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Eggplant is weird. To me, eggplant is one of those delicate but complex vegetables that you don’t want to cross unarmed [without an oven or piercing tool]. So though I have an oven, and various forks, I have been scared of upsetting the confusing and rubber-like nature of the eggplant.

eggplant  +  rubber= purple rubber exercise ball product for grocery consumers?

Eggplant or rubber ball? Interchangeable you say?

So anyway, I begrudgingly got an eggplant, hoping to have the nerves to give it a stab or two (or twelve). Yes, remember? “you don’t want to cross unarmed…” so the knife is a crucial defense weapon. At the advice of Emily, a fellow kitchen explorer, I gave the eggplant several stabs and threw it whole into the oven at about 400 degrees for 45 minutes. While this effectively cooked the eggplant, it was hard to peel. Though I turned my eggplant into a vegan sandwich, I still couldn’t help but imagine that I was the victim of a cruel joke and eating rubber disguised as a vegetable. I still mostly hate eggplant even though sometimes I fool myself into thinking there’s a spark between us. Here’s what I used to make it into a middle meal for the first and [probably] last time:

Italian Eggplant Melt

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1 Purple rubber ball Eggplant

Vegan mozzarella Cheese (the melty kind)

Baby spinach

Sun-dried tomato spread or paste

Basil

pine nuts

Fresh large baguette

S/P to taste

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The finished rubber melt.

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