Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Oh, Baby

So this is what Italian American geezers do for fun.

The last time my husband and I were at our usual grocery store, he couldn't find a box of Wheaties and I couldn't find a decent potato.  And that's just for starters.  They were also out of chicken thighs and lemons.


Actually, I saw this coming.  Once, maybe about two years ago, they were out of garlic.  Garlic.  Garlic???  Garlic!  And this in a gigantic grocery store with an Italian person's name on the sign.  A few weeks later, I heard that the Italian person had sold out to some big national chain.  Like I shoulda guessed.

PLUS, they fired the piano player and all the baggers.  The piano player was a nice touch.  And I guess you don't need baggers, if your cashiers don't mind being overworked.  This is bad management.  Don't explain it to me; I used to be in retail.  You jadrools think you're a big success because you're making "plan".  I know that you're working for Mussolini.  In bocca al lupo.

Anyway, it was time to explore greener pastures.  So we went exploring, the details of which I'll spare you.  Let's just say that if you want to buy a decent shampoo and kale's really not your thing, you've got to go to at least two different places to do your weekly shopping.  Which was something that didn't make me happy.  Our usual grocery store used to have all those bases covered.  It's hard to break up with a grocery store.

What did make me happy were the baby eggplants I found.

They were adorable.  I have this thing - and this only happens with produce - where I fall madly in love with some particular form of  edible flora at the grocery store, and I take it home without any idea of what I'm going to do with it.  And then I forget all about it, until my husband says, "Are you going to do something with this (eggplant?  cauliflower?  cucuzzi?)"  Hey, Mr. Organized, did you finish that 5 lb. chocolate bar you bought last week?

I had to figure out what to do with the baby eggplants.  And my cooking is considerably lazier these days, so no way I was gonna do Parmesan.  You know, with eggplant you're supposed to salt it and press it and maybe peel it and whatever.

Yeah.  Screw that.  Here's what I did instead:

Baby Eggplant Medallions/Chips

Take some baby eggplant, however many your want, and scrub them.  Cut off the ends.  Then slice up the eggplant into slices about a half-an-inch thick.  Lengthwise, crosswise, it doesn't matter.  Lay the slices of eggplant flat in a well-oiled pan (olive oil, and line the pan with foil first, you'll thank me), and sprinkle salt all over them.  Then, with your hands, spread more olive oil all over the tops of the slices.  Don't be stingy.  Sprinkle with whole wheat panko bread crumbs and then some pecorino cheese.  Pepper to taste.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until soft and a little brown (about 20 minutes to a half hour) for medallions, or until crispy (about 45 minutes to an hour) for chips.  Your nose will tell you.  Watch them to make sure they don't burn.

A glass of wine and a plate of eggplant chips.  And maybe The Godfather, Part I, on DVD.  La dolce vita.  This is definitely the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

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