The garden of cooking class menus

Basil

Basil

The humid heat finally broke here in Nashville. I can have breakfast on the patio while working on menus for my fall cooking classes. This time I’ve tapped my mom’s culinary imagination for suggestions. She makes suggestions on a daily basis anyway letting me know how she cooked the sausages, or eggplant, or mozzarella we bought together the other day.

My simple, yet perfect, breakfast that I’m eating out here this morning has her influence, too. With my scrambled eggs packed with feta cheese, I’m having beautiful fresh mozzarella and sliced campari tomatoes with basil from the garden, from a plant growing right across from me.

IMG_3250

Breakfast: feta eggs, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil

My mom bought a 2-pack of creamy mozzarella logs at Costco yesterday and sent me home with one. She just wrote me this morning to say it tastes so good. I’m enjoying these 2 precious slices. Plus some grapes and cherries she insisted I take home “to eat while I’m reading.”

Mom, garden, cool but-still-summery weather: perfect inspiration for my fall menus!

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint

Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme

Fig Tree

Fig Tree

Grilled Eggplant Parmigiano

All you need is a grill and a food processor. No need to turn on stove or oven.

Slice your eggplant into medium thin slices. Brush with olive oil, season with salt & pepper. Grill until softened, imprinted with grill lines, and even charred a bit. Also grill two big tomatoes sliced in half, 1 large onion, peeled and sliced in half, and 2-3 cloves of garlic (keep them together so they don’t fall through the grill or hold together with skewer). Pulse the grilled tomatoes, onion, and peeled grilled garlic cloves in the food processor until you have a smooth sauce (or chunky if you like). Season with salt & pepper. Spoon some sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish (I use an alimunum one since it’s going back on the grill). Place a layer of eggplant slices on top, spoon some sauce, sprinkle grated parmigiano, scatter cubes or slices of mozzarella. Repeat in one or two more layers. Place back on a very low grill (or use top grate away from direct heat if you have one). Close cover and cook until cheese melts and is bubbling.

Now pour a glass of cool Italian white wine (Frascati? Pinot Grigio? Soave?) and enjoy…preferably outoors in a garden fragrant with basil and ripening figs. 🙂