Friday, September 14, 2012

Stuffed to the gills ...

I posted a photo recently of some stuffed eggplant I made. The recipe came out of necessity. Mark harvested all of our large fruit when night temperatures were predicted to dip into the 40s. There are still new eggplants growing and I'm sure I'll be making another batch of this stuff by the end of the month.

Sorry for the photo quality. I just really wanted to eat the damn thing.

Okay. To start:

Boil a big ol' pot full of water, lightly salted. Puncture your eggplants of choice all over with a fork, then dunk them into the pot, allowing them to cook until softened fully. Keep in mind, the eggplants won't want to cooperate and you may have to keep turning them. It's okay, this is good for them- they just don't know it. Allow them to cool before you man-handle them.

In the mean time, boil up a cup of Basmati rice, following package directions. It should only take about 15 minutes. To the rice add the following, in no particular order, using a very large bowl. This makes a lot of stuffing:

1 cup Italian bread crumbs (these are optional, my gluten-free friends, or you can make your own bread crumbs out of a gluten free loaf, well toasted and pulsed in the food processor).
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 diced heirloom tomato (that's just what I had on hand, you can use any tomato you want)
2 Tbs chopped basil
2 Tbs chopped parsley
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1 half onion, diced
3 or 4 garlic cloves, pressed or run over a microplane
S&P to taste (you won't need much salt, with all that cheese and such)

When the eggplants are cool enough to touch, cut them down the middle the long way (keep their green hats on, it helps the small end stay whole) and scoop out the innards with a grapefruit spoon, or score with a sharp knife and then scoop. You can use your hands. That method is what I fall back on most of the time.

When you've gutted the shells, careful not to bust the eggplant skin, dice the eggplant guts and add it to the rice mixture.

Now, stuff that eggplant. I mean, really heap it in there. When all the skins are full, place them in a baking dish with a bunch of tomato sauce in it. I topped each stuffed eggplant with a slice of mozzarella for effect. Bake those suckers at 400 until the sauce underneath them starts to bubble and the cheese on top starts to brown. That's the kind of timing I use when I cook- by sight. Don't be afraid to open the oven door. This isn't  a souffle we're making.

Serve each of the eggies with a bunch of sauce and watch them disappear. These were a huge hit at the table and are a creative way to use up all those purple monsters lurking in your garden. 

Good luck using up your produce, everyone. It's no easy task. When in doubt, spread the love around then tear up your plants and start a winter crop! Our garlic goes in the ground next month. More on that soon.

In the mean time, eat up and pull out those sweaters. Winter, she's a'comin' for us. xo

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