Things have been a bit hectic in my world over the past few weeks – house filled with wonderful guests from near and far, a bit too much business travel and lots of prep for an upcoming trip to Africa. When things are this busy, I sorely miss the quiet nights in the kitchen and the simple act of sitting down to write my blog. But this weekend, I find myself with a quiet afternoon filled with gentle rain showers, baskets of fresh eggplants and tomatoes just picked from the garden and – woohoo!- my new toy, a sparkly Vitamix blender!! I have long wanted this top of the line blender but could never justify the expense of spending so much for a blender of all things! So I have plodded along with my ancient little ole blender, not wanting to buy another thinking that someday perhaps my Vitamix will come in. And lo and behold, fate has intervened! I had points from a credit card that had to be used or they would be lost. I searched and searched in vain for something to purchase on the website. But then it hit me – hmmm, I wonder if I could purchase a Vitamix with these points? And sure enough, I now find my kitchen counter graced with the sleek lines of this little powerhouse – and it isn’t just a blender! Wow, it chops, it slices, it purees, it pulverizes in mere seconds. The darn thing even self cleans! (It is sort of like its own mini-car (blender) wash.) I have been whirling, pureeing, mashing everything I can find over the past week. What fun!
Last night, leftover watermelon became Watermelon Aqua Fresca with Vodka and Mint – in about 10 seconds. How fun is this!! So today, an abundance of eggplant became my new target :-). I figured if I whirled some eggplant, onions, and herbs in my new friend, toss in some tomatoes, cheese, and eggs, that perhaps something between a mousse, gratin and quiche would result. And it did. You do NOT need a fancy Vitamix to make this – a simple blender would do. It is a simple way to add some pizazz to your eggplant without too much fuss at all. Enjoy! (And if you are in the area, stop on by for a Watermelon Aqua Fresca!) Enjoy your weekend! Buon weekend!
Cheesy Eggplant Mousse
3 small or 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
4 Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese (or substitute with cheese of choice)
4 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the cubed eggplant in a colander. Salt liberally. Let stand 30 minutes to draw the bitter juices out of the eggplant.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add diced onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until softened, about another 2 minutes.
3. Rinse eggplant and pat dry. Add to skillet and sauté over medium low heat until softened, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Place in blender. Add basil and puree. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour puree into a medium bowl. Stir in the diced tomatoes and the Fontina cheese.
4. Stir in the beaten eggs. Mix well and then pour into an oiled baking or soufflé dish. Sprinkle liberally with lots of grated Parmigiano on the top.
5. Bake in oven for about 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!