On food

Eggplant roll-ups

Howdy, folks! The past few days have been absolutely chaotic, preparing for a catastrophe that was Hurricane Matthew. I don’t know what it is about coastal Virginia, but we sure do dodge a lot of bullets when it comes to natural disasters. Am I right, or am I right? They always seem to brush on the Carolinas before changing directions or weakening immensely before heading over us. I am not complaining. The last time I remember my area getting REALLY messed up was back in 2003(?) during Hurricane Isabel. We left our house to go stay further inland, only to return afterwards to find a hauntingly scary ghost of what used to be our neighborhood. I remember all the trees that had fallen down- the entire area looked empty without them. The sand that filled the streets. The water damage on our house. The power that we didn’t have for TWO WEEKS. The FEMA trucks that came by each day, handing out food, water, and cleaning supplies. It was madness. A time that I will never, ever forget.

Each hurricane season, I try to prepare myself for the worst. You really never know when your hometown will be the unlucky one and when you live on the coast, it’s best to be as equipped as possible.

I feel so tremendously lucky to live in an area that wasn’t shook by Matthew. Sure, we had some major flooding and power outages, but things could have been so SO SO SO much worse. I’m forever kissing the ground.

My heart is heavy for those that weren’t as lucky. Some people, who already have so little, losing it all- it just isn’t fair. The images, stories.. hell, just the thoughts alone rip me apart. Sending each and every one of you all my love and positive vibrations.

If any of my readers are interested in helping those who have been affected by the storm, you can:

1-DONATE MONEY AND/OR SUPPLIES- Before donating, look up your charity. Make sure you know where your aid is going. Not all charities give 100% of their profits out. Keep that in mind.

2-VOLUNTEER- depending on where you’re located, volunteer work varies. A simple google search should bring up a list for ya! (Thank goodness for Google.)

3-DONATE BLOOD-For those who don’t have extra time, supplies or money on hand, but still want to help, The Red Cross offers volunteers the opportunity to donate their blood. And if you’re one of those godly bastards with Type O blood, you better make an appointment ASAP. The world needs you.

 

All of this is completely unrelated to the recipe, but it needed to be said. Thanks for sticking with me.

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Ingredients:
Eggplant-
1 large eggplant, thinly slice (about 1/2 inch)
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Heat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant slices along a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use pastry brush to cover slices in a thin layer of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Cook in oven for *about ten minutes* (until soft and slightly burnt- cooking for too long will make the eggplant impossible to roll).

Sauce-
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
2 cups of stewed tomatoes
sea salt & pepper

Heat oil in pan, add in garlic, onion and chili powder. Let roast for a few minutes before adding tomatoes, salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 20 minutes.

Stuffing-
1/2 cup couscous
1 tsp dried oregano
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (save some for topping)
1 clove garlic
1/2 yellow onion
2 tbsp capers, (drained of vinegar)
1 egg

Cook couscous according to preference. (I always use 1/2 cup of water for every 1 cup of dried couscous, adding in a teaspoon of olive oil. Bring water w/ oil to a boil before adding in couscous, covering and setting aside from heat for ten minutes before fluffing.) Add all ingredients EXCEPT FOR EGG in a mixing bowl and stir. Add in the egg and gently kneed it together with the rest of the stuffing using your hands.

Throwing this bad boy together:

Place the grilled eggplant slices, one by one, in front of you. Add a tablespoon of stuffing at the bottom of it and roll up lengthwise away from you. Put each roll on a greased baking pan. Top with tomato sauce, remaining crumbled feta, drizzle with a tad more olive oil and sprinkle with dried oregano. Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

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Happy eating!

XOXO,

Nando

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