Saturday, January 17, 2015

Somehow, It's Friday - Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan

January 16, 2015 - Somehow, it's Friday, and I have a long weekend ahead of me.  I would jump for joy, but that would set off a chain reaction of angry nerve endings and aggravated muscles.  If I could jump for joy, I would have continued in taekwando; sadly, I can do neither.

With my backache and foggy brain, I am struggling to complete a project here at my desk, and my slowness is making me unhappy.  I brought lunch - some of the eggplant parmesan - so I could keep working without having to pick up food outside.  I am taking a short break to swallow some Advil and clear my head.  The eggplant is delicious.  I am no vegetarian, but this dish could make me forget meat, at least temporarily.  Possibly until dinner time.

My little shawl is starting to take form.  As the rows get longer, the color changes will become more dramatic.  Eventually, they will become long enough that the color changes will defuse again.  Should make for an interesting finished piece.  Knitting during TV watching has been pleasant. Except when the Magic are playing, because then I've got to stand up and holler at the screen.

Back to work at my desk.  Those Advil did not go down well, and I cannot guarantee they will stay down.  What a completely craptastic day.

One thing - maybe the only thing - that was kind of good was lunch.  I'm back into my crockpot phase, and this time I adapted my eggplant parm for long cooking.  It came out so good, I surprised myself.  From a preparation standpoint, I loved not having to bread and fry it first.

Crockpot Eggplant Parmesan

2 eggplants (long rather than wide shaped), peeled, sliced lengthwise into 8 slices each
roasted garlic olive oil
Italian flavor bread crumbs
1 - 24 oz. jar spicy marinara sauce
about a pound of different Italian cheeses - I used sliced provolone, shredded mozzarella, grated Romano, and shaved Parmesan - basically the contents of my cheese drawer.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.   Brush some of the garlic oil onto a rimmed baking sheet.  Lay out half the eggplant slices and brush with more of the oil.  Sprinkle on bread crumbs, then turn and repeat.  Place in the oven and bake until the eggplant begins to soften and the crumbs turn medium brown.  Remove from the oven, turn the slices over and bake. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Place a small amount of the sauce in the bottom of the crock.  Layer with 4 of the eggplant slices,  ladle on one-fourth of the remaining sauce, then cover with one or two of your chosen cheeses.  Repeat until the eggplant is used up, ending with a sliced cheese layer.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.  Check after 4 hours for the doneness of the eggplant, then add only as much time needed for it to be done the way you like it.  It should still be a little toothsome.

You can serve this from the crockpot or carefully move to a baking dish and slide into the oven for a few minutes to brown the cheese slightly. Either way, this is an awesome dish.

(No, I did not bother to salt the slices - I always look to buy "male" eggplants, which have less seeds and are therefore less bitter.  Male eggplants do not have a "dimple" in their bottom rounded end.)

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