Wednesday, November 14, 2012

EGGPLANT EXTRAVAGANZA


Mystery boxes appear at Wolff's Flea Market
I really did it this time. Perhaps I was sentimental, as it was October 28, the last day of the outdoor season. Perhaps I was jealous of the overflowing shopping carts being pushed and pulled by customers while I walked around taking notes on my clipboard.

So when I happened upon an unassuming young man seated and partially hidden by a wall of closed boxes, I was intrigued. How could someone just sit there with sealed boxes of merchandise? I took the bait. "What's in here?" I asked. "Eggplants", replied the polite gentleman. "$4 a box." He proceeded to tell me how he came to possess this extraordinary amount of eggplants. For those of you in the flea market business, surplus items are acquired in many ways. These eggplants came by this vendor legitimately, and because they were perishable, they needed to be sold asap or they would need to be disposed of.

I thought to myself that if I was able to take, tackle and transform a riduculous amount of carrots, pineapples, onions and potatoes into several tasty creations, then maybe I could do the same with this extraordinary amount of eggplant. One problem, my eggplant has its own eccentricities. All I could think of was my first attempts at entertaining with eggplant. Three Thanksgivings ago, my idea of a healthy alternative to salad was roasted vegetables. Sounds good, but the eggplant effort ended with a tough skin and overly mushy pulp. My guests politely declined the atrocious aubergine.

Only last month, I attempted eggplant parmesan. I make a pretty good lasagna, so what could be so hard about applying the same principles to eggplant? As the tray of eggplant baked, it looked and smelled delicious. Unfortunately the cheese/sauce element was the only edible portion. The sliced eggplant remained, in my own words, "As tough as the rubber soles on your sneakers". My son Ben was quite supportive and insisted that it was good. He even made it look like he enjoyed it. That is one reason that I love him. I gave up and just picked the melted cheese. I vowed to never make eggplant again.

So, why when faced with a box of 1 dozen ripe for today eggplants would I possibly entertain the thought that I could make, not 1 but 12 eggplant recipes? Why? Because I work at a flea market, and in the flea market world, it's possible to do anything with a find.

Below are photos of my savory creations.
Click the link below each photo to be directed to recipes on the Hungry as a Wolff Cookbook Blog


12 EGGPLANTS

BREADED BAKED EGGPLANT SLICES

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

BABA GANOUSH


SAUTEED EGGPLANT TOFU AND PASTA

EGGPLANT STUFFED WITH CURRIED GROUND BEEF AND BROWN RICE