Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jeff Markowitz' Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

I'm back from ALA. The crowd cheered and cheered when YALSA President Kim Patton announced our Edwards Award winner - Sir Terry Pratchett! More on that after this month of spicy celebration, but I am still on a high note from that experience. I'm also delighted to see that eating before I write is the way to go. I wonder if eating before going anywhere, before watching TV (and also during), eating while listening to audiobooks, etc. is also correct. Thanks to Jeff Markowitz for this fabulous recipe and wonderful quotes!-AA

I was browsing recently through Rules of Thumb, one of my favorite books about writing (Martone, Michael, and Susan Neville. Rules of Thumb: 73 Authors Reveal Their Fiction Writing Fixations. Cincinnati, Ohio: Writer's Digest Books, 2006). I was surprised to notice how many of the authors’ writing routines involve food. Joan Silber confesses, “I always eat before I write.” M.T. Anderson is more specific. “You must eat broccoli before you begin.”

John Barth advises “Regularity is as helpful with the muse as with the bowels.” In consideration of such advice, I offer up my recipe for Stuffed Eggplant.


2 eggplants

1 lb. ground beef (you can substitute ground chicken or if you prefer a vegetarian stuffed eggplant, substitute portabella mushrooms)

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 sweet onion, finely chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 can San Marzano diced tomatoes

½ tsp. thyme

½ tsp. Igo basque red pepper (or substitute ground cayenne pepper)

Hot sauce to taste (for this recipe, I recommend Cholula Original Hot Sauce or Sylvia’s Kicking Hot Hot Sauce)

½ cup breadcrumbs

¼ cup butter, melted

Olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving ¼ inch thick shells. Dice the pulp.

2. Sauté the beef (or chicken, or portabella mushrooms) with garlic in olive oil until browned. Add onion, green pepper, celery and diced eggplant and cook about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper, red pepper, thyme and hot sauce. Let cook another few minutes.

4. Spoon the mixture into the eggplant shells. Combine the breadcrumbs and the melted butter and sprinkle over the stuffed eggplants. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. (If there’s leftover stuffing, and there probably will be, it makes a great munch while you wait for the stuffed eggplants to come out of the oven).

Jeff Markowitz ( is the author of the Cassie O'Malley Mysteries, an amateur sleuth series set deep in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  Tabloid reporter and amateur sleuth Cassie O’Malley investigates a double homicide at the Mall of New Jersey in Jeff’s latest release, the Christmas mystery, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Murder.  Jeff is a proud member of Sisters in Crime, Authors for Libraries and the Mystery Writers of America. 


Molly MacRae said...

I'm not only going to make the stuffed eggplant (vegetarian version) but also find Rules of Thumb. Thanks, Jeff!

Lucy said...

This looks absolutely delicious! I just might try it. Besides the portobella mushrooms, what else do you suppose would be a good meatless substitute?

i._o._w. of Xanga said...

a recipe for success... I'm glad you didn't include a dead body in this one.

Jeff Markowitz said...

Lucy, you could use squash. Or a mixture of mushrooms. Or rice.

i._o._w., where do you think the ground beef comes from?

Molly, one more great quote from Rules of Thumb, one of my favorites that has nothing to do with food "You must know the rules. You must be on friendly, even intimate, terms with them. That way you can take one aside some evening, slip away for a few drinks, invite the rule back to your place, and then gently and with great tenderness violate the hell out of it." (Jay Brandon)

Molly MacRae said...

Lucy, Morningstar Farms makes a good fake Italian sausage. If you're not opposed to meat flavor in your meatless Stuffed Eggplant, you could crumble up three or four of them in place of the ground beef.

Anonymous said...

That sounds awesome. I'm going to try the veggie version--or use ground turkey. :-) ~Ali

Molly MacRae said...

Hah! The Brandon quote is great, Jeff!

Beth said...

I love Eggplant,this looks great,San Marzano tomatoes make everything good!