Caprese Panko Crusted Eggplant

Summer, do not leave

There is still so much to do

They say ask and you shall receive

But simply, that is not true

How is that for an introduction? Yes, those four lines took all of thirty seconds to write and I’m already feeling high on the ranks of T.S. Eliot and his love song of Prufrock. Just kidding, I wouldn’t disrespect one of my favorite poets like that.

Today was an eventful day. I had an 8 AM O-Chem test I rather not talk about, picked up these awesome antique lamps for my sister, ate a feast (more about that on Friday) and almost cried at Whole Foods.

Trust me, I love Whole Foods as much as the next stereotypical organic loving, non-GMO girl. I really do. But every time I leave, I feel like I get stabbed in the nonexistent dark alley on the way to the parking lot and robbed for my money by the cheerful and diverse group of employees. Today at the devil’s market, I spent over $60 on ONE (underlined) bag of groceries! While waiting in line, I thought to myself, “Gee, I don’t mind splurging today. All this must cost around $40 dollars”. The cashier gave me an enthusiastic, “that’ll be $68.72!” and I started to take my wallet out of my satchel until I finally comprehended what she said. However guys, I just bit the bullet. I had too much pride to put away my $8 organic heirloom tomato.

Whole Foods: 1 Tara: 0

And that’s even not the end of it. While unpacking my (more expensive than gold per gram) tomatoes, my sister sent me a satrical article on Whole Foods which I really loved. Oh, the irony. I wanted to go through the screen and give the author an e-hug. She understood the struggle. The overprivileged struggle, that is.

Take the time to read the article and come back to me. Understand that I was nodding with every paragraph and telling her ‘preach!’ in my head. That was until I got to the end and looked down to see my Namaste tattoo staring at me. Ugh.

Now, what was this tangent about? Oh yes, tomatoes and summer. This week’s recipe will feature a delicious end of summer treat for all your guests, including yourself!

Caprese Panko Crusted Eggplant

Prep Time: 40 Minutes (20 minutes waiting)

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 3

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Stem of Basil
  • ~1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ~1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Eggs (not pictured)
  • 1/2 Lb Mozzarella
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper

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1. Optional, but take the skin off the eggplant in stripe formation.

2. Cut the eggplant in 1/4 inch disks.

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3. Salt the eggplants by putting a generous amount of salt on each of them individually and stacking them with baking paper in between. This sucks out the extra water and takes out the bitter flavor. Place something heavy on top and let them dehydrate for 20 minutes. A brown colored liquid will come out but that’s okay, because that’s what you want gone.

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4. Rinse well and pat each one dry.

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5. Set up your working station. One bowl each for the flour, panko bread crumbs and egg (sprinkled with salt and pepper). Put baking paper on a baking pan and drizzle olive oil to cover most of the surface.

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6. Lay the eggplant disk in the flour, front and back.

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7. Next, dip it in the egg with a fork. Be sure to let the excess run off back into the bowl.

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8. Cover the eggplant in the panko crumbs. You will have to mix everything around and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top until the eggplant is fully covered. Repeat with all slices.

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9. Drizzle more olive oil on the top.

10. Bake for ten minutes. Turn the eggplants around and drizzle more olive oil on top. Bake for another ten minutes for a grand total of twenty minutes.

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10. Cut thin slices of tomato and mozzarella and place on top of the eggplant. Garnish with avocado and basil.

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11. Enjoy outside before summer leaves us for the year.

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Doesn’t that look appetizing? My roommates gave me the blogging equivalent to a Michelin star for this dish.

Back to what I was talking about earlier, I reread my commentary and wanted to mention that food is the one thing I don’t mind spending money on. I’m sure you realize that with the disgusting amount of times I eat out and I always am willing to pay more for something I know was grown naturally with high quality. Don’t get me wrong, I love Whole Foods. It’s like a sibling love going on, I can’t love but hate them. But maybe I will stick to Farmer’s Markets and Rainbow Grocery for produce. Sometimes I just like being melodramatic. That is all.

What are you going to miss the most about summer? Where do you do most of your food shopping?

Three’s Company

Everyone believes they were the cutest kid ever, but is it truly narcissistic of me to really think I was the most adorable?

I was reminiscing on my childhood, decided to dust off the old photo-albums and take a stroll down memory lane.

Also, I do not think that way of myself now (because adults are never as cute as children, unfortunately), but I mean come on…

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Stop it.

I do admit though, I had a few awkward stages before five. My hair did not grow in until I was ~two years old, I mainly dressed like a Chinese boy and my mom cut my bangs by placing a piece of scotch tape horizontally across and cutting it off with scissors. You can see the unevenness in the bottom left picture, thanks mom…

Moving on, look at what I spotted while going out Friday night. Yes, it is the Creme Brûlée Cart! I know it’s going to be a good week when I get to eat creme brûlée twice in a week. I forgot that they park in the Castro late nights.

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I am a traditional vanilla bean girl myself, but how can I resist a berry compote? It was as if heaven rained down, fired the torch to glaze the sugar, blew me a kiss and floated back up. As if all the evil on earth decided to take a day off and only delicious and positive energy stayed. It felt like the warmth of blowing out candles on a birthday cake with all of your favorite people surrounding you.

It was magical. I might of even went back and got another one, which would not have been too difficult because I finished it before we started the car.

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I feel bad for the caprese salad pictured below because it has to compete with my ode to creme brûlée, but it also looks pretty sexy if I say so myself.

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I also ate at Company on Guerrero St. over the weekend. I have been meaning to try this place because I wanted to visit a certain someone…

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The decor is very…my mind draws a blank. What kind of vintage of this restaurant and logo font? Help a girl out here.

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My friend Cal was our waiter! He has worked there for the longest time and I’m so thrilled to finally get a chance to experience the A++ service.

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He gave us a tasting of the Crispy Confit Chicken Wings w/ red jalapeños and basil. A little too sweet for my taste but still enjoyable overall.

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I was so excited when this came, the Steak Frites with parmesan-herb frites, cab reduction and chimichurri sauce. It was cooked to perfection and I almost didn’t share. The Company was offering a $25 prefix for two plates of your choice (picking between appetizer, entree and desert), so I picked a main plate and after sweets. I had to add an additional cost for the steak but I have no regrets.

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Last but not least, the orange buttermilk Panna Cotta with raspberry and rose syrup.

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Hate to cut this post short but Breaking Bad starts in exactly three more minutes. Wouldn’t miss it for the world!

EDIT: Just came back from watching BrBa. I don’t know how I feel.

How cute was I on a 10 scale? Also, Breaking Bad open discussion in comments (no spoilers for people who haven’t watched it yet). Feelings on this episode?