Let’s face it: nearly 75% of the social overtures we make are completely false. We don’t want to see you at our homes, and you don’t want to come either. The lunches and dinners and drinks we insist on planning will never happen. Why? Because for some odd reason we can’t seem to tell people how we really feel about them. What happened to good old fashioned honesty?
“I would love to come over this weekend, but your house smells like cat pee-oh, and you can’t cook.”
Over the course of a month, we probably make about five to ten different plans with people we assume will never pan out. So what do you do when someone finally bites the bait? The answer: panic.
So here’s the scene: it’s Friday night, you’ve just come home from work, and you have Bob and Linda, the cat-pee couple, coming over for dinner. You don’t really have much time to cook, but you don’t want to look a like a slacker for ordering carry-out either. The trick is to compromise. Make an impressive appetizer, serve it with wine, and top the evening off with delicious take-out. At least you did something on such short notice.
Eggplant Crostini with Feta Cheese is a savory, spicy, and tangy first course that goes wonderfully with white wine. Simply roast a whole, peeled eggplant with cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, then toss it into a food processor and puree. Toast thin slices of French Baguette drizzled with olive oil, and spread the eggplant puree on top. Finish with some crumbled fresh feta or goat cheese and final dash of chopped herbs and serve!
You might not be able to avoid the Bob and Lindas of the world, or their same five stories about Pottery Barn , but you can have something delicious to eat along the way.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1 medium-large eggplant (peeled and cubed)
freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 cloves garlic
freshly squeezed lemon juice
handful fresh italian parsley or cilantro
1 French Baguette (thinly sliced)
about 3 oz feta cheese (crumbled) – can be substituted with goat cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice French Baguette thinly and brush with olive oil on both sides. Line onto baking sheet and toast in oven for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. In the meantime, peel eggplant and chop into 1 inch cubes. Spread out over another baking sheet, drizzling with olive oil and seasoning liberally with salt and pepper. Add one teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1-2 cloves smashed garlic. Toss well.
Once bread is done, remove from oven and set aside. Increase temperature to 425 and roast eggplant for about 30 minutes or until fully cooked and slightly charred. Toss eggplant into food processor and puree until smooth. Fold in fresh chopped herbs and a healthy squeeze of lemon juice. Check for seasonings and re-season with salt and pepper if desired.
To assemble crostini, simply spread each slice of bread with eggplant mixture, top with feta or goat cheese, and serve. Enjoy!