Cooking by Color

The farmer’s market yesterday was like a feast for the eyes! The harvest is in and the take is bountiful.

I spotted the baby purple Tiger eggplants and was captured by their color. I decided to buy them first, then I asked the woman in line why she was also buying them. She said they were tender and the skin is edible, not tough, like other eggplants. Sold!

Not only are these babies rich in color, they are rich in nutrients. Eggplant is a seasonal super food!

I created this eggplant dish based on a tasty dish of squash concocted by my childhood friend who I have endearingly nicknamed “Barbie of Sunny Acres.” Barbie, Donna, and I enjoyed her squash dish on her sun porch flanked by a vase full of sunflowers. With this in mind, I created a recipe full of summer’s best.

Use my recipe as a starting point then make it your own by substituting different cheeses, herbs, and vegetables. Next time I am going to use the baby eggplant in a frittata (baked with eggs and cheese). You can’t go wrong when it’s all from the garden!

Thank you to Barbie of Sunny Acres for the genesis of this recipe and for the memory of hospitality.

eggplant-cooked-goodBaby Eggplant Bake

The tender baby eggplants don’t require sautéing or over salting to make them tender. Slicing them fresh and putting them directly into the casserole dish makes this recipe easy and quick. You can substitute herbed goat cheese or feta for the cream cheese, and cheddar or Monterey Jack for the mozzarella. You can also substitute fresh red pepper for the tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS

  • Baby, purple eggplant, about 8, sliced just a little less than 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, chilled and torn into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Spray a one-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Place half of the sliced eggplants in a single layer in dish, overlapping a bit. Sprinkle with one half each of the chopped onion, tomatoes, and basil. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Dot this eggplant layer with one-half of the cream cheese and sprinkle one-half of the shredded mozzarella.

Repeat the layering process ending with the shredded mozzarella on top.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.

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