Eggplant and Kabocha Miso Gratin
My mother arrived last week from Japan to celebrate the holiday season with us and boy have we been busy these past few days! We did some shopping on 5th avenue where the decorations are not to be missed this time of the year, gone to a couple of Broadway shows, ate some escargots (her favorite) and caught a Brooklyn Nets’ game. When friends or relatives come for a visit, it leaves me with very little time in the kitchen to cook. That can easily become a worry when they start asking for home cooked meals after seeing all the recipes on my blog! Thankfully, I have a large library of easy and yummy recipes on hand to whip up even if it’s late at night. Since my mother had never heard of a gratin made with miso before, I jumped at the opportunity to make her my favorite; an eggplant and kabocha miso gratin.
From the first bite she fell in love with the creamy, sweet and savory sauce of this miso gratin and asked for the recipe so she could make it back home. Anything she requests the recipe for I consider a huge success! And just like me she cares about eating a sensible diet, so it’s a good thing that this cheesy eggplant and kabocha miso gratin is mostly made with healthy ingredients. Plus, a little cheese never hurt anybody right? 😉
I like testing Japanese influenced recipes on my mother since she is such a fantastic chef. She is also the one who showed me that good Japanese food can be made even if all the required ingredients cannot be found. She spent 25 years living in a teeny town in the province of Quebec where there were no Japanese grocery stores and still managed to make the best watermelon rind tsukemono, with only ajinomoto and salt.
Watching her make Japanese food is like going to culinary school; I’m always paying close attention to every step she takes and furiously jot down the dos and the don’ts of Japanese cooking. But now that I am older and have developed my own way of cooking, I feel extremely flattered whenever she takes out her own note book and asks me for tips, such as for this miso gratin. One of her biggest qualities is her humility and because of that I never felt inferior to her, even as a little girl. I grew up feeling confident in myself and that goes a long way as an adult! I owe my strong character and solid self-worth to her. Thanks mom!
And so the evening we went to see Jersey Boys, I prepared this eggplant and kabocha miso gratin in advance. All that was left to do once we got back home was a quick zap in the microwave and voila! I served the gratin with a side of Japanese rice (my mother can’t live without rice), a seaweed salad and daikon pickles. We ended the evening watching season 1 of Glee with some salt and vinegar chips, a glass of rose for the ladies, and a Yamazaki whiskey for the man of the house.