Sunday, December 2, 2012

Appetizer Series: Eggplant Bella Rose

A very good friend of mine is growing eggplant in her garden this year and was kind enough to share some with me. I must say that, when she handed me the basket of her beautiful bounty, I thought, "Well, that will look great in a fall centerpiece." Needless to say, I was very intimidated. So, I searched in my cookbook drawer and pulled out my husband's favorite cookbook. He loves every recipe this man has every published. I like the pictures. ;)

I then went on YouTube to see how to cut an eggplant. What? I had absolutely no idea where the seeds where, if you could eat the skin, etc. Don't judge, it got the job done.

I found a recipe that I thought sounded pretty simple and that I already had ingredients for.


Naturally, I altered the recipe to suit what I had in my pantry. I can honestly say that I have absolutely never fried anything. Pan fried, yes, but actually heating oil to a certain temperature and covering the food in it, no. I don't recommend eating this way too often but for an every now & then appetizer, I think it is fine.

If it turns out like this, you are doing it wrong:

My 1st mistake was in the breading process. I lightly breaded a few pieces, dropped them into oil that wasn't hot enough & pulled them out when it started to smoke. I wanted to scrap the whole thing but decided to finish since I couldn't turn the leftover ingredients into anything else. I rolled up my sleeves, breaded the heck out of the eggplant pieces & dropped them into screaming hot oil.


Oh, and this time I actually used a timer to make sure that I cooked each side for 3 minutes. They looked beautiful & golden brown. I actually like this even better than the Bourbon Bacon Toast from last week, which is saying a lot given my love of bacon. Thank you to my dear friend, Michele, for opening my eyes to a fabulous new vegetable!

(the wine is optional ;)

What I have learned from trying some fabulous new appetizers is that I need to give new things a try more often. I am so glad that I did because now I have 3 more items in my arsenal which means, if you invite me over for dinner, in addition to mashed potatoes, I can also bring a gourmet appetizer that you don't have to pretend to enjoy!

I want to end with a recipe that I have made over & over again since my friend, Ann, introduced me to it. I call it, ANN'S CORN DIP. She probably calls it something a bit more fabulous.

One can mexi-cali corn
1 cup mayo
1 cup monterrey jack cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Drain corn, & mix all ingredients together. Pour into a shallow baking dish, such as a pie pan, and top with sliced jalapenos (optional). Bake at 350 for 25 minutes and serve with Fritos scoops. This one is a crowd pleaser & I find that I have these ingredients on hand so it is easy to throw together at the last minute.

I hope you have enjoyed the Appetizer Series. I have been a shopping fool these past few weeks so stay tuned for a post or two of all of my favorite things. I am thinking of calling it J's Favorite Things, as a tribute to our beloved Oprah. Nobody is getting a car though, sorry! There will be some kooky items and some really practical ones. I think you will enjoy it!


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