14 – Greek Moussaka

I have to say, it felt really good checking out at the grocery store today. For a guy who was once way too accustomed to purchasing microwavable meals from the freezer section, it always feels good arriving at the cashier with a ton of fresh ingredients, especially bright vegetables. Today, however, was a whole other level. There are certain vegetables that I just don’t do, and probably the greatest example of that is the mighty aubergine, aka eggplant. I haven’t intentionally crossed paths with the big purple beast since as long as I can remember – that is, until today!

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How did this get in my kitchen? This must be some sort of mistake!

I’d tried moussaka once or twice in the past, thanks to my wife’s willingness to share meals with me when we dine out; that, and she tries to force me to try things I’m unfamiliar with. Knowing moussaka contains eggplant – but in a very disguised sort of way – I figured it would be a good introduction to this vegetable that I knew I had to one day confront.

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The Leaning Tower of Aubergine is so mighty, it dwarfs all wine bottles who dare stand beside it.

I recently borrowed a cookbook called “Jerusalem” from my younger sister, and was amazed by how often the vegetable was included in the recipes from the title region. I figured I’d need to overcome my aversion to working with it – and other vegetables – if I wanted to explore Israeli – and other – new types of cuisine.

I’m happy to say that my moussaka was a roaring success (sorry…I sometimes write things I wouldn’t normally say out loud). I added mashed potatoes on the side, which was great for soaking up the delicious little bit of excess liquid that ran out of the dish. Aside from that, our dinner followed very close to the recipe (from mygourmetconnection.com). My only variations were the following: I used a combination of ground lamb and beef (to be cost effective), accidentally used 1% milk instead of whole (it’s our go-to percentage), and added extra parmesan (just because I can).

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It’s really encouraging to know that I can attempt a bunch of dishes from vastly different cuisines, and as long as I carefully select my recipes, I can be relatively successful. Also, it feels pretty awesome knowing at least one way to prep the mighty eggplant. I mean, I’m a completely different man now…I’m a man who eats aubergines!

Anyways – happy cooking! (That’s my new send-off I’m trying)

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Shout out to all my family – past and present – in New Zealand. This dish is for you! (Not really, but you know what I mean)
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