Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grazie Mille! #1 - Eggplant

One of the perks of writing a column like this is you make friends. 

They're always really nice.  Everybody's like, "Way to go, Connie!"  "Can't wait to try the pasta fazool, Connie!"  And they NEVER say stuff like, "What a freakin' waste of time, Connie!  You suck."  And if somebody did, I am mistress of my own online universe and I can send the cafone into Internet oblivion with two clicks of the mouse.  Now THAT would be a super-power worth having in real life.  Think of it:

"I'm sorry, but I think I was here first."

"Oh, were you?"  *click*  *click*  <delete>  "My bad!"

I could be called "The Blogger" and I want the cartoonist to draw me to look like Scarlett Johansson on a bender.

Once, on my other blog, somebody actually did tell me that I sucked.  He had a point.  Not that the material sucked, but he felt that I was misrepresenting myself.  Very perceptive.  The circumstances of my life had changed and I was moving on to new adventures, but I was still writing the old stuff.  That was when I realized it was time to leave the party.  Time to re-invent myself as Connie Staccato, Knower of All Things Worth Knowing.  The name has been changed to protect the innocent, but I really am (at the moment) a Sicilian-American housewife with a slight mustache.  No misrepresentation. 
I wish.

So let me tell you about my friend, Valeria.  Valeria is a real bona fide Italian lady, who really bona fide lives in Italy, no hyphen-American nothing.  She's young, she's beautiful, she's nice.  And she can cook.  Valeria - honey - your husband leaves you, you come see me.  I'll fix you up.  You are every American man's dream.

This is Valeria's eggplant recipe, which she sent to me after I confessed to her that there is no food I would rather eat.  She sent me two recipes:  the first one is "light" and the second one she describes as "tastier and with more calories".

Do you see why I love her?

Valeria's Eggplant (Recipe 1)
Cut eggplants in slices 1 cm high.  Put the slices onto oven plates (rectangular) after covering the plates with anti-adhering paper.  Sprinkle with salt and pour olive oil over the slices (the slices must not be one over the other).  Sprinkle with grated bread (pangrattato, you might want to Google to see what it looks like).  Put into pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (author's notethat's about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, don't set yourself on fire) for 20 minutes.  The quality of the eggplants and of the olive oil is paramount :-)

Valeria's Eggplant (Recipe 2)
Cut eggplants in slices 0.5 cm high.  If you have the patience, grill them slightly, after pouring some salt on them.  Prepare tomato sauce with tomatoes, onion, fresh basil, olive oil (another author's note:  see previous post here on how to make sauce).  Cut mozzarella or provola dolce into thin slices.  Get ham (prosciutto cotto) cut into super thin slices.  Now make at least two layers of eggplants, ham, tomato sauce, mozzarella and put into preheated oven for 40 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (if you're a slow learner, review author's note in the first recipe).  If you manage to get some Parmesan cheese too, sprinkle some between the layers.

BTW, Valeria is a fashion blogger, so go get a gander.  She not only offers advice on how not to look like yesterday's news, but she gives personal fashion consultations.  Like, for free.  Just because she's a nice person.

For instance, I went out last weekend.  OUT-out, the kind of "out" where cocktail attire is "recommended".  Since I haven't even worn high heels since the last time somebody died, I could have left a comment on Valeria's blog saying, "Hey, Valeria!  What should a saggy old bat like me wear to an after-5 wedding/cocktail party in April when it should be warm and sunny, but it's really 40 degrees and rainy because I'm in Chicago?"  And she would come up with the perfect outfit.  I could have done that, but I didn't because I only have one after-5 outfit (which sort of means I should go shopping).  But she did help me decide what to pack when I went to Spain last October.  And I thank her for persuading me that gym shoes are "a thing".

Now, go make eggplant and get your Euro-glam on.  Connie says.


  1. These eggplant recipes sound so good! This restaurant called Curate here in Asheville makes eggplant where they soak the slices in milk for 24 hours then lightly fry them and then drizzle local honey on top------yummmmmmmm

  2. Oh my dear dear friend, I'm moved by your kind words, like tears in my eyes moved. You really need to come to Italy and check out if I can cook :-) the good news is my hubby is great at cooking ehehe. And never hesitate to write for styling suggestions, no shopping needed, we can turn whatever into a fancy scarf ;-) I'm honoured you published my recipes, and thank you for everything, with my heart!!
    Coco et La vie en rose fashion blog - Valeria Arizzi

  3. Hi Connie P.!

    This was such a witty post with some backhanded humor! I love the story you told and how you weaved in Coco's recipes! Can't wait to try them and I agree only the best olive oil should be allowed!!!!

    Kiss kiss,

    adorn la femme


Comment here. Be nice.