Baked Eggplant

Well Friends, I'm using a wonderful purple font today in honor of that exceptional vegetable, eggplant! This lovely still shot was taken in my kitchen the other day. When choosing an eggplant or two for the Baked Eggplant recipe below, choose one that is firm not soft, and dark purple w/0ut brown spots. The only time I eat eggplant is when I bake it and serve it with spaghetti. However, you can use it in lasagna, ratatouille and quiche. Someday soon I am hoping to try Japanese Eggplant.

I got this recipe from Mamasita who used to fry her eggplant. When she became more health-concious she began preparing the eggplant the same way, just baking it instead. In other words, use these directions to either bake or fry, depending on your preferences.

Baked Eggplant:
1 large eggplant
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. italian style or garlic&herb bread crumbs

Cut eggpalnt into 3/4 inch slices. Trim peel from rounds and discard. Lay slices on paper towel and cover with paper towel. Let stand 30 min. - 1 hr. (Some people soak their eggplant in salt water or let stand w/ salt, but I do not.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dip each round into beaten egg and then coat with bread crumbs. Lay flat on cookie sheet in single layer. Bake 20-25 min. or longer, depending on how firm or soft you would like your eggplant to be (I prefer firm!). This makes enough for 3 people. Serve with spaghetti.

Spaghetti a-la CameraDawktor
My spaghetti is simple and easy to make. I used to make my own sauce, but then was reminded that spaghetti is a simple meal, best to be served by mom's when needing a night off from strenuous cooking.

1 lb. hamburger
1 (26 oz.) can Spaghetti Sauce, 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 Walla Walla Sweet Onion
2 cloves garlic (or more!)
1Tbsp. honey (my secret ingredient!!)
1 can black olives, drained
1 can mushrooms, drained

Dice onion and mince garlic. Brown hamburger, onions and garlic then drain fat. In same skillet, add sauce, herbs and honey. Simmer for 20 min. Slice olives and add to sauce with canned mushrooms. Simmer 5 min. Spoon over cooked pasta (mix 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat). Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.

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