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Last night was a good chill one. This was definitely needed after how stressful yesterdays work day was. I felt like my head was spinning the whole day and I didnt know when it was finally going to stop. I knew I had to try out an eggplant rollatini recipe when I got home because I am having a birthday dinner for myself next weekend and I had to try out the recipe beforehand to work all the kinks out. I ran to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a hand mandolin which…did nothing. I am going to return it today, haha. I didnt even realize how expensive nice mandolins were, I guess its one of those items I will be leaving for my wedding registry whenever I end up getting married 😉 The only reason I was interested in one was because I feel a little fear working with eggplant. I havent done much work with them in the past, and I had heard they were a pain in the butt to slice. I guess I had to face my fear sometime. I finally ran to the supermarket to grab all the ingredients I needed.

I threw on some Beatles vinyl to start the night

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I was working off this recipe, courtesy of Giada de Laurentis from Food Network 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 3 medium-sized eggplants (about 4 pounds total)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Can vegetable spray
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 8 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 20 basil leaves, chiffonaded
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 cups fresh tomato sauce, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat the grill pan and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place a rack over a large baking sheet. Cut the 2 ends off the eggplant. Cut the eggplants lengthwise, into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange eggplant slices onto rack. Sprinkle with sea salt to help remove excess moisture and any bitterness from the eggplants. Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off the salt from the eggplants and pat dry with a towel. Spray hot grill pan liberally with vegetable spray and then place eggplant slices on the grill until lightly browned on each side and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Remove slices from the grill pan and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until lightly scrambled. Mix the ricotta in with the egg. Add mozzarella, 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts and gently combine. Fold in basil just to combine. Do not overmix.

Place a tablespoon of the cheese mixture on 1 end of the eggplant and roll up tightly. Place the eggplant rollatini into a greased (with olive oil) 13 by 9-inch baking dish, seam side down. Continue with remaining eggplant. Evenly distribute the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant rollatini. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 5 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes. When cooked, drizzle the top with extra-virgin olive oil.

Well….the eggplant wasnt the easiest to work with, duh. Next time I will definitely work on slicing it a bit thicker

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I really wish I was cool and took alot of pictures of cooking but I was so into trying not to mess this up that I didnt. Sorry guys! I salted and “sweated” the eggplant which was kind of cool bc after salting them there was alot of liquid on the trays. I washed them off and threw the eggplant on the grill since I dont have my own grill pan to work with at home. When I do this recipe next weekend my parents will have a better stocked kitchen to work with 🙂 I made the filling very easily and rolled the eggplant and covered it in sauce and the rest of the parmesan and mozzarella. I think the problem mightve been using a jarred sauce as opposed to using my own. The end result was really delicious but it was watery at the corners. Im not sure how to fix this problem but i’m hoping toying with it next weekend will give a good end result since I will be serving it to more people then my sister and my boyfriend 😉

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Oh well, at least it tasted good right?

The cats were not interested at all in me cooking, they kind of rooted from the sidelines though!

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Nina is an awesome sister! She came in with balloons and flowers to wish me luck with the race on Sunday!!

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Sorry the photo is a little blurry. Im thinking I need a new camera, now its only time to convince Kevin of the same thing…. 😉

All I can say is HELLO KITTY BALLOON!

We also listened to more awesome vinyl

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Kevin does not know how to make normal faces. I also had to fight his cheeks to make room for myself in the picture (we have a running joke about how big his cheeks are, lol!) I’m holding my sisters pillow pet. I’ve been trying to convince Kev for forever to get me a pillow pet. Luckily my birthday is coming up right? 🙂


My run yesterday felt great so I’m feeling hyped about tomorrow. My calves feel a little tight but today is all about relaxing and getting focused for tomorrow. I need to drive up to Long Island today to attend the Expo and then we can check into our hotel. My pre-race dinner is the highlight of my day even though I am not sure yet where it will be. I am sure I will be posting later especially since I still havent organized my playlist for tomorrow! *gasps*

I cant wait guys!!!

 

Have you ever made eggplant rollatini before? any tips?

Whats your favorite pre-race ritual?

Do you love my hello kitty balloons as much as I do? 🙂

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