I broke the "no grocery shopping for 2 weeks" rule today. I'm hanging my head in shame. I bought a pound of mozzarella cheese. Geez, I feel so guilty. I'd give myself a good flogging if I knew how. (then again maybe not! Pain. I'm just not into it. I'd rather justify whatever I do so it sounds like I just invented world peace. This works for me.)
I've been harping on JR & the homeboy about our need to cut down the number of times we go to the grocery store. My reasoning was sound, if we (and I'm using the royal we here. The homeboys never shop if they can help it.) don't go as often we won't be able to impulse buy. I'm sure some social scientist has done a study about this fact. But, looking it up would be just too much work. I'd rather just make this stuff up as I go along.
Maybe if I unburden myself to you it will make it all go away. Sorry, sometimes we's got to do what we's got to do.
I was sitting at the car repair shop today, waiting for them to charge me $500 for whatever car repair shops do, when I started thinking about dinner.
I think about food a lot. I think about food at work, in the shower, while I'm driving to or from work, and while I'm sweating away on the treadmill. In fact, I think about food a lot more while I'm on the treadmill then anywhere else. Go figure! I'm pretty much food driven.
Anyway, I was thinking about what kind of magic I was going to produce after the car repair shop let me escape a broken and poorer self. I did a quick mental inventory of the icebox and the pantry. It wasn't pretty. Canned tomatoes, 1/2 pound of tofu & an eggplant. These ingredients screamed eggplant tofu Parmesan. But, I had no mozzarella cheese. What could I do? I had to buy at least the minimum amount of mozzarella. It was a dilemma, a quandary, a conundrum ( I love that word.) Do I break the rule or do I try to make something else?
I'm a rule breaker. (Not normally or at least not normally lately. During my teens and twenties I was quite a rule breaker. I had a rather mis-spent youth that will be fun to tell my grandchildren about, hopefully to their parents dismay. I live to embarrass my kids) So, I broke down and bought the stupid mozzarella cheese. As JR and the homeboy were scarfing down the tofu and eggplant Parmesan they teased my unmercifully. All I can say is that I only bought the cheese.
Here's the quick version of the recipe. It basically is the same as eggplant Parmesan with a layer of breaded and fried tofu. I prefer to start with a bottle of Chianti. Not to cook with just because it is the best way for me to start cooking.
You can leave the tofu out of this if you prefer but this is a good recipe in which to hide tofu. I'm trying to get the boys to go meatless a couple of times a week so hiding tofu works well for me.
Tofu & Eggplant Parmesan
1 medium eggplant
1/2 pound extra firm tofu
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 pound shredded mozzarella
1 cup breadcrumbs
generous handful of Parmesan cheese
Slice eggplant and tofu into 1/2 inch slices. Salt eggplant slices. Layer the eggplant & tofu between paper towels. Place a fairly heavy weight on the layers. I use a really heavy pot. You want to get as much liquid out of the slices as possible. This process should take about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, throw both cans of tomatoes into a bowl and a handful of Italian seasoning. Mash with a potato masher. Let sit so the flavors can absorb. You could also use tomato pasta sauce. I just didn't have any. And buying it would have broken the rule. I was feeling guilty enough.
Make the typical breading station. Egg wash in 1 bowl; breadcrumbs & Parmesan in another. I tossed some Italian seasoning in my breadcrumbs also. The homeboy & I like breaded tofu sandwiches. If we get lucky we'd have some leftover. Hence, the need for some extra seasoning. Tofu isn't known for it's taste, folks. (of course, he ate all the leftover fried tofu from last night while I was sitting at the car repair shop. I had my heart set on a stuffed pita. When is he going to move out?) Dip the eggplant & tofu in the egg wash then the breadcrumbs. Fry in olive oil over medium high heat until brown. They don't really need to be done. (Can tofu really get done?) Drain on layers of paper towels until you have all of it done. (There's that word again)
Layer ingredients into an oven safe dish. Size is up to you. Tomatoes, eggplant, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, tofu, mozzarella cheese. Continue on until you get to the top of the dish. Don't forget the spill over factor. One sure fire way to mess up your oven is to have spill over. Place a sheet pan under your baking dish. ( This ensures no whining from the husband in my household. Because, I don't clean ovens. JR has always cleaned ovens. After 25 years of cleaning ovens he won't allow me to buy any oven that is not self-cleaning. Baffling isn't it? )
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Now that I've shared I feel so much better. Thanks for listening. You guys are so much better and cheaper than therapy.