Last weekend I had my 4-year-old niece tag along with me to two farmers markets: Mill City & Minneapolis, with an ice cream stop in between, of course. The girl loves her ice cream and orders it by its color rather than its flavor, totally kid style. Plus, I had to use some bribing (and sugar) to get her to do two markets in one day, exhausting for a little human.

My main reason for trekking to a second market was to stock up on tomatoes and eggplant, both totally in season and both totally affordable depending on where you shop. I’ve found that the Minneapolis and St. Paul markets are good places for stocking up on preservable goods, but be prepared to carry a lot of weight! We trekked back to the car and the little human offered to carry one eggplant, “because…I never give up” she says.

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I sure am glad we bought all of those eggplants because I found a recipe that I had to make not once, but twice in the following week. If you’ve ever made eggplant parmesan, you know how tedious it can be: salt the eggplant, blot off excess water, bread and fry, and so on until you’re finally layering the eggplant to bake.

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(credit: Crystal Grobe

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

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This recipe is much simpler, and comes from a newly discovered blog, Alexandra’s Kitchen. It calls for a red pepper-tomato sauce, which I made and is so delicious, but could easily be substituted with a store bought pasta sauce. Also, it’s healthier than traditional eggplant parmesan since there is no frying and it uses much less cheese. Head on over to her blog and give the recipe a try. I think you’ll agree that it’s a great use of eggplant.