Monday, September 13, 2010

a food post

When I was a little girl my mother cooked dinner every night. Usually it was a meat, two sides, and dessert--at least in my memory--but there were exceptions to that rule. Spaghetti with meat sauce was one--usually served with a salad on the side. And there were other things that we had every now and then that were usually called "caloosapotti," which was someone's (my brother's? Mine?) mispronunciation of "ratatouille." I have no idea how the word "kallusapoti" should be spelled, but maybe you can get an idea of the pronunciation from my two attempts here.

One of the central features of calloosapotty was that it couldn't be repeated. If we liked it--or if we didn't--Mom would say, "you'll probably never eat it again." These were improvisational dishes, dishes that just incorporated whatever was fresh in the garden, or leftover in the fridge, or both.

I came up with one of those improvisational meals tonight and it was so satisfying, I just have to write it down. I may never really repeat it, but I can probably approximate it again. It involved turnip greens (we got little salad turnips in the CSA share on Saturday), and eggplant, and some leftover tomato sauce.

I started with the turnip greens, sauteing them in olive oil with sliced garlic. As the greens wilted, I added a sprinkle of pistachios and some raisins. My favorite way to eat spinach is sauteed with garlic, raisins or currants, and pine nuts--but I didn't have pine nuts so pistachios were my substitute.

While the greens were sauteing I sliced the eggplant into half inch rounds, brushed both sides of each slice with olive oil, and placed them on a cookie sheet in the oven at about 400F. When I remembered, I turned them over and brushed them with a little more olive oil.

When the eggplant rounds were brown on both sides, I piled the greens onto them (removing the garlic slices as I did), then topped each with about a tablespoonful of tomato sauce and about the same amount of shredded Italian cheese (Trader Joe's "quattro fromaggio" blend). Then back in the oven to heat the sauce and brown the cheese.

Oh, my goodness, those were delicious! No, I couldn't get Nick even to try one, but I don't even care--I wanted them all! The turnip greens were surprisingly mild, the eggplant was creamy, and the sauce and cheese were just right. I may never repeat it exactly, but it was delicious. I'm sure it would be great with spinach or chard or kale, with or without pine nuts and without the raisins, if those seem odd in this context, but I've got to tell you, they were really good. I'm sure this dish isn't authentically anything--it's calloosapoti, pure and simple, and it hit the spot.

[edited to add:] The moral of this story may simply be that I will eat anything, given enough olive oil and garlic. I can live with that.


Magpie said...

Yeah. That moral of your story? Yeah. Hell to the yeah.

kate said...

That sounds really good!

Foodie McBody said...

Yum yum yummy!!!!! I want some of that!