Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Food for Thought

I didn't have to think twice when the ladies at the local library asked me to contribute a recipe to their fund-raising cookbook. I like company and I like to cook. In my memoir, Staying Alive A Love Story,  my immediate thought after running into an old friend is to get him together with my brother for dinner. 

“I could bake lasagna and fry an eggplant, ” I said, and do so a few days later. Eggplant Parm has become my "go-to dish" whenever I "go to" family picnics and pot-lucks. My niece even asked for the recipe before she moved to San Diego last month.

Many favorite recipes come with a secret or two. Here are mine: Be sure to salt the eggplant before frying (see #1 below). It takes the bitterness out. My mother taught me another trick that takes excess oil out of the fried slices before baking the casserole: Fry the day before and store the slices in the fridge overnight, layered between paper towels. It's a cinch to just have to  layer the slices,  sauce, and cheese  the next day.
Eggplant Parmesan Casserole


o    1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch slices

o    2 eggs, beaten

o    1 1/2 cups seasoned dry bread crumbs

o    1/4 cup olive oil

o    3 cups spaghetti sauce

o    1/2 lb shredded mozzarella cheese

o    1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese


   1.    The day before the casserole is served, arrange a layer of eggplant slices in a colander. Sprinkle generously with salt. Continue layering and salting all eggplant slices. Let stand 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

2.      Dip each eggplant slice in beaten egg, and dredge with breadcrumbs.

3.      Heat oil in a heavy skillet. Over medium high heat fry eggplant in hot oil about 2 minutes per side until golden. Drain on absorbent paper.

4.      Store the cooled slices between new layers of absorbent paper in the fridge overnight.

5.      Preheat oven to temperature 350°F Arrange half the eggplant slices in the bottom of baking dish sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Spread half the sauce over top. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and half the Parmesan. Repeat layers.

3.      Bake 20-25 minutes or until mixture is bubbly

The Recipe Library, a collection of favorite recipes from library staff, volunteers, library club members, and local authors is now available for sale at the Windsor Locks Library for $10.All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to purchase new print and electronic materials or to fund library programming of interest to the public.

What's your "go-to" dish?