Maryann, I'm right there with you....LOVE eggplant, and I'm not even Italian (well, by marriage--does that count?? In any case, I'm convinced I was an Italian opera singer in a previous life. Ha, ha.)
I bought lovely organic eggplants at the Flemington Farmer's market last week, too. (Are we a team or what???) What did I cook? Well, this is where we diverge....I wasn't nearly as virtuous when it came down to making a healthy choice. In fact, I caved. Big time. Before I could say "melanzana" (that's eggplant in Italian) I had whipped up a mouth-watering batch of rollatini, generously stuffed with creamy mozzarella, ricotta, and asiago. Delicioso....but undeniably fattening. It's salad for me for the rest of the week! (Speaking of salad, I also found beautiful organic romaine at the farmers' market). Well, even though it was fattening, I took comfort in the fact that it was "real" food, not something encased in plastic that emerged from a cardboard box.
In the spirit of "real food" here's something I spied while perusing Edible New Jersey. (If you haven't yet seen that wonderful publication, keep your eyes peeled. I find it at farmers' markets and health food stores.) This is from Michael Pollan, one of the nation's leading writers and thinkers on food and the author of the well-known book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma."
Michael Pollan's 12 Commandments of Food
1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
What do you think great-grandma would say about Cool Whip?????
2. Avoid products containing ingredients you can't pronounce
There goes at least 75% of what you find at the Shop-Rite.....
3. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot
Hmmm....wouldn't honey be an exception to this? Isn't it the only food that never spoils? And raw, local honey is so good for you--studies even show that it has antiviral properties!
4. Avoid food products that carry health claims
I think "too good to be true" usually applies in these cases.
5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle
Whether in the movies or your local grocery store, it's all about product placement.......
6. Better yet, buy food somewhere else; the farmers' market of community supported agriculture
Here's an idea: stock up on late summer's bounty by lightly blanching seasonal veggies and freezing them for use during the winter months, a la Barbara Kingsolver. I'm going to try it...I'll let you know how it works out!
7. Pay more, eat less
I know money's tight, but I'd rather buy quality food and cut back elsewhere. (Like cooking at home instead of going out to dinner???)
8. Eat a wide variety of species
As they say, variety is the spice of life! Try something new. Like leeks, maybe. I've never known what the heck to do with a leek. Well, the nice (and very patient) fellas at the farmers' market talked me into using one in potato salad. I sauteed it with garlic (theirs also...an amazing variety appropriately named "music" that waltzes in your mouth) and olive oil. Tastes like a very mild scallion. Yum!!
9. Eat food from animals that eat grass
If you do eat meat, this is the way to go, even if it costs a bit more. You don't want to know what the CAFO's feed their animals!
10. Cook, and if you can, grow some of your own food.
The other day my daughter said to me, "Mom, I'm soooo glad that you cook!" Made all the hard work worthwhile! :) But I'm not even going to talk this summer's pathetic garden...so sad...... :(
11. Eat meals, and eat them only at tables.
Guilty. I eat breakfast and often lunch while on-the-move.
12. Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure.
Still working on part one and two. Part three I've got down pat!
I think Michael Pollan must have been Italian in a previous life, too......
Next, I'll post the recipe for my favorite marinade....please stay tuned, everyone!