Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

Snowy Eggplant Parmesan December 19, 2008

Filed under: Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 4:01 pm
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I once lasted through a freak snowstorm in North Carolina, where it snowed an unheard-of two feet and everyone lost power, with a huge pan of eggplant parmesan. My truck was stuck in a snowdrift, and the two plows that the town of Chapel Hill found somewhere took their time to get to our little street, so I ate a lot of eggplant parmesan. I still love it though.
2 lbs. eggplant
parmesan cheese
one onion
a ton of garlic
red wine
red pepper


First slice a pile of eggplants into very, very thin rounds. Make breadcrumb mixture. This can be made from homemade breadcrumbs (toast stale bread until quite dead—but check for mold first), bought breadcrumbs, crushed-up cornflakes, wheat germ, anything. I usually use a combination of bought breadcrumbs and cornmeal. Add parmesan cheese, parsley, and rosemary to your breadcrumb mixture. Set up your breading station. You will need: a saucer or shallow bowl of milk, a bowl of your breadcrumb mixture in all of its improvised glory, the pile of sliced eggplant, and a cookie sheet that has been rubbed lovingly with olive oil. Dip both sides of the eggplant firmly in the milk and then in the breadcrumbs. Place on cookie sheet, overlapping slightly. Put the eggplant under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the eggplant becomes crispy. Turn once, during the broiling process.


Preheat the oven to 350.


Next, make the sauce. Fry up an onion and a ton of garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat. When the onion starts to get limp, add fresh rosemary, parsley, oregano, and pepper. Saute for a few minutes and then deglaze the pan with last night’s red wine. Add a quart of your home-canned tomatoes. Add a red pepper. Simmer until you can’t stand it any longer.


Slice up your fresh mozzarella. You definitely need to try a few pieces to make sure it’s OK to serve to your loved ones. Stir some parsley in your ricotta cheese.


Set up your layering station. Slosh some sauce at the bottom of a casserole pan. Add eggplant, sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella until you reach the top of the pan or run out of ingredients. Save a little parmesan for the top. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F, or until cheese gets all sizzly.


The preheated stove will warm your kitchen. Drink some of that wine. Eat your eggplant parmesan. Wait out the snowstorm in style.




Time flies when you aren’t posting December 17, 2008

Filed under: Drinking Locally,Ethical Eating,Regional food — blueheronlocal @ 2:16 pm

No egrets and I are about to embark on another crazy tour of the eastern seaboard in service of preserving family relations (one hopes). As we all know it is hard to eat locally (in New England) in the winter. It is also hard to eat locally on the road and while staying with relatives.


A few words of advice: Try to find local food in the places where you are visiting. Eat the local specialties .No egrets is from east/central Pennsylvania, land of strange meats, and when we visit we head over to the local orchards and butchers. In Virginia, we eat as many biscuits as humanely possible. We drink Starr Hill Dark Star Stout and stock up on local apples as well. (Some of us, ahem, are really obsessed by local apples.)


And, above all, support your local businesses. Even if they get their apples from New Zealand or their toys from China, local businesses often are the first ones to respond to local trends. Put your money back into the communities, rather than in the pockets of executives who fly their private jets wherever they go.

-soapbox brought to you today by goldlentil


First Ever Musical Blog Post December 8, 2008

Filed under: food culture,Terroir — blueheronlocal @ 5:41 pm
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We’re back from our decidedly nonlocal Thanksgiving. Culinary highlights include salad with pork (hello, southern cooking!), cornbread stuffing with sausage, the Continental Divide (tuna tostada and a mango/jalapeno quesadilla), inedible burritos on the highway, and scrapple.


I started this post days ago. That would be before my computer experienced wholesale failure. Well, I’ve been a bit demoralized since then, and it’s only 15 degrees outside, so I’d like to include my two favorite ridiculous food songs to cheer myself (and you??) up.


The first one was obviously composed under the influence. However, love Townes Van Zandt, love his ridiculous, drunken moments. And I do love Townes Van Zandt. You should be able to listen to Squash, here. It’s everything your inner-eight-year-old boy could desire.


My other favorite food song speaks to your inner fifties housewife. I’m pretty sure I don’t have an inner fifties housewife, but this song cracks me up anyway. Here it is: the one and only Lime Jello, Marshmallow, Cottage Cheese Surprise! (You should hear my eleven-year-old niece’s interpretation. It’s classic.)


Enjoy and don’t hesitate to send me your favorite ridiculous food songs in revenge.