Braised Eggplant, Buffalo Mozzarella with Roasted Tomatoes and Lessons in Patience

I decided to grow a Bonsai to better teach myself patience. Early in my second year of a five year residency program, I am learning that one cannot expect to all of a sudden be a good doctor—the time it takes to do this. The time it takes. I need to be reminded of the slowness of growing things right—so I now I have a little tree shoot that, if I take tender care of it, will just be ready for its first pruning when I am budding as an attending and double-boarded physician in 2020.

bonsai sprout

Braised meals are another reminder that slow cooking reaps rewards. Savory sauces are worth the wait.

eggplant and garlic dish

Braised Eggplant with Garlic

Adapted from Food and Wine

2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

1 medium tomato, finely chopped (1 cup)

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 long green peppers, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt


6 Italian baby eggplants (2 1/2 pounds)

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1.In a medium bowl, combine the onions with the tomato, garlic, peppers, parsley, sugar and 2 teaspoons of salt. Using your hands, knead the mixture until it is softened and well blended.

2.Peel the eggplants lengthwise at 1/2-inch intervals to create stripes. On one half of each eggplant, make 4 lengthwise slits halfway through the flesh. Rub the eggplants 
all over and in the slits with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3.Arrange the eggplants slit side up in an ovenproof baking dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Spoon the filling liberally into the slits; some will spill out. Drizzle the remaining 3/4 cup of olive oil over the eggplants and add 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish. Cover and bake for about 
1 hour, until the eggplants are completely tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.


And a bonus:

tomates and mozza tomatoes and mozzarella

Buffalo Mozzarella with Neat and Messy Roasted Tomatoes

Adapted from Food and Wine

2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved

2 pounds cherry tomatoes on the vine



1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Two 8-ounce balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced

Crusty bread, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°. Arrange the halved cherry tomatoes cut side up on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the tomatoes are shriveled and half-dried. Remove from the oven.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 350°. Arrange the cherry tomatoes on the vine on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Season with salt and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for about 1 hour, until the tomatoes soften and start to split open. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the tomatoes to a large platter. Arrange the dried tomatoes on the platter along with the mozzarella. Season with pepper and serve with crusty bread.

A little water everyday…

bonsai peet covered

6 thoughts on “Braised Eggplant, Buffalo Mozzarella with Roasted Tomatoes and Lessons in Patience

  1. You should talk to Ted about bonsai. He raised a number of them very successfully. I understand your metaphor, but there’s a practical side to it as well. I admire your analysis of what you’re going through now and love to read your reflections. Consider yourself loved dearly. Grammie

  2. What a beautiful, deeply meaningful form of teaching yourself patience! Sending lots and lots of motivation, energy, and of course patience your way as you continue on the pathway towards becoming a full-fledged Doctor Hammer! 🙂 XOXOXO

    1. Forms, I should say – both the bonsai and braised dinner are a thing of beauty, each in their own very distinct way 🙂

      1. Oh my! I imagine that many medical residents feel like they have been reincarnated upon graduating and beginning a new, very different season of life than that which they’ve lived for the past several years 🙂 I look forward to hearing your reflections on reincarnation. And I guess for now, at least you can enjoy the many other lovely plants in and around your home, like the lime tree that appeared in one of your blog posts – I just love that bright, cheery-looking tree! 🙂

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