Posted by: njbrown | November 30, 2009

More about eggplant

November 30, 2009

Yesterday, I decided to try to combine the second Galatoire’s recipe for stuffed eggplant with Emeril’s to achieve a Creole stuffed eggplant that didn’t involve deep fat (or medium-deep fat) frying and wasn’t too spicy for a Northerner’s stomach.  The first thing I found was that baking my eggplant halves for 50 minutes produced eggplant mush – not appetizing!  (In speed-reading the recipe, I had overlooked the phrase, “or until tender” that accompanied the baking instructions.)  What I didn’t write in my last post about my first attempt at this dish was that the instructions to “boil the (whole) eggplant for 20 minutes” produced a half-cooked eggplant.  Since I had then cut the eggplant open, I just put the halves into the microwave, but it took about 10 more minutes to achieve what seemed a desirable state of doneness – firm, but not too firm.  When the eggplant was eventually cooked in the skillet with the other ingredients, it held its texture, and still had some texture after baking.  So, the moral of this story is to test the eggplant after about 30 minutes.  I think the ideal texture of the baked eggplant is soft enough to remove most of the inside, but the inside will be firm enough to able to be cubed.

As I write this, and as I struggled to meld different recipes into one harmonious one, I am again struck with Julia’s brilliance.  It has become abundantly clear that writing a recipe is not easy!  Many – if not most recipes – leave things out that would be helpful to know to achieve the desired result.  Julia’s recipes were almost always very clear, and her calm, reassuring tone made you feel that she was walking you through it, and together you would produce a lovely dish that you and your guests (if you were having some) would thoroughly enjoy.  The well-written recipe,  of course, is only possible after multiple attempts to get to the recipe that is right in every aspect – twenty-eight tries for Julia’s strawberry souffle recipe, and forty years of trying for her chocolate souffle.  My hat is off to Julia and all of those who tackle recipe-writing!



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