Lu Min is the Filipino housekeeper who comes every Tuesday. Her husband works on a vegetable farm, hence the bags of eggplant and cucumbers that she’s been bringing me. Cucumbers, I know what to do with but having done most of my grocery shopping at the Sedgewick Coop for the past 36 years, I’m not all that well acquainted with eggplants. What should I do with them, I wondered. And so yesterday my Facebook status read Elaine DeBock has been given more eggplants than I know what to do with! Any yummy suggestions?
As expected, my friends and family came through with lots of great ideas. ” I’ve made lasagna with it before. I use it instead of the noodles. Just slice it about 1/4″ thick and use it as a couple of layers.” said my friend, Janis. Ratatouille, babaganoush, moussaka suggested others. Such marvelous names!
I began searching recipes online and reading long lists of ingredients wondering which ones I’d be able to find in Saipan’s grocery stores. Then came today’s long dreary rain. Definitely not a day when I felt like driving across the island and searching unfamiliar grocery aisles for things that might not even be there. Instead, I wanted to hole up at home with a good book.
As I thought about the various recipes and ingredients, however, and mulled over what I already had in the house, an idea began to take form. A simple idea. And so a recipe was born.
I browned approximately one pound of ground beef with half an onion, chopped. To that I added half a jar of store bought spaghetti sauce. I used Chunky RAGU Garden Combination with 2 servings of veggies in every 1/2 cup because that’s what I happened to have on hand and I thought it would go well.
While the beef was browning, I peeled the eggplants and sliced them lengthwise, about 1 cm thick. I put a layer of eggplant in the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch pan, followed by half the meat mixture and then sprinkled it liberally with parmesan cheese. Next I added another layer of eggplant and the remaining meat mixture.
That went into a 350F oven for 45 minutes. Next I added a layer of mashed potatoes and returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Easy, delicious and there’s even enough left for another meal! The only problem is, it needs a name.
What would you call it?