20 Bonk-free Miles, Classic Eggplant Parm, and More Fun with Video

[recovery socks photo]Well, I’m sitting here typing in my Recovery Socks after an injury-free, bonk-free 20-mile run!  20-mile runs always seem special, probably because I’ve only done a handful of them in my life.  Usually every training program incorporates one or two, but I can think of at least three times when I got hurt before the 20-miler and never did it.  So including the five marathons, I can probably still count on my fingers the number of 20-mile runs I’ve done.

It took me 2:39:40, a 7:59 pace, just barely faster than the prescribed 8:00 pace.  I actually started out with a bunch of 7:30’s and 7:45’s, but three drink stops at the car for two minutes each pretty much erased those.  I had minor issues with blisters, but changing my socks after 15 miles—I’ve never done this before—provided a lot of relief.

After my awful 18-miler, then a week off because of blisters and a few subpar runs since, my psyche really need a run like this one.  Still, Boston pace is 45 seconds faster per mile, and I was pretty tired at the end of this one, so there’s work left to do in the nine remaining weeks until Wineglass.  But if it were easy, everyone would do it. 🙂

Classic Eggplant Parmigiana

[eggplant parmesan photo]The most recent Fine Cooking has an interesting feature.  Two recipes—the classic eggplant parmesan, and an updated one made by rolling a bunch of stuff up in zucchini strips.  I’ve learned my lesson about trying to roll stuff up in the kitchen, so I opted for the former.

Before making this, Erin and I had pretty much come to the conclusion that we aren’t big eggplant fans.  The texture is just so spongy and gross!  And the skin is impossible to chew.  But we decided to make it nonetheless, for a multitude of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • we love Italian food and won’t eat chicken or veal parm anymore
  • the eggplant skin is peeled in this recipe
  • the eggplant is sliced thin and fried, with the goal of making it crispy instead of spongy
  • homemade tomato sauce is boss
  • we’d never tried it!

[eggplant parmesan close photo]As you can see, the post-baking photo isn’t much to look at.  And by the way, I hope you’re shielding your eyes from the brightness of the plain white pasta.  We almost never eat it anymore, but since I had the 20-miler coming up, I wanted to minimize the fiber and the corresponding chances of any stomach issues like I had during my 18-miler two weeks ago.  Plus, come on, we were giving eggplant a final try, so we figured we’d give it as much help as we could!

I made this little video (1 minute, 37 seconds) about the eggplant-frying process, since there’s an interesting technique of using two spoons to squeeze out excess oil.  But one thing I didn’t make clear is the cardinal rule of deep-frying.  Your oil must be hot enough, at all times! If it’s not, either because you didn’t wait long enough for it to heat up or you overcrowded the pot, then whatever you’re frying will come out all greasy and nasty.  Not good eats.  So here ya go, the second edition of NMA-TV, raw and unedited (as if that’s not obvious)!

So what was the verdict, you ask?

We loved it!  Well, relatively speaking.  It’s certainly not chicken parm, but this eggplant parm recipe has prolonged eggplant’s time in our kitchen.  The eggplant actually added a nice subtle flavor to the homemade sauce and mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, something I definitely wasn’t expecting.  I was kind of thinking it would be more of a space filler.  Fine Cooking, once again, comes through in the clutch.



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  1. That smoothie looks delicious! We’ll have to swap recipes. I am all for avocado in smoothies!
    .-= Chris Cuvelier´s last blog ..Energy in a Bottle: Fueling up for the Trans Tahoe Swim 2009 =-.

    • Chris, count me in for the recipe swap. I’m really getting into smoothies these days. In fact, I’m starting to find that the mango-jalapeno one I’ve had recently gives me the same jolt that coffee does, and I’m replacing it some days. Plus smoothies are so great for getting post-workout nutrition to your muscles, fast.

  2. Congrats on the 20 miler – those truly are some of the most difficult distances. Its always great when you can run it bonk-free.

    During my ultras, my bonk moment usually comes around mile 43 – something about that number, I just don’t like.
    .-= Jamie Walker´s last blog ..Summer BBQ: Garbanzo Bean Burgers =-.

  3. Congrats on the great 20 miler!! So glad you’ve exorcised those bad-run demons. Maybe the white pasta helped? 😉

    The eggplant parm looks great and I love the idea of peeling it before incorporating it into the recipe. Genius!
    .-= katherine´s last blog ..Typical…. =-.

    • Katherine, you know you might be right about the white pasta. I mean, obviously it wasn’t the only reason, but I do think it’s better than whole wheat the night before a morning long run.

      Peeling eggplant was definitely a plus. I can’t stand the combo of sponginess with indestructible peel in my mouth.

  4. Yay! Glad to hear you had a good run. Yum, I like eggplant and this recipe sounds delish. Love the pictures and NMA TV!
    .-= Veggie Runnr´s last blog ..Tomatoes and Cucumbers and Corn, Oh My! =-.

  5. wow great job on the 20-miler! long runs aren’t supposed to be totally at race pace. usually you just do some of the miles at goal pace or all of them easy, in my experience anyway. glad it went so well!
    .-= lindsay´s last blog ..july 2009 =-.

    • Thanks Lindsay. In the past I’ve done my long runs at 1-2 minutes slower than race pace. This time I’m doing a program called FIRST, where they specify the times depending on your goal. I actually have two more 20’s before the race, one at 7:45 pace and one at 7:30, only 15 seconds slower than the qualifying pace! Assuming I am able to do them without injury, I think it will help a lot on race day with knowing what pace I can realistically hope to keep.

  6. Congrats on the run- I think that is just fantastic! Hope you’re getting in PLENTY of relaxing tonight. When I use to eat chicken, I loved my healthier version of chicken parm. I haven’t tried the egg plant version but would love to give it a go. Yours looks mighty tasty.
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Anniversary Crab Cakes & More Pie =-.

  7. Brian Gallagher says:

    I’ve found eggplant very tricky to cook … but I’ve had some at restaurants that have been done to a silky smooth perfection, so I keep on trying … sometimes it spongy but other times I get it right and its very good. Suggestions:
    1. Go to a farmer’s and try the several different types (lite purple, white, Japanese, etc.) and sizes.
    2. Grilling eggplant is probably the most foolproof way … cook it well so the skin is just burnt, and then peel the skin (sort of like tomatoes which they are related to).
    3. Stir frying can work pretty well to.
    4. Roasting can work, I think it does better in a liquid, so you can try a ratatouille and do zucchini and eggplant together.
    5. Made a baba ganoush last week with grilled eggplant (and coconut milk) that was quite good.
    6. I made the a Laotian eggplant dish last week too that was quite good and easy (I omitted a few things I didn’t have, but the eggplant, mint, tomatoes and sweet/sour sauce was an excellent combo), see http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/11015?section=

    Hmmm, the wineglass marathon looks cool, wonder if they hand out wine in little cups during race … the Tour de France riders used to slam back wine during race …

    • I’m not sure if they’ll give out wine during the race; I wouldn’t be shocked. In past years they’ve given half bottles of local wine to finishers, so that’s kind of fun. I just saw the Tour de France guys drinking wine on their bikes during as part of a toast on the final day. I never really get that, why aren’t they trying harder at the end?

  8. Is it easy to find vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese over there? It’s hard to find here in the UK.
    .-= Cathy´s last blog ..Name & shame: Resolute Digital =-.

    • Cathy, maybe you mean vegan parmesan cheese? I’m not vegan, so I still eat regular cheese sometimes. I did buy a vegan product once that was supposed to be like parmesan; I think it was made from nutritional yeast and walnuts. It didn’t taste bad, but of course it’s nothing like the real thing.

      • I mean vegetarian parmesan. Or to be more accurate vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, as regular parmesan is never vegetarian. Or maybe you aren’t that strict that you only eat cheese that is vegetarian, i.e. no animal rennet in it?
        .-= Cathy´s last blog ..Name & shame: Resolute Digital =-.

        • Cathy, you’ve taught me something new, so thanks! I had no idea that rennet was used in parmesan cheese (or even what rennet was).

          Next question… when you say “regular parmesan” what do you mean? Just Parmigiano-Reggiano, the real thing? In the U.S., domestic cheeses that are made in that same style (not nearly as good of course) are allowed to be called parmesan. My guess would be that these mass-produced cheeses are less likely to use animal rennet, if it’s at all expensive or difficult to use in production. I want to look into this, do you know any good resources?

          What about other types of cheese?

  9. Thanks for the recipe, you read my mind. Our local Farmers’s Market is on Tuesdays in the late afternoon and that was on my list of things to get so that I could make eggplant parm. I had a recipe for eggplant parmesan, but I wanted to see what else was out there and there you were on NoMeat, thank you!!! I am a big fan of eggplant and I was also going to do the eggplant and spinach Lasagna. Congrats on your run and tell Erin Congrats on her bike ride.

    • Dawn, that is funny! Erin and I were just talking about trying to make up a really good vegetarian lasagna recipe, definitely with spinach but I’m still not sure about eggplant. The lasagna I used to make was the really authentic kind with all-day simmered ragout and bechamel sauce, and of course fresh pasta. I’m wondering if the all-day simmering can still serve some purpose without meat, and what I might add in place of meat. I don’t really want to do the TVP; I’m thinking mushrooms. Let me know how your eggplant parm turns out, and any lasagna you might make!

  10. You’re a running machine!

    I’ve never had eggplant parmesan and am not a fan of frying stuff (it doesn’t sit well in my stomach), but that does sound really tasty.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..Poll: The Difference of Five Pounds =-.

  11. Great job on your 20 miler! Glad the socks are still working out for you.

    I posted on my blog a request for some easier vegetarian recipes/meal ideas and would love any suggestions you might have. We are camping for 2 weeks and will have a stove/oven and grill and also driving for 20 hours. I have some things planned, but would love any input for others. You can email me or comment. Thanks!
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Great Customer Service! =-.

  12. Well done on the 20 miler! The food looks great! As usual.
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..Time for another change =-.

  13. My last 20 miler went great. The one before I was hungover from the night before (this is what happens when your friend owns a brewery). It rained….a lot….and I had to take the in-soles out of my Saucony Mirages as they were slipping everywhere. I took the dog (did a park run) and managed to get dog crap on my hands in a badly executed poop-scoop. Not good. Last 20 mile run went great, I ran then berkshire ridgeway, an Anglo Saxon road that goes past a number of Ancient sites in the south of England…. awesome. I make egg-plant/aubergine parmesan all the time. I slice the aubergine and then steam them first, then lightly fry them in olive oil. I find they cook perfectly this way, and aren’t greasy.

  14. Eggplant parm is really THE way to turn anyone on to eggplant. But baking the eggplant is so much better for you and (in my opinion)way yummier. I also love to serve it over a salad of red onions, dark greens, black olives, tomatoes (when in season) and artichoke hearts with some nuts. Literally, instead of frying the eggplant just prepare it normally and then put it in the oven on parchment paper at 250 degrees F until it’s nice and golden brown. Delish and HALF the calories!

  15. 1. Eggplant does not need salt to remove moisture. You are adding sodium to your diet that is not needed. It will lose its moisture and liquid anyway when sliced. Paper towel will absorb moisture regardless.
    2. Does not need deep frying in oil. Grill it on a BBQ or similar. Less fat and less grease. Use paper towel
    3. Its good for you
    4. Cheese is not vegetarian. Try tahini instead and sparingly to avoid grease factor

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