Posts tagged eggplant

Burning Eyes

Yesterday I posted this long list of everything I wanted to accomplish this summer. I included a list of books I planned to finish or to start and finish.  Well, being the obsessive book reader that I am, when I come across cheap books at discount retailers I always look through, never really expecting to find anything.  Of course, yesterday I found The Tea House on Mulberry Street, by Sharon Owens for 3 dollars at Big Lots. I had just finished the Uglies on the bus on the way over, so I picked up this book thinking I’d at least start it on the way back.  It sounded cute and quick. It’s about a tea shop in Belfast and the lives of its married owners and various patrons. For a bargain book, it drew me in pretty quickly.  There’s a particularly funny story line about a starving art student who write love letters to Nicholas Cage. I went through my British Chick Lit phase (thank you Bridgette Jones) and thought this would be in that vein.  It wasn’t.  The Irish spin on the story and the multiple story lines made it more interesting.  So of course, I ended up starting and finishing it yesterday, even though it wasn’t on my list.

When I finished that books, I felt guilty that it wasn’t on my list, so I finished the Einstein book. I’m going to put that one in my class library.  I think my students would be interested in the science behind what happens in the kitchen.

Okay, so onto the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. I won’t spend too much time with this one because it wasn’t so good.  I understand that it was written for young adults, and I will put it in my classroom library- I know a bunch of students that would like it. It was boring and trite and the characters and dialogue were uninteresting.  I couldn’t care less about their struggles with being pretty and stupid or being ugly but with their mind intact. It’s unfortunate that books like this are written for young readers, because everything felt so dumbed down. If we challenge kids to read interesting books that spark the imagination, we’ll hook more readers earlier- maybe we won’t lose the battle to video games so often. But in fairness, here is the cover and the link:

Malinche by Laura Esquivel is my next book to finish.  It’s a short 190 pages.  She wrote Like Water for Chocolate ( I read that one in it’s original Spanish in high school for a book report and saw the movie-so great!). In college I majored in archaeology and focused on Mesoamerican studies.  I’ve always been interested in Mexican ancient history, so this book appeals to me on subject alone.  Malinche is a figure in Mexican history who is both honored and despised.  She is known as a traitor (in fact, in Mexico, a malinche is a traitor) because she was Cortez’s lover and translator which supposedly helped him defeat her people. I’m only into the book about 20 pages, where Malinalli is born and being presented to the Gods. Even in that short time I’m in love with the book.  The writing is vivid and lyrical.  An illustrator drew pictures for the beginnings of each chapter in the Codex style- Aztecs kept history in drawing form, and Malinalli grows up to be a Codex painter. The dust cover of the book is actually a folded up poster of all the illustrator’s drawings that tell the life of Esquivel’s Malinche.

Before I did all that reading yesterday, I collaged (that’s not a word, is it?) my lesson plan book for this school year.  I’m not so into the teachery designs and decor of most teacher-related products.  No apples, or themed sweaters for me. If I have to look at this book everyday from September to June, I’m going to make it pretty:

And for dinner- Stuffed Eggplants.  My own recipe, so no VT links today.  I started by making stuffing from the crusts I cut off of the Egg nests from yesterday.  I put them in the toaster over at 400 for about minutes then mixed them with margarine and an egg white and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic and set aside.  Then I preheated the big oven to 350 and sliced three small eggplants ( I don’t know what you call them, they’re not the big squash size ones, but they weren’t the mini fingerling size, either) in half and scraped out the flesh, leaving about 1/8 inch left on the skin.  Then I popped the skins on a cookie sheet and baked about 15 minutes.  While they were baking I sauteed the eggplant flesh, half a small onion, scallions, an heirloom tomato, a cup of spinach, and the stuffing and added seasoning.  Then I pulled the skins out, mixed in some feta cheese with the eggplant mixture and spooned it into the skins.  I put everything back in the oven for about 10 minutes.  It turned out pretty yummy.  I liked the saltiness of the feta with eggplant.


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I stopped in at Tuesday Morning on the way home from work.  I had been a few weeks ago and there was a crazy amount of scrap booking paper.  Having not discovered my beloved Cricut at that point, I dismissed those crazy scrapbookers and their fancy paper. Now, of course I had to have it.  So I went in and walked out with two big packs of paper- one plain card stock in varying pretty colors and the other scrapbooking paper in stripes, dots and patterns, a collection of ribbon (6 packs were tied together for $2.99 and I can use this for my crochet, too, so you can see how one must buy that), a package of natural beads, because I also found a package of jewelry clasps- earrings, necklace and bracelet clasps (again, $2.99), and finally two books, both $4.99- one on scrapbooking and one on embroidery.  Here’s a picture of the loot:

I haven’t cross stitched since I was a kid making a Christmas ornament from a pattern, but a few months ago I saw Julie Jackson’s book Subversive Cross Stitch and inspired me to take up stitching. Since then I’ve found a ton of cool embroidery books.

In other gluttonous news, the dinner I made Wednesday and that we ate leftovers of on Thursday turned out delish.  It all started from a recipe that I found for eggplant pita sandwiches.  It involved eggplant, tomatoes, brown rice and seasonings in a pita.  When I showed it to my husband we were confused about the brown rice and pita, so I was going to make the eggplant and tomato and just put it over rice. Then we got to talking about how much we liked stuffing and tomato sauce from when I redid an arancini recipe, so together my husband and I designed what will henceforth be known as eggplant stuffing.  Sliced and sauteed mini eggplants, onion, diced no-salt added canned tomatoes and some liquid (I’d use fresh next time) and carrots- added pepper and pizza seasoning. Prepared cornbread stuffing in the microwave.  Greased a  square pan, put in the stuffing and poured the eggplant mix on top.  Baked for 20 minutes at 375.  It was quite good, though probably more of a fall dinner- gorgeous colors- purple, orange, red, yellow.  We had it with our last bottle of Artiste wine.  Artiste is this little winery in Santa Inez that has a gallery of artists who paint with wine.  Their bottles are sealed with melted wax and their wine is robust and delicious.

I finished And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie this morning.  I started it yesterday on the bus to work, and since two buses that morning passed up the stop, I had a good long time to read. I figured it was the Judge by about half way through, mostly because the whole tone of the book was judgment and he was the only one who didn’t receive a note from Owens, but when the last person died, I wasn’t sure. It was okay and I can see how back in the 30s when the books were published it would have been quite the story.  I think I’m jaded by all the procedurals on TV nowadays. I’d read more by her- it was quick and easy and I love the old sense of propriety,

And lastly, I finished the baby hat to match the blanket.  I also tried a bootie (sock), but it turned out too big.  The yarn I was using was over for a blanket and heavier hat, but the booties will have to be thinner yarn. I’m posting the hat, which I think is just adorable and a picture of the bootie, for laughs.

This weekend I plan on starting Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies.  The first in his sci-fi young adult trilogy about a place where 16 year olds get an operation to become pretty and begin their fabulous lives.  Some kids don’t want to to be pretty and live life outside the pretty world.  It reminds me of that Twilight Zone epirsode where the woman wakes up from surgery and everyone is in the shadows and they all gasp at how ugly she is and then they’re revealed to be “ugly” pig-like creatures  and she’s this “gorgeous” human and the moral of the story is… “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” It’s a little over 400 pages, but big font and large margins lead me to believe I have it done by Tuesday.

I also plan on doing some cricut-ing this weekend!  Hello lovely paper!

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