trigger happy


Most foodies have a trigger: a food that they love intensely but may not get to enjoy so often. A food that is a determining factor on any menu. Mine is eggplant. As a little girl, I remember the smell of my mother’s ratatouille bubbling on the stove, and I’ve been hooked ever since.   Eggplant parmesan, baba ghanoush, moussaka—if a dish incorporates eggplant, I’m ordering (or making) it.  So when I saw these beauties at my local market, I created this dish just for them (and me). It’s simple, but the flavors, intensified by roasting, speak for themselves.




For the roasted tomatoes, I sliced mine instead of halving them so that they would roast more quickly. Check out Smitten Kitchen for the method. You will fall in love with the intensity of the tomato flavor in these tasty morsels.

For the eggplant, I used a similar technique, but I salted the slices and allowed them to drain for 30 minutes. (K0sher salt is best. Wipe off any moisture and excess salt with paper towels before cooking.) Then I cubed the eggplant, tossed with olive oil and seasoning (garlic, salt, and pepper), and roasted them for about 45 minutes at 250°F.


Mediterranean Pasta

from foodie plus four

  • 2 cups roasted tomatoes, sliced into strips
  • 2 eggplant, cubed and roasted
  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/3 cup (or more) Greek olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 pound pasta
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Roast eggplant and tomatoes (see above; these can be done a day ahead and stored in the fridge).
  2. Cook pasta.
  3. While pasta is cooking, sauté onions in olive oil, adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar when soft. Set aside.
  4. Drain pasta and transfer to serving bowl. Toss with tomatoes, eggplant, onions, capers, olives, and feta. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.
  5. Serve warm or room temperature with crusty bread and a robust red wine! Serves about 6.


going green

Did I mention we have a bit of arugula, lettuce, and spinach? My full refrigerator drawers have forced me to be creative. In addition to these greens being tasty, spinach is a super food. Here are some ideas for how to use young greens at various meals.


  • Salads (of course). Arugula is hands down my favorite green. The peppery, warm bite of the leaves goes so well with many things, but one of the best combinations is crumbled bleu cheese, dried cranberries or cherries, and nuts with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Eggs. I made a frittata for two of my foodie friends, and we finished the whole thing before I even got a photo. So imagine an open-faced omelette topped with sauteed red peppers and onions, slices of melted brie, and crowned with fresh arugula and spinach. Yum. I would think the greens would also fare well folded inside of an omelette.IMG_4835
  • Pasta. Even some of the kids liked this: spaghetti rigati (the one with the ribs on the pasta so it holds the sauce better) tossed with artichoke lemon pesto, parmesan, and the greens. Even better the next day.


  • Soups. I added the spinach and arugula to a ham and white bean crock pot soup. Fantastic.