#papoutsakia “These shoes are made for eating”

Introduction:

As a single girl in NY, or a gay man (as a good friend added), you at some point feel like you ‘re starring at your own “Sex and the City”. I love storytelling, and when I share my adventures, the most common response other than laughter and eye rolls, is “you should write about this, this stuff is good!” In an attempt to try to understand men and myself, while others turn to God or the occasional psychic, I turned to food. And while Carrie wrote about her love affair with shoes, I’ll tell you about mine with these little shoes, as well as the actual affair that inspired it.

The Scene:

A very hot Sunday afternoon. The blaring sun and her hunger made her even crankier than she was, not knowing what to expect out of her upcoming lunch date. As they sat down, and before the waiter like a guardian angel had time to bring them their meal, he turned to her and said: “I was with her last night. Darling, I want you both. Please be open minded...this is NY. Can’t I have it all?”…

These shoes are made for eating:

In matters of the heart, a relationship involving three, is, at least, hard to digest. It is not quite the same though when it comes down to your three tier delicacy known as #papoutsakia, translating into “little shoes” due to their shape.

When Mr. Right seems to have lost his way to you and romance just doesn’t seem to work, what is great about food, is that not only will it satisfy both your physical and emotionally triggered hunger, it will let you cook your own story.

Think of #papoutsakia as an individual moussaka. A portion made just for you, that you never have to share. It is the ultimate summer delicacy consisting of a greedy all enclosing eggplant, a very sexy bolognese, and that blonde b****, ahem, bechamel that is. 


Ingredients (feeds 3)

How to:

Layer one:

5 small eggplants

2 tbsp olive oil

1 pinch salt

1 pinch sugar

Layer two:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup wine

1 pound ground beef (85/15) 

1 onion

2 carrots

2 celery sticks

1 bunch parsley

1 small tomato can (sauce)

Layer three:

4 tbsp butter

4 tbsp flour

2,5 cups milk

1 egg

1 pinch nutmeg

Layer 4:

1 cup sharp yellow cheese, like pecorino, grated.


Execution:

Slice your eggplant lengthwise in half. With a small sharp knife and a spoon, scoop out all interior, leaving a very thing layer of eggplant, it should look like a little shoe. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place the eggplant in a parchment paper layered pan. Add a tad of salt and sugar and let bake for about 20 mins. The idea is that all three layers (eggplant,Bolognese,bechamel) are already cooked and in the end you bake it lightly to get that crispy golden color. The second layer is your classic, but oh so irresistible Bolognese. Dice onion, carrot, celery. Finely chop parsley. Heat olive oil in pan. Sautee onion until translucent in medium heat. Add celery and carrot. When soft, about 10 mins, remove from pan. Turn heat to high and sautee ground beef. Breaking the lumps with a wooden spoon, you will know “its done” when it has turned dark brown. At this point you can add the wine, stir, and let it evaporate. Add your vegetables back in the pot, add tomato sauce and parsley, and let cook in low heat, gently bubbling for at least one hour. I like to add a cup of stock, or water. You can add your cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. The right consistency is thick, with the sauce present, but very chunky, especially since its in the middle of two other ingredients, you want it to have “a bite”. Last but not least the bechamel is a very classic recipe that can be easily ruined if not made extra smooth. I always feel I work on my biceps while whisking in the milk. The golden rule is that you always have as much flour as you have butter. Add less or more milk depending on how thick you want it to be. Turn heat on medium and melt butter. Stir in flour. Let cook for about a minute, constantly stirring, until golden and perfectly blended in. Once you start pouring in the milk, you cannot stop stirring. Slowly pour till you have obtained desired consistency, not too thick but not too runny. Remove from heat. Add pinch nutmeg, and when cool add a whole egg. Stir to well blend and not fry! You ‘re almost done! Fill the eggplants with the Bolognese. Top with bechamel and add cheese. Bake in 400 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Lesson:

This dish takes time. Make it for someone who will not want to share his shoe with other guests.