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It seems that the longer I live, the more "best ever" gets better.
On Super Bowl Sunday, I went to Priscilla and Charlie's for dinner and the game. It took me a few hours to decide which team I wanted to win, since neither was the Patriots or Giants. I decided I had more clothing in red and gold than purple and black, so I wore a red sweater, for the Forty-Niners.
As one might expect, the appetizers we guests made were really good and the entrees (fat sausages cooked on the fireplace, French fries that went from the fat onto our plates, and two cabbage side dishes, along with delicious salad) outstanding. Dessert: almond cake.
There were 11 of us and, as the game looked to be a rout, and we had watched Beyoncé, the lights in the Superdome went out. We women looked for a minute or so, and then we made a dash to the bedroom and watched "Downton Abbey." I had never watched this terrific Masterpiece Theatre with girlfriends before, so it was great fun. After that, we went back and watched the game, which turned out not to be a rout after all. This was the best ever Super Bowl Sunday.
The next day I went to Nordstrom Rack with Joan Gordon, since she wanted to see if they have Not Your Daughter's Jeans, which cost about $120 a pair but are something available way cheaper at the Rack. On the way home, I told her that my 15-year-old, 14-cup Cuisinart had finally bit the dust and I was waiting for my new one to arrive. As we drove into my driveway, there was my gorgeous new one.
This Cuisinart has three bowls and the slicing disc has four different thicknesses. That night I used the thinnest to fix carrots for the Bolognese I would make the next day, and on Friday I used a thicker slice to make eggplant for the Parmesan, all of which I was to take to my brother and sister-in-law's house in Pittsburgh (along with a lemon cake, chicken soup and deli from Crown, all of which I had frozen).
Then I got a call from my brother: all flights from Hartford had been canceled. I now have enough food for an army and enough to take to Pittsburgh when the weather gets better. Everything I made, including the eggplant parm, freeze beautifully.
This recipe is partly my neighbor Kathy's; the other part is from the new Cuisinart recipe book.
Yield: enough to serve 16
2 1/2 pounds eggplant
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 to 7 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups finely ground bread crumbs (can be made in Cuisinart, with large metal chopping blade)
1/4 to 1/2 pound thinly sliced provolone cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
4 cups or more marinara (use a very good jarred sauce or email me and I will send you mine.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone pads.
Insert slicing disc, adjusted to 4 mm, into the large work bowl of the Cuisinart. Slice the eggplant into rounds. (If you do not have this food processor, use a very sharp knife and slice the eggplant into rounds.)
Put flour, eggs and bread crumbs into shallow individual containers. Dredge each slice first in flour, then in eggs, then in bread crumbs. After dredging in each ingredient, tap the eggplant to remove any excess. Arrange eggplant in single layers on both sheets. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. (The recipe says to flip them halfway through, but I didn't.)
When eggplant is done, take the pans from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. In two 13-by-9-inch pans layer the eggplant, beginning with a ladle of marinara, then eggplant, then provolone, followed marinara, eggplant and provolone until done. Top with a layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes
LEE WHITE HAS BEEN WRITING ABOUT RESTAURANTS AND COOKING SINCE THE LATE 1970S. EMAIL HER AT LEEAWHITE@AOL.COM.
Have I told you about Ugly Ripe tomatoes? I try to eat food created locally, but from February to July, I spend more money than I should on tomatoes. Is a turkey or tuna salad really good without a good-as-possible tomato on top?
When the snow promised to be a blizzard, I drove to a nearby supermarket. They didn't have Ugly Ripes, but there was another variety that also cost $3.99 per pound. I got a couple. They were horrible.
Some people worry, when a storm is brewing, about milk or toilet paper or a loaf of bread. I need greens and Ugly Ripe tomatoes. The only place to get them is at Stop & Shop. They are so worth the extra drive and cost.
Stop & Shop supermarkets
Waterford, East Lyme, Groton, Pawcatuck, Montville, Old Saybrook, and more.