Personal Essay: Roasted Eggplant With Tomatoes And Mint

Submitted By Venkatesh-Gorur
Words: 1524
Pages: 7

roasted eggplant with tomatoes and mint

One of the things I’ve been fiddling around with last year is the idea of making bruschetta without, you know, bread. I shared a Thanksgiving-inspired version last November, but was itching for a late summer spin on it when I created this. I’m the kind of person who would happily eat appetizers for dinner any day — I’m pretty sure if I had nobody else to feed, I’d have subsisted on nothing but pan con tomate, blistered padrons, pink wine and Gossip Girl season one reruns the entire month of August — but it doesn’t really cut it with a family of three.

Instead, I spend a lot of time throwing things together for the sake of being a grown-up, a grown-up who doesn’t really have an excuse (such as, she hates cooking or doesn’t know how to cook, etc.) not to make dinner but still forgot to make it again, and quite often, these meals involve some element of roasting the bleep out of well-seasoned vegetables high heat cookery. For the kid, that usually suffices but we grownups get bored more easily, and it’s from that boredom that I started making small, finely chopped and loudly flavored salads and spooning them on top of my roasted vegetable du jour. In this case, it’s eggplant with a Mediterranean-ish topping. We found it completely addictive and less heavy somehow than eating the same on pieces of toast.

This recipe also shows up in the September issue of Everyday Food magazine. One sweltering morning in July, a team of people showed up to my apartment to take pictures of me making this dish. It was kind of an unusual experience, to say the least, as my apartment is tiny, my kitchen is tinier and while the sum total of things I use to take pictures for this site are 1. A counter. 2. A window. 3. A camera, it turns out things are a tad more elaborate among professionals.

This probably explains why magazine photos are consistently shiny, pretty and well-executed and I get away with ones that are more… “rustic”! So I thought I’d share some neurotic drivel stories about that day, and please, please feel free to skip this part if you understandably never wanted to hear about my lack of fashion sense. First, I should probably explain something that might already be obvious from the lack of photos of me on this site: man, do I hate having my picture taken! I totally panic. “Cameras steal souls, don’t they?” my face always appears to say as I smiled awkwardly. They offered to send over hair and makeup people and I was like, “Oh, ha ha, that’s too high maintenance for me.” [You know, because having your photo in a hugely circulated magazine is a great time to show off how low-maintenance you can be!] I vow to be nothing but high-maintenance from this point forward in fact, I’d like someone to come over right now and make my hair look pretty. Wait, it doesn’t work like that? Drat.

The second thing I should probably explain is that [shockingly] I’m also not exactly a fashion plate. Sometimes I dream about hiring a stylist because I’m so bad at shopping for myself (the last time I counted, had six denim and four corduroy skirts in my closet) but then I realized they’d probably talk me into buying a ridiculously overpriced orange shawl that I’d never actually wear, and I go back to shopping for myself, likely for more denim skirts. Why am I sharing this sad tidbit? Because the day of the shoot, I wore one of my typically innovative outfits (ha) to greet the team at the door and was met with a “So! Let’s go to your closet and pick out an outfit for the shoot, something colorful.” I nervously led them to my closet where they, to their credit, didn’t say a word about the corduroy skirt situation but picked out the one single solitary bright, colorful item within (a dress) and then asked which apron I wanted to wear. It turned out that I also do not own an apron, or I do, but I didn’t know where it was because I hadn’t used it in so many years which sent this team on a 9 a.m apron hunt through Lower