Our Chinese exchange student hadn’t cooked for us in a while. And, with our Korean exchange visiting her mother in California (Her mother was on a business trip to California, so decided to extend her stay and have her daughter come visit. They ended up going on a bus trip with lots of other Koreans. [Apparently, Koreans have much of January off of work…?] They went to a few places in California and Las Vegas. They took a plane trip over the Grand Canyon. She flew back to DFW out of Las Angelos after having flown into San Francisco.), I think she needed something to deal with her slight loneliness. And, we were willing to provide the ingredients and appetites to allow her to engage in cooking therapy.
The top left picture is of cubed potatoes. She seasoned them with a variety of things I have never seasoned potatoes with. Fortunately, it turned out fine. Despite the great flavor she provided for the potatoes, ketchup seems to be a great addition. The green with the potatoes is cilantro. Since the other dish was going to be fried, she decided cooking in the over would reduce the feeling of lead in our stomach as the oil would sink to the bottom of our bellies.
The dish to the right is eggplant and sausage. It is still a little unclear what all went into this. The preparation was rather involved. The eggplant was sliced thin. The ground pork was placed between two eggplant slices and then fried. (I think there some sort of coating on the outside of the eggplant.) It was a little difficult getting the pork to cook completely. The eggplant became quite adept at sucking up the peanut oil we were cooking the little sandwiches in. When the eggplant/pork mixture was all cooked, it went back into the pan with some other stuff of likely Chinese origin.
Lastly, the glass bowl was filled with eggs and soy sauce. (Maybe a couple of other things, too.) For Christmas, our exchange student got me a utensil to sit in the bottom of a covered dish. When water was placed in the bottom and a lid was put over the top, it was a perfect place to steam food. Although it steamed fine, she was disappointed in the results. Ideally, the consistency would have been more like custard and less full of bubbles.
Overall, the meal was a great hit! The baking of the potatoes was an excellent idea. The eggplant filled our plates and lubricated our whole insides with more grease than we would have preferred. However, the flavor was excellent! We enjoyed the meal, and we praised our student profusely for her nimbleness in the kitchen. It opened our eyes up to the additional roles eggplant can serve in. Where previously, we had been content to put him under some sauce and call it “eggplant parmesan”. Even if the eggplant did make some occasional appearances on the grill, this meal really highlighted the texture and taste available when mixing eggplant with other ingredients. Our eyes and taste buds have been opened.! This purple vegetable will likely find a place in additional meals in our future!