At the risk of being called a copycat, I was inspired by Julie Powell tonight. I made Aubergines Farcies Duxelles (Eggplant Stuffed with Mushrooms) from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1. And I'm glad I did. It made me realize the truth behind the statement by the NY Times review of Powell's book that Child's cooking is straight forward, but labor-intensive. And I got to witness firsthand why Powell regularly didn't get meals on the table until after 10 p.m.
To make this dish, I first had to make the stuffing, which required making another MtAoFC recipe, Duxelles. Typical Julia already. So for the Duxelles:
Once you've got the Duxelles made, put them in a medium sized mixing bowl. Slice a medium sized eggplant (about 6 inches long and 3 inches in diameter) lenghtwise and cut the green top off. Cut through the flesh, down to within an 1/4" of the skin, but not through (good luck). Do this every inch along the face of the eggplant. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and place flesh side down on a kitchen towel for half an hour. Squeeze them gently with the towel to remove excess moisture. Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil and place in a shallow roasting pan. Fill the pan with water so the eggplants are submerged in 1/8" of water. Place under a broiler, about 4 to 5" away from the heat, and roast until the flesh is tender but not browned.
Scoop out the flesh (like a twice baked potato!) and add to the bowl with the mushrooms. Sautee a diced small yellow onion or a diced large shallot in 1 T. olive oil. Add to the stuffing. (Are you getting tired yet? Cuz I was.) Mush up about 3 oz. of cream cheese and add to the stuffing. Whip it all together and add 1/4 t. thyme or 1/2 t. basil and 1 T. parsley. Taste and season with S&P.
Stuff eggplants with the filling and top with a mix of bread crumbs and shredded swiss cheese. Baste eggplants with melted butter. Place back in the roasting pan with 1/8" of water and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 mins.
I won't give up, though (don't worry, I'm not going to do anything crazy, like, say, attempt all the recipes in a year). Maybe Julia's forte is something involving meat, like seasoned with bacon or lard. I've still got my eye on that Coq au Vin recipe, so I'll be sure to give it another shot.