A cool rainy night called for some comfort food and an idle evening by the fire. I remembered an eggplant and potato moussaka a friend had once made and thought, perfect. She graciously passed along her recipe and after procuring the proper ingredients we set off to the kitchen.
With some Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars jamming in the background we started on the first ingredient, tomato sauce. We tossed three large tomatoes into a blender, added a few cloves of garlic and an onion and blended them all together. The mixture was then poured into a pot and brought to a boil on the stove while mixing in some fresh basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper. The sauce was reduced to a simmer and we let it bubble and burn off some of the liquid for about 35 minutes.
While the sauce was on the stove we prepped the eggplants and zucchini by slicing and lightly salting them in a colander to let them sweat out some of the moisture. They sat for about 20 minutes.
Our consensus was that next time we will probably make the eggplant slices a bit thinner for better distribution, but the chubbier slices were delicious as well.
While we were waiting for the sauce to reduce, we had some time to kill and a lot of extra basil, so we decided to go ahead and make some homemade pesto. It was so easy and so delicious that I may never buy pesto again. We blended 2 cups of fresh basil with 1/4cup of pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves and about ½ cup of olive oil then added some salt and pepper to taste and finally threw in ½ cup of grated parmesan. It made for an amazing hors d’oeuvre with the baguette and assortment of cheese we conveniently had on hand. True idle living…
After snacking for a bit, we began to prepare the potatoes by slicing them thinly. The slice size was on point.
It was time for assembly so we lightly oiled a 12 x 10 inch pan and sprinkled the bottom with bred crumbs. We then did a layer of potatoes over the crumbs followed by a layer of eggplant and a layer of sauce. The sauce was covered with the beautiful green zucchini and a layer of cheese, a mixture of grated fontina and parmesan. The first cheese layer was topped off with the leftover eggplant (you can throw in zucchini if you have extra as well), topped off with a final layer of potatoes covered in sauce and finished with more cheese and breadcrumbs. The visual progression:
The work of art was put in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 hour until it was “brown and bubbling” as per our instructions. We popped open a bottle of 2009 Idle Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, toasted to a job well done, and promptly followed our last instruction, “devour.”
Thank you to Eve for the delicious recipe and inspiration. To all of you fellow idlers out there, may your next idle meal be just as sweet.