Howdy, peeps! Please don’t hate me. I have gotten really, really bad at posting, huh? It’s partly because I’ve been super duper busy and seem to have zero time to cook OR blog (or breathe), and partly because my computer is slowly dying and is SO slow. I feel like I’ve time traveled to 1998. I sit at my computer with a magazine, click on one thing, then read for 5 minutes while it loads. Then click on something else, read. It’s really fun.
Needless to say, I don’t exactly enjoy trying to get stuff done on here.
Anyways, Nick and I spent Labor Day weekend in San Francisco, and had such a great time that I totally failed on taking photos. Since I now have the fun travel section of my blog, I SHOULD be better about posting about our weekend trips. But I’m not. I realized I have tons of random pictures on my phone from all the California adventures we’ve had this summer– so I thought I’d share some of them. Better late than never, right?
Eberle Winery, Paso Robles, CA
Every time we go to the coast, we drive through Paso Robles, a big wine and vineyard area. Sometimes, you just gotta stop and have a drink. Eberle Winery had an AWESOME cave tour at their winery, plus they gave a 40% military discount. Their wine is awesome, too! We definitely stocked up here.
Robert Hall Winery, Paso Robles, CA
Another winery stop, Robert Hall had a cool tour of all their wine making equipment. But the best part about this place was the brick oven pizza they serve in the parking lot on Saturdays! SO YUM!
Moonstone Beach, Cambria, CA
It’s amusing that’s it’s freezing at the beach when it’s 106 degrees at home. But I love being near the ocean regardless of the temp!
Montana de Oro State Park
Dinky Lakes Trail, Sequoia National Park
Giant Sequoias in Kings Canyon National Park
We definitely love living in California! There is no shortage of fun weekend adventures. 🙂
Ok, how about some food now? My garden was teeming with little eggplants calling out to be eaten. I’m not sure why they didn’t get bigger, but the size didn’t seem to affect the taste!
I’ve made Chicken Parmesan before, but hadn’t attempted eggplant parm. Turns out, it was pretty much the same. Lots of work, but worth the payoff! I’m sure the fresh-from-the-garden eggplants contributed to the deliciousness.
Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan
(adapted from Simply Recipes)
- About 2 1/2 lbs eggplants
- 1 (28 oz can) crushed tomatoes
- 3 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for frying
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
Cut eggplants 1/4-inch thick rounds. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, salting, until all eggplant is in the colander. Weigh down the slices with something heavy and let drain 1 hour.
Meanwhile combine tomatoes, garlic and 1/3 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
When eggplant has drained, wipe off the excess salt, and lay the slices out on paper towels to remove all the moisture. Arrange an assembly line with 3 bowls. Add the flour to one bowl, the beaten eggs to the next, and the breadcrumbs to the last. Cover the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. When oil is hot, coat the eggplant pieces in flour, then in egg, and finally in breadcrumbs. Working in batches, slide coated eggplant into the skillet and fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish or casserole. Top with one third of the eggplant slices. Top eggplant with half of the mozzarella. Sprinkle with one third of the Parmesan and half of the basil leaves.
Make a second layer of eggplant slices, topped by 1 cup of sauce, remaining mozzarella, half the remaining Parmesan, and all of the remaining basil. Add remaining eggplant, and top with the remaining tomato sauce and Parmesan.
Bake until cheese has melted and the top is slightly brown, about 30 minutes.
Allow to rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.