Let it Simmer

Today was one of those days when I am too lazy to get up and find new batteries, so instead I swap batteries between my TV remote and DVD remote to avoid getting out of bed.

But alas, I have obligations. I had to work out, clean my apartment, wash my hair and so on, and of course, eat. But I didn’t feel like standing in the kitchen all day or spending a hour prepping some fancy meal. Nor washing dishes.

I made three very simple, flavorful things in just over 90 minutes, prep time included, which freed me up to do other stuff so that when everything was done I could eat and go right back to being lazy.

Here’s how my day shaped up:

First, I pre-heated my oven to 375. Cut 8 Roma tomatoes into fourths, sliced a large carrot and 1/2 of a yellow onion. Oiled (with olive oil) a baking pan and dumped all that stuff in. Spread it out, drizzled more oil on top. Added three
garlic cloves salt, pepper and fresh thyme, gave it one last toss then covered with foil and put it in the oven. Hold that thought…


Then I sliced one package of fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms, set them aside. Sliced the other half of my onion and minced two cloves of garlic. Reserved a tsp. of my fresh thyme and set aside. To a stock pot I heated (medium heat) 2 tbs of olive oil. Dumped my onions in, let them cook for about 3 minutes, added my fresh thyme and garlic and 1/2 cup of pearl barley, and let it cook for another 3 minutes. Poured in 4 cups of stock; recipe calls for beef, I used mushroom. Added my sliced
Mushrooms, a tbs of tomato paste and a table spoon of balsamic vinegar with one bay leaf. Bring to a boil then add salt (about a tsp) and turn the heat down.


Then I sliced an eggplant. Cracked and mixed two eggs in a bowl and poured about a cup and a half of Italian bread crumbs into a separate bowl. To the bread crumbs I added a half cup of grated Parmesan, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp of dried oregano and 1/2 tsp of dried basil. I oiled a cookie sheet with olive oil, dredged my eggplant through egg then bread crumb mixture and laid the breaded egg plant flat on the cookie sheet. Popped it in the oven with my tomatoes, which coincidentally already had my kitchen smelling magical.

Then I load my dishwasher… I can smell my eggplant after about 20 minutes so I pull it out. It’s golden brown and crisp. In a baking pan I pour 1/2 cup of my favorite chunky tomato sauce, then lay my breaded egg plant, then sprinkle mozzarella, Parmesan and repeat. Sauce, eggplant, cheese. Put it back in the oven.


I put in my workout DVD and struggle for the next forty minutes. I turn my oven off, but leave it closed after 25 minutes, pull my tomatoes out. Finish working out.

By that time, my egg plant parm is perfect. Cheese melted, bubbling and golden brown on top. My mushroom and barley soup is also perfect. My barley is puffed up and tender.



Lastly, I put my roasted tomatoes, onions and carrots in my blender/ food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste, a tbs of tomato paste and a tbs of fresh or dried basil. Pulse, pulse, pulse, then pour it into a sauce pot, add 1/2 cup of stock and bring it to a boil… Let it simmer. And finito!


I give you eggplant Parmesan, mushroom barely soup and tomato basil soup. Now, I can shower and return to being lazy for rest of my day which undoubtedly means attempting to eat soup laying down.


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