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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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December 30, 2008

Eggplant-Hummus Pizza

from:   "Serves One" by Toni Lydecker (w/one addition by me)

INGREDIENTS:  (*'d ones are explained in directions)

1 small Italian or Japanese eggplant (~ 4 oz.)
Olive oil
*1/3c hummus
*small amount of crushed tomatoes in puree
*1 Naan bread
2-3 Tbs crumbled Feta cheese

Preheat oven (I used my toaster oven - much less heat in the apartment!).  Slice the eggplant crosswise in 1/4" slices.  Arrange them in a single layer that you have brushed with olive oil and then brush the tops with olive oil.  Turn them all over and brush the tops again and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I used a seasoned salt - has rosemary, sage, pepper and I think that's all).

Roast until lightly browned on both sides, about 10 minutes total, turing them at about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile spread the hummus onto the naan and top with the tomatoes.  *Tomatoes - he recipe used only the hummus, eggplant and cheese.  I thought the hummus would get too dry so I decided to use just a couple of teaspoons per naan and I really liked it (more than I would have without the tomatoes, I think).  *Hummus - I always use hummus on my lunch sandwiches and right now I'm using a white bean one that has some garlic and herbs - very tasty.  *Naan - my store always sold largish naan which when I made a curry I would slice and use one half of that.  Now they've started selling a pack that has three small, roundish ones and I say thanks for thinking of us solo cooks!  So I used two this first time and cooked them one at a time (after getting both ready).  That way I had two hot pizzas.

When roasted, arrange the eggplant slices on top (since I was using the small roundish naan, I ended up slicing the slices in half because most of them were probably 1-1/2" or so in diameter.

Bake in the oven until the naan is crisp and the topping is heated through - about 10 minutes - but keep an eye on it from about 7 or 8 minutes on.

NOTES:  I really liked this idea.  It was easy, quick and really very tasty.  And I think it could be made with most anything that appeals to the cook, really.  I'm thinking about some quite small cuts of broccoli florets roasted first.  And I bet red bell peppers would be delicious.  The Feta cheese was a good topping but I think I'll also try some fontina cheese on one.  I had another recipe that called for fontina and looked up substitutes before I found some at La Famiglia restaurant here in town.  Had they not had any, the substitutes suggested were Gouda, guyere, and provolone.  All of those (including the fontina) are milder than Feta so that might be a good one to use red peppers with - they have a nice zing to them.

If anyone out there tries this and makes variations, I'd love to hear about them. :)

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