Coming back after the weekend always makes Mondays a bit hard. We worked on the house more (not exactly everyone's definition of fun, but still fun to us!), hosted pizza night at our house with a couple friends, went to a new church, saw The Lost City of Z at the dollar theatre nearby, took Sibbie to a dog park, and went grocery shopping. We also received a few packages in the mail, one of which was our kitchen cabinets that came in yesterday!! There were over 100 packages (that were then stuffed into several large boxes). It should be interesting sorting through all that and putting them together.
I have been dreaming of redoing and having my own kitchen for years. In middle school I started watching home decor shows and have always been fascinated by the transformation of a home once it's given a little TLC. So basically I am over the moon excited for the new kitchen once we install everything! We are doing everything ourselves so we will be putting the cabinets together and replacing the old ones as we build them. We still have to pick out the backsplash and some other things (there will be shiplap I can guarantee 🙂) but I can't wait to see how it all comes together. It's a lot of work and some stress but I can't wait to share the finished kitchen with you someday soon. It won't be designed by Joanna Gaines, but it will have our own personal touch on it!
I'm really excited about the recipe I'm sharing with you today. Growing up, the most exposure I had to Filipino culture was through my mom's mom, my Lola. She immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines when my mom was a kid, and worked in NYC for 3 years before saving up enough money for the rest of her family (my Lolo, mom, and her siblings) to migrate over. She was one incredible lady, and I've written about her on here several times, but definitely not often enough. She would often cook Filipino inspired dishes for us and one of these was chicken adobo. I decided to switch it up a bit and discovered that eggplant adobo is a popular vegetarian version of the traditional chicken or pork adobo. It was so tasty! Kyle loved it too, and we basically inhaled it the other night after a day of running around doing house things. While nothing could compare to Lola's cooking, I think she'd be happy with this veggie version here!
The best weeknight dinners are those that are ready in 20 minutes or less. This eggplant dish comes together in just that, so if you start your rice when you begin slicing your eggplant both should be done at about the same time, and dinner is served! I love finding creative and flavorful ways where vegetables are the star of the dish. What I love about eggplant is that it is so versatile and really absorbs the flavor of whatever you cook it with. Eggplant can intimidate some people, but this recipe is so simple and there is no need to worry about draining it on paper towels ahead of time or over salting it, etc. Plus, I read somewhere that dark purple vegetables are healthy!
You really should use Chinese or Japanese eggplants (the longer, skinnier eggplants) for this dish. These eggplants are the best for stir frys and pan frying! I found them at my local asian grocery, but they are usually sold at most big grocery stores, too. To slice the eggplant, simply slice the tops and bottoms off of the eggplant, and then (depending on the size of your eggplants) cut it into thirds or in half. Slice each piece in half lengthwise and then each half into 3 or 4 2-inch slices.
- 2-3 large Japanese or Chinese eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 2 inch pieces (about 5 cups total)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil (using more as needed)
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup vinegar (I used rice wine vinegar)
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- chopped scallions for garnish (optional)
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Fry sliced eggplant skin side down first in batches, until browned and very soft, about 4-5 minutes per side. Set aside on a large plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Drain the skillet of any excess oil. Add in the rest of the ingredients, and bring to a simmer. Add the eggplant back in the pan, and toss with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
Serve hot with white rice and sprinkle with chopped scallions.