This fall I've added some adventure to my regular culinary lineup by trying some new vegetables.
Eggplant looks like a creature that would bound happily behind the Hamburglar in a McDonald's commercial. I harbor bad memories of choking down large slices of eggplant parmesan, hockey pucks with a cheesy toupee.
I avoided my eggplant, all alone in the second vegetable drawer, for about a week. Finally, I chopped it into french fry sized pieces and sauteed the eggplant with onions, green peppers, carrots and mushrooms. Then, I added red pasta sauce and cooked sausage.
The eggplant absorbed the flavors in the sauce and and was a nice filler (30 kcal = 1 cup) in a pasta meal that otherwise might be high calorie.
The only problem with eggplant, besides the fact that it looks like a jelly bean of renown? A little eggplant goes a long way, and I was racing to eat it all before it went bad. When you buy an eggplant, find a friend to share it with.
Brussels Sprouts are a family favorite--to joke about. The first time Dad ate dinner with Mom's family, my mom's father, a ruddy and boisterous German, kept piling these green golf balls on my dad's plate. Bewildered, Dad kept eating them, which only increased the supply. "He was kicking me under the table the whole time," laughs Mom, recounting the tale.
Most of my family wrinkle their nose at Brussels Sprouts, but I find them tasty and a vehicle for a nice olive oil. Cut six or seven brussel sprouts in half. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees until soft. Add salt and pepper, and a little more olive oil. Eat without utensils (while watching Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger).