Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Digging Up Some Old Favorites: Cooking with Eve

For any foodies out there with a taste both for looking fine in Eve’s jewels and for fine cuisine, now is the time to indulge your hunger for both! 

photo
Eve’s photo featured in the original article

On February 18, 1988, less than a year after the Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio had moved out of the home of the Alfillé’s and into their very own storefront in Evanston, an article was published in the Chicago Sun-Times by Food Editor Bev Bennett. According to this article, titled “A Good Recipe Just Requires Digging,” Bennet interviewed the ever-innovative Eve on exactly how her intuitive and studious approaches to her work might be mirrored in her culinary life at home.

According to Eve, her home cooking has spanned quite a broad range over the years. Having grown up in France, she initially drew from the tradition of using very simple recipes and fresh arrangements of ingredients. An early misunderstanding with her husband Maurice, however, led her to become immersed in the study and preparation of Middle-Eastern and Egyptian dishes, as Maurice had lived in Egypt. Little did Eve know then that he was as unaccustomed to these dishes as Eve herself, as he had also been raised in the French tradition of cooking being French himself!

Despite the eventual resolution of this mix-up, Eve has not ceased to add an occasional element of Eastern flair to her cooking, which often lends itself to her love of experimenting with dishes that are a little outside-the-box. A flair for entertaining has equally helped to garner her broad repertoire of extraordinary dishes, and as Eve said, “I like to try new things, and parties give me the impetus.”

“I like to cook something no one has had, so I won’t fail…I never make anything people know.” 

Eve’s dishes often strike a good balance between sharp flavors and other sweet, salty, and bitter elements. She also has a passion for meals that feature earthy foods like the eggplant; an ingredient which so fascinated her that she wrote a paper on it in college.

…While the first few years at the Gallery featured Alfillé menus (including a memorable buffet of no less than 50 dishes from Ancient Rome served by Eve in 1987) at the present, Eve is happy to leave the food offerings in professional hands in order to reserve her creativity for the jewelry!

EVE’S EGGPLANT MOUSSE

  • 2 large or 3 small eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed, dried basil
  • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Prick eggplants with fork. Brush with oil and place on foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven until the eggplant is very soft, about 1 to 11/2 hours. (Alfillé overbakes eggplant so it becomes pulpy and moist.) Set aside. Eggplant can be baked in advance and refrigerated.
 
Peel one lemon; leave second one unpeeled. Quarter both. Add to food processor with onion, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Process to a pulp. Cut eggplant into halves or quarters. While food processor is running, add eggplant with any accumulated juices. Process thoroughly until skin is thoroughly blended. Then with machine still running gradually trickle in about 1/3 cup olive oil. The mixture should be thick. If oil is poured too fast, it will separate. If this happens, moisten a slice of rye bread and add. Taste, and add more lemon juice if desired.
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