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The world in the eyes of a toddler is a fascinating place. If ever you need a new point of view, just have a conversation with a three-year-old. The sparkle in their eyes, the constant smile, the excitement about even putting the toys away is simply enchanting. I always thought that the best time in a toddler's life is when they start asking "why" questions. The hunger to know anything and everything is contagious, and I have always wondered whether I'd have all the right answers when that time came. Well friends, it's here. my son turns three soon, and he's filled every moment with questions like this: "Mommy, why is the light blinking on top of the tower?", as he gazes out of the car window.
Or this: "Why do the leaves change color?"
I had the answers to all of them so far, but he stumped me with: "Mommy, why do you talk too much?" !!! "Ummmm...". Caught off guard, I looked at him with shock and we both giggled.
My father-in-law dropped off these really cute Italian eggplants the other day. They were so tiny (even though they don't look it here). I stared at them for a while, thinking of what I might make. I knew I wanted to keep them whole and as pretty as they looked when fresh, so I thought of stuffing them like we typically do with the little eggplants. See, the stuffing is usually rice and tomatoes, or ground beef and pine nuts. So why stick to the usual!? "Let's make it different" I told my mom, who was visiting. The end result was a collaborative labor of love and it took no time at all. Once ready, we devoured a few eggplants each with a tangy Yogurt and Garlic Sauce. It was delicious! If you try this dish, let me know how you like it. I really enjoy reading your comments and emails.
Begin my washing the eggplants and slicing the top across to remove the stem. Core them, then rub some sea salt around the skin and inside. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil and rub all over the skin. Place on a baking sheet and cover. Bake at 400'F for about 20-25 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove and set aside to cool down a little before stuffing.
For the stuffing, rinse the quinoa well, then place in simmering water for 7-10 minutes until they become translucent and the grain opens. Drain the water and place in a bowl. To the quinoa, add the walnuts, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, pomegranate arils and salt. Mix gently and stuff the eggplants, pressing the mixture down to pack it. Be careful not to tear the eggplant as they are tender at this point. Serve warm or at room temperature with the yogurt sauce and crispy pita wedges.
Quinoa and Pomegranate stuffed Italian Eggplant
10 Italian eggplants, cored and salted
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup walnuts, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/4 pomegranate arils
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (1 over the eggplants, 1 for stuffing mixture)
1 jalapeno, thinly diced (about 1 tbsp)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
Yogurt and Garlic Sauce
2 cups sour yogurt (like Wallaby Australian style, if you don't make your own)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt