Chickpea flour cake with eggplant
One of the things I’m going to miss most about this summer is grocery shopping with Malcolm. I know
! Fun summer adventures, right? Every child’s dream holiday! Don’t you worry, we also went backpacking in the Andes, slept under a bridge in Paris and watched the sun rise over the seine while we ate croissants and played the accordion, took a paddle-boat up the Amazon and an ancient Egyption warship down the nile. You know, all the typical summertime stuff. So it’s not a testament to how dull our summer was, but a testament to how contrary my idea of fun is, and to how pleasant it is to be with Malcolm. It all started as part of a divide-and-conquer philosophy. One boy came with me to the store, one stayed with David. In this way they got a small break from each other (they’re hyper-bonding this summer) and we got a small break from the constant bickering, the hysterical giggling that inevitably ends in tears, the screams of delight and terror
. And now I honestly look forward to this once-tedious chore, I look forward to a short trip out with Malcolm. Part of the poignance, as ever, is in the passing of time, is in thinking about how much things have changed. When Malcolm was little he was a terror in the grocery store, as are most toddlers. I’d get home frazzled, dazed, with nothing I’d gone to the store for and plenty of things I hadn’t. But now
…now it’s all changed. Malcolm puts his own shoes on, without me asking twice, because he’s glad to go with me. He sits in the front seat and he’s the DJ, so we’ve been listening to a lot of Ramones, which is the perfect
grocery shopping music. He doesn’t talk a lot, but he’s sweet and funny. He pushes the cart, he helps pack the bags, he helps put them into the car and take them out. He helps me remember where I left my car keys and wallet and phone, because he hates when I lose them, which I always do. As he’s growing brighter and more responsible and capable, I’m sinking into forgetful ineptitude! Honestly, it’s a sign of my late-summer fragility of mood that I could almost cry when I think about our trip to the store on his birthday. The day was endlessly grey and misty, and he was very serious, but not unhappy. I wanted to buy him a dozen balloons, because I love balloons, but he said, no, it’s a waste of money and plastic, because they only last a day, and they wilt all over the floor the next morning. They’re sadly fleeting and impermanent. It’s an ordinary thing, going to the grocery store, and yet you’ll likely find me in September all wistful and teary about it, once my shopping companion returns to school
Chickpea flour cake with eggplant, tomatoes and mozzarella
Well, I’ve made yeasted cakes, and I’ve made chickpea flour cakes, but I’ve never made yeasted chickpea flour cakes. Until now!! I made a simple batter with half wheat flour, half chickpea flour, some rosemary and black pepper, and I topped it with basil-pecan pesto, slices of crispy eggplant, fresh cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. I used pecan crusted eggplant, to go with the pesto, but you could use any kind of pesto you like, and you could use flour or breadcrumbs of a mixture for the eggplant.
Here’s The Ramones, with We’re a Happy Family, with the disclaimer that we’re nothing like the family described in the song! We rewrote it with these lyrics, “Isaac never eats, Malcolm’s eating sweets, Clio’s upstairs, tearing up our sheets.”
1 t yeast
1 t sugar
1/2 warm water
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup regular flour
1 t salt
lots of ground pepper
1 t rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
Combine the yeast, sugar and warm water in a large bowl and set aside for about 1/2 an hour to get foamy. Stir in the flours, salt, pepper, and rosemary, and enough warm water to make it a thick but stirable batter–like whipped cream. 1/2 cup to 1 cup should do it.
Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for a few hours. It should double in bulk and get foamy. Beat in the eggs and olive oil, and leave again for about half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 and lightly oil a large cake pan. Pour the batter in.
Spread large dollops of pesto over the batter, leaving about an inch margin. Spread a layer of grated or diced mozzarella over this. Pile some crispy eggplant inside, leaving an inch margin again. Top with halved grape or cherry tomatoes and another light layer of cheese.
Bake till puffed and golden, about 1/2 hour.
1 clove garlic, roasted or toasted
1/2 cup toasted pecans
2 cups packed basil
1/3 cup olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 t honey
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper
Combine everything in a food processor and process till smooth. Add enough water to make it just as thin and smooth as you like it.
1 largish eggplant or 2 skinny ones
1 T balsamic
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup pecans
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 cup flour
herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano)
Olive oil for the sheets.
Peel four long slices of skin, lengthwise, and then cut the eggplant in 1/4 inch slices.
Put the slices in a shallow dish and shake some salt over them. Leave them for at least 1/2 hour, and then try to blot up the eggplant juices that the salt has brought out.
Put the olive oil and cup balsamic over the eggplant, and add the herbs. (Use more or less oil & vinegar depending on the size of your eggplant) Turn them from time to time, to be sure that every surface gets a chance to soak up the marinade. Leave for at least 1/2 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425. Put a thin layer of oil on a baking sheet.
Beat an egg in a small bowl. Combine flour, bread, nuts, herbs, and pepper in a food processor, and process till coarse and crumbly. Pour about 1/2 the egg over the eggplant, and turn each piece to be sure it’s coated. Pour the crumb mixture over, and, again, turn each piece to be sure it’s coated. Place the eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for about 1/2 hour, turning the slices every once in a while, until they are browned and crispy.