Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Baked Baby Eggplants

So here I am with nothing to complain about.  We have been working on a DIY Dog Project - just one dog per day - shaving and trimming and bathing and de-flea-ing.  Two down, two to go.  The cat is just getting a flea collar, because the last time I tried to bathe a cat was in 1978, and I still have the scars.

By the way, just in case you didn't watch the season finale of "Marvel:Agents of Shield" last night, you might want to toss any bottles of fish oil.  In fact, you might want to stop eating all fish now and forever.  I love that show, and especially how at the end of each season they kill off everyone who won't be coming back.  Out with the old, in with the new.  Goodbye Edward James Olmos, I wish you could have hung around.  And I really liked Kyle MacLachlen's psychotic character.  Oh, they didn't kill him off; they just sent him to T.A.H.I.T.I. for a little while.  Good as new.

I'm a geek.  I know it, you know it, and now the blogiverse knows it.  I am a Trekkie and a Whovian and a Babylon Fiver and a Farscaper and a Stargate-SG1 and Battlestar Galactica fan.  Just the remake; the original was beyond awful.  I don't watch American Idol or Dancing with the Stars; for me it is all about science fiction and police procedurals.  And basketball games.  And Fox News.  Yeah, Fox.  And I'm still ready for Hillary.

Baked Baby Eggplants

4 baby eggplants
kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil for sauteeing plus more for coating the eggplant shellls
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 small green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 very large clove garlic, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
more kosher salt and ground black pepper
2-3 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon capers, chopped
1 envelope Goya Sazon, with culantro and achiote
1-8 oz.can tomato sauce
1-8 oz. bag shredded mozzarella cheese and/or sharp cheddar
grated Pecorino Romano
fresh ground pepper

Cut each eggplant in half. Peel off the purple skin, except for a strip around the edge.  Place the eggplant in a baking dish, cut side up, and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse off the salt under cold water.  With a tomato shark or small spoon, carefully scoop out the eggplant pulp.  Discard the very seedy part; keep the rest of the pulp, set aside.  Sprinkle the eggplant shells with some olive oil, and use hands to coat them all over.  Place cut side down in the baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, carrot, and reserved eggplant pulp until tender.  While cooking the vegetables, add the salt, pepper, and Sazon.  Stir in
the thyme, capers, and tomato sauce.  Simmer together until sauce thickens and reduces slightly.

Turn the eggplants over. Add some shredded cheddar cheese in each eggplant half, then bake about 10 minutes.  Now stuff each baby eggplant with the vegetable-tomato sauce mixture. Sprinkle with some Romano cheese, then cover with the mozzarella.  Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the eggplants are neated through.  You can serve these as a side or a vegetarian entree.

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