Eating Local: Eggplant Parm & Stuffed Peppers

20120729-164754.jpg So here I am, overwhelmed with delicious produce! Instead of making a meal that focused on one veg, I wanted something that incorporated all the ripe goodies. Stuffed peppers & eggplant parm certainly used up most of what you see above. Here's how I did it:

Ingredients: For the sauce - 6 pounds of ripe tomatoes - 4 cloves of garlic, smashed - 10 cippolini onions, or 2 small yellow onions - 1 tbsp dried oregano - olive oil - salt


For the peppers - 3 large green peppers, tops off & seeds out - 4-6 links of sweet italian sausage, remove casings - 1/2 pound of parmex carrots (can substitute baby carrots) - 1 pound of mushrooms, diced - 10 cippolini onions, or 2 small yellow onions - 2 cloves of garlic, smashed - 1 cup of orzo pasta, cooked to box instructions - olive oil - fresh thyme - salt & pepper


For the Eggplant Parm - 1 large eggplant, sliced into rounds - 2 balls of fresh Mozzerella, sliced into rounds - 10 leaves of fresh basil - 2 eggs - 2 cups of bread crumbs - 2 cups of all purpose flour

Method: - first slice the eggplant and lay them on a tray. Salt each piece and allow it to weep out the bitterness. After your done with preparing the sauce, flip the eggplant and salt the other side. - Now get the sauce going. In a large sauce pot, combine olive oil, onions & garlic. Sauté until soft & translucent. Then add salt & pour in tomatoes, seeds, skin & all - waste not want not - and don't forget the oregano. - simmer on low heat for as long as possible. Add a 1/2 cup of water here & there, no more than 2 though, as needed. - while that gently bubbles away, on to the peppers. - preheat the oven to 375 - cook the orzo according to package instructions. - in a large sauté pan, add olive oil and cook the sausage until just cooked through. When golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon to a clean bowl. - in the same pan, heat up olive oil (if needed), onions, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook until soft & translucent, then season with salt. - add the sausage back into the pan, along with it's juices and the thyme. - heat off & stir in the orzo. After it cools, spoon into the peppers and rest in an oven-safe pan. - spoon 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce under the peppers & bake for 20-25 minutes, until the peppers soften

- on to the eggplant - while the peppers bake, get a large cast iron skillit & fill it with 2-3 cups of olive oil. Heat it up on medium/high. - set up a dredging station for your eggplant, 3 bowls: one for whisked eggs, one for flour & one for bread crumbs. - slice your mozzerella - pat your eggplant dry and start dredging. Eggs, flour, eggs, bread crumbs. Once you have 4-5 done, test your oil for temp. If you put in a breadcrumb it should sizzle. If it doesn't, increase the heat and test again. - we cooked 4 slices at a time and flipped after 3-4 mins. You want the golden brown crust. Rest each cooked slice on a paper towel lined tray. - once the eggplant are done, layer sauce, eggplant & Mozzerella in an oven-safe dish and bake for 20-25 mins. We then broiled it for 5 mins to get the browned top. Garnish with fresh basil & dig in!


It was a day full of cooking. I started in the AM with the eggplant & sauce, then did the rest in the afternoon. We used up a ton of vegetables, and just in time for us to head out on vacation. How have you been using up your summer harvest?