Friday, July 11, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan and minority groups

Eggplant Parmesan is best on bed of gluten-free spaghetti or steamed spaghetti squash

Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak
Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

Eggplant Parmesan in a wonderful use of a rather versatile, though often ignored, vegetable. “Eggplant” is also a racial slur used by small-minded people who are jealous of another individual’s success. Use of that term minimizes the merits and contributions to society the targeted individual achieved. Those merits and achievements should be celebrated, not diminished. The same goes for the contributions to your palate the eggplant makes.

Eggplant Parmesan (wheat-free)

The dish is best served on a bed of gluten-free spaghetti, though steamed spaghetti squash will also work nicely. You can garnish them with your favorite jarred sauce from the supermarket or you can prepare a simple marinara with 4-5 Roma tomatoes, garlic, fennel, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, Marsala wine and balsamic vinegar.

Ingredients (for 3 servings):

Eggplant – 1
Eggs, large – 2
Almond meal – 1/3 cup
Rice flour – 1/3 cup
Tapioca flour – 1/2 cup
Parmesan cheese, grated – 1/2 cup
Basil, fresh, chopped – 1 tsp
Oregano, fresh, chopped – 1 tsp
Fennel seed – 1 tsp
Garlic, fresh, minced – 1 tbsp
Black pepper, ground – 1/2 tsp
Brown sugar – 1 tsp
Olive or coconut oil, melted – enough to cover bottom of baking pan or cast iron skillet to 1/8 an inch deep.
Provolone cheese, sliced – 1 slice per eggplant slice, approximately 6 slices per eggplant.
Tomato, sliced – 1 medium
Nutritional quick facts: (Amounts may vary depending upon size of  slices.) 117g carbohydrates, 10g fiber, 25g protein, 245mg Omega-3, 2050 mg Omega-6; Nutrition data compiled from Self Nutrition Data.

Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak
Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak


Place oil in baking pan or cast iron skillet. Place the skillet or pan into the oven and preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take your eggplant and slice off the top, discard. Take a peeler and shave the skin from two sides of the eggplant. Some skin is great for texture. However, too much skin detracts from the texture and makes the taste slightly bitter. Next, slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4″ to 1/2″ think slabs.

Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak
Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

If you have almond meal ready to go, you can start combining dry ingredients, skipping this step. To make your own almond meal, place almonds in a food processor or heavy duty blander. Add your fennel seed and process (on “chop” or “grind”) until the almonds are reduced to a coarse powder.

Mix the almond meal, fennel seed, flours, Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, garlic and brown sugar in a large, shallow bowl (or a zip-lock bag).  In another shallow bowl, whisk your eggs until blended. Dip the eggplant, one slice at a time, into the egg mixture, making sure to coat them evenly. Then dip them and flip them in the flour mixture (or shake in the bag). Set each aside as you finish and move on to the next slice. You may wish to repeat the process to double coat the eggplant.

Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak
Eggplant Parmesan | PHOTO CREDIT: P-G Matuszak

Place the coated eggplant into the preheated skillet or baking pan in the oven. Do not let the eggplant touch each other, leaving room for the hot oil to surround each piece. Bake for 25 minutes then turn over. Reduce heat to 400 degrees.  Top with tomato and provolone cheese slices, then bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a serving platter. Placing a paper towel or two under the eggplant can help reduce the mess from residual oil. Serve with pasta and top with your favorite sauce.

Minority groups

Humans are rational beings. We analyze, categorize, and compartmentalize items in our environment. We do this with food, lumping things into categories such as vegetables, nuts, fruits, meats, carbohydrates, and fats. We do this with literary genres. We do this with luxury items and furniture. We do this with other living creatures labeling them by genus, species, or breed. We do this with ideas, morals, and values categorizing them as good, bad, left, right, or wrong.

We also have a bad habit of doing this with each other. This lead to stereotypes. With those labels and stereotypes, we try to make each other fit into those artificial categories. When an individual does not fit neatly into one of those categories, we invent some sub-category, often with derogatory nicknames. A descriptor for an individual does not describe all that individual may be.

Those who attempt to force others into these collectives based upon demographic descriptors or stereotypes often attempt to ascribe some common “need” specific to that group. This is a practice known as “collectivism”, a favorite of those who ascribe to socialist or “progressive” political philosophies.
In reality, these manufactured “minority groups” generated by stereotypes and descriptors are false creations. The only real minorities are individuals. To understand this truth, remember Vin diagrams from your grade-school days. Take every descriptor or fact about people you can contemplate. Take skin color, gender, national origin, primary language, eye color, hair color, sibling names, last name, first name, date of birth, highest education level, and occupation. Lay those circles down. Very quickly, you will come to find that, once each of these labels is overlaid, a single person may belong to several different collectives. Yet one amazing fact remains, each person is a minority of one:  an individual.

As an individual, his or her minority rights are more important than those of any larger collective until they reach the overall category of “human being”. All those special “rights” and “needs” between are manufactured constructs that enslave and individual to stereotypes and bigotry. In many aspects, not two people are the same. In others aspects, we are all the same.

So, when discussing the “rights”, “needs”, “privileges”, and “plights” of some “minority”, do not fail to recognize those of each and every individual citizen. We are all born with the same needs. We are born with the same opportunities. It is up to each individual to do or not do. Anything that says otherwise supports tyranny.

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical doctor nor currently a registered dietitian. The information provided in this article is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to be interpreted as medical, nutritional or health advice. Please seek the advice of an expert before starting any new diet or exercise program.