Lovely involtini

Y'all, it is pouring brickbats here today. I don't mind at all because we really need the rain and I needed to film a tomato canning video anyway (I'm midway through, will then edit and post; fun!). But, our new roof sprung two leaks which is really damn annoying, and you can be sure I've already let the company know to come fix things ASAP. Sheesh. But, to last night's dinner, aka Eggplant Involtini. Involtini is an Italian word which simply refers to one food wrapped around another. The wrapper can be a thinly-sliced vegetable, like eggplant or zucchini, or meat, such as beef or pork. The filling is often a cheesecentric one with other goodies blended throughout.

To work with vegetable wrappers, you usually need to cook them a bit first. Last night, I sliced the eggplants lengthwise into quarter-inch slabs, laid them onto paper towels and then salted them so they could exude excess water. Afterwards, I patted them dry, brushed them with olive oil and then lightly fried them on both sides until just softened.

Meanwhile, I whipped together a filling of ricotta and feta cheeses, salt, a bit of olive oil, toasted pine nuts and generous, equal portions of chopped mint and parsley.

I spooned a teaspoon or two of filling onto one end of each eggplant slab, rolled the eggplant up like a jelly roll and tucked them, one by one, into a 9x13 baking dish.

A few hours before all this, I made a homemade tomato sauce by stewing together chopped Roma tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, a dried peperoncino (small hot chile) and salt. Once my baking dish was full of involtini, I laid the few remaining eggplant slices on top, spooned tomato sauce generously over the whole dish, grated Pecorino generously over that and baked until bubbly, about twenty minutes in a 375° F oven.

Both the eggplant and parsley were from M's garden, the tomatoes from A's farm and boy did this come together nicely; the dish tasted so unbelievably fresh.

Earlier, I made raspberry-lemon jam with the berries I picked last Friday. Unreal. Wow! Incredible! Today, in addition to the tutorial, I made another batch of roasted tomato jam. That biz is awesome.