Thursday, November 14, 2013

barbara kafka's marinated eggplant

Several years ago, I visited London. I was staying with the family of a close friend in their lovely apartment near Green Park and one day found myself at a small bookshop in the neighborhood. Perusing the discount bin, I found a cookbook devoted entirely to microwaved foodstuffs. It was oddly riveting, with its terrible photos from the 1970s and recipes including microwaved bacon; ultimately I ended up purchasing it as a sort of gag gift for my friend's parents.

So I suppose you could say I'm a bit skeptical of microwave cooking- I didn't even have a microwave until I moved into the dorms and now that I do, I mostly just use it to reheat tea. But then I saw Barbara Kafka's recipe for microwaved eggplant in a soy sauce/ginger/rice vinegar marinade. I love eggplant but almost never cook it because it can be such a pain- you seemingly either have to drown it in olive oil and cook it to death or be satisfied with a spongy texture that squeaks terribly against your teeth when you bite into it. This seemed like a good alternative.

I marinated the eggplant for 45 minutes then covered it in plastic wrap and shoved it in the microwave. 10 minutes later, I pulled it out and had a look. The eggplant didn't cook terribly evenly- some pieces had softened but others remained resolutely raw. The sauce had formed an unappealing puddle at the bottom of the pan. I tasted one of the more cooked pieces and while it wasn't bad, strictly speaking, it wasn't anything special either. Perhaps the eggplants I used were too large? I don't know, but I admit I was disappointed- this recipe pretty much confirmed my dislike of microwaved food and left me with a pan of sodden vegetables.

Oh well.

Anyway, I'm headed up to San Francisco tomorrow and then on to Point Reyes over the weekend so hopefully I'll have something more satisfactory to share here soon. Happy Thursday.

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