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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Did you hear the crying the other night?

That was the sound of grown men crying. Those men, every man who ever went on a date with me and couldn't handle my...ahem...challenging personality, were crying for a good reason. They were crying because, if they'd been brave like my husband, they could have been at my house, eating fried eggplant pizza.

There used to be a restaurant in town, a little Greek place some of you may remember, the Parthenon. They made the most excellent pizza, topped with fried eggplant and black olives. I haven't had one since it closed and I really, really miss that pizza. During Baby J's nap, I decided to fry up an eggplant I had left over from the day before, when I made ratatouille*. I peeled and sliced the eggplant and salted it. You have to salt the eggplant, because it's very high in moisture and will get mushy when you cook it. Lay the slices out and sprinkle them with salt; you can pat them dry after the salt draws the moisture out. While you're waiting, crack a couple of eggs into a bowl and beat them. In another bowl, mix some breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning. You could just use Italian breadcrumbs, but I didn't have any. I liked being able to add extra seasoning, too.

Coat the bottom of a big sauté pan with about an eighth of an inch of oil. I like grapeseed oil because it has a high smoke point and a very mild flavor. Heat the oil while you pat the eggplant slices dry. Dip each slice in egg and drag it through the breadcrumbs before laying it in the pan. By the time the pan is full, you can start flipping the first slices you put in. Use a fork, dummy, because you'll burn the sh*t out of your hand if you don't. Trust me, I know. When the slices are pale brown** on both sides, take them out with a fork and put them on paper towels. Keep frying eggplant until you're finished. Do not sample a piece of the fried eggplant until it cools down. If you are impatient, you will burn the sh*t out of your mouth. For real, yo.

When the baby wakes up from his nap, abandon your project***. Cover the eggplant and set it aside. You'll be using it in a few hours, so don't bother refrigerating it unless you're an uptight freak. When the big kids get home from school, force them to watch the baby while you finish by promising them the best pizza ever. Make them feel guilty by telling them he cried for them while they were at school. Kids are gullible. Take advantage of it.

Once the baby is settled with the big kids, roll out your pizza dough. You can also use a prepared crust or make your own, depending on how slack you are or aren't. I'm partial these days to Trader Joe's**** pizza dough in a bag, but I have to roll it out in a rectangle, because I can't make it be a circle. I was expending far too much energy being mad about that, so rectangle it is.

Spread pizza sauce on the crust. I use the kind in a jar, but feel free to make your own. If you are a lazy housewife like me pride yourself on being efficient and prefer the jar, buy the one without any gross, chemically ingredients from your local fancy mart. Top that with some shredded mozzarella. Guess who buys the pre-shredded kind (hormone and antibiotic free of course!) You can, too. And you're not lazy. If you fried the eggplant during the baby's nap, you can honestly say you've been cooking all day. Lay your lovingly fried slices of eggplant and some sliced black olives on top of the cheese. Sprinkle that with crumbled feta and grated Parmesan. Cook it until it's done.

My kids approved, as did my husband. But that didn't stop him from asking some woman out to lunch in Charleston, where he had to go for work. Incidentally, he did it before and I asked him not to, same woman. My feelings are very hurt. He wants to know what he can do to make it up to me. How about this? Always tell the truth and don't do stuff that you know will hurt my feelings. It's not that hard. Advice to married people: Before you say something, ask yourself if it's true. Before you do something, ask yourself, "Would my spouse be okay with this?" If the answer is usually yes, you should respect it when the answer is no. If the answer is usually no, your spouse is a freak and you should reconsider your choice. How bad is it that the whole thing wouldn't bother me at all if I could see her picture and she was really ugly? Maturity is not one of my virtues.

Namasté, y'all!

* I have to give a shout out to the makers of the film Ratatouille, who managed to turn a dish full of vegetables into a food that all children will eat. Merci!

** I know that pale brown = tan, but food should never, ever be described as tan. Gross!

*** Maybe you are wondering what to do with the unused egg. Here's a thought: spoon some of the leftover ratatouille into the still hot grease and dump the eggs over that. Voilà! Ugliest omelet ever!

**** I'm thinking of organizing a group trip to the closest TJ's, in South Charlotte. Who's in?

2 comments:

Tracee said...

Goodness Ann, I'm so sorry about your husband asking that lady out to lunch. How entirely inconsiderate and hurtful. Ugh!

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