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Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter Eggplant

I’m a week late posting about my very cute “Easter Eggplant” recipe, but having just devoured a microwaved version of the buttery stuffing mixed with brown rice for lunch, I’m reminded how good and…purple they were.

Growing up Catholic, Easter was kind of a big deal, and we had some pretty steadfast traditions that were not to be disturbed. There is NO WAY, no way no way no way, that our Easter baskets would be filled with whatever mis-shapen chocolate bunny happened to be on sale at CVS. We take our chocolate very seriously, and Cincinnati’s Aglamesis Brothers cream eggs were pretty much my reason for living through February

The past two years I’ve lived with Ann in Philly, I’ve tried to be a good big sister and use Easter as an excuse to buy quality chocolate. Leave it to my procrastinating self, there was nothing left at the chocolate shop in the Reading Terminal. I settled on some flowers and a Sunday dinner.

There is so much Easter in my Easter Eggplants. First of all, they were mini. Like baby chickens! Second, like I said, they were purple, like my Easter bonnet was in second grade. Third, they were stuffed with dates and pine nuts, which for some reason make me think of Jesus [??]. He was, after all, from the Levant, and I’m sure was a fan of the stuffed vegetables like any Israelite worth their salt. J

Baby Eggplants stuffed with Red Cabbage, Dates and Pine Nuts

I used 10 baby eggplants and had plenty of stuffing left over, which I mixed with brown rice and froze for lunch.

To make the stuffing:

Sautee a whole, chopped onion with a little bit of cinnamon, salt, pepper and allspice. Stir in about 5 cups of chopped red cabbage, sauté for a minute, and then add a little water, a little wine, and about a table spoon of tomato paste. Stir and let simmer. Once it is soft, stir in about 5-7 chopped dates and a handful of toasted pine nuts. Finish it off with a pat of butter and set aside.

Cut the tops off your eggplants and set aside in a place where your sister won’t accidentally throw them away [my eggplants were topless this time]. Scoop out the insides with a spoon or whatever that tool Arab grandmas use to hollow out squash is called. Coat the hollowed out babies in olive oil and stuff them with the filling. Roast for about 20 minutes or until they’re soft.

This recipe could use a little figuring out. My eggplants actually were kind of tough. I wondered if instead of roasting them, I let them broil in some of the water, wine and tomato paste juice?

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