Sorry I haven’t been posting. I was traveling in the Galapagos with my son. It was a peak travel experience that I highly recommend.
But now that I’m back I want to share some great ideas for CROP ABUNDANCE: Corn, Eggplant and Cucumber recipes. These easy, quick ways to use up lots of vegetables are winners that I make every summer.


Eggplant is one of the most versatile vegetables. It seems as though every culture has come up with some great eggplant classic: China: eggplant with plum sauce or garlic sauce: Japan: Miso eggplant   India: countless eggplant curry recipes, France: Ratatouille, Italy: Eggplant Parmesan and Caponata and Middle East: Baba Ganoush and hundreds of varieties of   eggplant salads. At this time of year I try to make as many of these classics as possible. 
Again, I’d like to share some really simple and some a little more difficult recipes, some adapted from classics and some with helpful tips.
Ratatouille: My all time favorite way to use eggplant. This dish can be eaten hot, cold or at room temperature. On hot summer days I take it out of the fridge and serve it at room temperature. 
  • I do not use spices. Fresh seasonal vegetables are so flavorful that you don’t want to mask the flavors in any way.
  •  Fry the vegetables separately since they all cook at different rates.
  • Try to keep the size of the pieces uniform (except for the onions which can be diced smaller).
  • Do not overcook.
  • Make it the day before so that the flavors can meld beautifully.
These amounts are VERY approximate. Work with the quantities that you have available.




  1. Chop and fry a nice sweet medium sized onion until lightly browned and soft in olive oil.
  1. 2 medium zucchinis (about a 1 ½ to 2 pounds) or use the small ones and then you only have to slice them. Cut the medium ones lengthwise into four pieces and then in nice bite size chunks (about an inch). Fry in olive oil until brown but not quite cooked.
  2. Same amount of eggplant. Peel if the skin seems tough, otherwise leave it on. Cut into same size as the zucchini and fry in olive oil until brown but not quite cooked.
  3. Now if you like bell peppers, then add one cubed the same size as the zucchini and eggplant and fry them until they are cooked and slightly brown. 
  4. Use a can of tomatoes either diced or whole. If the tomatoes are whole, then cut them into pieces. Strain out the liquid and fry the tomatoes on high in olive oil. Yes, I do fry the tomatoes but you don’t have to. I just think it gives them a sweeter, more caramelized flavor.
  5. Mix all the vegetables together, add salt if necessary and simmer together for 10 minutes stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn. Add the tomato juice if it needs liquid. Sometimes I add sugar if the flavor is too acidic.
  6. Finely mince or use a garlic press and stir in 2 large cloves of garlic. Then turn off the ratatouille and let it sit until it is cool enough to refrigerate.
  7. Always serve it the next day if you can. Taste if for seasoning and add a splash of really good olive oil if you like. Then serve it at room temperature, or reheated.




Eggplant with Plum Sauce






  1. Slice small (3 inches or less) eggplant in half lengthwise, spread with olive oil and salt and grill over barbecue until browned on both sides and barely cooked. Salt and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce: Mix together


          ¼ of plum jam,


           3-4 skinned plums if you have nice fresh, ripe plum


            2-3 Tbs. soy sauce


            I Tbs. grated fresh ginger


            !-2 Tbs. minced garlic


            1 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce (optional)


      ¼ cup Iron Chef Sesame Garlic Sauce : NOTE: I have to defend using a ready  made sauce but I have to say it really kicks it up significantly. This sauce is all natural with no preservatives and not particularly high in sodium.


3. Boil these ingredients together for 5 minutes until the flavors meld and it is slightly  




  1. Put the cooked eggplant in an oven or grill proof dish and cover with the sauce. I add more garlic since I love garlic. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes in hot covered grill (300°-400°). It should be boiling hard so that the sauce thickens.   But check to make sure it is not burning.  






                      The next recipe is an adaptation of a very popular appetizer served at my cousin’s wonderful restaurant in Tel Aviv called RUSTICO. The recipe is called Eggplant Carpaccio but it is not raw eggplant. Again, this is a recipe to play around with according to your preference. It is a very simple dish to prepare and an instant hit.











Eggplant Carpaccio




  1. 1-3 medium eggplant. Quantity does not matter.
  2.  Poke a couple holes in your eggplants and throw them on a very hot grill (400°-500° Cover the grill and walk away. After a few minutes check on the eggplant. If it is beginning to burn then turn. Continue with this process until the eggplant is slightly charred and well cooked. It should be mushy feeling when touched. Remove carefully and set aside.
  3. At this point you can cool them and thrown them in the fridge until you want to make this appetizer. Or, cool them and then peel off the skin right away. 
  4. Put the eggplant pulp in a food processor with a tsp. olive oil and salt to taste, and pulse a few times until an even consistence and quite smooth but not so much to be soupy. It still has to have a distinctive eggplant texture. 
  5. The quantities of the following garnishes are up to your taste preferences and how much eggplant you have prepared. Spread the eggplant very thinly over a large serving plate, or individual appetizer plates if you want to this as a first course. 
  6. Sprinkle the eggplant evenly with the following:


    • Toasted pine nuts
    • Finely chopped scallion or red onion
    • Finely chopped parsley
    • Sea salt
    • Zatar (Middle Eastern spice blend of sumac, thyme and sesame seed which is available at Wegmans)
    • A drizzle of high grade olive oil



         7. Serve with pita or crackers.








Eggplant with Miso Sauce




2 medium Japanese eggplant: the long thin eggplant


½ cup Sake


2 Tbs. mirin


½ tsp sugar


3 Tbs. light soy Miso or any Miso will work.


1 Tsp. toasted sesame seeds


¼ tsp sesame oil




  1. Slice the eggplant into ½ slices and fry in olive oil until brown and cooked through. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, Bring the Sake, mirin, and sugar to a boil and boil for 5 minutes until the liquid is reduced.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the miso a spoon at a time, incorporating well. Miso should not be brought to a boil. The mixture should be  slightly thickish.
  4. Add the sesame seeds and sesame oil. Taste and add more sugar or sesame oil according to your taste preference.
  5. The sauce can be made ahead and heated in the microwave (not boiled). Serve drizzled on the eggplant.










This is my version of eggplant parmesan that I adapted from the traditional style where you cover the breaded, fried eggplant with tomato sauce. I always love to eat some of the freshly fried eggplant so crispy and delicious before baking it when it all softens up. So this is the unbaked, crispy version:




  1. Use any quantity of peeled, globe eggplant which is 4-5 inches in diameter and cut into ¼ inch slices.
  2. Dip the eggplant slices first into an egg that has been beaten.
  3. Then dip the eggplant slices into seasoned breadcrumbs. You can use dried bread and make your own breadcrumbs or use unseasoned ready-made breadcrumbs and season them yourselves. I use a combination of Italian seasoning, extra basil and a pinch of fenugreek (optional). I also add salt. I don’t use a lot of seasoning here. For one cup of breadcrumbs I would use 1 tsp of Italian seasoning and ½ tsp of basil.
  4. At this point you can store the breaded eggplant slices in the fridge to fry later or fry them right away but they must be eaten right after they are cooked. 
  5. Fry the slices in olive oil over medium high to high heat watching carefully and turning them over frequently so they don’t burn. Add more oil when needed. They should be golden brown and very soft in the inside. They take about 10 minutes to cook. Drain them on paper towels and put them in an hot oven to keep warm. If they get soggy then refry them.
  6. These wonderful treats can be served as an appetizer alone or with some tomato sauce on the side to dip them into. I made a great sauce out of my ABUNDANCE of CHERRY TOMATOES. I cut the tomatoes in half, sprinkled them with sea salt and baked them in a 400° oven (convection on if you have one) for 10-15 minutes until the bottoms were starting to blacken. I then let them cool and put them through a food mill and this made a wonderfully rich sweet tomato sauce. Garnish the top with shaved or grated parmesan cheese.






Turkish Lentil and Eggplant Stew with Pomegranate Molasses




This recipe is a little more time consuming, but quite unique and delicious. It uses an ingredient called Pomegranate Molasses which is a condiment used much like ketchup in some cultures. It can be found at Wegmans. I have adapted this recipe from Food and Wine magazine (July 2004) and used small French green lentils which hold their shape nicely. I also finish this in a crock-pot rather than on the stove. On these hot summer days I just leave the crock-pot cooking outside.




One 1 ½ pound long, narrow eggplant


½ cup lentils ( I use French green lentils: available at Wegmans)


Olive oil


I medium onion, finely chopped


4 minced garlic cloves


One  14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes peeled and chopped


2 Tbs. chopped mint leaves


1 Tbs. tomato paste


¼ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)


¼ cup pomegranate molasses (available at Wegmans)






  1. In a saucepan cover the lentils with water and salt and boil over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes until barely cooked. Add more water if necessary to prevent burning.
  2. Cut eggplant into ¼ inch slices and fry in olive oil until lightly browned. IT does not have to be fully cooked. Salt and set aside.
  3. Fry onion until softened and beginning to brown, add garlic and fry together for another minute.
  4. Mix onions, garlic, tomato, tomato paste, mint and red pepper.
  5. In a crock pot layer the lentils, eggplant and onion-tomato mixture and salt to taste. Add 2 Tbs. olive oil and the pomegranate molasses. Put the crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or until the lentils and eggplant are fully cooked.  Check a few times and add water if necessary.  Refrigerate if possible and eat the next day. Garnish with more chopped mint leaves.






Eggplant Pockets





2 cups unbleached all-purpose four
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil
½-3/4 cup warm water
  1. In a food processor mix flour, salt and olive oil
  2. With the processor running add water gradually until the dough is just starting to form form a ball around the blades. Make sure it isn’t too wet. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with olive oil and set aside in a covered bowl to rest for 30 minutes or more.
1 ½ pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch rounds. The rounds should be about 3 to 3 ½ inches in diameter.
½ cup ricotta or goat cheese
1/3 pound smoked provolone, flontina, or Scamorza cheese, grated
1 egg
2-4 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Fry the eggplant in olive oil until just barely cooked and nicely browned. Salt to taste.
  2. Meanwhile mix the cheese mixture together.
  3. Divide the dough into small balls: twice the number of guests you are serving. This worked well dividing the dough into 10-12 balls to serve 5-6 people this dish as an appetizer.
  4. Roll out each ball into a 4-5 inch round using a little flour if necessary. 
  5. Take each round of dough, cover with a little cheese filling leaving a ¼ inch margin around the perimeter, cover with the fried eggplant, and cover again with the a little of the filling. Place another round over the top and carefully seal around the edge. Continue with all the rounds and brush the tops of the pockets with some olive oil.
  6. Bake the pockets in a 400° preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until light golden brown and crisp. Serve while hot.
TIP: Feel free to be creative here and add your favorite cheese combinations and tomato sauce as well if you like.