Anotheryarn Eats

October 5, 2009

a new way to curry

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , , , , — anotheryarn @ 9:06 pm

Ever since I discovered jars of red curry paste, coconut curry has been an often repeated dinner.  Sometimes it is quick ‘n easy route of frozen veggies simmered in the curry sauce, other times it is a way to use up a varieties of veggies.  Earlier this week, I was excited to see find this Roasted Veggies, Thai Style recipe on The Bitten Blog.  And conveniently I had almost everything called for in the recipe (I subbed a green pepper for the red and added carrots for more color).  Of course the one hour cook time meant this dish got put off a few nights, first it was planned for Thursday – but evening commitments turned that into leftover-night, then it was planned for Saturday but I when I hit the kitchen at 7:20 pm to start dinner and discovered the pan I needed to use was dirty (and the bowl I needed to use a different pan was also dirty) I pushed it back to Sunday night.

It was pretty easy, though it does take 2 pans instead of my usual one pan for either curry OR roasted veggies.  But the peanut-enhanced curry sauce was quite yummy and we are totally looking forward to eating the leftovers as lunch.  I think it could do with less roasting time, and possibly a time delay for adding certain veggies to the oven (shallots sooner than everything else, but maybe that is just my grocery stores gargantuan shallots).  It just depends how “melty” you like your veggies I think.  And yes, this is a pretty spectacularly bad photo, above-head compact florescent bulb plus high fat food equals “what is that greasy blob looking thing?”.

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Thai-Style Roasted Veggies with rice from NYTimes Bitten Blog by Mark Bittman with my addition of carrots

October 4, 2009

Provencal Vegetable Stew

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , , , — anotheryarn @ 10:14 pm

I know that Rachel Ray is quite the controversial figure in the cooking world.  To that I say,whatever.  I’ve been given three of her cookbooks and sometimes I find yummy sounding things (personally I have no problem ignoring the goofball names, plus I have my own goofball side, so who am I to judge?).  I was lamenting the lack of eggplant recipes in my cookbooks as I was flipping through cookbooks trying to figure out what to do with my two, yes two, new eggplants from this week’s share.  I grabbed Express Lane cooking, cursed the index (no eggplant listed) and then noticed a post-it note marking a recipe I wanted to try sometime.  That recipe was Provencal Vegetable Stew – which calls for 1 eggplant (I repeat cursed index)!  It also called for mushrooms and celery so I had TheHusband grab some from the grocery store on his way home (he had just called and I still hadn’t figured out any other ideas for dinner).  Of course it didn’t take 30 minutes.  Maybe it would have if I had started timing things after  I chopped all the veggies – I’m not the fastest chopper around, but I’m not painstakingly slow either.  It took 45 minutes.  And it was good, I’d make it again.

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Provencal Vegetable Stew from Express Lane Meals by Rachel Ray
serves 4

  • big glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped (or say 1/2 of a large one)
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, quartered if large
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped in 1″ cubes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or 1 t dried thyme)
  • 1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 c dry white wine (or dry vermouth)
  • 1 14-oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • a baguette or other crusty bread

Heat the olive oil in a big soup pot.  Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and bay leaf.  Saute for a couple minutes (while you chop the eggplant and herbs).  Add the eggplant, salt, pepper and herbs.  Saute for about 15 minutes until the eggplant is soft, stirring occasionally.  Add the white wine or vermouth and deglaze the pan (stirring to get any stuck bits loose).  When that has cooked off add the tomatoes and heat through.  Serve with a nice thick slice of crusty bread.

Eggplant with Pasta

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: — anotheryarn @ 9:45 pm

In one of those lovely ironic twists of last week, I had to buy a second eggplant to make my eggplant enchiladas, but then didn’t get to making them until Tuesday.  And just after I started cutting up the eggplant, TheHusband walked in with that week’s share, including another eggplant.  Drats, and oh well.  It gave me a chance to make this eggplant pasta sauce my friend Liz raved about earlier this summer.  It was a great simple dish too, perfect for a quick weeknight meal, and according to Liz, the leftover sauce can make a good stand-in for vegetarian sloppy joes.  I just made an entire bag of pasta and tossed the leftover pasta and leftover sauce together to make for quick leftover lunches for the rest of the week.  It would have worked out better if I had one of those sneaky 12 oz bags instead of a 16 oz bag since the bottled tomato sauces have gone sneaky on us and dropped the amount from 32 oz to 26-28 oz.  This just wasn’t quite enough sauce for 16 oz of pasta IMO.  My one complaint was that it did veer a bit on the side of tasting like eggplant in jarred sauce, but I also don’t think this recipe really needs a jarred sauce, I bet it would be good made with some canned tomatoes, extra garlic and dried herbs (either an italian seasoning blend or your own blend).  For one lunch I also added some chopped kalamata olives; so next time I might add that, as well as cubed mozzarella and turn it into a cheesy casserole.

eggplant tomato sauce on pastaEggplant Pasta Sauce from the Brown Rice Penne with Eggplant Recipe from Cooking Light via the MyRecipes site

October 1, 2009

eggplant enchiladas, finally

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , — anotheryarn @ 12:37 pm

Last night Tuesday I finally got to making this eggplant enchilada recipe I’ve been meaning to try for years.  As I mentioned, I’m quickly becoming quite enamored of eggplant and having fun trying new recipes.  Like many enchilada recipes this one seemed to take quite a bit of time, but didn’t feel difficult.  I started the evening around 5:30 or 6:0 and put together the recommended sauce recipe (not a true enchilada sauce as it is tomato-based, but tasty).  While it simmered I chopped and toasted and sauted and chopped and sauteed the filling.  I had one lapse in judgement when I chose my 10″ skillet to saute the eggplant filling – bad choice, it was nearly overflowing and I had to stir very carefully as well as use a domed lid to cover the pan.  In the end I found the recipe nice & tasty, but it produced a lot of dishes (silly me, using the food processor for some chopping and grating.

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Mexican Red Sauce from The Moosewood Cookbook

  • a glug of olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. cumin
  • 2+ t chili powder (I used closer to 3 t.)
  • 3 c chopped tomatoes (I used 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes)
  • 1 c water or tomato juice
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • 4-6 medium cloves of garlic (guess what I picked)
  • opt. fresh cilantro, minced (nah, why bother)

So you heat the olive oil in a 4 qt pot, saute the onion until soft, around 5 minutes.  Add the salt, cumin, chili powder and saute some more until distributed, add in the minced garlic, stir until fragrant, add the tomatoes and water (I just eyeballed the water in the tomato can and swirled it to get all the tomato from the can).  Season with black pepper and cayenne (I think I skipped the cayenne and did a dash of chipotle).  Simmer for about 30 minutes (or until you are filling the enchiladas, whichever is later), stirring occasionally.

Eggplant Enchiladas from The Moosewood Cookbook

  • 1 c almonds, toasted then minced
  • glug olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 6 c diced eggplant (recipe suggests 1 large or 2 medium)
  • 1 t salt
  • black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, smooshed
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 c grated jack cheese (about 4 oz)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • mexican red sauce (recipe above)
  • another 4 oz of jack cheese, grated (or the rest of that 8 oz package)

I recommend toasting the almonds in the pan you will use for cooking the filling.  Then set them aside, chopped or not while you deal with the rest of the filling.  I used the food processor them minced, I didn’t figure a large almond chunk would be appreciated in the enchiladas.

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

You heat up the olive oil in a nice big pan with a lid.  Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, until it is soft.  Add the eggplant, salt and pepper (I think I forgot the pepper, it was still good) and saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and cover the pan.  Add the garlic and bell pepper, cook for another 5 minutes or so, until everything is soft.  Then you stir in the almonds and the cheese.

IMG_7251Pour some sauce into your 9×13 pyrex pan and spread it thinly on the bottom.  Gently heat your corn tortilla is a dry, non-stick skillet and scoop about 1/4 cup of the filling onto it, roll and place seam side down in the pan.  Repeat 11 more times.  I recommend a clean, folded non-linty towel to protect your hands while rolling the tortillas.  Pour the remaining sauce  over the tortillas and top with the remaining cup of grated cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Looking back, I think you could cut down the amount of cheese in the filling, but it is nice to have some cheese since it helps it stay together during the rolling process.

September 23, 2009

a little bit of cooking

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , — anotheryarn @ 10:24 am

Somewhere in the middle of the canning craze I hit a food funk.  It happens.  Nothing sounds good (except jam), or when something does sound good it is too involved, too time consuming for the small slot of time available, or what sounds good is exactly what is not in your stuffed to the gills produce-filled fridge.  I made a couple variations on saimin using kale, frozen dumplings, hard boiled eggs and broth.  I made a variety of veg+starch+dinner meals (pasta with tomatoes, pasta with kale, rice & stir-fry).  But the one dish that I made amongst the crazy that I’ve been itching to tell you about is this eggplant bruschetta.  I had a couple eggplants sitting in the fridge, I had forgotten that I meant to make the eggplant enchiladas the next time (now) I had eggplant.  At the bookstore, I opened up How to Pick a Peach and discovered it had recipes.  Why didn’t I notice this before, in those three weeks I had it checked out from the library?  It had two that won my heart and screamed “make me right now” (I only made one and have temporarily forgotten about the other) and bonus, it was on sale.  But then I didn’t get around to making this dish for another few days, thank goodness I could toast the bread since baguettes are stale 3 days after buying them.  I think a batch of salsa, a 15 mile bike ride and a couple dinner invitations got in the way.

Sure, it isn’t the prettiest dish, but oh yum.  Now that I think about it, eggplant might be winning my heart because it is yet another vehicle to ingest copious amounts of garlic, and this eggplant is even more garlic-icious than the last recipe I made (partially due to not scaling down for the size of my eggplant).  Also, much easier to make.  I think it is supposed to be an appetizer, but we just had a dinner of “small plates” that night, bruschetta and sliced tomatoes with a sprinkle of salt and pepper (one of the best summer dinners ever, amazing that what was probably a desperation dinner for my mom turned into a eagerly awaited meal for me).

bruschetta

Smoky Eggplan Bruschetta from How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons

  • 2 -1 lb. eggplants
  • 2 t minced garlic
  • 1 t minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 t red wine vinegar
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 baguette
  • 2 oz pecorino romano cheese

A couple notes: the author states to resist the urge to use a food processor to puree the eggplant because that would give it “the texture of baby food”, also the olive oil should be fruity.

Preheat your oven to 400 F.  Poke the eggplant a couple times, but otherwise leave it whole (I did cut off the stem, I don’t know if this is standard protocol with eggplant), stick it in a pan of some sort (I chose my 9 x 13 pyrex) and put it in the oven for about 1 hour, until it is soft and “collapsed” (mine didn’t collapse but were soft so I called it good).  Let the eggplant cool so you can handle it.

IMO, you should deal with the bread while you are letting the ggplant cool, to take advantage of the already hot oven.  The author recommends the broiler or the grill, I just used the oven at 400.  Slice the baguette into 1/2″ thick pieces (eyeball it and make it whatever feels appropriate to bite into – personally I hate bruschetta where the bread barely fits in your mouth).  I placed my slices on a cookie sheet (it took 2 for my largish loaf of bread), lightly brushed one side with olive oil and placed it in the oven.  After, um, 2 or 4 minutes  I took the sheets out, flipped all the slices and put it in for an additional 2 minutes or so.  Just beginning to look golden but not so toasty that they break into a thousand pieces when you bite into them, but not so soft that they don’t store nicely either.  I know, so precise.

Okay.  The topping.  When the eggplant is cool, slice each eggplant in half and scoop out the flesh, roughly chop it and put it in a medium sized bowl.  Add the garlic, rosemary and olive oil then stir until the eggplant sort of falls apart (more so than it was).  Season with salt and add the vinegar and lemon juice.  Finally stir in the tomato.

To serve place a spoonful of eggplant puree on top a piece of the toasted bread.  Top with a thin slice of cheese.  Or not, personally I felt the cheese added nothing to the dish (I even, by stroke of luck, had the correct cheese instead of my usual subbing of “ah, close-enough”), but TheHusband disagreed and felt it did add something to it.  You could of course serve this dip-style too.

We put the leftovers in a mason jar, the leftover bread in another container and ate the remaining bruschetta as a picnic on an impromptu date night two days later.  It was still fabulous.

August 26, 2009

Eggplant Torte a la Provencal

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , , — anotheryarn @ 4:21 pm

As I was thumbing through my cookbooks, looking for a good eggplant recipe I found this, eggplant torte a la provencal, in a now lesser used cookbook, The Occasional Vegetarian.  This cookbook was an outlet bookstore find (wait, this might have been a gift and my Vegetable Heaven cookbook was the three-dollar find), and I’ve made a few winning, repeat worthy dishes from this book.  This dish, might be just that, but my preparation was doomed from the start.

Monday, 6 pm:  Okay, what do I need to make that eggplant dish?  Step 1) sprinkle with salt and let sit for an hour. Well crap, I guess it would be better for me to make green bean enchiladas anyway, those green beans aren’t going to last much longer.

Tuesday, 5-ish pm:  Must make list and grab that tomato and red onion, oh but I need to get dishes done too.  [An hour goes by while I’m on the phone, at least I get the dishes done; and TheHusband calls to say he will be home late, whew.]

Tuesday 6:30 pm.  I salt the eggplant and head to the store.

Tuesday 7:30 pm I rinse the eggplant, pat it dry and prep the remaining ingredients.  At that point I turn over the page* and discover  step 4 is sauteing the eggplant about 3 minutes on both sides.  I’m really regretting my use of this skinny (Japanese?) eggplant now.  20+ minutes and 4 frying pan batches later I’m done cooking the eggplant.  Mmm, this eggplant is tasty, it is too bad I already have those potatoes, tomatoes and onion sliced.  I wonder if I could treat this dish like a roasted veggie dish instead?  If it tastes good I’ll try that next time…I start layering the veggies and lament that I didn’t pick a bigger “baking pan” (what defines a baking pan anyway, is it a specific size?)…

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Tuesday 8:45 pm:  I manage to put the torte in the oven.  Of course I have leftover eggplant (not much), potato, tomato and onion slices — and I’m starving.  I look at the potato and think breakfast burritos!  And so despite spending over an hour assembling this dish, I ate egg burritos (with potatoes, red onion, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese) for dinner.  They were darn tasty egg burritos and I just hope that this eggplant torte is good at room temperature like the recipe states.

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* One of my biggest complaints about this book (other than her extreme fondness of leeks, which isn’t really a problem except on the budget) is the fact that recipes are jammed in, and too often the ingredient list will be on one page while the bulk of the directions are on the next page.

And now the recipe, remember, you have been warned.

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Eggplant Torte a la Provencal from The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee with Diane Porter

  • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt and set aside for 1 hour.  Rinse and pat dry between non-linty towels.

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/2 t dried thyme

Pour the olive oil into a small saucepan and turn the heat on medium.  Chop the garlic and add it to the pan.  Take the pan off the heat at this point.  Crush the thyme in your palm and stir it into the oil.

  • 2 medium potatoes (about 1/2 pound), peeled and sliced in 3/8″ thick rounds
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced in 3/8″ thick rounds
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced in 3/8″ thick rounds

Heat a cast-iron skillet (the recipe is specific) to high and brush the seasoned oil on the eggplant slices.  Saute them until brown (about 3 minutes), flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.  Beware crowding the eggplant in the pan; repeat the process for all long as necessary.  Keep the remaining seasoned oil.  Preheat your oven to 350 F.

  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1 t salt
  • 3/4 c fresh basil leaves, torn
  • few sprigs thyme, optional

Add the pepper and salt to the remaining seasoned oil.  Stir until combined.

Now prep a baking pan (my dish was too small – I had leftovers of all 4 main ingredients, I’d try a 9×13 pyrex pan next time, if there is a next time) by oiling the bottom.  Begin layering the eggplant, potato, tomato and onion, leaving 1/2″ showing from the previous layer.  Once you’ve used up the ingredients and/or filled your pan brush the remaining seasoned oil over the veggies, then stuff the basil leaves and thyme between the layers of veggies.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

update: I let a serving come to room temperature today for lunch, the eggplant was just as tasty as ever, but the potatoes seemed a little undercooked and overall I don’t think this was worth the effort.  But I am dreaming up ways to combine the flavors again in an easier, less fussy format.

September 28, 2008

September 11: Veggie Pan Bagnat

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , — anotheryarn @ 5:04 pm

I made this sandwich once before, a year or so ago.  But by the time I remember this excellent use of eggplant I had to go buy green beans from the store (the shame; ah well I had to pick up the bread, the tapenade and roasted red peppers too).  Yet again I fall into the trap of buying more food to use up one piece of produce from our CSA share (however I was good and bought only the amount of green beans and red pepper that I needed, plus it is awesome to have olive tapenade in the fridge, aka condiment city).  Also, we find the little short demi baguette the perfect size for two modest sandwiches (half the recipe).

This sandwich is both overly complicated and fairly simple.  When I make it I think “good grief there are a lot of steps involved in making this”, but later I forget all that and remember that in the end it goes together fairly quickly (at least everything can be prepped while the eggplant is in the oven).  When we made it for lunch two days later it was even faster as all the remaining sandwich fillings were waiting in the fridge.  I’ve never managed to actually follow the recipes advice of letting this sandwich sit for the juices to be absorbed into the bread and I still think it is yummy.

Veggie Pan Bagnat from Vegetarian Times July 2006.

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