Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Help! Theres Half an Eggplant in My Fridge!!

I'm sure we've all been there...there it is, sitting quietly in the corner of the fridge - the uncooked, cut in half vegetable. It stares up at you forlornly in its Ziploc bag shouting "Eat me! Please, for the love of cooking, put me in something!" And, if you are like me (hopefully you are not), half of the time I forget that said veggie is in the fridge until weeks later, when its moldy/shrivelled self is haphazardly thrown in the trash.

Well, NOT THIS TIME!!! As much as I would like to say that I have become a more environmentally concerned sort (which I sort of am anyhow) - this is not the true reason for my recent scavenging in the cabinets. The truth is folks - I have a small problem. No worries, it is not a "see you after your 9 month stint in jail" problem. Not even something too serious. The problem is...wait for it...I have too much shit I want to buy. These next few months are going to require a lot of money (and that's not even including the new mountain bike I want). A trip to Turkey/Greece, snowboarding season and various other items are going to give my wallet a serious squeeze.

So, when I am sitting there, deciding what I want to eat, a little voice in the back of my head says "eat something you have - SAVE MONEY!" So, without further ado, I will discuss what I made last night and give a few comments on such.

With half of an eggplant in the fridge, the first thing that popped into my head was to saute it and add it to a tomato sauce. I got the following ingredients at Whole Foods (don't cringe - they have some cheap stuff there too):

Organic 365 Tomato Sauce with Basil - $2.49
365 Extra Firm Tofu - $0.99

I also picked up a chunk of their cornbread for about $3.50 cause its yummy :) I usually stray far away from store bought tomato sauce, preferring to make my own - but I think when you are making more of a veggie stew its OK.

Basically, we just browned the tofu (cut up into chunks first) and sauteed it with the eggplant. When eggplant is slightly mushy, add it to the sauce. Carolyn also had some basil in her garden which was contributed. We ate this sauce over spinach nuggets (strange but very tasty) and shaved some mozzarella over top. However, this sauce can easily be served over pasta (obviously). I think a quick pasta sauce with fresh veggies is one of the easiest and cheapest things to do with veggies. Best part - I am sitting here eating leftovers of leftovers right now!

Don't let those unused veggies go to waste again!


E said...

One of my favorite eggplant recipes comes from Alton Brown. This recipe serves four, but I've used half an eggplant for a single serving.

2 medium-large eggplants
Kosher salt, for purging
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
4 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup cream
4 tablespoons basil chiffonade
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper

Peel each eggplant leaving 1-inch of skin at the top and bottom unpeeled. Slice the eggplant thinly lengthwise, about 1/4-inch thick. Evenly coat each slice with the salt and purge on a sheet pan fitted with a rack for 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and roll in paper towels to dry. Slice the pieces into thin strips to resemble pasta.
In a large saute pan heat the oil. Add the garlic and chili flakes and toast. Add the eggplant "pasta" and toss to coat. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and increase heat to thicken sauce. Finally add the basil and Parmesan and toss to combine. Season with pepper, no salt needed as the eggplant will have residual salt from the purge. Serve immediately.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Way to go Georgia! I think it is absolutely wonderful that you are eating leftovers of leftovers and in so doing saving money for the things that you really want in life! I certainly applaud your efforts!

mom said...

Hey Sweetie (this is Mom by the way) I liked what you did with the eggplant. I've done similar things but here's a new wrinkle for you. While we were camping I had grilled up some zuccini, onions and peppers, red and green for supper with lamb shanks. I had veggies leftover. And because I'm me, I'd brought a little homemade sauce along. The next night it looked like it might rain and we couldn't grill, so I decided on spaghetti and sauce on the camp stove. I sliced up the leftover grilled veggies. First I sauteed anchovies (always good) and garlic in olive oil. Then I added the grilled veggies. When all were melded, I threw in the sauce and let it simmer for a little. It was really quite good and somewhat different. The smoky taste of the barbeque came through the sauce and the anchovies added extra body. Try it. And keep saving, Love Mom.

Selah said...

I'm a much lazier cook than you. If i had half a eggplant leftover. I would buy some balsamic vinegarette dressing. Then I'd cut up the eggplant, soak it real good in the dressing and grill 'er up. (maybe add a little extra salt) It's soooo good. Now I will finally leave you a snotty comment about how its so much hotter here than it is there. Nah nah nah.

AlliXT said...

Half an eggplant? Hmmm, looks like baba ghanoush time (if you never watched The State on MTV when we were kids, youtube it right now and look for the last supper sketch--you will develop an undying love for baba then).

It's been awhile since I've made baba, so here's a recipe off the top of my's basically hummus with roasted eggplant thrown in.

Roast your left over eggplant (35 minutes in the over wrapped in foil should do it, it should be mushyish and the skin should peel straight off).
Toss the bhaba, a can of chickpeas, some oil, a tbsp of tahini (optional), and a couple cloves of garlic (pureed garlic works best actually) into a food processor and have at it until it's nice and smooth (or chunky, you choose). Voila...baba--enjoy with veggies, pitas, chips, or on top of salads or pastas.

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