As I helped clear the Retreat lunch tables, one of the leaders, a good friend (and one of my most honest) looked up at me with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. “Delicious, Sister Irene,” he said, “But why is it that people in general seem to think that the only way to cook eggplant is with tomatoes?” Well, here was a question I’d never before been asked that made me stop and think. I didn’t feel it was a complaint or criticism so much as a challenge. He appeared to have enjoyed my eggplant Parmesan because his plate was clean. He’d even had a second helping!
His forthrightness set me on a course that expanded my eggplant repertoire. Up until then I had pretty much settled for recipes I’d felt comfortable making and knew most people liked. But he was a Southerner and his tastes were more towards creamy-styled dishes than Mediterranean. I asked him for suggestions and then launched into an exploration of tomato-less eggplant dishes. After trying multiple ones I settled on several favorites that I’ve stuck with over the years, this being one that both he and I like—you may, too.
Recipes From A Monastery Kitchen
- Cook eggplants in 2 quarts salted, slightly boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender.
- Remove skins and mash pulp; add 2 Tablespoons butter, yolks, cream, and season to taste with onion salt and pepper.
- Soak bread crumbs in milk and squeeze crumbs in a dry cloth to remove moisture.
- Add crumbs to eggplant.
- Fold in egg whites and turn into generously buttered soufflé dish.
- Sprinkle with almonds mixed with the same amount of toasted bread crumbs and a little melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
- Serve immediately in the baking dish.
I happen to be one of these people who have a natural love for vegetables and never had to be coaxed or made to eat them – I realize that this is not the case with everyone. Just recently I overheard two mothers talking about this. One was telling the other that the only way she can get vegetables into the family diet is to blend them into spaghetti sauce. Of course a good Bolognese sauce already has carrots, onions, and celery in it. I suppose one could slip a little green vegetable in if they were careful not to overdo it.
The other mother maintained that her trick was to always serve them with tasty dips and sauces. I would like to offer another suggestion that works especially well with broccoli, the widely acclaimed miracle food, medically proven to be a nutritional super star. Hidden within each stalk and floweret is a powerful substance effective in lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer and contributing to overall health in general.
Try my Broccoli Bake and see for yourself if you don’t immediately feel stronger, healthier and more satisfied than you ever have after eating this nutrient rich vegetable!
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Fold in mayonnaise.
- Stir in cheese, parsley, and lemon peel.
- Arrange cooked broccoli in oven-proof serving dish.
- Pour melted butter over broccoli.
- Top with egg white mixture.
- Sprinkle with paprika.
- Bake 5 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned.