Note: My husband Paul gave this dinner five stars.
Parsley (fresh is better)
Triscuits to serve with eggplant
4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips
Rosemary (fresh if possible)
Parmesan cheese (shredded)
Toasted pecan bits
1 – Prepare the eggplant early, so that it has time to cool. Wash eggplant with soap and water; rinse thoroughly. Use a fork to spear the eggplant all over. Place on microwaveable plate. Cook for five minutes. Turn over in microwave, and cook the other side for five minutes. Cool in refrigerator if time is short.
2 – Using a sharp knife, cut the stalk off the eggplant. Then cut the eggplant lengthwise. Using a fork, rack out the eggplant from its skin, discarding the skin. Pile the meat of the eggplant together, flatten slightly, and then cut two ways with a knife. Drop into large mixing bowl.
3 – Grab a handful of fresh parsley. Chop finely. Cut onion in half, and chop the half finely.
4 – Add to the eggplant mixture: parsley, chopped onion, cayenne pepper (not too much), olive oil to taste, garlic powder, salt and pepper, red cooking wine, and mayonnaise (if desired). Stir vigorously.
5 – You will have enough eggplant caviar for two small bowls. Freeze one; set the other in the refrigerator before dinner.
6 – Lay out 4 chicken tenderloins or breast strips in dish with cover. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, snips of rosemary. Set aside.
7 – Drop pecan bits on plate. Toast for 2 minutes in microwave; then stir; then cook for 2 minutes more. Set aside.
8 – Peel 4 carrots with vegetable peeler. Cut in half, and then cut again lengthwise. (Be careful of your fingers.) Place in dish with cover. Add pecan bits, rosemary snips, lemon juice, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, olive oil to top of carrots. Cook for 4 minutes.
9 – At dinner, as an appetizer, serve eggplant caviar with Triscuits. Meanwhile, cook the chicken for 5 minutes. When chicken is done, sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
10 – Serve the chicken and carrots immediately.
–Eggplant caviar and carrots adapted from Real Simple; chicken adapted from Carmelo’s (St. Paul, Minnesota).