When I go to the grocery store to buy a couple things, I always walk out hands full! It's something I definitely acquired from my parents, they go grocery shopping probably 5 times a week to find different produce around the city (and we're talking about Toronto, a much bigger city). I however, stick to my neighbourhood stores because I walk everywhere, so I'm still limited to how much I can buy because I'm stuck walking home with all that stock.
I do love variety though and always get a huge selection of fruits and veggies, not only because each individual fruit and vegetable offers different vitamins and minerals, but also because they are so delicious in their own ways. I buy a different type of fresh meat each visit to the grocery store too, either chicken, beef, pork or my favourite... fish!
(Side note: Funny, because as a kid, my parents didn't cook fish all that much, but I always enjoyed it. I think it was the influence of both my best friends from back home in Toronto. One is Armenian and the other Portuguese, and their moms always made delicious fish. I loved going to their places for dinner and their parents loved having me over because I would finish my entire plate and would usually have a second serving... I probably ate a little too much back then! I loved my parents home cooked meals, but it was nice to try foods that were prepared differently.)
With all of this food that I have been exposed to from different cultures, I have learned to come up with my own creations and invent my own recipes. With a fridge that is always fully stocked, I can just grab a few random ingredients and cook something different every time.
A few weeks ago, I made this dish.
A twice baked eggplant style dish with green beans, a homemade tomato sauce and sauteed onions with melted cheese on top. It's easy, simple, tasty and healthy.
Armenians use eggplant very often in their cuisine. Eggplants in Armenia taste so different too, it's the perfect climate to grow this vegetable and they are just so flavourful. I keep telling myself I need to make another trip back, mainly to eat great food and learn more traditional style meals. It's on my to do list!
The purple peel of the eggplant is the golden part of the vegetable. The peel acts as an antioxidant, meaning that it can help protect our body's cell from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which usually play a role in cardiovascular diseases, different forms of cancers and other aging related diseases.
Eggplant is one of my top 10 favourite vegetables. It offers sources of fibre, manganese, copper, vitamin B1 and B6 all contributing to great health. In case you are interested here is a break down of the benefits for each vitamin mentioned.
*Manganese: Manganese acts as a cofactor of many enzymes facilitating a dozen of different metabolic processes. It also plays a role in fighting those unwanted free radicals.
*Copper: Copper is found in many enzymes (which participate in metabolic reactions), but it is also necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen. Collagen is a protein and participates in the structure and repair of tissues of the organism.
*Vitamin B1 aka Thiamine: This vitamin is part of the coenzyme that is essential to the production of energy, mainly by carbohydrates that we ingest. B1 also helps in the transmission of nerve impulses and contributes to normal growth.
*Vitamin B6 aka Pyridoxin: This vitamin is also part of the coenzymes which participate in the metabolism of proteins and fat as well as the synthesis (creation) of neurotransmitters (which helps in the transfer of nerve impulses). B6 is also necessary in the transformation of glycogen to glucose (taking energy from our stores) and helps in the proper functioning of the immune system. In addition, this vitamin contributes to the formation of red blood cells which will help the oxygen flow smoothly through the body and can even have an affect to modulate our hormonal receptors.
Basically this vegetable tastes so great and is so good for you. Try it out if you have never had an experience with this golden treasure!
My reliable Source: http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Nutrition/EncyclopedieAliments/Fiche.aspx?doc=aubergine_nu