Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We can't learn + Eggplant Stacks

I'm not sure if I'm actually cooking more now since the oven handle broke THE HELL OFF or whether it just seems that way because I'm made poignantly aware of its brokenness every time I have to pry the scorching door open with oven mitts on both hands. But either way, I've been cooking stuff while I wait for Sears (there, I said it) to get off their dead asses and actually fix my oven rather than just stare blankly at it while fingering their earholes.

The fact that the oven has no handle and the glass front is leaning against the back wall in the kitchen means very little to me. Bubba did a fine job securing the remnants of the door with a couple washers and drywall anchors, and that means to me that all systems are Go if I want to bake something.

Which I do. Seemingly more so now that the oven is something of a novelty item of doom. So it won't hold its temp, takes one hundred years to preheat and tries to remove my fingers by snapping shut at inopportune moments? Not going to stop me from inventing Eggplant Stacks for Mahjong night.


Anyhoo, last Saturday was Mahjong night. A night which is typically spent catching up with a couple close friends over drinks, dinner and the recounting of the game's instructions because Bubba and I haven't been able to retain any knowledge about the game despite the fact that this is probably our sixth Mahjong night and our friends are quite skilled at explaining the game in great patient detail to drunk people (us).

Not that we even appear to remember the rules DURING play since, at one point, both Bubba and I had winning hands (hands? I'm not sure if this is even the right term for The Tiles Which One Possesses on Their Person During Play) but were both too retarded to know how to actually go about winning. No, we just sat on our "hands" and illegally tried to win by declaring our victories at inappropriate times and with unacceptable methods to the great suppressed eye-rolling of our gracious friends.

You probably now realize how crucial it is that I serve these friends of ours a decent meal beforehand so that they don't stone us to death with the tiles before the night's end. I figured if we were going to tempt fate and invite these nice friends of ours over, again for the sixth time, for a night of "Wait - can I take that tile for an out of turn run?" and "Is it Pong or Ping?", I'd better make something real good that they could reflect on while deciding whether to knife us under the table the next time we declare victory with nothing but a hand full of bullcrap and a smile. Obviously I needed to put The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. on something.

Thus my inspiration for the meal:

Eggplant Stacks with The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.

2 eggplants, sliced to 1" rounds (feel free to slice edges to make them fit in your dish, as seen below. Ahem)
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
1 8 oz. ball buffalo mozzarella packed in water or whey, sliced to 1/2" rounds
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling (hate this word so much)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper

See sauce recipe here

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a 9x9 glass baking dish, drizzle (UGH) some olive oil in the bottom and sprinkle with salt. Begin by laying four rounds (or squares if you have to cut it that way) on the oiled dish and drizzling with a bit more oil and a tiny pinch of salt. Next stack the mozzarella slices and top with a large basil leaf. Repeat the layering once more and finish with a basil leaf atop a slice of oiled eggplant.

Like so:

Cover each stack with The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep. and slam in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the eggplant is soft.

Like so:

Allow to cool for a few minutes before plating.

Suggestion: Use this time to unsober your guests so that they will be less mad when they see how little you remember about the game rules.


Another suggestion: When you've been sitting there for 10 minutes, draining your fourth glass of wine, wondering WHOSE TURN IS IT DAMN IT I DON'T HAVE ALL NIGHT FOR YOU SLOW POKES. It is your turn and you should go before the aforementioned knifing begins.


  1. Sounds delicious. I'm putting it in my recipe file. Sounds like you play Mahjong like we play Dominos - way fun.

  2. That tomato sauce looks like it *is* THE BEST (hee), and the stacks don't look too bad, either. Yum.

    My friends and I used to play gin rummy every week. I kid you not: though I was stone sober, they had to go over the rules each time. Every week. Maybe we lack a certain gene or somethin.

  3. Oh that looks SO good. My stomach is rumbling now....

    I used to play mahjong with my grandpa, but he'd HATE it because he was used to his semi-pro friends who automatically knew it was their turn and the whole game would take like 3 minutes. With us, one game could easily last 45 minutes.

  4. First off, being one of the lucky consumers of this ultra-scrumpy dinner, I can say that it is THE BEST TOMATO SAUCE EVER.

    Secondly, we did not roll our eyes at you. We just laughed.

    Thirdly, have I mentioned that it was THE BEST TOMATO SAUCE EVER?

    And finally, a fine time was had by all. We love you guys. Thanks again for a delightful evening.

  5. Oh man, I have never played Mah Jong. See, I can't even spell it right! I thought only people in Amy Tan books played May Jong. You are too cultural for me. :)
    BTW -- LOVE that eggplant recipe. Thank you. Looks delish.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.