Eggplant, Mushrooms and Cheeses Bake

Both mushrooms and eggplants have unique texture and mild flavor, that blends beautifully with cheeses. In the dish here, I decided to combine both in one bake, and the result was just what I was hoping for: tasty aromatic bake, with different soft textures of the mushrooms and eggplants, unique mild red wine flavor from the goat cheese and red wine, and crispy top, from the Panko breadcrumbs.
The bake can be served as a vegetarian entrée, as part of a brunch buffet, or as a side dish with chicken or meat. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* For more rustic texture and extra fiber, I didn’t peel the eggplant. If you feel this is too rustic for you, feel free to peel it.
* Drunken Goat cheese is a semi-firm Spanish cheese. It is cured in red wine, thus has a purple rind and a slight flavor of red wine. It is available in many stores, and online.
* For easier grating of the cheese, cut it roughly and place in a small food processor, fitted with the metal blade. Add 1 Tbs flour and process.

Makes: 16
Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
1 Tbs light olive oil
2 Tbs butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 tsp salt + to taste
½ tsp freshly ground four peppers mix + to taste
8oz (225 grams) white mushrooms, legs removed, roughly cut
1 Large eggplant, cubed (about 4 cups) (see notes)
¼ cup flour
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
¼ cup rosé or red wine (I used rosé)
7 oz (200 grams) Drunken Goat cheese, grated (see notes)
1 lbs (455 grams) small curd cottage cheese, 4% fat
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3-4 dried sage leaves, crumbled
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line a 12”x8” (20.5cm x 30cm) baking pan with baking paper.
2. Mix the oil, butter and garlic in a large frying pan. Sauté over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, and add the onion, salt and pepper. Mix and sauté, until the onion softens and starts to caramelize.
3. Add the mushrooms, mix and sauté until they start to brown. Add the eggplant, mix and cook for 6-7 minutes, mixing occasionally. Add the flour and mix well. Gradually, while mixing, add the milk and bring to an almost boil. Add the wine, mix and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Add the goat cheese and mix to melt.

4. Remove from the heat, let cool a bit and add the cottage cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste, along with the nutmeg and sage. Add the eggs and mix well.

5. Sprinkle ½ cup of Panko breadcrumbs over the lined pan. Add the mixture over it and level with a spatula. Sprinkle the rest of the Panko breadcrumbs on top.

6. Bake for 1 hour, until the bake is set and the top is golden-brown. Let cool in the pan for five minutes before cutting.

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The following stew has few ingredients, yet lots of flavor; from the use of red wine as the cooking liquid, and from the aromatic “Herbs de Provence” mix seasoning. The dish is quick to assemble and prepare, and is perfect for easy entertaining. Continue reading

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The Jewish New Year is celebrated tomorrow, and this brings back memories of traditional foods, even to an agnostic such as myself. One of the culinary traditions for this event, is to dip a slice of apple in honey, and eat it as a symbol for a sweet New Year. Plenty other sweet dishes are added to the table as well, in order to emphasize this hope for a sweet New Year.
The following dessert was inspired by this tradition. Continue reading

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Chicken thighs is  a part  of the chicken which I use often, and, as I’m not too fond of making the same dish over and over again, I try to find new ways to prepare it. Continue reading

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Broccoli and Cauliflower Mini Bakes

Cauliflower and broccoli pair well together, and I often use them in the same dish, many times in the form of fries patties. In the recipe here, I’ve decided to bake the mixture rather than fry it, and the result was very pleasing. Continue reading

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While I usually combine filo dough with different vegetarian fillings, this time I opted for a meat one. My original plan was to use lamb, but when I saw bison meat at the store, I decided to make a switch. Continue reading

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Finding these beautiful mini eggplants at the market, my first thought was to prepare my dish of mini eggplants stuffed with lamb (click HERE for the recipe). However, on second thought, I decided to go with a lighter direction, and use them to make quick pickles with fresh herbs. Continue reading

Chicken Wings with Mustard, Lemon and Thyme

Chicken wings are a favorite of mine, and I’m always looking for new ways to prepare them. This quick and easy recipe was assembled on a hot summer day, when I needed a simple dish, that didn’t require too many ingredients or cooking procedures. Continue reading