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Eggplant Revisited

I didn't realize how much cooking I do with eggplant until I checked the archives to see if I'd ever written about it before.

Turns out I have. Twice even.

Well, I'm about to write about it again. Eggplant is in season until October and my parents' garden is producing a bumper crop. I didn't even bother planting it myself this year because I've already got so much of the stuff packed away in my freezer, I'll be set 'til next Spring.

This first recipe is an old favorite of mine, and possibly the dish that cemented my love for eggplant. It's a healthier version of the Greek dish, moussaka, that substitutes turkey for the traditional lamb. I discovered this one over at Spark Recipes, one of my favorite recipe sharing communities.

Healthy Moussaka

1 fresh eggplant 

8 oz ground turkey

3 cups tomato sauce

1 cup raw onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic

1 glass (3.5 fl oz) red wine

1/2 cup white flour

1 cup nonfat milk

2 tbsp parmesan cheese

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Slice eggplant very thinly. Brown ground turkey with onion and garlic. When brown, add tomato sauce and red wine. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Layer eggplant then meat mixture in 13 x 9 pan, ending with meat mixture. Add milk to clean saucepan and slowly stir in flour a little at a time until sauce thickens. Add feta and parmesan cheese. Pour white sauce over the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees until top starts to turn golden brown.

This next recipe is a new favorite that I discovered in Cooking Light magazine this month.

Middle Eastern Eggplant Salad

2  medium red bell peppers

1  medium tomato, peeled and seeded

3  tablespoons  no-salt-added tomato paste

2  tablespoons  water

1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided

Dash of ground red pepper

3  garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4  cup  olive oil

1  pound  eggplant, cut into (1-inch) cubes

1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper

Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 12 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and chop. Place tomato in a blender; process until smooth. Combine tomato puree, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, ground red pepper, and garlic in a blender; process until smooth. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add eggplant; cook 30 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in bell pepper and tomato mixture. Cook 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

I serve this one with flat bread and some cucumber slices, just to cram a few more vegetables in. Well, that's it. Next summer, remind me to tell you all about my adventures with baba ghanoush.