheet I’d lined with parchment paper. I slid the tray into the oven. Roasted for 15 minutes. Turned the slices over, and roasted for about another 10 minutes.

While they were cooking, I threw out the small bit of blue cheese. Yes, you can tell when blue cheese is bad. It shouldn’t be fuzzy!

The gorgonzola had some iffy parts that I tossed, but there was enough in good shape for me to use. So when the eggplant slices were done, I crumbled a little over the slices. And then sprinkled some chopped dill over them for some green. Back in the oven for a few minutes to melt, and then took that out.

For the salad I ripped a few romaine leaves onto a plate. Sliced two of the beets and arranged the slices through the romaine. A little chopped scallion and chopped dill sprinkled over. Salt and pepper. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Very pretty.eggplant 4 3.23.13

I draped a few eggplant slices next to the salad, and sprinkled the crispy garlic bits over top of both, particularly the salad.

I added some chopped scallions to two beaten eggs and made a quick omelet.

The salty richness of the gorgonzola was nice with the softened eggplant. And every bite or so, a little dill did come through, especially when I combined it with a bite of the salad, which also had dill. And every time I eat beets I am reminded how much I really like them, their light, fresh taste.

The garlic bits were amazing. They got crispy after a half hour in the oven, and just added a great garlic crunch.

The little time and effort it took to make roasted eggplant, a simple salad, and a very basic omelet did this sick girl a world of good.

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