Eggplant Lasagna

 

A guest post from Kerri:

Eggplant: From India With Love

eggplant2

My first encounter with the “exotic” eggplant was at Summerfest (you know‚Ķthat fairly large music festival that takes place on Milwaukee’s lakefront). Two words: Eggplant Fries! When I used to attend the festival quite regularly every summer, my first culinary stop was always at the Venice Club to grab an order of eggplant fries with marinara dipping sauce! Yum! These days I try to enjoy my eggplant, now a frequent star in my weekly meal menu, with a little less deep-frying ūüėČ

The eggplant, a member of the nightshade family and a close relative of the potato and tomato, was originally domesticated in India from wild nightshade and, botanically, is classified as a berry, the seeds of which contain nicotinoid alkaloids (yep‚Ķa relative of tobacco‚Ķdon’t worry‚Ķyou have to consume 20 pounds of eggplant to consume the equivalent of one cigarette’s worth of tobacco).

The eggplant is called an aubergine in England, a far more descriptive name for this versatile berry/vegetable than our somewhat confusing “eggplant”. So where did this crazy name come from? Apparently, some varieties cultivated in the 18th century resembled goose or hen’s eggs, and now, some of these white and yellow varieties that earned the eggplant it’s unusual moniker are back! I was lucky enough to find a white variety to plant in my garden this year (pictured here with the more common purple variety).

A great recipe reminiscent of those Venice Club eggplant fries I enjoyed way back when (and continue to enjoy in moderation) is the tasty Any Meat Eggplant Lasagna recipe below. This is an excellent lower-carb version of traditional lasagna that will satisfy your comfort food cravings as the temperatures fall this Fall.

eggplant

Any Meat Eggplant Lasagna

The Ingredients:

2 T olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil for brushing

2 eggs

2 T water

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs Italian seasoning to taste

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch round slices

1 pound ground meat of your choice (turkey, beef, pork, chicken, soy meat substitute)

48 ounces tomato sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

The Recipe:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 1/2 tsp olive oil on each of two baking sheets.

2. Whisk eggs and water together in a small, shallow bowl

3. Season the panko breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning to taste (You can also purchase Italian seasoned panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs. I just happened to have unseasoned panko on hand)

4. Mix the parmesan cheese, seasoned breadcrumbs, salt and pepper in a separate small, shallow bowl.

5. Dip eggplant slice in egg mixture and then press into crumb mixture. Tap off excess crumbs and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with all slices.

6. Bake eggplant slices at 375 for 40-50 minutes, flipping slices halfway through baking to make sure each side is golden brown.

7. Remove eggplant from oven and increase temperature to 400 degrees.

8. Heat remaining 2 T olive oil in skillet and stir in ground meat.

9. Brown meat until crumbly (about 10 minutes) and drain any excess grease.

10. Stir tomato sauce into ground meat.

11. Place 1/3 of the baked eggplant slices on the bottom of an oiled 9 by 13 pan.

12. Pour 1/3 of the tomato meat sauce over the bottom eggplant layer.

13. Sprinkle 1/3 of mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce layer.

14. Repeat steps 11-13 two more times (you should end with a mozzarella cheese layer).

15. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes

16. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

17. Enjoy! (perhaps with a nice glass of red wine ;))

Meet Our New Guest Blogger Gloria – Easy Eggplant Rolls

 

 

Meet our new guest blogger Gloria:

 

Hi, my name is Gloria and I’ve just joined the Brewer’s Organic’s blogging team!¬† This is my first attempt at blogging and I’m really looking forward to exploring new meals with my organic produce.¬† I’ve been receiving boxes for the past few months and enjoy experimenting with new dishes with different produce that I might not normally purchase on my own.¬† It has challenged me to become more creative in the meals that I prepare for myself and my daughter.¬† Let me introduce her as well.¬† I am a single mom to a wonderfully, lively 2 1/2 year old little girl, Sophia.¬† When she was a baby and started eating solid foods at 6 months, I made about 90% of her baby food.¬† I loved knowing where the food came from, what went into it and creating different “meals” for her.¬† I experimented with lots of different combinations of fruits, veggies and proteins‚Ķ and she just loved it.¬† I have to say, she is a pretty good eater!¬† When most kids fuss over eating fruits and veggies, some of her early favorites were asparagus, broccoli and guacamole.¬† Often, when she asks for a snack, she asks for fruit: apples, pears, blueberries or strawberries.

I receive my Brewers Organics box every other week and we enjoy going through the contents together when we get home as I explain to her all of the different produce.¬† Over the weekend, I plan out our weekly dinner menu, based on the contents that we received in the box.¬† One main food rule that I have in our house is that Sophia eats what I eat.¬† I am not a short order cook and I will not cop out and serve her mac and cheese or hot dogs every night if she doesn’t like what I’ve prepared.¬† She doesn’t have to eat all of it, but she has to try it.¬† And I keep introducing things to her.¬† I believe it’s important to have a well-rounded meal and food education.¬† Although a 2¬†1/2 year old isn’t always very “helpful” in the kitchen, I always invite Sophia to throw on her apron and help me prepare our meals.¬† It’s more time that we get to spend together, she learns about the different components that go into making a meal and she usually samples veggies raw (with a side of humus, one of her favorites!) before she throws them in the pot for me.¬† After dinner is ready, we sit down at the table for a family meal together, and we look forward to it every night.

In one of my most recent boxes, I received an eggplant.¬† Eggplant is not something that I grew up eating or even knew how to prepare on my own.¬† I’ve had eggplant parmesan at restaurants before and thought something along that line might be a good place to start.¬† I started researching recipes and found a simple one for eggplant rollups with marinara sauce.¬† It wasn’t too difficult and I loved the taste of the eggplant with the breadcrumbs, pesto and ricotta cheese.¬† I tweaked it a bit and added Asiago cheese as well in the ricotta mix.¬† Next time I’d slice the eggplant a bit thinner so it’s easier to roll up and would make a few more.¬† It made a delicious dinner and lunch for us and I was even able to freeze a few for a quick meal one night.¬† Another option would be to serve it with homemade marinara sauce.

I’m really looking forward to my next creation with this week’s box!

Until next time, happy eating!

Gloria

 

Easy Eggplant Rolls

 

eggplant

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant cut lengthwise into 8 slices and seasoned with salt and pepper

4 large eggs

3/4 cup pesto

2 1/2 cups of Italian bread crumbs

6 tablespoons of olive oil

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup grated asiago

1 cup marinara sauce of your choice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and 1/3 of the pesto.  Dip each seasoned slice of eggplant into the egg and pesto mix and then coat it with bread crumbs.

In a large nonstick pan, cook the eggplant in batches in heated olive oil until they are golden brown.  Transfer the eggplant to a paper-towel-lined plate.

In a separate small bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the asiago.

Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of the remaining pesto on each eggplant slice and top with approximately 2 tablespoons of the cheese mix.

Roll up each eggplant slice (you can use toothpicks to keep them from unrolling). Bake seam side down in the oven until the eggplant is tender (this will depend on how thick your eggplant slices are, but about 10-15 minutes). Top with heated marinara sauce and a little extra cheese.

Eggplant Pizza Thingy

I am all about meatless meals, I am a veggie loving fruit lady, afterall. The King Carnivore, however, doesn’t seem to think a meal is a meal without meat. We have go rounds about this. The good thing is that he is game to try something at least once. This, he said he would like more than once. No meat required. Yum yum.

You will need:

An eggplant. Breadcrumbs. Milk or eggs for dipping. tomato, basil, olive oil, cheese and salt to taste.

Cut your eggplant into slices and soak in salt water for about 15 minutes. Then pat dry to remove excess moisture.

Dip in milk or egg, and then coat with bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and bake 8 minutes. Flip them and bake another 8 minutes. If you want them to be a little more crispy skip the baking and fry in butter.

Add a slice of tomato, a sprig of basil, and fresh mozzarella or any cheese for that matter.

Then bake until the cheese melts.

Oh my, they were yummy. You can add balsamic to the top if you want, won’t hurt, and can only help.