You know what I love? Food gifts. There's almost nothing better than free, delicious things, and recently, I've been quite lucky in receiving tons of edible presents! I got a beautiful eggplant from my boss, Connie, and a truck load of fresh produce and a dozen happy chicken eggs from my parents.Anyway, I digress. With all the wonderful, fresh organic food in my house, the first vegetable I had to devour was the eggplant. What can I say? It's my fave. I based my recipe off this one for Vegan Crispy Baked Eggplant from Chez Bettay. Mine definitely didn't come out as beautiful as hers, but for my first try at breading anything, I think it turned out pretty good.
After reading so much about the factory farming atrocities in Eating Animals, I'm having a very hard time eating eggs, unless I know where they come from. My parents happen to know a man in their area raising chickens in proper, humane conditions, and I couldn't be happier about supporting this local farmer, who really cares :)
I mostly stuck to the recipe, except I didn't peel my eggplant, used Panko for the bread crumbs, and used a regular oven sans pizza stone, since I don't own one. I baked my eggplant for about 15 minutes on one side, flipped it, and then popped it back in the oven for another 10. When the bread-crumb coating was starting to look golden, I slathered it with warmed pasta sauce, and devoured it with a side of sauteed beet greens.
The soft eggplant was a nice compliment to the crunchy crust, although I definitely should have baked it longer to give the bread-crumbs some serious bite. Also, 1 eggplant made plenty of food for my dinner, and I used the rest to make phenomenal sandwiches the next few days. Baked eggplant + pasta sauce + lettuce & fresh basil on whole wheat toast = to die for.
It was a good first attempt, and I hope the next batch is even better!