25 Things About This Summer:
1. I made these guys. Then I ate them, and life was good. We’ll get back to them in a little bit.
2. I am almost finished catching up on all seven seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. In other words, I watch too much TV.
3. I wore a tux to work. I felt like a penguin.
4. Gingie was spotted hiding on top of boxes of stock during a thunderstorm. I ran to take a picture before consoling her. Priorities.
5. I wake up at 4:50 in the morning for work. Yikes.
6. On my days off, I wake up at 6 am… without an alarm. Double yikes.
7. I can’t even tell you how many pots of coffee I’ve brewed this summer.
8. I’m 95% sure the coffee maker at work has a vendetta against me. I’ve cleaned up overflowing coffee way too many times for there to be any other explanation (and yes, I do know how to brew a good pot of coffee).
9. Speaking of work, I spotted this gem in the parking lot.
10. I went to Michigan and ate at Zingerman’s Deli. It was glorious.
11. My flight home from Michigan got cancelled. Typical.
12. I discovered this blog. Genius.
13. Foodgawker overload.
14. I fell asleep on a pool float and didn’t get burned. Hallelujah!
15. Awkward flip-flop tan lines.
16. Cheese-balling it up at Niagara Falls!
17. I whipped up some Almond Butter Froyo with Amaretto Caramel Sauce. Noms.
18. I made 3674569845769872305 supermarket trips… and I don’t particularly like going grocery shopping (weird, I know).
19. I exaggerated.
20. Olympic opening ceremony face dresses, say whaaaaaaaaaaaat?
21. Why were the Spice Girls not at the opening ceremonies?! #90skidprobs
22. I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge!
23. And once in Brooklyn, I ate at Bubby’s. Yay comfort food!
24. Every time TLC airs the previews for this show I cringe.
25. Air conditioning, I love you.
End random ramblings. Back to the eggplant rolls!
I have a (not-so) secret obsession with pizza… it’s probably the one food that I could eat all day, everyday. Perhaps I’ll make a spin-off of Supersize Me and eat pizza (and I mean authentic NY pizza) for a solid month. I am just so full of good ideas!
(For the record, I am totally kidding about the month-long pizza binge… just for the record.)
Now, I must warn you that these rolls are quite doughy. The doughy-ness was by design for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I love bread. I love the smell of the yeast in freshly baked bread, I love the chewiness of the interior, and I love the contrast of the crunchy exterior. In this particular recipe, the thickness of the dough also helps hold all of the filling in place; while I’m sure you could roll the dough thinner to have a more equal ratio of dough to filling, you have to remember that the thinner you roll the dough the more difficult it becomes to handle and reduce the risk of tearing. But if you want them less doughy and feel up to the challenge, then go for it!
I don’t want to downplay the filling, though, cause it is quite delicious! Eggplant is cooked with garlic and onion until tender, and then a bit of tomato paste and balsamic is added for a slightly acidic bite. Red pepper flakes lend a subtle spiciness while fresh oregano gives a nice bright finish. I opted for feta for its tanginess, making these rolls a bit more Greek than Italian. However, you could pretty much substitute any cheese you like. I want to try ‘em with some fresh smoked mozzarella next time! Feel free to get creative with the filling – mix up the veggies according to what you like. Think of the nutty whole wheat dough as a canvas for endless possibilities. (Cheesy, I know. Please forgive me.)
Bread and veggie lovers unite! Let’s get rolling!
(Again, please forgive me… no more bad jokes or puns. Recipe below!)
Whole Wheat Eggplant Rolls
- 3 C. whole wheat flour, plus more (as necessary) for handling dough
- 2 ¼ tsp. quick rise or rapid rise yeast
- 1 ¼ C. warm water
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more if necessary
- 1 medium eggplant, diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- ¼ C. water
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (I like this one from Trader Joe’s)
- 1/8 – ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (depending on your spice preference)
- 1 tsp. freshly chopped oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- whole wheat flour for rolling, as necessary
- 3 Tbsp. grated romano cheese
- 1/3 C. crumbled feta cheese
- 1 egg
- splash of water
Make the dough: In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups of the flour, 1 ¼ tsp. of the yeast, and all of the water. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes pass and the mixture begins to show some air bubbles, mix in the remainder of the flour, yeast, as well as salt and olive oil until combined (use your hands if necessary). Knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Let sit covered for 60 minutes, until doubled in size.
Make the filling: While the dough is rising, make the filling. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil and onions and cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add a drizzle more olive oil to the pan if necessary, then add eggplant, salt and pepper. Cook for 8-12 minutes until tender. Reduce the heat to low. Add tomato paste and water, stir until smooth. Cook for a minute, then add in balsamic vinegar and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook over low heat for about 3 minutes, until all of the water is evaporated and the eggplant is coated in sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in oregano. Set aside and let cool.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a heavy-bottomed baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Turn your attention back to the dough. Punch down the dough, knead a few times. Flour the dough, the work surface, and your hands. Roll out the dough into a 15×10 inch rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with the romano cheese. Top with eggplant mixture, being sure to spread out to an even layer. Sprinkle on feta cheese, again being sure to distribute evenly. From the wider side of the rectangle, begin to roll the dough tightly into a pinwheel, being sure to keep the filling in its place as you roll. Once the dough is completely rolled, set it seam-side down and slice into 8 even pieces. Carefully transfer each piece to the prepared sheet pan. Make an egg wash by beating together the egg and the splash of water. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and crusty. Once done, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.