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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lasagna - well, kind of!

I’m happy to report that the food situation continues to improve!  While the food or availability of food has not changed, my ability to see different foods and think of ideas of things I can make with them has changed.  Furthermore, I’ve embraced more vegetables!
Most recently, I have been buying eggplant and cabbage.  I make my Mom’s stuffed cabbage rolls, but I don’t stuff them so it’s a cabbage casserole that is not picture-friendly for this blog.
What I can share is my recent eggplant adventures.  My one unfortunate encounter with eggplant involved frying it where something just wasn’t quite ‘right.’  I quickly wrote eggplant off the list of edible vegetables.    Here in Bangalore the eggplant looks really good.  And, you might recall that I was actually craving vegetables.  So the stars aligned on a brave vegetable day and I bought one!  (My Mom still cannot believe I tried one.  Yes, my vegetable aversion was that bad.  I’m working on it though!)  I fried it and Bryan and I enjoyed it as eggplant parmesan.  I wouldn’t go all crazy on you and tell you that I loved it, but it hit the spot and filled a void.  We decided we could eat eggplant again.
I bought more and fried them and Bryan and I ate them as our main dish.
Then, Bryan and I found ourselves in the best situation possible.  We had an excess of buffalo mozzarella so the only logical thing to do was to buy more eggplant to make eggplant lasagna with real cheese!  I haven’t had cheese in my lasagna/manicotti for more than three years. 
I haven’t found gluten-free lasagna noodles here so I sliced the eggplant, battered it, lightly fried it in a pan, and used the eggplants like I would lasagna noodles.  The lasagna was good, and the cheese was the best treat!  I won’t lie to you.  I could tell the noodles were missing and some vegetables had been added, but it tasted great and has continued to make good leftovers.  This is another meal I’ll add to the rotation!
Here is the recipe:
Slice the eggplant and lightly salt each side to let the bitterness and moisure seep out for at least 30 minutes if not longer.
Brown Ground Beef with chopped onions.  Add your favorite pasta sauce and let simmer.

 As the beef is cooking, dry off the eggplant with a paper towel and prepare your dredging station.
I cracked 1 egg and used about 1/2 c. gluten-free flour seasoned with pepper and italian seasoning.

Dredge eggplant slices in egg and then in flour.  Add to a lightly oiled fry pan and fry on either side until nice and brown like below:

Spread a bit of the tomato sauce and beef mixture in the bottom of the pan.  Place a layer of eggplant followed by a layer of sauce and then a layer of cheese.  Repeat 2-3 times or until your eggplant is used or your pan is full.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and warmed through.

What is next on the list of things to make?  A Mexican Casserole, Christmas cookies Bryan has been requesting, and roasted red pepper and goat cheese appetizers.

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