January 21, 2010

A Friend Indeed

Though I have developed Nonna’s love for spice there are sadly some traits that I was not lucky enough to inherit. Nonna’s kitchen is always crowded, full of laugher and occasionally raised voices. Everyone and anyone (even republicans) are always invited in. My kitchen is not exactly like this…

There are very few people that I invite into my kitchen while I’m cooking. There are even fewer people that I actually enjoy cooking with. Apart from the fact I feel that chatting takes away from the creative process, I think most likely (and I’m guessing Tom, my husband will agree) this is an issue of control. And I’m okay with that. Don’t mess with my knives; don’t even think about handling my pink (yes pink) KitchenAid and for the love of God don’t touch the Le Creuset! My eyes start darting and I develop an irritating tick when, for example my friend Lucy (whom I love dearly) offers to help with dinner.

But sometimes you do need a companion, especially when things get intimidating. For instance, tackling Nonna’s pasta recipe for the first time without her supervision (don’t get too excited, I’m not ready to divulge THAT recipe yet) or having the audacity to fry up some sage, melt two sticks of butter and call it sauce, these things require moral support.

Enter Deanne.

Deanne is the perfect cooking buddy. Firstly, she herself has received several hours of hands-on Nonna training. Secondly, she’ll try anything no matter how difficult or scary and makes wonderful suggestions such as, “we should make our own butter for that recipe!” We always have fun cooking together.

Our most recent cooking weekend included Nonna Sauce (nope, sorry not yet), Nonna Pasta, fried eggplant, lots of cookies and since neither of us had ever successfully poached an egg nor attempted hollandaise sauce, eggs benedict.

I am happy to report that not only was the egg poaching a tremendous success, but my world was truly rocked when Deanne showed me how to make butter.

In honor of Deanne’s first fried eggplant experience, I submit to you the following:

Fried Eggplant

1 eggplant

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Kosher salt

Good Italian breadcrumbs

Mazola oil

Slice eggplant into about 1 inch circles.

Arrange eggplant on a dish towel or paper towel. Salt both sides. Cover eggplant with another towel and put some heavy dishes on top. You’re trying to extract all of the moisture and bitterness. Leave for about 45 minutes.

Coat the slices with the egg and then bread. Make sure you bread both sides and around the edge. Refrigerate breaded eggplant for 30 minutes to an hour.

Take a good size frying pan and fill it with Mazola oil so that the eggplant will be about half covered with oil. Let the oil heat up until you see smoke and/or it begins to ripple.

Add eggplant to hot oil and brown both sides- if your oil is adequately hot and your eggplant appropriately cold they will fry up very quickly. Transfer to a paper towel and sprinkle with some more kosher salt and enjoy!

Word of warning: Much like learning to make your own butter this dish will rock your world and change your entire perspective on eggplant. This is according to Liz, my other cooking buddy.


  1. Liz is right! After trying this recipe you'll never look at eggplant the same way.

  2. i am clearly far too behind in life given that i am just now commenting on this blog post! i am truely honored to have earned a spot on your delightful cooking blog. i feel that for the sake of my sanity we are going to have to have another cooking session soon!

  3. Dee- Absolutely...maybe this time we should tackle souffles.