Saturday, September 22, 2012

Herb Crusted Eggplant

A very warm welcome to Joyce and Jim Lavene, a husband and wife bestselling mystery writing team. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley and Charter Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family, their cat, Quincy, and their rescue dog, Rudi. They enjoy photography, watercolor, gardening and long drives.

Their next mystery is Buried By Buttercups, a Peggy Lee Mystery.

And now -- Joyce!

I come from a proud family of Southern gardeners and cooks. My mother was from Charleston, South Carolina and she grew up going out to the farm to pick produce when she was young.

She and her mother, along with her brothers and sisters, spent whole days picking tomatoes, green peppers, corn, and eggplant. They were very poor and this provided them with some spending money - also fresh fruit and vegetables.

Even when my mother could afford to buy her own produce, she grew everything she could. Her yard was filled with fruit trees and vegetables. It was important to her that she ate as much fresh food as she could.

She rubbed off on me, I guess. When I grew up, I became a Master Gardener and enjoyed growing fresh food too. I put as much of that information as I could into the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries.

Peggy Lee is a botanist who specializes in botanical poisons. She owns a small garden shop in Charlotte, North Carolina and helps the police solve mysteries with her knowledge. Her next book is Buried By Buttercups, out in October 2012.

Peggy loves herbs and spices. I think she’d enjoy this recipe.

Making Herb Crusted Eggplant

I know a lot of people don’t like eggplant. I’m a vegetarian and I’m always looking for new ways to make vegetables. I think you’ll find that you don’t have to ‘like’ eggplant to enjoy this.

You’ll need one eggplant. Cut off the top and bottom then thinly peel off the purple skin. Cut the eggplant into thick slices, about one quarter inch.

You’ll also need about a quarter cup of olive oil, one and a half cups of plain, dry breadcrumbs, five tablespoons of fresh, chopped, basil, two tablespoons of fresh parsley and two tablespoons fresh rosemary, one teaspoon of salt, and pepper to taste.

Mix breadcrumb/herb mixture in a bowl. Use the olive oil to coat the eggplant slices then put each side of the slices into the breading mixture. Bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until eggplant is tender and crust is brown.

These make delicious sandwiches or a great side dish with pasta or potatoes. One eggplant serves about four people.
Thanks for having me here!


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Twitter: @authorJLavene and Google Plus.


  1. Thanks so much for joining us today Joyce and Jim. This eggplant looks fantastic. I'm ready to dig in. And it doesn't sound too complicated, either. Eggplant is going on my shopping list!

    ~ Krista

  2. Joyce, welcome to MLK! You are a woman after my own heart, as we happen to have 4 enormous eggplants in our garden. I was racking my poor brain thinking what to do with them...

    And I am in awe of you and your husband--both your productivity and your ability to write as a team! Congrats on the new book. xo Lucy

  3. Welcome, Jim and Joyce. This is amazingly simple and I never would have thought to use it as the "meat" in a sandwich, sort of like a mushroom, right? Great idea.

    Congrats on your new book. Good luck with sales. You certainly are prolific!

    ~Daryl aka Avery

  4. Wonderful recipe, Joyce, so easy and healthy. Thank you for sharing it with us today, along with those cherished memories of your mother. (It reminds me of my dad, who had the same kind of upbringing on a farm and passion for growing vegetables and fruits in our back garden.) I love how you and Jim are sharing that gardening passion via fiction. Congrats on the release of your new Peggy Lee Garden mystery! Cheers and have a great weekend. ~ Cleo