Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dinner: I Don't Feel Like Eff'ing Making It

Tonight I came home from work and just felt tired, achy, and ready for a meal--out!

But our fridge is packed and we gave up fast food several years ago after reading Fast Food Nation.

And while I sometimes crave Taco Bell so badly that I actually go there and sit in the parking lot, I can never bring myself to order a seven-layer burrito, nachos bell grande and a side of beans with extra cheese. Yes, fast food is easy, convenient and perfect for those nights when you just want to drink wine, watch tv, and veg, but I just can't bring myself to actually order and eat fast food. I haven't eaten fast food in over two years. To break that promise now would be like smoking after quitting for a decade.

In the fridge I have food...and I know where it came from. That food is organic. It's truly nutritious. It has a history, a story. And I paid for that food and it should be eaten so it doesn't spoil.

In a bad mood I began slicing eggplant and zucchini while FD prepared snap peas, chopped onion, and minced garlic.

The teamwork cheered me up a little. FD probably would emphasize "a little."

The end result cheered me up even more. Even more than Taco Bell could have.

Goddamn-It-I-Don't-Feel-Like-Cooking Eggplant Bake (recipe from the British gardener at the BG Farmer's Market with a few revisions)

2 eggplants (or 1 eggplant and 1 zucchini), peeled and cut into 1/4 in slices
1 lb ground lamb (or beef)
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 T butter
4 t flour
1/4 t salt
Dash pepper
3/4 c skim milk
3 T grated parm cheese

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large skillet cook the eggplant (if using zucchini, don't cook it now!) in 1/2 in boiling water, covered, about 6 minutes (but less time if only using one eggplant). Drain.

In the same skillet brown the ground lamb, onion, and garlic until no longer pink. Drain. Stir in tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 5 min. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare sauce. In a small saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Stir in skim milk all at once. Bring to boil while stirring consistently until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat; set aside.

Spray a 10x6x2 baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange half the eggplant in dish (or if using zucchini, arrange raw sliced zucchini in dish first). Spoon meat mixture atop, then top with remaining eggplant. Pour sauce over all ingredients. Sprinkle with parm.

Bake, uncovered in 325 oven for 30 minutes. Optional: before serving sprinkle fresh herbs; basil is perfect, but chives and oregano work well too. Serve.

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