The Villages Book Tour in Florida

It’s time to throw it back to May 2014, when I spent the week with my Aunties in The Villages doing a book tour. I must say, it was the most fun ever, and I wanted to move in.  Everyday was a party and the preferred mode of transportation was a golf cart. So fun!

I started with a tasting and signing at The Ancient Olive. The crowd was totally into it, and  the turnout was fantastic. Here we are just getting started.

Then, my Aunt Millie and Aunt Lynne hosted a wonderful dinner party. We cooked all the favorites with a little help from their friends, and had around sixty guests. It was a sellout!  I sold every book we had shipped in!  It was glorious!

I made labels of course to make the food look extra delicious.

That’s my cousin Jennie and Aunt Millie, it’s her eldest child. My mom’s name is Jennie and there’s another cousin named Jennie. It’s one of our tribe names. Here we are doing a little post party clean up. I’m already in my cozy clothes.

Here are some of the happy party people.  Somethings (like rabbit ears) never get old. That’s my Aunt Lynne on the far right. It was simply a spectacular visit. Thank you Aunties, for showing me the love and a super fun family holiday.

Screaming Hot Eggplant

If we got together this summer and talked about food, I told you about screaming hot eggplant. I am OBSESSED.  It’s a variation from my MFP friend Alexandra, who’s now running the local chapter of Slow Food. She sends out an old school e-mail, no glitz no GIFS,  and it’s really charming (you should sign up to receive it). I love eggplant as much as I love potato chips and almost as much as mayonnaise, it could possibly be an equal love.

The problem with eggplant, is the massive amount of oil it takes to make it. Screaming hots changes that. Eggplant cooking has been revolutionized forever. I cannot get enough.

Here’s the recipe, although there’s really not a recipe, just super simple instructions.

Screaming Hot Eggplant

Get some crazy fresh eggplant. I have Chinese (brighter purple) and Japanese here. I asked my farmer how you tell the Japanese from the Italian ( that looks just like it) and it’s in the tops. Italian has a green  top.

I like it moderately peeled for this recipe, but unpeeled is okay too. Slice into coins, about 1/2 inch thick. Before you start slicing though, heat up a large skillet, preferably an old cast iron 12 inch you inherited from Aunt Ethel. When the pan is smoking, screaming hot, add the eggplant coins.  NO OIL! ( my pan holds about 2.5 eggplants)

Let it cook a minute. Try not to let it burn, like I did here on some of them. Pay attention. Flip it when it’s soft to the touch. Let it cook some more till soft through, like little eggplant pillows.

When soft through, turn off the pan, drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Feel free to add chiles, basil, minced ginger or garlic, whatever moves you, and cover the pan. Let it rest about 8 minutes, more or less. For the quickest dinner ever, I added basil, chiles, garlic and some leftover pasta for an amazing Arrabiata.  Screaming hots forever.

I’ve  tried this with onions and summer squash as well. It works, but the best, most succulent result is with the eggplant.  Everyone needs this recipe in their personal pantry.