As a busy New Yorker, I am constantly on the go. That’s why when I was forced to stay indoors for a full 24hrs as hurricane Sandy made her way through the concrete jungle, I was not a happy camper.
I did my best to keep myself entertained; from reading, to painting, to cleaning and cooking before eventually braving the winds and hitting up the corner bar with a few friends. We were fortunate enough in midtown east to have full power and little to no effects from the cane.
However, many were not as lucky.
I know I’ll be doing my best to volunteer and help rebuild what’s left of downtown NYC and surrounding areas. An easy way to help? Text REDCROSS to 90999, which donates $10 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief for Sandy.
It’s been a long couple of days but I did manage to cook up a gluten-free eggplant parm dish from glutenfreegirl.com while stuck indoors:
My photo may not look as pretty as hers, but it tasted pretty good.
2 large eggplants
2 cups neutral-tasting oil, such as sunflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 red pepper, top taken off, seeds removed, and sliced thin
1 cup basil leaves, sliced thin
1 quart thick tomato sauce (if your bottled sauce is too thin, let it simmer until it thickens)
12 ounces fresh mozzarella
2 cups grated Parmesan
2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
Preparing the eggplant. Take the tops off the eggplants. Slice the eggplants into 1-inch slices. Scatter salt over the eggplant slices liberally. Let the eggplant slices sit for 1 hour.
Preparing to cook. Heat the oven to 425°.
Frying the eggplant. Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in the sunflower oil. When the oil is hot — put a drop of water in the oil and watch it sizzle — lay 4 to 5 of the eggplant slices in the skillet. (Do not overcrowd the pan. You’re going to have to do this in batches anyway.) Fry the eggplant until the bottoms are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the eggplant slices and brown the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove the eggplant slices from the oil and lay them down on paper-towel-covered plates. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, in batches.
(You can save the sunflower oil in a big jar for the next time you fry something.)
Cooking the vegetables. Set that skillet, drained of the oil, onto medium-high heat. Pour in the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, and peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the basil and stir until the scent of the basil releases into the room, about 1 minute.
Heating the tomato sauce. Meanwhile, in another pan, heat up the tomato sauce until it is simmering.
Building the final dish. Ladle enough tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 9×13 casserole pan to cover entirely. Arrange slices of eggplant on top of the sauce. Add a layer of the onion-pepper mixture. Ladle more sauce on top. Make a layer of the mozzarella slices. Add the sliced tomatoes, the last of the sauce, and the parmesan cheese.
Baking the eggplant parmesan. Put the pan onto a baking sheet. (Ideally, you cover the baking sheet with parchment paper too. We had just run out.) Slide it into the oven. Bake until all the cheeses and sauce are bubbling and hot, about 25 minutes. Pull it out of the oven to cool. Serve within a few moments.
After eating leftover eggplant parm for 3 days straight, we were beyond estactic to get out of our apartment yesterday and actually eat at a restaurant. Although fortunately we live in midtown east and had electricity, unfortunately the entire NYC population without power headed to our area to camp out – which meant painfully long waits at nearby restaurants.
After an hour wait, we sat down to dine at Angelo’s Pizza.
They don’t have gluten-free pizza (which I know since my office orders from here once a week), but they do have good salads. After hunkering up eating candy and junk the last few days, I happily ordered a salad.
Rest of the table:
Hopefully everyone weathered the storm okay. My thoughts are with the many families affected by this disaster.