January 6, 2010

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We, probably like most of you, gentle readers, did a lot of eating over the holidays, A LOT.  Mostly sweets.  I think I am sugared out.  Gosh, I hope I am sugared out.  I really would like to have less of it in my life, after all.  My goal this year is to eat one sweet treat a week, no more.  Please do a little dance, say a prayer, whatever you can, to send the support I need to get-r-done.  I’d appreciate it.  So, in keeping with this desire, my first recipe of the year will not be a sweet one, though the next three or four are likely to be.  Baby steps!

So eggplant puffs, it is.  Are you an eggplant eater?  Me, not so much.  I normally find the texture and flavor icky, slimy and just plain weird, save in baba ganouj.  That is definitely do-able.  So why this recipe appealed to me in the first place, I have no idea.  A willingness to branch out, perhaps.  Thankfully, it worked!  The hubster and I found these so very satisfying that we’ve got another eggplant on the ready.  Now that is saying something.  Try them for yourself – you might be surprised, too.

adapted from Party Food for Vegetarians by Celia Brooks Brown

1 large eggplant, about 1 pound

olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

20 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

4 tablespoons dry bread crumbs

6 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced fine

1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 450.  Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and brush with olive oil.  Roast for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned and very soft.  Let cool, peel off the skin and discard (better yet, compost!).  Chop the flesh finely.  Reduce the temperature to 400.

Mix the eggplant, pine nuts, olives, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic, and egg together in a bowl.  Let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Liberally oil a large cookie sheet.  Form the mixture into bite size balls and place on sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden and puffy.  Serve hot.

Variation – I think these would also make a fine burger-type sandwich filling.  Form into patties and bake until browned.

**I tried the patties, and they were great (on a bun with mayo, grainy mustard, Laughing Cow cheese, and spinach)!  Be sure to grease the pan REALLY well – they’re a bit more sticky when in patty form.


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