Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My son's Essay "My Idea of a Good Meal"

Today I received an unexpected little blessing from my oldest son.  While doing work in his Grammar and Composition, he was asked to write a short composition.  I was busy helping his brother when he must have placed the paper in my stack of papers at the dining room table where we sit during school.  I looked down and read his paper.  Keeping in mind that he's a real boy and not given to being really mushy, I knew how much love was in it and immediately teared up because it was so sweet.


Here is his composition word for word:
"My Idea of a Good Meal"
by (son's name)


        "Some people might say a good meal comes from Grandma.  Some might name The Olive Garden, or so-and-so's Pizza Place.  Maybe a good meal springs from an heirloom recipe handed down from this ancestor or that great-great-grandmother. To such suggestions I calmly hold up my hand and shake my head.  I declare proudly that I have a good, good meal at least every day in my own house, in nearly every conceivable cuisine, by one person: my mom.
        
        Every original recipe I eat is from her head.  Take last night, for example.  She made up a delicious eggplant lasagna or something. I'm not exactly sure what it was.  Ask her; it's her recipe.  All I know is that that recipe could start its own class of food.  That's only one recipe out of hundreds; you may take your pick.
       
        Could such a person have a flaw?  Of course -- a major one: she never writes the recipes down!  So what's my idea of a good meal?  Whatever comes out of my mom's kitchen at lunch, dinner, or breakfast-time is what I say is a better-than-good meal."




Is that sweet or what?  I immediately thought of Proverbs 31:28, "Her children arise up, and call her blessed, her husband also and he praiseth her."  My family loves my cooking, and often raves about what I make and I have really learned to enjoy preparing meals and treats for them.  But when it's put in writing like that, when my son could have chosen any topic he wanted, it is a deep honor. 
He's right - I forget to write down my recipes a lot.  Mostly because I create them from what is available in the refrigerator at the time. Years ago, I observed and learned from my dad, who is a great cook, how to use up leftovers.  So I really love to use up leftovers creatively.  (Shhh - my family can rarely tell when I do.)


Last night I strayed from my planned menu because I had some delicious spaghetti sauce leftover and wanted to use it up.  I have no problem straying from my menu because it is there for me not the other way around. I won't be "slave" to it. :)


Here's my recipe:


Eggplant Roll-ups


Ingredients

2 medium eggplants
2 eggs
1 package unsalted saltine crackers, crushed (I whirl mine in a mini-processor)
Olive Oil
8 oz. Cream cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella, divided
1/2 grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
Sea salt,
Savory and marjoram (optional)


1) Thinly slice 2 eggplants lengthwise (season each slice with Celtic sea salt)
2) Dip each slice in egg then cracker crumbs and fry in olive oil till lightly brown (in batches). 
3) mix spinach, cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan with a generous dash each of savory, sea salt, and marjoram.
4) Place a dollop of the cheese mixture in the center of each breaded eggplant slice and roll ends toward center (overlap ends).
5) Place each roll seam-side down in greased 13x9" baking dish.
6) Spread spaghetti sauce over each bundle.
7) Top with remaining shredded mozzarella and Parmesan


Bake 350 for 25 minutes or until heated through.  Makes 12 bundles in the pan (and three that don't fit for the fridge or a snack for the cook!)  :)


Now I can tell my son I wrote that one down!

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