Gluttony or Sloth?
I am a sinner. Everyone sins. All of us human beings were born sinners. In fact, in Christian moral tradition seven sins are said to be deadly: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
Out of these seven sins, I usually have a conflict between two of them – sloth (which refers to laziness) and gluttony, which Pope Gregory I defined as: “seeking delicacies and better quality of food to gratify the vile sense of taste.”
Hum? But don’t panic- this isn’t your nth preach. So before you start worrying that you have bumped into the wrong blog, or that I became the gluttony police on the web, let me recall that this is a blog about a lazy, glutton lady who loves to eat, and eats for the pleasure of food .
So how does these two “sins” relate to each other? In an ambrosial context there are three hypothesis:
Hypothesis number 1 – Gluttony and sloth coexist without collision: Ambrosiana is just so lazy to cook that she goes out for dinner to a place where she can eat and drink for the sole purpose of satisfying her mortal palate (a.k.a gluttony).
Hypothesis number 2- When sloth overcomes gluttony: Ambrosiana is so lazy that she gives up the mere motive of gustative gratification by preparing a quick meal (that does not engage in any cooking method), such as average prosciutto and mozzarella with bread, and a glass of wine (and probably not worth blogging about)
Hypothesis number 3 – When gluttony outperforms laziness: Ambrosiana goes the extra mile like a typical Italian granny (hahahah) and she prepares…eggplant meatballs.!!!
Eggplant meatballs, tzaztiki and fresh tomato sauce
Recipe for eggplant meatballs (base recipe taken from Giallo Zafferano)
-800 grams of eggplants (or two large eggplants)
- 120 grams of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
-120 grams of toasted bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of minced parsley
- 1/2 cup minced mint
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bake eggplants at 200°C (about 400°F) for 40 minutes to an hour (or until done)
- When eggplants are done, let them cool, and discard skin. Drain to eliminate excess water.
- Mix all ingredients together, but salt (Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has already salt, so before adding more salt, check the amount of it and adjust if necessary)
- Blend all ingredients. If the consistency is too sticky, add more breadcrumbs.
- Using your hands, roll the eggplant mixture into 4 – 5 cm diameter balls and roll each ball into the breadcrumbs to coat.
- Arrange the balls on a cutting board or tray.
- In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil and fry the eggplant balls ( I suggest three or four per batch), until dark golden brown, turning gently to evenly brown all sides.
- Remove to a tray or plate lined with paper towels.
Tzatziki – Cucumber and Yogurt Dip (recipe taken from Vefa Alexiadou’s cooking book Greek Cuisine)
- 3 cups plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 cucumber, peeled, chopped, and squeezed to remove excess liquid
- 3-4 cloves, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3-4 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
In a bowl mix the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and oil, season to taste, cover, and chill. To serve, sprinkle with chopped dill.
Fresh tomato sauce with basil
- ¼ pounds plum tomatoes (3 – 4), cored, peeled, and seeded
- 1 small garlic clove,
- Some chopped basil
- Some olive oil
- Salt to taste
Transfer all ingredients in a bowl, adding the whole garlic clove. Leave the garlic clove for 15 – 30 minutes to infuse its aromas into the sauce. Discard. Using an immersion blender, mix lightly to get a chunky sauce.
Yields about 1 – 1 ½ cups depending on the size of tomatoes