Hassleback Eggplant AKA Lazy Woman’s Eggplant Parmesan

My favorite way to eat eggplant is sliced, dipped, battered, and fried, but who has time, right? Besides all the racket the smoke alarms make and the way the smoke boils through the sun streaking in the window and the smell…that stays in the house almost as long as all those calories stay on your thighs.

So, my daughter was telling me about a recipe her mother-in-law shared with her that she makes all the time. She TOLD me about it. She didn’t make it for me or write it down or anything, so I don’t remember exactly how she did it, but she’s a gourmet cook, so I know it was “involved.”  I’m not all that into “involved.”

But, it sounded like a cheffed-up version of Eggplant Parmesan. And I do love me some Eggplant Parmesan. But, once again, we get into that aforementioned frying scene, so I decided to put my own lazy spin to this and see how it came out.

I didn’t exactly take step by step photos like a tutorial; heck, I usually skip those and scroll straight down to the recipe, anyway, don’t you? But this doesn’t have an exact recipe, either. That’s part of the Lazy.

I began with a large eggplant that I washed and trimmed off the ends. Next, I sliced it Hassleback style. (Place it in a salad plate so you don’t slice all the way through, just slit.)  I placed the eggplant in a casserole dish, sprinkled it with Italian Seasoning, garlic salt, salt, and pepper, covered it with foil, and baked it at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. When I took it out, the eggplant was soft. In all the little pockets between the slices, I poured Ragu Spaghetti Sauce. (I used about half the jar at this stage.) Then I sprinkled in Mozzarella (4 oz.) and about a cup of Panko Bread Crumbs. Here’s the picture I took, and in hindsight, I would have made my slices thinner.

DSC00120I poured the remainder of the jar of sauce over the top, sprinkled more bread crumbs over the whole thing, and dusted it with 1/2 cup of Parmesan. I returned it to the oven, uncovered, and raised the temp to 375. I cooked it about 20 mins. more before taking it out to rest.

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All rested.

I served it to Saint with some fresh green beans from our garden  and some sliced cucumbers from the neighbor’s. Last year I was posting about what to do with all those cucumbers. Not a problem this year. I think our vines are going to die before we get a single one.

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What rating would I give this? Maybe 4 stars out of 5. I’d still prefer fried, but this was tasty, easy, and probably a bit healthier. If you like eggplant, I’d give it a go!

Layering On Fall

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Ahhh, fall! My favorite season, my favorite colors, my favorite comfort foods, my very favorite temperatures! Bonfires, falling leaves, sweaters…welcome changes. Time to spruce up the house for Thanksgiving. I love the way this Trailing Jenny grew in this urn all summer, and I’m going to try my best to keep it around until time to decorate for Christmas, but it does need a little updating for fall, don’t you think?

In the same way that throwing on a cozy cardigan, a soft scarf, or a denim jacket can add the perfect touch of fall to your wardrobe, a few simple additions to what you already have can easily transition your home decor from summer to autumn without breaking the bank.

I started with the dining room table, replacing the summer place mats with a bronze paisley tablecloth I’ve had for six years. I promise I did press it, but by the time I got it to the table, it did not look ironed. The Southern Living fall cake stand that I’ve also had for years is the perfect color and textures for our dining space.

 

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Now, on with the layering. Oil rubbed bronze charger plates I often use at Thanksgiving, and sometimes at Christmas.

 

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And earthy colored dishes. Oh, and there is that simple burlap place mat left over from the set I made last year. I think one in the center under the cake stand will be sufficient this year. And you can also see that I added a few mini pumpkins to the arrangement on the cake stand. Saint grew a ton of those in the garden this year.

Next, more fun layering on whatever I can find in my stash.

 

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Gold rimmed goblets I got in a box of junk at an auction last summer, some raffia crocheted napkin rings I bought at a garage sale-8 for a dollar, napkins I already had, a sparkly fern leaf, and odds and ends silk leaves to scatter. I threw in a few sprigs of the bittersweet we try to protect here on Redbud Ridge.

And now, the piece de resistance…

 

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A little table runner of paper flowers. I made these from natural coffee filters I learned about here:

http://www.allthingsheartandhome.com/2013/08/20/coffee-filter-flowers/

I love, love, love paper flowers. Hers are prettier than mine, and this picture does not do justice, even to these, but I may play with adding more color, later.

 

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On to the mantel. I liked what I did with it last year, but wanted a little change. You can see last years here.

https://thymelesssageandrandomrants.wordpress.com/2012/09/

This year, added some lighted twigs and a “Blessings” banner.

 

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I made the banner from a wispy strip of cheesecloth, squares of leftover canvas from the drop cloth curtain update, burlap, and the one thing I actually purchased for this project…nothing says fall like plaid flannel. I bought the plaid ribbon at WalMart for a dollar. I kind of like last year’s mantel better, but this will be easier to dust. 🙂

Finally, I needed to layer up the outside a bit. I started with the door arrangement I had, added a dark brown burlappy bow for texture, and just stuck in some fall colored flowers and a bit of bittersweet.

 

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I brought the wonderful birdcage Tiffany got me for Mother’s Day around from the deck and loaded it with Kale, and some of our garden harvest.  Purple eggplant screams fall, doesn’t it? And a few more random veggies and some more bittersweet. Don’t you love it?

 

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Behind it, I propped one of our corn stalks…we grew some a-maize-ing Indian Corn this year…get it? And threw a few dried grasses and cock’s comb from the garden into the summer planter. I’ll add a couple of mums, later, if I don’t find anything free in the fields between now and…next week.

 

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And then I added some of our colorful corn to these iron candle holders.

 

So, there you have it.  The scarves, sweaters, and jackets of home. I have several other “layers” planned but I’m waiting for Elle Belle to come help me with projects.

Are you ready for some football bonfires?