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There are times where you know exactly what you want to have for dinner and exactly the right ingredients to make it. There are also times where you don’t really know what you want for dinner but have the ingredients to make some nice tasty dish that you know how to make.

And then there are times where you have ingredients but no idea how to cook it.
For example, what are you supposed to do with eggplants? The internet offers several recipes for various eggplant dishes, but we’re always missing one or two (or more…) ingredients. So what are we suppose to do? Well, make things up, of course.

As Roommate N once commented, a big component of good cooking is knowing which foods go together. (Roommate N knows how to cook, so this advice can probably be trusted.) For example, putting cinnamon in meat is always a bad idea. If you want to make something vaguely Italian, put in some combination of garlic, basil, tomato, and cheese. Cooking eventually boils down to your own tastes — smell or taste the ingredients you’re using. If they seem like they’d go together, they probably do. If it turns out that they don’t… well, you’ve gained valuable experience.
Protip: Does the food you’re making seem legit? If it seems legit, then it’s good enough.
Because I don’t think stir-fried eggplant would taste good, we decided to bake it instead. We forged around and found some free tomatoes leftover from a recent BBQ, some onions we bought eariler, and free shredded cheese from a junior who didn’t want it anymore. The cheese was chedder and didn’t seem like it would fit the dish (parmesan would’ve probably been more correct), but we didn’t have other cheeses so it can’t be helped.
For safety, I dumped dried basil leaves on top and a copious amount of garlic. Garlic is always a good thing.
And here’s the abomination:
Don’t know about the taste yet, but it looks fine…
And now let’s shove it in the oven. We didn’t know what temperature to bake it at, so we just set it to 350 F because supposedly it’s the temperature most things bake at.

And then we waited. Of course, we took the food(?) out every now and then and stabbed it with a knife to see if it’s cooked enough, but the cheese wasn’t really browning and neither was the onion even after waiting for a very long time. Finally we got impatient and took it out to eat. If it’s hot in the inside, it should be fine…

The result was surprisingly legit. The chedder didn’t taste out of place (could be because it wasn’t very high quality chedder to begin with…), and the onions were actually cooked despite looking like they’re still raw. The garlic on top added a nice touch to the flavor.
Final verdict: surprisingly legit/10

Chengyi L