Crispy Eggplant Curry

I’m growing these adorable lil Japanese eggplants. They happen to be delicious. I curried them up.

1 lb eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds (if using a bigger eggplant variety, try cubes)
1 white onion, sliced
12 oz bamboo shoots in chili oil
1 1/2 Cups green peas (I use frozen)
2 large springs basil (I’m growing purple basil so I use that. Thai basil would be nice too)
13 oz (1 can) coconut milk
3 TB green curry powder
enough sesame oil/ veggie oil blend to pan fry the eggplant

Salt the eggplant and set it aside to drain. Slice the onion, chiffonade the basil, eat a handful of thawed peas.

When the eggplant has released much of it’s fluid, rinse it and drain it well. A salad spinner is great for this. Heat a little veggie oil seasoned with sesame oil in a wok. Stir fry the eggplant over medium-high heat until brown and crispy. Transfer to plate to rest.

Add onion to pan and let the sugars caramelize. When onion has a nice brown color all over, add the bamboo shoots and chili oil, basil, and peas. Stir fry 2 minutes then turn heat to medium. Add coconut milk and green curry powder. Stir to combine. Cover and let heat through to bubbling.

Serve over rice.

Tomato Tart

It’s not really a tart. I just make it in a tart pan because it’s pretty like that. This is super easy. Even people who don’t cook can make this dish and feel really fancy. This recipe serves 4. You can half the ingredients and make it for 2 or double the ingredients and place it in a large casserole pan for 8.

2 sweet yellow onions sliced into thin rings
2 large tomatoes cut into discs
2 Cups bread crumbs, I use Udi’s gluten free sandwich bread
large handful fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Make the seasoned bread crumbs by putting 3 slices of the gluten free bread in a food processor at a time. Whirl in the fresh basil. Add a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper.

Layer the baking dish:

onion rings
olive oil
salt and pepper
bread crumbs
tomatoes
bread crumbs
onion
olive oil
salt and pepper
bread crumbs
tomatoes
bread crumbs

You can adjust the recipe ingredients to make more or less, just keep the layers in order. Always top with bread crumbs so there is a nice crispy top.

Bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes, when the onions are caramelized on the bottom. Let cool 5-7 minutes before slicing to help the “tart” hold it’s shape.

**Cook’s Tip***
I’m growing heirloom beefsteak and heirloom German Queen tomatoes this year. I’ve used both with great success in this dish. I have also made a green tomato tart and it is phenomenal! For green tomatoes, I sub fresh tarragon in the breadcrumbs. It compliments the tart green tomato flavor better than basil.

Cold Cucumber Buttermilk Soup

I’m growing these delightful pickling cucumbers, and boy do they grow fast! This is a quick refreshing soup for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

1 lb cucumbers*
2/3 Cup buttermilk
2 springs fresh tarragon
3 springs fresh dill
salt and pepper

*If you are using a thin skinned cucumber like small pickling cukes or fresh english cucumbers, you can leave the skin on. If you’re getting those thick, waxy skinned ones at the grocery store, peel them. Those skins just don’t have the right texture.

Put the cucumbers and herbs in the food processor and blend until smooth. Add buttermilk and salt and pepper to taste. Blend 2 pulses. Chill. Serve the same day.

You can serve this in a martini glass or other fun glass with chilled shrimp or lump crab or lobster on the side. Very fancy cocktail party food!

Garden Picadillo

Picadillo is a different dish throughout Latin America and even into the Philippines. The Cuban version is what most people are familiar with, made with ground beef, raisins, and olives. Plenty of layers of flavor. This version is from the garden. It is totally vegan, but you can add ground meat or cheese if you like.

1 lb bell peppers, any color, chopped
1 lb mild green chiles, chopped, I used New Mexico peppers
1 yellow onion, diced
12 oz pigeon peas, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz black beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
12 oz salsa verde*
1 Cup sliced green olives
1 TB cumin
1 TB chili powder
3 TB olive oil
1/2 Cup raisins (optional)

Put everything except the salsa and olives in large skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring often until onions are soft and translucent. Add salsa and olives. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes to let flavors marry. Serve over rice.

* I make my own salsa verde with chiles from my garden and tomatillos. Trader Joe’s and 365 both have good salsa verde off the shelf.

I don’t put the raisins in for two reasons: I don’t care for raisins and my dogs get people food. Dogs can’t eat raisins. Or grapes.

Carrot Top Pesto

I’m growing rainbow carrots this year. The tops are greater in mass than the roots. So I’ve been working on things to do with the greens. This is by far the smartest thing I’ve come up with and it really celebrates carrot greens as a food rather than a garnish.

I used the greens from 5 big carrots. After everything was washed very well, the thick stems trimmed, and just the leafy greens used, I had about 5 handfuls or 4 cups.

In the food processor:

1/2 Cup chopped pecans
1/2 Cup quality olive oil
juice from 1 lemon (this helps the pesto retain color and develops the flavor)
2 TB sea salt

Then I added the greens 1 handful at a time and processed until smooth.

With the last handful, I added 1/4 C water. You can add more olive instead of water if you want a richer oil flavor. I used the water because I like it better.

Yield: 1 pint.

Thanks to my mother in law for sending pecans from South Georgia.

Published in: on July 20, 2011 at 9:48 am  Comments (2)  
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No Crust Broccoli Pie

I used to make this for Sunday Brunch when I was in college. This was a cheap and easy dish that impressed everyone. I still make it for my family, and they are equally as impressed as my college friends.

1 head broccoli, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
Minced fresh garlic to taste
4 eggs
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, grated
2 TB flour (rice flour for gluten free)
Salt and pepper to taste

Sliced tomatoes– I used cherry tomatoes that are in season from a local green house. You can use any tomato you like really.

Grease a 9×9 square pan or a 9 inch deep dish pie plate. Heat the oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs. Stir in broccoli, onion, garlic, cheese, flour, salt, and pepper. Stir well.

Turn out into baking dish. Top with tomato slices. Bake for 30-40 minutes until set.

Cool at least 5 minutes before slicing. Serve hot or chilled as a quiche.

Yes, You Can Eat Carrot Tops

We’ve been eating a lot of carrots from the CSA recently. And they always come with the tops on. So I’ve started using them as I would any herb-a-licious green. Just make sure to wash the sand and soil out of them before you move them to your cutting board. Like spinach and other greens, they can pick up a great deal of grit.

Check out this Carrot Greens and Mushrooms pasta toss.

Cook some pasta (I used gluten-free fettuccine noodles) according to the package directions

In a saute pan add:
1/2 C olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bunch carrot greens, rough chopped
8 oz mushrooms, I used beech mushrooms this time and broke up the colony by hand rather than slicing them
3+ cloves garlic, diced
*optional– add some sliced, precooked chicken sausage

Saute for about 8 minutes on medium high. The onions should be cooked through and the mushrooms should be juicy. The carrot greens will wilt considerably.

Drain hot pasta and toss. Add in

salt and pepper to taste
a little reserved starchy pasta water to thin sauce

Serve vegan as is or add a little grated parm.

Tomato and Asparagus Soup with White Beans

This is a tangy and rich soup that will use up some of those tomatoes you canned. You can make it vegan by using veggie stock. It’s an easy soup to whip up from common pantry items.

28 oz canned tomatoes, diced or crushed
28 oz stock, veggie or chicken
1/2 cup red wine
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 TB olive oil
1 1/2 C cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
1 stalk asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces

Place all the ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes until veggies are tender and beans are flavored with broth. Serve as is or sprinkle on some cheese!

Chicken with Goat Cheese Cream Sauce over Herbed Rice

This is a family favorite. I like to use boneless skinless thighs because we like dark meat. You can use breasts or chicken on the bone. Just be sure to adjust cooking times for meat on the bone. This is also a pretty budget friendly meal. It’s great served with a crisp green salad. I make it in about 30 minutes.

Start the rice:
2 C basmati rice
1/2 C slivered almonds
2 TB Summer savory
2 TB tarragon
4 C stock or water (if using water, add salt after rice is cooked to develop the flavor)

In a hot pan, toast the almonds. Stir and heat for 3 minutes until the nuts release a nice aroma. Add rice. Toast 2 minutes more. Add herbs and liquid. Stir well. Cover and reduce to low. Simmer until rice is cooked through.

For the Chicken and Sauce:

1 lb chicken pieces, rinsed and dried
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 oz goat cheese
olive oil

Seasoned Flour:
1/2 C brown rice flour
2 tsp black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp salt

Heat a little oil in a large saute pan on medium high. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and saute until a nice brown crust is on both sides. About 12 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Add onions, 2 TB olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions to translucent. Add mushrooms. Cook 4 minutes more. Add any leftover seasoned flour. Stir to make a roux. Add water to make a sauce, about 3/4 C. I don’t use stock here because the flavor of the seasoned flour is very intense. Then stir in the 2 oz goat cheese. Stir until smooth.

Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve chicken and cream sauce over rice.

Pasta with Baby Greens and Mushrooms

Greenhouses are producing wonderful greens all over the south and two of our favorite things are sprouting: arugula and spinach! I thought this would be a great opportunity to use the truffle-infused oil I got over the holidays.

Pasta, I used gluten free spaghetti, but any shape will do

1 bunch baby spinach
1 bunch aruluga
1 pint mushrooms
3+ cloves garlic
1/3 C olive oil or flavored olive oil, I used truffle infused oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to directions.
Saute mushrooms in oil with minced garlic. Saute on medium-low heat to avoid burning the garlic. While mushrooms are cooking through, rough chop spinach and arugula. Make sure it was well washed as spinach is often grown in sandy soil.

Drain pasta and toss with hot mushrooms and oil. Remove from heat. Toss in greens and allow to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Dress with more olive oil if desired.

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