I thought I had the worst day ever on Wednesday. Thankfully it was the day before my 2-day mid-week “weekend” so it wasn’t so bad, I told myself. I didn’t wake up very late but it took me an hour to get to the place I catch my second bus when it usually takes 30 minutes. This is going to be a bit of a “I did this at this time and this went wrong at that time”, so bear with me. I might come to some conclusion and it might be a good one. One hour. I was not impressed. In fact, I was scared. Scared of being late to this work thing I’ve been doing for a month now. Tardiness makes me hate myself and I know it’s not right to be that harsh on yourself when you (I) so totally rock but it’s what I do. Sitting in that bus made me want to stop…sitting in that bus. With all that stress and the last un-read chapter in The Yellow Birds, I made it to work, five minutes late and ready to shrink into a corner. If only…
I cut chicken and two seconds later, my thumb. “What were you thinking about?” I don’t know, I thought. I was thinking about a lot but right now I don’t know. “Put pressure on it. In another two days, you won’t even think about it.” Sitting here in my time machine, I agree with her. She’s wise in the injury department and of all the things I like about my life, I like having an injury expert. Not a person that will squirm at the sight of charred flesh but one that will have a mini party because you’re alive and that’s how things should be. He walks into the kitchen and asks how you’ve been and you say, I cut my thumb. Badge of honour-like. “How did it happen?” Chicken. “It’s always the chicken isn’t it? Always the chicken.” Yeah, I say, like I know. If only I did.
This was an hour into my day and I still had to make things up until shift ended. Try working with one thumb and you’ll see how silly I felt. I must’ve told myself 18 times that I had to suck it up and reminded myself 18 times more that nobody is going to kiss my boo-boo. I knew that but sometimes you wish the opposite were true and some magical boo-boo kisser walked out from a cloud of smoke and said: “Hello, are you hurt? Let me see that.” But the irony is that 2 huge steel bowls fall over your head and on the floor making a lot of noise, serving as the perfect wake-up call for this idea you just came up with. That is irony, right?a
I came home and had a major epic meltdown, blood still slightly dripping across the floor. You know, the way they tell you grown-up life is supposed to be.
I did not like that Wednesday. It wasn’t very nice but it’s the only Wednesday on August 28, 2013 I’ll ever see again. I don’t know if I ever finished brooding on that day. It wasn’t raining but it might as well have. It wasn’t raining so I got ice-cream.
It wasn’t the worst day ever. That’s a bit over-dramatic. I was alive. I had ice-cream. I win the day.
- 400 gms (14.1 oz) squash or zucchini
- 400 gms eggplant/brinjal/aubergine…whatever you call it
- 320 gms (11.2 oz) tomato, cut in rounds and then halved
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced fine
- 3/4 cup parmesan
- 1/3 cup dried bread crumbs (this is a good way to use stale bread) or panko crumbs
- 7-8 basil leaves, torn
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
You’ll also need a 9 x 1.5 inch deep circular cake tin (22.9 x 3.81 cm) or a deep baking dish in a similar size
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F which takes 2 years to do in this house. I have 3 months to go. Come again later!
Slice the eggplant and zucchini to 1/4 inch thick slices and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush them with olive oil. Just on one side is enough. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and put it in the oven for 15 minutes. Pull it out, let it cool (only because we don’t want burnt fingers) and then separate the squash and eggplant in two different bowls. Prepare the rest of your ingredients before going to the baking dish assembly…thing.
Heat a tablespoon of cooking olive oil and add the diced onions to it. Once they soften, in about 2-3 minutes, add the tomato. Let it cook until it turns soft and sweet, for about 4 more minutes. Season with salt to cut through the sweetness and add this crazy simple taste that makes me want to eat the whole thing. But I didn’t. Take it off the heat and let it cool.
Next, grease the baking dish with butter or simply use the same brush to coat it with olive oil. Let the layering begin. Place the squash on the bottom of the baking dish. It’s okay if it overlaps slightly. You will need about a 1/2 of the eggplant for this first step. Layer it on the bottom of the dish and add about a 1/3 of the tomatoes on top of it. Spread it around. Next put half the parmesan and the torn basil leaves on the top. The squash comes next. Layer half of it, with more of the tomato, basil and the rest of the eggplant and squash. Finally add the last of the tomato and cheese, topping it with bread crumbs at the very end. You can mix the bread crumbs with a teaspoon of olive oil before adding it. Bake the summer fiesta for 20 minutes until the top layer of bread crumbs have browned and the cheese is bubbly.
Let it cool for 5 minutes and eat immediately! That’s an order…sort of. Leftovers stay well covered in the fridge for up to three days, but it’s best to eat it immediately.