Wednesday was pumpkin picking day for my kids’ preschool classes. The kids went to school in the morning and then I picked them up and took them to the farm where we met all their classmates and parents.
It was a beautiful day. To get to the pumpkins, the farmer took us on a hayride through the farm where he pointed out different aspects of farming. He showed us three different colors of cauliflower.
He showed us corn for corn syrup
and for molasses.
He showed us different types of eggplants
And he told us about how honeybees help to propagate the plants so that they bear fruit. (I mention this because he told me that a lack of bees in my garden is the reason I had many squash blossoms but no fruit. He also told me I can propagate the blossoms myself with a cotton swab. Dip the swab into the center of the male blossom (on the longer stem) and then rub it in the center female blossom (shorter stem). I have to try this next summer).
Then we got to the pumpkin patch. The pumpkins were heavily picked over, but we did manage to find some nice ones for our home. And the kids had fun riding in the wagon.
When we got back to the beginning, I took the kids inside the farmstand to look for Italian Eggplant. On the hayride, the farmer mentioned that this type of eggplant was great for Eggplant Parmesan. It has been soooo long since I made this dish, but now I had to have it. I found a beautifully round, purple, Italian Eggplant to bring home for dinner.
At home I sliced the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices and placed them flat on a baking sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Then I brushed the tops with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkled on some salt. I put the baking sheet into a preheated 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, until they had a nice color. (Remember to turn the slices over mid-way.)
While the eggplant was cooking, I grated some Locatelli Romano cheese and then put it into a mini food chopper until it was the texture of parmesan cheese. Regular parmesan would work too, but I did not have any.
Out of the oven, I poured some of my favorite pasta sauce on top of each eggplant slice. Then I sprinkled the Locatelli cheese on top, followed by a 1/4 inch slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, a sprinkling of dried basil, and more Locatelli. This went into the oven for 10 minutes, until the mozzarella melted.
I served the eggplant on top of rotelle and fusilli pasta, and added a little more sauce on top of the pasta. This was delicious, and so easy. I am going to add this to my list of dinner items to serve to the family.