Happy New Year! I hope each one of you had a wonderful holiday. Whichever holiday it is you celebrate, I hope it was filled with family, friends, good food and fun!
Are you someone who makes new year’s resolutions every year? I absolutely do not. I like the tradition, and if it works for you, then I admire that, but for me, it just sets me up for disappointment and failure. So why bother, right? Instead, I prefer to continue with goals and things that drive me on a daily basis, and stick to what I know. So maybe I do have a resolution after all?
One thing for me that’s high on my priority list as of last April, has been a big change in eating and exercise routines. So there’s one thing I’m continuing. There’s no official goal or end date, but I’ll let you know if I reach it!
That said, I know I blog a lot about desserts and breads. Kind of a favorite of mine. However, on a daily basis we eat pretty healthy around here. We juice a lot, for one. I don’t juice with an actual juicer, I prefer using the entire fruit or vegetable and I use a nutri-ninja. I think there’s a lot of good stuff in the peels of a lot of produce. It makes for a thicker drink, but I also like that, as it makes it more filling and more of a milkshake consistency. This is also the thing for my 3 year old son that makes him like it. He likes the fruity ones, of course, but I always hide the veggies in there and he has no clue. That is, as long as I don’t put in too much kale or greens. He won’t drink a green “milkshake”. If I can keep it yellow, orange, or pink, it’s a done deal.
Other than that, varieties of salads are always a favorite lunch for me, but when supper rolls around, I need something warm, yummy, and comforting, that I can look forward to. Especially during these winter months. Substituting breads is hard for me, but that’s what I need to do the most, and that’s the mission! Comfort without the carbs.
It’s an odd time for eggplant in our neck of the woods, but they had some very nice ones at our local QFC (imported, of course) and I couldn’t resist. I didn’t have a plan, but the more I thought about it and googled some different recipes, I combined a few ideas and made it up as I went. I was having my creamy tomato soup as a main dish, so this needed to go alongside it. And, wanting to stay away from bread, I decided to coat and bake my eggplant crispy, and turn it into a sort of bruschetta. I thought I was a genius for coming up with this amazing idea, when in reality, it’s already been done. I googled it later. I honestly wonder if there are any original ideas left sometimes!
But this is still my version, and what I thought, for one solitary moment, was a completely original idea. Oh Candace, when will you learn?
2 roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 medium eggplant – cut into ¾ inch steaks (5-6 round slices)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese (topping while baking)
1 x-large egg & teaspoon of water – whisked
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spread 2 tablespoons of oil all over surface, coating completely. Set aside. Make the wet and dry dredge mixtures and have set aside and ready. Combine all ingredients for bruschetta topping and set aside.
Clean and cut off ends of eggplant. Cut into 5-6 slices, ¾ inch thick. Coat each piece in the wet dredge, then move to the dry dredge mixture and coat each side and edges completely. Transfer to the oiled baking sheet, one at a time. Drizzle oil on the tops of each piece.
Place into the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, take the baking sheet out of the oven, and flip each piece over. Add some grated parmesan cheese to each piece if desired, and return to oven for 10 more minutes.
Both sides of eggplant should be golden brown and crisp, with the parmesan cheese slightly browned and melted. Top with bruschetta topping and serve immediately.
Here’s how it turns out:
I added all of the ingredients for my bruschetta topping into a bowl.
Mixed it up, and it looked about like this.
If you are wondering about the balsamic vinegar, there’s about a million types to choose from. I use this brand and really like it. It’s very rich and full bodied and a bit nicer than your average ‘off the shelf’. This stuff is great for oil and vinegar bread dips as well. It’s a world of difference in flavor once you try a few different kinds. I really like it for homemade salad dressings.
Oil your baking sheet, lined with tin foil, and set aside. Then whisk your wet dredge together, and combine the dry dredge.
Cut up your eggplant.
And begin the process of the dredging. First in the egg…..
And then in the dry mix….
Laying them all out, evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Then drizzle a little oil on top of each one. Place these in your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Take them out after 15 minutes and turn them over. These have just been turned. The bottoms got nice and crispy and golden. Gorgeous!
Now we’re going to add a little extra somethin’-somethin’ and put a little more parmesan cheese on top. Then put this back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
Look at how beautiful they come out! The parmesan cheese has melted together and the eggplant is perfectly golden on both sides, and cooked until tender on the inside. You could eat them just like this. The dry dredge coating and the cheese have a beautiful flavor on their own.
But I was serving this with my homemade creamy tomato soup, and I wanted it to have a little extra something. So I piled on my bruschetta topping on each piece, and sprinkled on a little parsley at the end.
If you are going to say no to bread, then this is how you should do it. Oh, don’t get me wrong, nothing dips into a soup better than some homemade bread, but I honestly didn’t feel like I was missing anything while eating this.
Look at how beautiful and fresh that looks! It tasted amazing too. It was a great friend to the soup, and they both rode off into the sunset that night. It was true love, and a very happy ending. Or, depending on how you look at it, a very happy beginning.
Happy new year friends. May 2019 be filled with good things, for you, and those you love most.
– The Homesteaders Wife