Grilled Eggplant & Grilled Radicchio With Endive Salad

Grilled Eggplant photo: jparadisi 2011

The fatal flaw of left-handed, creative polymaths, I’ve mentioned, is not finishing what we start. Today I’m following up last week’s post with how I prepared the eggplant and the radicchio bought a week ago at a Farmers’ Market while David and I visited Newport, Oregon. Just so you know, those beautiful vegetables did not meet their demise by rotting in my refrigerator.

Grilled Eggplant

3 medium eggplants

A good quality olive oil

1-3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Fresh ground black pepper and salt

1/8 -1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake (or to taste)

Wash and pat dry the eggplants after trimming away both ends on each, but leave the skins on. Slice each eggplant length-wise into four 1/2-inch slices. Brush both sides of each slice with the olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. On a medium grill, cook eggplant slices until there are grill marks on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t over cook.

Arrange the slices on a platter and sprinkle with the fresh basil and crushed red pepper. Makes a dozen slices. The next day, I used the leftovers in Panini along with the heirloom tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Grilled Radicchio With Endive Salad

1 medium head of fresh radicchio

3-4 large Belgium endives

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons of a good quality olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Wash and pat dry the head of radicchio and the endive. Quarter the head of radicchio into wedges and brush the cut sides with the olive oil. Place the first oiled side onto a medium grill and lightly char the edges, then turn to the second cut side, and slightly char it too. Do not walk away from the grill while cooking the radicchio; they char quickly. Remove from grill, and set-aside until cool enough to handle with your fingers. Slice the endive length wise, then chop into 1/2 or 1-inch chunks. I like mine chunky, but I noticed David set the bigger pieces aside on his plate. I don’t think he knew what endive was until he met me. Put the chopped endive into a large bowl. Chop the cooled radicchio and add to the endive. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar; toss to coat and adjust to taste, along with the salt and pepper. Add the shredded Parmesan cheese and toss one more time.

Pair with crusty bread, and a crisp Pinot Gris.

Don’t Change the Way You Look, Change the Way You See

Vegetable Still Life with View of Yaquina Bay photo: David E. Forinash 2011

Getting cancelled for part of a scheduled shift at work is often a problem during a recession, but on Friday I volunteered to go home at noon when our patient census was low. David and I planned to leave early Saturday morning for the Oregon Coast, but since he had Friday off, I packed quickly and we left that afternoon instead. Getting cancelled for half a shift felt like a gift instead of a loss in this circumstance, and my coworkers who wanted the hours were happy. The way it looks depends on your point of view.

I am in Newport, Oregon looking at a 180 degree view of the Pacific Ocean, with a blue heron nesting in a nearby fir tree. Last night I thought I heard a small dog barking, but it was the heron. What surprisingly harsh squawks from such an elegant bird! I see the heron in a new way.

Saturday morning at Newport’s Farmers’ Market we bought heirloom tomatoes, slender eggplants, a radicchio with red leaves edged in light green, and purple, yellow, and red peppers. Although we are traveling, I couldn’t resist the beauty of the vegetables, and when we paid for them even the farmer commented on the remarkable colors. Although he’d set up the booth himself that morning, he saw them from a fresh perspective while weighing them on the scale.

At the locally owned JC Market (which has a surprisingly good wine selection) I bought a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir and a Pinot Gris. As I carried the brown paper bag through the parking lot, I saw Don’t change the way you look, change the way you see, written on a sticker pasted to the bumper of a parked car.

It makes perfect sense.

I knew a pilot who said when he entered any public venue such as a movie theatre, the first thing he did was locate all the exits in case of fire. It makes sense that a pilot would see a theatre that way. After all, how to exit the plane in an emergency is the first thing taught to commercial jet passengers.

For a long time, I viewed many opportunities through the lens of their worst possible outcomes. I believe I learned this behavior as a nurse, seeing the traumatic outcomes of choices written on the bodies of patients in the ICU. Jobs requiring an exceptional sense of responsibility for the safety of others, such as piloting a jetliner, or nursing, affect our view of life, creating habits within our personalities, which I believe are unique from most of our society. It took me awhile to realize nursing influenced my enjoyment of life, and not always in a positive way.

For instance, I used to make choices based on their potential for risk or emotional pain. “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst,” was my viewpoint. Now I look at choices for their fun value too, not only potential peril. Otherwise, I may miss seeing the movie by worrying that the theatre might catch on fire.

Don’t change the way you look, change the way you see.

Sometimes Staffing Issues are Beneficial

   How sweet it is!

   You know how it goes, when you’re a nurse. You work your assigned holiday weekends. It’s fair.

   Sometimes, the department you work for has a low census, and your shift gets cancelled, because they don’t need you.

   I got cancelled for the entire holiday weekend, due to low census.  This feels like a gift from the universe (but it actually was Friday’s charge nurse who made it happen), after working my tush off all week installing The Acorn Contains the Tree and “One more than four” at Anka Gallery.

   David and I threw a couple of overnight

Yaquina Bay from Newport's Historic Bayfront July 4th photo: J.Paradisi

Yaquina Bay from Newport's Historic Bayfront July 4th photo: J.Paradisi

 bags in the back of the mighty Subaru yesterday afternoon and took off for Newport, Oregon, to watch  the fireworks display tonight. Some well earned R&R.

Have a happy holiday!