Girl's Club Eggplant
Several years ago, I came up with this recipe on the fly because I like the ingredients and I happened to have them on hand in my refrigerator. How's that for a back story. ;) In truth I don't think it was much more complicated than that. The stars aligned, the planet stood still and Girl's Club Eggplant was born.
Girl's Club Eggplant is one of several dishes on the super exclusive and important "Girl's Club Menu". We call it that because none of the men in the house like these things. They have...simple palates. ;) Bellamy and I eat this about once a week for lunch or dinner. We split an entire eggplant (along with the other ingredients) between us and are still left salivating for more. One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can make extra, throw it in some Tupperware, and it will heat up nicely for the next few days. If you don't think you like eggplant, just give this a whirl. The real MVPs are the cheeses and tomato, but the eggplant provides a sturdy surface to hold all the goodness.
Making this recipe for the blog was pretty special to me and my little gardeners because all the produce we used was from our garden. This spring we planted our first real one. We tried to plant a small garden in the backyard at our previous home but we had three very large oak trees that shaded almost the entire yard. Even the sunniest spot didn't get enough light to sustain the plants. After hours and hours of building a raised bed, fertilizing the plants, and pruning, we ended up with one single tiny tomato. I was so excited that I called all the kids to come outside to see it. They were all pretty impressed with our sole tomato. I told them to stay there and I'd be right back with my camera so I could film them picking it and we could send the video to my husband while he was at work. When I came back the tomato was gone. It had been picked, and then it disappeared. I was sincerely distraught. I had only been gone for about 30 seconds total. When I asked the kids what happened to it, Bellamy who was about two years old at the time, said, "Well...I picked it... and I SQUISHED IT!" She wasn't lying. When I looked down, there was my one tiny tomato laying in the dirt, flattened and useless. I could have cried.
Cut to this Spring, we were ready for round two. Bellamy is a mature woman of five now, and far better prepared for the gardening life. She is a good little helper, and loves to stand on the edges of the elevated bed to see the progress. Cash, my oldest, is 9. He helped me construct the garden bed while Colt was at work one day. He likes to see the vegetables grow, but isn't super into helping out. He'd rather mow the lawn. :) Beckett, my middle guy is 7. He is my gardening buddy. He helps me water, prune, and pick.
We waited patiently for the eggplant and tomatoes to ripen up. Tomatoes continue to ripen after they've been picked so we usually leave them in a bowl on the stove where they can get some natural light, and let them hang out for a while. Finally the day arrived to gobble them up. Without further ado, here is how we make Girl's Club Eggplant...
Girl's Club Eggplant
1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prep your baking sheet. I usually lay some foil down and spray a thin coat of Pam.
3. Peel your eggplant. You can use a vegetable peeler, but I just use my knife and cut the skin off.
4. Cut the peeled eggplant into slices about 3/4 of an inch, to an inch thick.
5. Slice your tomatoes however thick you'd like.
6. Lay your eggplant down on the baking sheet, and stack one slice of tomato on top. If the tomato is significantly smaller than the eggplant slice, you can stick another half of a slice of tomato on the eggplant. Don't stack the tomatoes on top of each other as it will prevent the tomato on the bottom from cooking evenly.
7. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the tomatoes to taste.
8. You can use any kind of cheese, but I love these mozzarella pearls by Bel Gioioso, and Athenos Traditional Feta cheese. Spread the cheese out evenly over each stack.
9. Cook about 13-15 minutes at 400 degrees. If you like your cheese slightly browned on top, you can throw it under the broiler on high for about 30 seconds or a minute to finish it off.
10. Eat it. :)
I hope you enjoyed my first venture into the world of internet recipes! We have a few other "Girl's Club" dishes we may share. I know a little girl that would be thrilled to have her own cooking segment on the blog. :) Thanks for stopping by!