What Going on Today: Trip to favorite Farmer's Market in Connecticut, pizza lunch at the market, ask neighbor to babysit our fish next week while we are on vacation.
Naptime Goals: Prepare Eggplant & Goat Cheese bake for dinner, finish up some blog posts, packing (again).
Tonight's Menu: Eggplant & Goat Cheese Bake with country bread, panko chicken tenders, banana bread.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Your child's growth rate will always exceed your expectations. Be prepared to buy new clothes/shoes every 6 months. Or more.
During our brief vacation interlude in Connecticut I've been catching up on house chores and farmer's markets visits. I've also been reviewing our upcoming preschool calendar (I can't believe we'll be on a school schedule soon!) and taking baby steps towards ordering my daughter some much needed fall clothes. It's been so hot this summer all she has been wearing is sundresses, but I know she'll be wearing her jeans before we know it. (Weep.) I better get her a pair that fit!
The impending move toward fall has left me scrambling to cling to any last signs of summer. The farmer's market is overflowing with produce and my daughter's afternoon naps are still long, so I am going to cook up my fresh vegetables as often as possible. Come January I'll be mourning these afternoons so very much - not the cooking part, I still be doing that - but the fresh, local vegetables will be long gone.
This week I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous eggplant at the market. Their deep aubergine is so alluring, like exotic jewels piled high in a bin, I can never pick up just one. Being that is too hot for Eggplant Parmesan I decided that do a simple eggplant bake instead. My friend Mary gave me the idea for this method earlier this summer. I made up my own recipe based on her description and have been making it with great gusto ever since. Thinly sliced eggplant is drizzled with olive oil, chopped herbs, goat cheese and tomatoes, then roasted at a high temperature and served hot for dinner. It's kind of like a ratatouille, only the vegetables remain separate instead of melting into a soft mush. I like to serve it with a little rice or pasta, but it can even be eaten straight out of the pan it's so good.
As you'll see, I prepared this during naptime the other day and popped it in the oven right before dinner. The roasting took little to no time at all. It was a perfect way to savor a few more bites of summer. How I never want to see it end!
Eggplant & Goat Cheese Bake
5-6 thin eggplants, sliced into 1/4" thick sliceds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 - 1 1/2 c. medium sized tomatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
4 oz. goat cheese
1/3 c. basil, roughly chopped
1/2 c. olive oil (or more) for drizzling
1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
2. In a 13x9 baking dish layer the sliced eggplants, overlapping if necessary. Drizzle a little of the olive oil over the eggplants and gently toss them to coat. Scatter the garlic over the eggplant. Then scatter the tomatoes evenly over the eggplant.
3. Crumble the goat cheese with a knife or your fingers and scatter it over the tomatoes. Then scatter the basil on top.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened and the cheese is slightly melted. Serve hot.
Naptime Variations & Ideas: In this I use plain goat cheese, but herbed goat cheese would be just as delicious. Play with the herbs that you like to include as well, here I use basil and parsley, but thyme or rosemary would be fantastic.
Naptime Stopwatch: Preparing the Eggplant takes about 15 minutes, roasting takes 25 minutes.
Naptime Reviews: My daughter is still getting used to eggplant, she'll eat it tossed with noodles. My husband and I gobble this right down every time.