YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Grandma Rosie’s Chopped Eggplant

On this Mother’s Day 2019, here is my present to you: Grandma Rosie’s Chopped Eggplant. This recipe means so much more to me than simply the sum of its ingredients. We used to make it for special holidays, and always in a big wooden bowl with what we reverently called “the chopper,” a utensil whose correct name — I have since learned — is actually “mezzaluna,” which accurately describes its half-moon shape. The bowl and its contents would pass among my grandmother and whomever else was helping out in the kitchen, each of us chopping for as long as we were able, until our chopping arm was aching and it was time for the bowl to be transferred to the next lap. We all chopped, but only Grandma Rosie decided when the eggplant was ready.
On a recent visit to Jerusalem to visit my son and daughter-in-law, who asked me to make this recipe for them to serve at a special celebration, I discovered neither wooden bowl nor mezzaluna, nor even a food processor. What to do? Improvise! I would never have guessed that I could reproduce this recipe with just a knife, fork, and cutting board, but that is exactly what happened. Grandma Rosie would have been so proud, and I like to imagine that this is how chopped eggplant was prepared (perhaps by Grandma Rosie’s own grandmother before her?) some long-ago time before wooden bowls and choppers became “de rigueur” in the Eastern European kitchen.
Note: I usually roast the eggplants the night before I plan to make the recipe, so they can cool overnight.
1. Puncture 4 med-large eggplants with a fork or knife in a few places, and roast on high heat (475F) in oven until skins are blackened and flesh is soft. Start checking after 30 minutes, but it may take up to an hour or so. Allow to cool completely.
2. Chop 6 medium yellow onions coarsely.
3. Add 4 onions worth (2/3 of the pile) to a large frying pan with generous amount of sizzling olive oil (3-4 Tbsp). Stir frequently on med to high heat until onions are clear and edges are browning. Set aside.
4. Sprinkle remaining onions with one and one-half teaspoons of salt and chop as fine as possible, even until the onions begin to become paste-like.
5. Use the back of a fork to mash the eggplant with all the onions (cooked and raw) until well mixed.
6. If you like, you can also add one-half teaspoon black pepper, or mash a couple cloves of fresh garlic with the raw onion, or sprinkle the top with parsley prior to serving. Also, use a food processor if you like, but be careful to pulse just a few times or the texture will become thick and gummy.
Serves 6-8, warm or cold.
Thank you, Grandma Rosie, and Happy Mother’s Day to you.

YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: White Beans with Roasted Tomatoes

This recipe makes a simple and lovely meal that could not be more delicious or satisfying! Like many recipes whose featured ingredient is one or more types of beans, it still tastes wonderful even if you fiddle with the ingredients a little. The name of the game is flexibility. Continue reading


Most Manufactured Salad Dressing Isn’t Food

I recently decided that it was time to look at the ingredient lists of salad dressings, whatever that means, so I picked four popular brands to examine. You will be very interested to learn what I discovered. The first ingredient in the first product I picked up, Wishbone Italian dressing, was water. Frankly, that seems like a very expensive way to buy water. And surprising, too, given that Italian dressing consists primarily (and traditionally) of olive oil and vinegar. Not Wishbone Italian dressing, though. Continue reading



YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Bamboo Rice Salad

Last week, my friend Conner brought me a container of bamboo rice, a short-grain white rice infused with chlorophyll-rich bamboo shoots to turn the rice the color of pale green jade. I had never tasted bamboo rice before, and I wanted to prepare it in a way that decreases the rate of absorption, reducing the glycemic index as it were, so as to decrease the height of the sugar spike that it might cause. Though bamboo rice is not a whole-grain product, the chlorophyll provides a different type of benefit. Continue reading



YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Red Cabbage with a Buzz

When I saw this recipe I knew it was for me. Generally speaking, cabbage is one of those foods that is very underrated — especially the red kind. This recipe is a red-green party, lunch for a week with spicy, crunchy, sour power! Make some for you, or your gang, or the office potluck! Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Spinach Pesto

Here’s a special pasta dish with a gorgeous rainbow of colors that is perfect for when you want to make a good impression on someone special. And not only is it beautiful, but it’s so, so good for you. Each and every color represents a different phytonutrient, a building block for your good health. Nourishing yourself well is like playing roulette: you’re a lot more likely to win if you spread your bets all over the table. So think of each color as a different bet. And enjoy! Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Rustic Chicken

Any minute now the tomatoes are going to begin ripening and our counters will be absolutely covered in all kinds of tomatoes, big and small, yellow and red, green and orange! If you are looking for a special recipe to use them, you’ve come to the right place! One thing that I love about this recipe is that you can do the prep work earlier in the day, set it up in no time flat, and then pull it out of the oven in time for a lovely, sunset dinner. This dish makes a great visual impression, yes, but the slow cooking process caramelizes everything to impress your taste buds just as thoroughly. Bon appetit. Continue reading


YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Creamy Dreamy Hummus

Did you know that chickpeas are a bean? And that edamame, lentils and peanuts are also members of the legume family? It’s not just kidney beans and black beans you’re after, it’s all of them! Remember that variety is an independent value when it comes to nourishing yourself. What’s the best bean? One you haven’t eaten for a while. Continue reading