I don’t really like eggplant that much; unless it’s deep fried. But every now and then I give it another chance. I got this recipe from ‘The Silver Spoon’ cookbook. It’s translated from Italian and claims to be Italy’s best selling “culinary bible”, however, it’s not one of my favorites. The recipes are confusing and many of them call for ingredients that are unavailable in the U.S. If you want a good Italian cookbook I’d recommend ‘Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking’ by Marcella Hazan. Her recipes are easy to follow, authentic, and written for the American market. And as far as culinary bible goes, the one book I remember being in every Italian home was ‘Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well’ by Pellegrino Artusi. It was written over 100 years ago, still in print, and is unlike any cookbook you’ll find on the shelves today. The recipes are vague and assume the reader already knows a lot about cooking and, most importantly, how the dish is supposed to taste.
But back to today’s eggplant. This fricassee looks good on paper. The eggplant is stewed with onions and tomatoes and at the last minute flavored with a mixture of egg and lemon juice. The original recipe calls for five eggplant – for four servings. Now, Italian eggplant may be smaller than the ones we have here (although I don’t remember them being much different) but I still can’t imagine needing more than one per person; even if they were deep fried. Luckily I only used one; and a small one at that. The egg flavoring was also a disappointment. I expected it to coat the vegetables, giving them almost a (dare I say it?) deep fried feel, instead it just turned the juices an unattractive pale yellowish color.
I doubt I’ll ever make this again but if you want the recipe here it is:
Get this slow braised cabbage going early in the morning, it needs to cook a long time. A 13″ oval roaster is the best choice of cookware, but any large pot will do. It’s goes great with pork or turkey and is even better the next day.
Slow Solar Braised Red Cabbage
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
These beans make a great side dish on their own, but be sure to set some aside (and save the cooking liquid) for a delicious soup later in the week. If you can’t find cannellini, any white bean will do. Same goes for the greens, curly kale can be substituted for the Tuscan.
Solar Simmered Cannellini with Kale
Ingredients Read more »
Solar cooking is easy, but getting into the habit of using your Sun Oven can be hard at first. The biggest challenge for me was planning. You don’t have to plan a week’s worth of meals, but you will have to start thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner early in the day or even the night before. It’s so much easier when you have all the ingredients you’ll need on hand when you get up in the morning. Having said that, there’s still plenty of room for spontaneous, spur of the moment, solar cooking. Today, after getting my pre-planned main course going bright and early, I found some baby veggies on sale at the grocery store. I snatched them up, tossed them in with some olive oil, and added them to the Sun Oven to cook along with it. Now all we needed was a nice loaf of bread and we had a meal.
Oven roasting radicchio mellows its bitterness and brings out its rich nuttiness. Wrapping it in pancetta* gives it an extra flavor boost. Look for pancetta that’s very thinly sliced; it will crisp up better. For a vegetarian side dish don’t use the pancetta, it’s still very good.
Solar Roasted Pancetta-Wrapped Radicchio
3 heads radicchio