Eggplant: I’m So Happy to Meat You

About three months ago, Dave and I decided we needed to eat more vegetables, and less meat. Easier said then done. Many of the chefs I admire make meat a prevalent (and central) part of their recipes. To really eat more vegetables, as said in theater-speak, vegetables must take on the starring role, and not that of a mere extra. This meant turning to vegetarian cookbooks for a change. When I read an article on London’s Ottolenghi, my interest was piqued by the unusual partnership of the chefs: Yotam Ottolenghi was born on the Jewish side of Jerusalem and Sami Tamimi, also from Jerusalem, is Palestinian. The photography of their cookbook, made up of Middle-Eastern influenced vegetarian cuisine, is lovely, and luckily for me, a mysterious happy elf Dave secretly ordered it up.

Eggplant is a very meaty vegetable, which makes it deeply satisfying dish if served with little else. I tried out this recipe from Plenty (as seen on the cover above), and served it with soup. Plenty has a whole section devoted to eggplant, for all the aubergine fans out there…

Slice, score, roast, at 400 for 45 minutes, cool, and then add the buttermilk-yogurt sauce (9 tbsp buttermilk, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove crushed garlic). Instead of pomegranate who can stand taking the time to pick all those damn seeds out, I topped the eggplant with diced flat-leaf parsley, and supplemented a tsp of za’tar with 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp oregano.

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The Greatest Critic

The greatest admirer of my creations in the kitchen these days is an Austrian speaking vicar with a penchant for Baroque music and a pair of thoughtful whiskers. He may have found us by act of pseudo kidnapping and a rollicking trip in the back of Jake Friedman’s girlfriend’s car. He may have moved from the bright lights of Brooklyn, to the salty Riverside abode, to the farther north of Hartford, but one thing that hasn’t changed is his unflinching preference for kitchen-observing. This is Oscar’s table.