Tuesday, November 22, 2011

church & yummy eggplant parmesan

i was reminded on sunday why it's not a good idea to take a 17 month old to church. the story, however, is worth sharing... it's that entertaining. see, i'm a first-time mom and have all of these stories so you're just going to have to listen to them.
brian had plans to go to the packer game which left me pondering what to do with my baby girl all day. and then it came to me! pancakes at the cafe down the street and church. does it get any more angelic than that? after snuggling in bed watching sprout for an hour, we ventured to the daymaker cafe just a few blocks away. it was perfect. reagan said hi to everybody who opened the door and bopped away to the tunes. we gobbled up our pancakes, blew kisses to the waitress and drove to church. now mind you, the last time i went to church was 3 months ago only to find out it's not a good idea to take a 14 month old to church. you would have thought i learned my lesson. unfortunately for me, and all at church, i did not.
upon entering i carefully assessed the best spot to sit deciding the last row wasn't necessary but maybe 6 rows up from the back? it was, however, necessary to sit on the end of the pew for quick toddler removal access. reagan sat in the pew, looked around and was enthralled with the music and all of the people. she bopped her head to "crown him with many crowns" and even clapped and yelled "yay!!" when the hymn was over. i thought to myself- this isn't so bad... i pulled out her tea party set and a book. she played away and even found a two year-old pretzel on the floor that almost made it in to her mouth. she of course stood on the pew and made her traditional ham faces to our friends behind us. then it happened. she saw the aisle and wanted out. i guarded her with my shoe and pulled out the cheerios in desperation of distraction. nope, didn't work. she wanted out. i scooped her up and went to the back of the church leaving her ample room to run around without anybody noticing. problem was she didn't want to run around in the back of the church... she wanted to run down the aisle. yep, she did it. i literally ran for dear life chasing after her. she made it about a third of the way down before i scooped her up and put her again in the back of the room. this time she headed straight for the far left aisle of the church. yep, i found myself chasing her yet again. out of the corner of my eye i saw my friend monica mouthing "it's okay", trying to make me not feel so embarrassed. truth of it was i wanted to drown myself in the wine meant for communion. i scooped her up again with no intention of putting her down, however, she wasn't having it. she ran down the center aisle. i picked her up and shuffled into our pew (trying to act as if that was the plan all along). i sat her on the pew and my darling angel threw every toy she had on the ground leaving the cute kiddos in front of us to pick up and return. of course it was offering time. i dug through my purse, sweating profusely, looking for that god forsaken envelope. meanwhile my daughter is crying and throwing a full blow tantrum. found it! it was evident reagan was no longer able to be saved. she was done. church was not her cup of tea. i made the immediate decision to run the heck out of there hoping everybody would forget what they just saw. as i put reagan's coat on she insisted on blowing kisses to the congregation excited to leave and embark on another adventure outside of the church door. lesson learned.
well, this recipe is much more enjoyable then any of the above. but let's be honest, cheese is always enjoyable. brian requests my eggplant parmesan all of the time. i finally succumbed to the pressure and gave him the deliciousness.
just a tip- when frying anything in olive oil over a saute pan be sure the pan is hot, but not too hot. if the pan is too hot, the breading will slide right off. but if the pan is not hot enough, the oil will soak into the breading and gives off that icky greasy taste. because of working in batches, this can get timely. i could see maybe one of those griddle pans that you plug in making it a quicker process?

eggplant parmesan

1 large eggplant
3 c marinara sauce
10 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (buy the big "ball" and slice into 1/2 in slices)
6 oz shredded parmesan cheese
2 c breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 c flour
3 tbs olive oil

1. slice eggplant into 1/2 in pieces keeping the skin on.
2. prepare your "dredging" bowls using 3 shallow bowls: one with the breadcrumbs, one with the beaten eggs and one with the flour.
3. salt and pepper your eggplant slices. dredge the eggplant starting with flour, then egg, the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess breading.
4. heat olive oil in a saute pan on medium heat. place 3 eggplant slices in pan. Cook for 5 minutes on both sides or until eggplant is golden brown. Repeat process with all eggplant.
5. lay several eggplant slices on bottom of a 9 x 11 glass pan. top with a few mozzarella slices and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese followed by a cup of the marinara sauce. repeat the process with remaining ingredients. (i had three layers, but yours may be different depending on how "fat" your eggplant was). be sure the last layer is: eggplant, marinara, then cheese so you can have a golden, cheesy top.
6. bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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