I’ve been married for nearly three years (our anniversary is next month!), and it’s only in recent months that I’ve mustered up the courage to, wait for it, make food without following a recipe. My cookbooks were my lifeline to making edible food. Without guidelines to follow, I felt all panicky and insecure. How long should I sauté the zucchini? What temperature should the chicken be cooked at? How much salt am I supposed to add? Cookbooks provided soothing answers: 15 minutes. 375 degrees. One teaspoon.
Relief. Success. Full stomachs.
At some point in the last half-year, I realized that I had gained enough experience and confidence to tentatively strike out on my own. No longer was I bound to an ingredient list. The only limitations were the supplies in my kitchen and the food in my cabinets. It’s been kinda fun.
Yesterday I remembered that there was an eggplant in the crisper which I had intended to use for Shabbos, and hadn’t. There was also a half-full jar of marinara sauce waiting to be finished, and thus, tonight’s dinner was born.
Eggplant Parmesan à la Rivki
- olive oil
- one large Eggplant
- 3/4 jar Kalamata olives
- one pint cherry tomatoes
- one onion
- crushed garlic
- 1/2 jar marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- basil, oregano, marjoram, kosher salt, pepper
I don’t know how Eggplant Parmesan is really made, but this is what I did:
First, I cut the eggplant into slices and then quarters, so it looked like this:
Then I seasoned them with s kosher salt and pepper and sautéed them in olive oil. After they became nice and tender, I added the olives and cherry tomatoes (as a side-note, I have been looking ALL OVER for a kosher container of Kalamata olives for well over a year, and had finally given up. Of course, that was when I actually found some. I was ecstatic):
Meanwhile, I sautéed the onions in a separate skillet before adding them to the other veggies. Then I added the crushed garlic, marinara sauce, spices and cheese. I simmered over a low flame for a few minutes, and voilà! We added a loaf of garlic bread and some white zinfandel and it was a nice dinner.