31 July 2012

Eggplant Begins With An E

It's a good thing my hair dresser was running a few minutes late the other day because if she hadn't been, I might not have picked up the Real Simple magazine while I waited and I might not have found this recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini.

We are kind of a one-trick pony when it comes to eggplant. Or, I guess two tricks. Either Sergio makes his Eggplant Parmesan or I make a pizza. I made a pizza a couple of weeks ago with our skinny CSA eggplants, so I wanted to try something else. Sergio is the one that always makes Eggplant Parmesan and as is common in the patterns of a relationship, that task has fallen exclusively to him, even though I probably could figure out how to make it myself were I so inclined. 

But I wasn't so inclined, I wanted something new. Luckily I found this. The heirloom eggplant at Badseed on Friday night were the absolute perfect size for this and they were gorgeous. If only I could find my camera - still packed away somewhere - I'd have taken a proper photo of them. At any rate - here is this.

And here is the recipe. "Rollatini," by the way, is not some clever descriptor devised by the editorial staff at Real Simple. It is also not a real Italian word. The real Italian name for this dish is "Involtini de Melanzane." Which I think is much more fun to say.

A couple of tips...
• the article suggests that this casserole can be made up to 4 hours in advance but no more than that lest the ricotta mixture separate, but I made mine 6 hours ahead of time and encountered no problems.
• the article also suggests it serves 8; ours, served with pasta, served 5.
• next time I make it I'll likely double the marinara sauce - especially if I serve it on pasta again.
• the hands-on time of 25 minutes does not include toddler wrangling, which will likely double that prep time. 

The New House

We have been in the new house for about a month now. There are still boxes lying about and there is very little hanging on walls and we have yet to purchase a few key pieces of furniture and I will still spin around in confusion in the kitchen trying to find things and I don't know where my camera is but you know what? Most days it feels like we have lived here all along.

The home was up and running and functional in no time at all - thanks entirely to my family who came to help us move, unpack, and get settled quickly. Mom and Tyler helped me through the difficult process of making a million little decisions, which I find even more exhausting than the physical strain of unpacking. Ling and Minli helped with all the toddler wrangling; indeed they are pros. Dad has given us valuable crash courses in lawn care. We are off to a really good start.

Julia had so much fun with her cousins.

And the three of us are adapting well. Sergio has taken ownership of the lawn with amazing alacrity and skill - watering, cleaning up leaves, etc. Which is such a relief because I don't think I could handle being outside in this heat with this giant belly.

Julia loves to talk about our new house, and - though she quit for about a week - she continues to talk about our realtor. Although at this point I think she has just renamed our new house "minee new house." Even though we have explained to her that Mindy doesn't live here, she still asks "minee new house?" when we pick her up from school and head home.

During the first week we had what Sergio dubbed our "hazing" - a brown recluse spider showed up in the laundry room and we had our first false alarm on the security system. Because there must be some kind of murphy's law in effect, these are, of course, two of the things we were most frightened about when transitioning from the bug-free, super-safe condominium. I am pleased to say we survived the hazing and in some respects I'm glad we've gotten it out of the way.

Julia is learning some new words and phrases as a result of the new house such as "upstairs," "downstairs," "basement," and "daddy put water?" And she is doing so well with the stairs, learning to ascend and descend them slowly and with care. She asks for help with the sweetest, sing-song "Hold my hand!" And sometimes she just declares "big step! big step!" with each step she takes. And I resist the urge to tell her - "yes, Julia, moving into this house is a big step and we are all doing so well."