Lovin’ Lamb & Eggplant Casserole!



Caryn slices through eggplant as a skillet sizzles nearby. The swinging door creaks open and Mr. R.’s head pokes through.

MR. R.

Going to the gym. Be back in a couple hours.

She nods and stirs the browning meat in the skillet.


Is that lamb? Looks good.

He withdraws his head from the kitchen. Caryn chops fresh mint.

The door swings open again and she rolls her eyes.


Change your mind already?



Caryn looks up to identify the unfamiliar voice. She immediately straightens her hair at the vision of Abercrombie & Fitch standing before her. The SANDY-HAIRED MAN extends his hand.


Hi, I’m Hank. You must be Caryn.

She nods and shyly shakes his hand. The meat hisses from the stove.


Are you, um, a friend of–


Yeah, we’re buddies from high school. Just visiting for a while.

Caryn pulls her gaze away from his bright blue eyes and turns her attention to the skillet.


He could use a friend around here.

Hank leans casually against the counter.


I hear you’re a great cook.

He peeks over her shoulder to see what she’s stirring.


Is that lamb? Since when does he eat lamb?

Caryn turns her head at the accusation and they are nose to nose.


He’s eaten it before.

They both look back down at the meat.


Huh. Interesting.

After a beat, he smiles at her with a sugary grin.


I, however, love lamb.

Lamb & Eggplant Casserole with Lemon Yogurt Sauce

I adapted this dish from a recipe published in the November 2004 Woman’s Day. It’s a pretty lean dish if you’re looking for a satisfying, but healthier meal between the Holiday festivities.

3 eggplants, about 1 lb. each, cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 TB. olive oil, divided

1 lb. lean ground lamb

2 cups chopped onion

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 TB. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves, loosely packed

salt & pepper

1-1/2 pounds tomatoes, thinly sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1 cup plain lowfat yogurt

1 TB. finely grated lemon zest

juice from one medium lemon

salt & pepper

1. Sprinkle 1 TB. salt over eggplant slices and set in colander over bowl to drain. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. After 30 minutes, dry eggplant with paper towels and place slices on cookie sheet. Brush both sides of slices with olive oil. Bake until eggplant is tender and slightly brown, about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic in 1 TB. olive oil until tender. Add lamb and saute until meat is no longer pink. Remove from heat and stir in cumin, cinnamon, mint and salt and pepper to taste.

3. Reduce oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with half the eggplant and then half the tomatoes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Top with meat mixture, then layer with remaining eggplant, tomatoes and cheese.

4. Bake uncovered until hot, about 30 minutes.

5. To make sauce, mix ingredients together until smooth. Serve with casserole.

Serves 6.


Words, Words: Food Poetry!



Caryn skips down the steps in a hurry. Mr. R. appears at the top of the stairs, clothes rumpled from weeks in bed.

MR. R.

Caryn! Wait.


Caryn escapes down the long corridor. Mr. R. gains some ground behind her.

MR. R.



She weaves in and out of the fancy furniture sitting unused as always. Mr. R. bumps an end table and knocks over a vase that shatters to the ground, but he doesn’t stop.

MR. R.

You don’t understand!

Caryn disappears through the door at the end.


Mr. R. pauses by the long, shiny table to catch his breath. Caryn breezes through the swinging door to the kitchen.


She whirls around and waits. Mr. R. barrels through the door in such a fury that he has no time to stop and smacks right into her.

Caryn doesn’t budge as he regains his composure. He takes a deep breath.

MR. R.

Caryn. It’s not true.


Oh? Really? Beautiful, rich actress with whom you spend all your time suddenly turns up married to you? Makes sense to me.

MR. R.

No, it’s not. I mean, it doesn’t. We’re not married. I never even wanted to marry her.


How very sweet of you.

MR. R.

That’s not what I’m saying. Just listen, okay?

He holds his hands out as if trying to grasp something, but then clenches them together as he tries to organize the words racing through his head. Caryn waits for the explanation.


A. has always been after me. You saw how she acted. She told all her friends that we were a couple. And it always got back to me, but I just let it go.


If it isn’t true, why let people believe it?

MR. R.

I don’t know. I guess I thought it was harmless.

Caryn folds her arms across her chest.


But I began to see on this movie that her plans were far more detrimental than I initially thought. She kept pushing me to go out with her all the time. And everywhere we went, there were always photographers. Even in the backwoods of Mississippi, the papparazzi happened to appear.


She wanted to create a story about you.

MR. R.

And the more I realized it, the further I backed away. Which of course incensed her to no end.



MR. R.

And so I ran.


And hid.

MR. R.

Hoping that it was over.


But the tabloids…

MR. R.

Yes, the tabloids. They’ll take whatever story they can get. I’m sure she fed it directly to them.


Why? Did she think that you would somehow start to believe it too?

MR. R.

I don’t know what she thinks.

Mr. R. runs his hands through his hair and takes a seat at the little table in the corner.


And I don’t know what I’m going to do now. All this press will make the movie flop before it’s even finished.

Caryn watches him for a beat before sitting at the table next to him.


It’s really none of my business anyway.

He stares at a spot on the table. Caryn forces a cheerful smile.


Well, at least you’re out of bed.

Mr. R. looks up at the thought and takes in the room, a little confused.

MR. R.

Did you redecorate?

Caryn shrugs innocently.


I got bored.

He stands up and goes to the fridge, but before he opens it, he peels off a magnet with “dumpling” printed on it. It isn’t the only one. Dozens of little white and black magnets are arranged in mouth-watering descriptions of edible thoughts.

Mr. R. looks at Caryn, eyebrows raised.


Okay, I got really bored.

An almost imperceptible laugh escapes from his mouth.


You’re gonna be okay, you know.

He returns the smile and nods.

MR. R.

Yeah. I know.

But it isn’t the best performance of his career…

Food bloggers, your kitchen isn’t complete without a set of these magnets to help you to find the right word to describe your favorite recipe! Fun and inspirational!


Food Lover Magnetic Poetry Kit