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Some things simply go together -- peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, but here's a new one: eggplant and artichoke.


Go out into your garden under the early afternoon sun and pick from its bounty:

one large eggplant
one artichoke
one tomato
one onion
one lemon
a clove of garlic
a few basil leaves
a few sprigs of oregano

If you do not have these things in your garden, buy or barter them from somebody who does, who you trust has tended them with love and care.

Have at the ready your usual water and cooking oils, salt and black pepper as well.


Cube the eggplant and set aside. (Note: by cube, here, I do not mean multiply by itself.)

Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a large bowl of water. Thoroughly dip the artichoke in this bowl and carefully cut off the top (removing the spines), the base, and the heavier outer leaves. Cut the artichoke in half and scoop the "choke" (the dense hairs and small leaves) from the middle, leaving the heart and the bases of the the thinner leaves.

On a steamer, over the flame, steam the artichoke heart for half an hour. While the artichoke is steaming, you can undertake some other tasks.

Break off one lobe of the garlic, and mince this. Chop, chop, goes the basil and oregano. Peel the onion and slice it in half, finely dice the half-onion. Slice the tomato in half. One half will be used in the sauce, the other will be added later. Finely dice the half for the sauce; cut the other half into maybe a dozen big chunks and add those to the eggplant (still resting).

And now back to our artichoke. Once steamed, let it cool for a few minutes for handling, then cut it into 1/4 inch slices. Mind you, if you haven't got an artichoke garden or access to an artichoke grower, you can use frozen artichoke hearts, thus bypassing all the artichoke cooking steps. Won't be quite the same, but you may nonetheless. Add the artichoke slices with the eggplant and tomato.

And now back to other things again. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and heat mediumly. Add the diced onion and stir for three minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute. Add the basil and oregano, a pinch of salt, another of pepper, and let sit for half a minute before stirring in the diced tomato. Reduce to a simmer and let set for ten minutes. This is your marinara sauce.

In a separate pan, generously coat with extra virgin olive oil and heat it until warm. Add the mix of chopped eggplant, tomato, and artichoke hearts. Cook until the eggplant is soft -- adding some vegetable stock to help soften the eggplant, if needed. Now comes the magic. Pour the marinara sauce over the vegetable, stirring to evenly coat. Keep that burner on a medium-low heat with the lid on for two minutes, then pop it open, stir evenly, and re-lid for two more minutes. Repeat as needed until the eggplant is cooked through, then add a pinch more salt and pepper to taste.


Serve on white porcelain, against which the bright and cheerful colors of the vegetables will stand apart; if serving a guest, remember to serve from the right.

This is a great medley to mix in with some pasta as well. Enjoy!!

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