Eggplant Parm Pie

The only thing I love more than my mom’s meatballs is her eggplant parm.

If you’ve only eaten eggplant parm out at a restaurant, you have never eaten eggplant parm.

Sorry restaurants. But mom’s will win every time.

Bobby Flay should really come do a Throwdown with my mom.

Here’s the thing about her eggplant though. It’s a process. Totally worth it in the end, but it involves a lot of time over a hot stove. First you make the gravy, then you fry the eggplant in batches, then you layer the gravy and the eggplant in a casserole dish, then you top with cheese, then you bake for an hour, and then, during that hour, you clean your grease-splattered stove.

In the summer, my itty bitty city kitchen is ridiculously hot.

So no thanks.

But I was thinking about eggplant. And so I came up with this. It’s not at all the same thing as mom’s, but it’s quick and it’s light.

Think of it as the summertime cousin to mom’s cheesy, melty, tray of eggplant wonderfulness.

A sort of quichey, eggplant pie.

You will need

4 eggs

1 eggplant

1 tomato

1 heaping scoop ricotta cheese


splash of milk

olive oil



butter for the dish

Turn your oven to 400.

Peel the eggplant and slice into discs. The more even the width, the more evenly they will bake.

Lay them on a foil-lined cookie sheet.


Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about twenty minutes. IMG_0727

When the eggplant is nice and browned up, remove from the oven and set the slices aside. Slice up the tomato in rounds and place on the foil-lined sheet you just removed the eggplant from. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for about ten minutes.


This recipe sounds a little lengthy, but to me roasting time isn’t really cooking time. I throw things in the oven and forget about them for a little bit, taking the time to unwind after a long day or to swiffer the floors or to do some previously neglected tasks. Like paying the bills. While the tomatoes roast is the perfect time to pay the bills.

When the tomatoes are done, butter a baking dish or pie pan. I’ve extolled the virtues of my pie pan before. Namely, that it is dishwasher safe. So between the foil-lined cookie sheet and the pan that goes in the dishwasher, this is a no cleanup necessary dinner.

Line the bottom of your pan with eggplant.


Next add a lawyer of tomatoes.


Top with the remaining eggplant.


In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, a splash of milk and a scoop of ricotta cheese. This is serving as the parmigiana part of the dish.IMG_0744

Pour the mix over the eggplant and tomatoes and then top with mozzarella.IMG_0745

Lower the oven to 350 and bake for 45 minutes. Again, a long baking time, but there’s very little active cooking time in this recipe. There’s a lot of hang out, put your feet up, sip some wine and let the smells fill the apartment time.

Remove from the oven when the eggs are set.

Slice up and serve with a side salad and some crusty bread.

It’s not mom’s but it does the trick.

For now.

The cost of living in a bitty kitchen

So, if you have an itty bitty city kitchen, you probably have a not so itty bitty monthly rent due for the tiny apartment that houses your itty bitty kitchen.

And if that’s the case, you’re thinking pots, pans, lemon juicers, cheese graters, blenders, toasters, panini presses?

Where am I going to put all this stuff? And more importantly, how the heck am I going to pay for it all?

Michael Symon and Bobby Flay seem to have a tool for every task. A mango slicer? Really Chef Flay?

Let’s talk about the absolute basics. On a budget. Because yes, a cast iron skillet would be amazing to have, but do you realistically have the cash for it after security deposit, broker fee, and first and last month’s rent?

So here’s what I’ve found I use most often and need to get a great meal on the table.

A soild cast iron pot. Mine is enamel coated so it doesn’t require the same fuss as a non-coated cast iron skillet. I chose a pot over a skillet because I still get the benefits of cast iron, even heat distribution and a nice heavy bottom, but have the flexibility of browning, braising, frying or making soups. Enamel coating makes clean up a breeze. And also makes this pot pretty enough to go from stovetop to table for serving. Again, these can get pricey, but I scored this one at Home Goods for like $40.


I also like the purple pot a lot. It’s aluminum, so it’s lighter than the cast iron one. It’s also wider and a bit shallower, so I can use this in place of a frying pan. In fact, since getting this, I reach for it before my frying pan 9 times out of 10. Again, pretty enough to go from stove to table. And again, I scored this on a deal site for around $40.

The best part of these two pots? They look great kept out on the stove. I don’t really have that much cabinet space to store pots and pans, so being able to leave these out as decorative accents is a real space saver. They also add a nice bit of color to the otherwise white and gray space.

Good knives. There’s no arguing here that knives are to the chef what the paintbrush is to the artist. Invest in a nice set that will last you a while (buy cheap buy twice and end up spending more any way) but don’t break the bank. I bought mine on Rue La La. You can get deals online.

Other random things every kitchen needs, a few wooden spoons (nobody likes stopping mid-cook-a-thon to wash the only wooden spoon in the house), a spatula, ladle, potato masher (you’re rolling your eyes and thinking you will never ever have a use for this but since I got mine, it’s made a lot more than a Thanksgiving starchy side dish), and serving spoon (I bought mine as a set- it’s WMF so amazing quality, but scored a deal on, an immersion blender (totally obsessed), a pizza pan or a cookie sheet (something flat that you can bake things on), something to bake things in like a casserole dish or a pie pan (I have a 9 inch stoneware pie pan that I’ve used for everything from pies to quiches to brownies), and, probably the best small kitchen tool, a cutting board that can rest over your sink . This will save you so much space, you have no idea.

Spacing of space, where the heck does all this stuff go?


The two pots stay out on my stove. My kitchen has only two drawers (one holds silverware and the immersion blender and the other holds random things like  kitchen towels, pot holders and bottle openers) so my wooden spoons live in a pretty pitcher within reach of the stove, and my WMF set came with this nifty container to neatly house everything on the counter. Baking dish, pie pan, cookie sheet and pizza pan ( I have all four but really you can choose two) are tucked in the drawer under the stove. And the cutting board leans on the counter between the refrigerator and the knife set, which comes with its own wood block home.


Are there other gadgets out there? You betchya! Do I have some of them? You betchya! Here’s some:

Toaster: throw bread under broiler to toast, you just have to watch it as it can burn quickly

Blender: nice for smoothies and mixed drinks, but if you have the immersion blender you can throw the ingredients in a bowl and blend away. Because you’re holding the blender, you can have more control over the thickness and/or chunkiness of what you’re blending

Stand mixer: I’m big on stirring cakes and batters by hand with a whisk or a wooden spoon.

Ice cream maker: Yup. I got one. My mom gave it to me for Christmas. I didn’t care if I had to throw out some shoes to make room for it, it was going to be in the apartment. I have clear priorities. Ice cream trumps fashion every time.

So there’s my list of needs for the kitchen. Did I miss anything?

Let me know yours!