Hello to one and all! It has been quite an interesting summer to say the least, and I for one and more than ready for fall to start. Most of my time has been occupied by working at Taste Buds in the city, which for the time being was an enjoyable position in many regards. But the more I worked I came to realize there has been an underlying theme with every job I have held, kids are my happiness.
Granted I had plenty of time to work with young kids, trying out new recipes and competing in friendly themed camp programs. However I must admit I have not had enough of my own cooking of late, as if my imagination had run dry. Simply following pre-determined camp themes lost its charm and I did a bit of soul searching. With great enthusiasm I am happy to say I will be diving into full time teaching! I start tomorrow as a teaching assistant for a special needs school, a concept which holds a special place in my heart.
When I was young lad I was non verbal for the beginning years of my life, until I found myself in a special school that, as my mother will quote, “Had you talking a blue streak in two weeks.” I get more excited about kids than I do about cooking sometimes, so I am quite sure teaching them new skills such as speech and social behaviors is an excellent step for me towards my future goal of being a teacher.
However this is not to say I will no longer cook, on the contrary. A downside of being a chef in a business environment, at least to me is the constant repetition. But I need creativity and imaginative ideas, most likely one of the main reasons I enjoyed being a demo chef at Whole Foods for three years, having so much freedom. Now with fall about to hit I have pulled up my pinterest page with the many bookmarked recipe ideas to make this new season amazing.
Today I am indulging myself in some Eggplant Parmigiana! In my house I am unfortunately the only lover of this purple vegetable, but it means more for me so who needs to worry?
I have no real secret behind the recipe, a simple flour, egg, and bread crumb station for the eggplant slices and baking it in the oven. However there is a cool trick I have found to prep your eggplant slices ahead of time. Most people note the bitterness in eggplant that could be one of the turn offs to the whole thing. But if you place your eggplant slices in a colander over the sink, covered in a light rubbing of salt and leave it for half an hour it actually draws out the bitter notes for a better end product!
After that the only complex part, or rather my favorite is making the marinara sauce. Sure you can use a jar of sauce from the store, but as for me I like to control my sauces and dips especially for the right taste.
2 8 oz Canned Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1/2 Yellow Onion diced
4 Cloves Garlic minced
1 Tsp Smoke Paprika
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
3 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Salt to taste
Directions: In a medium sauce pan on low heat, combine together the butter, yellow onion, and garlic and cook until the onions begin to brown, about 6 to 10 minutes. Add in the oregano, smoked paprika, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and sugar and cover. Continue to cook on low for 12 minutes until the sauce begins to bubble. Add salt to your desired taste and set aside to cool.
Simple but oh so delicious! I know i sound hilarious to say so considering it is my own design, but this is the only sauce recipe that brings out the biggest smile on my face.
The end result provides me with a happy supply of lunch for my first week of work!
I hope you all have enjoyed reading and I cannot wait to share more creative ideas as the new season approaches. Wishing you all a good last few moments of summer, until the next post!