Winter’s Coming: Two Yum Deluxe Oatmeals

Yes indeed.  Snow is coming down all over the map – and before Thanksgiving!  Oatmeal, plain, is good for you.  Oatmeal fancied up and fixed in a slow cooker or overnight in the fridge is….wonderful and good for you.  This is comfort food that stays with you and sustains you.

Depending on the ingredients you choose, both of these can be vegan, dairy free, and sugar free.  The slow cooker oatmeal had the whole house smelling of apple pie the next morning and had my cat trolling for breakfast.  The cinnamon on top of the oatmeal was crusty and the apples just fell apart in my mouth.  If slow cooker oatmeal be the music of life, then play on!   Or so says my paraphrasing of Mr. Shakespeare.

The overnight oats are what I need in the morning  – something nourishing, tasty and idiot proof.  Yeah, idiot proof.  I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack before I’ve had a gallon of coffee.  This oatmeal is prepared the night before and “cooked” in the refrigerator.  I like it cold, room temp, or nuked until hot.  I carry the container with me to work and while my puter is revving up, I’m scarfing down this oatmeal.  When in Switzerland, I fell in love with muesli and this dish comes close.

Enjoy.  You will be so glad you fixed these and even more glad you ate!

public domain clipart

public domain clipart

Slow Cooker Irish Oatmeal
◾1 cup steel cut oats (or Irish oats) Not: quick, instant, etc.
◾4 cups liquids (I used 2 cups water, 1 c. natural apple juice & 1 cup regular flavor almond milk)
◾2 tsp cinnamon (I use a good cinnamon, usually Saigon)
◾1 apple, skinned and chopped
◾1/4 cup raisins, or craisins, or dried plums (chopped into raisin size pieces)
◾Stevia, honey, raw sugar or other sweetener of your choice to taste, or no sweetener
◾Optional: ¼ c. chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds….I love nuts. You don’t have to.

Add apples, dried fruit, and cinnamon to slow cooker, next oats. Stir in four cups of liquid. Stir in rest of ingredients. Set slow cooker to low setting for 7 hours. The cinnamon on top will be crusty, and the apples should just fall apart in your mouth. You can also add the chopped nuts afterwards in case someone has nut allergies.

Overnight Oats
1 part liquid (apple juice, soy mild, almond milk, milk)
1 part rolled oats (non-instant or quick cooking. I like Irish oats)
fruit: apples, peaches, bananas, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, raisins, prunes, etc.
sweetening: sugar, raw sugar, brown sugar, stevia, honey, maple syrup, none.
Seasoning: cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, orange zest
Extra: nuts, crumbled muffins, fruit preserves

Method: Mix together and place into a container and cover. Put in fridge. Eat the next morning.

 

Wordless Wednesday: Fried Chicken in 90 year old iron skillet

copyright Kanzensakura

copyright Kanzensakura

Cold Weather: Two Hot Soups

Two soups: Italian Minestrone and Japanese Nikujaga. Minestrone:A wonderful, stick to your ribs soup is minestrone. My version is vegetarian but you can add cooked chunks of chicken to it or use beef or chicken broth. It is so rich and the beans add such good protein, I don’t think it is needed. this is just one version of minestrone. Italy has different culinary regions and the same dish may be different from region to region. This version goes together quickly and is so good served with a rustic, crusty bread.

The Japanese beef stew, while similar to many versions here in the US and elsewhere, is still, a little different. It is thinner than most stews and the snow peas and ginger add a wonderful difference. I like this served in a deep bowl over rice.

Either soup will warm your tummy, make your family smile, and make you glad to be inside where it is cozy instead of outside where it is cold and yucky.

NIKUJAGA
2 lbs beef stew meat (brown in a bit of oil before adding to crock pot)
1 cup water
3 tbs. Japanese sake
3 tbs. mirin
3 tbs. sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb baby carrots (whole)
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large white onion, diced
10 snow peas halved (can substitute equivalent of shredded cabbage or bok choy)
quarter sized piece of ginger, grated
cooked sticky rice
garnish with some chopped parsley and/or slivered scallion

Directions:

1 Put all into crock pot and cook on low 10-12 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
2. Add snow peas last two hours of cooking time
2 Stir before serving. Serve over sticky rice. Use chopsticks to stir or stir carefully to not break apart

Minestrone
1 16 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinse
1 16 oz can navy, great northern, chick peas, or cannellini beans drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery diced
2 potatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1small can diced tomatoes and juice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 quarts vegetable broth
bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, sprig of thyme, 1 tbs chopped basil)
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup macaroni or any small pasta 1
Grated parmesan cheese, to serve
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbs. sugar

DIRECTIONS
In a large heavy-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and add the onion, carrots, potatoes, celery and garlic; reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Add the tomato paste and broth, stirring thoroughly. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the bouquet garni salt, pepper, and sugar, and cabbage and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Add beans and return to heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.Remove bouquet garni. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve. NOTE: cooked chicken can be added and heated through.

 

Football Food – Game Day gr-r-r-r-r

free public domain imge

free public domain imge

I thought after last year, I was done being the football food/place provider. NO-O-O-O…I did several posts on football/game day/sports event food last year.  So, here I am thinking:  no more football.  No more having to scurry around to feed the boys…..nope.  One of the other wives has decided she is going outlet shopping this weekend.  I scratch my head here – which is worse?  Guys gathered for football and cooking for them or, going to a huge outlet and shopping.  To be honest, I’m going with the shopping as being the worst.  I’ll be happy to take a nice walk in the woods or hide in the bedroom and read.

 TIP  But anyway,  whole chickens are on sale around here.  So I have bought several, put in the pressure cooker, pulled off the skin and -.  Put the pulled off, cooked chicken into freezer bags (2 cup amounts) to pull out to use for future casseroles and chicken salad.  You can also, if you find pre-cooked rotisserie chickens on a good sale, do the same thing with them.  You can also use the large cans of chicken breast meat packed in broth if there is a good sale on that.

That being said, the guys are getting chips, salsa, pretzels and for their tummies at halftime, Hot Chicken Salad.  Hot Chicken Salad is probably the Original Church Lady meal.  It is the kind of casserole taken to potlucks, church dinners, left at homes in time of bereavement or birth of a child or recuperation from an illness.  It is homey, easy, redolent of all those things dear to a Southerner or Midwesterner’s heart:  mayo and canned creamed soup.  Don’t turn your nose up…this really is good.  Picky eaters suck it up.  I like to serve with warm slices of French bread and a salad and fruit salad for dessert.

It’s called hot chicken salad because it has many of the ingredients of cold. It is easy to assemble and takes about 25 – 35 minutes to bake. At half time, I know of four guys who are going to demolish this and wipe out the baking dish with leftover bread. Their “fruit salad” will be a bowl of apples and bowl of grapes.

Hot Chicken Salad Casserole
1 cup of mayonnaise (can use low fat)
1 can of cream of chicken soup or mushroom soup
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. lemon juice
4 cups of diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup of minced celery
1/3 cup of finely minced onion
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
Topping (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. In a bowl combine the mayonnaise and soup; blend well. Stir in the cheddar cheese, lemon juice. Add the chicken, celery, onion, green onion and almonds; mix. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt only as needed, then transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven, add topping, and bake an additional five minutes.

Toppings include: 1 – 1 ½ cups potato chips, or sleeve of crushed Ritz crackers mixed with some butter, or 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, or dry bread crumbs, or shredded cheese. The most used topping is the crushed potato chips.  I like to save a tablespoon of the almonds to add on top at the end, when I add the chips.  A garnish of fresh minced parsley or green onion adds a nice touch.

Note:  You can do a search for “football” on my blog to pull up other dishes such as calico beans, Asian pulled pork, apple cake, vegetarian chili.

 

 

 

VEGETABLE STEW CORRECTION~~~~~

Oops…..I was distracted by SamCat pulling down the kitchen curtains when proofreading:

DOUBLE the vegetable broth in the Vegetable Stew….sorry!

Winter’s Coming: Comfort Food

free clip art

free clip art

Nights are getting cooler and cold, drizzly rain or snow, or sleet is going to start gracing our days and nights. These two recipes pack an anti-cancer POW, give you a crazy good dose of winter vegetables, warm your tummy, and makes your house smell beyond wonderful. Be sure to use the dark green leaves on the outside of the cabbage. For some reason, people toss these wonderful leaves of health and goodness out. Remove the large stem part and chop. This adds great flavor and color to the stew. Feel free to add other vegetables to the roasted vegetable dish: cubed sweet potato, butternut squash, broccoli.

Both dishes are vegan, but don’t let that stop you from preparing and enjoying. Something about stews put me in mind of hobbit journeys, semi-lawless olde country taverns and food eaten out of wooden trenchers, and down on the farm, filling comfort food. Add some good bread, a cold glass of apple cider, and you are good to go.

Vegetable Stew
2 large carrots, diagonally sliced into 2-inch pieces
2 large parsnips, diagonally sliced into 2 inch pieces
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 16-ounce can chickpeas, drained
¼ chopped green cabbage
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 – 2 tsp. good Hungarian paprika, smoked or not.

Directions
Combine the carrots, turnips, onion, garlic, tomatoes (with their liquid), cabbage, broth, salt, cumin, and paprika in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 6 hours, or on high for 3 hours. Add the zucchini and chickpeas and cook 1 hour longer on low. If you are lucky, put into a dutch oven, adding chick peas, cabbage, and zucchini about 30 – 40 minutes before end of cooking and cook in the oven or on top of the stove until veggies are tender and melt in your mouth.

Oven Roasted Winter Vegetables
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 2 tbs olive oil for pan
3 medium carrots (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick circles
1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts (about 1/2 pound), halved
4 cups small yellow or red skin potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
3 medium parsnips (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
1 cup sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), cut into 1 1/2-inch thick slices
1 tsp. each basil, oregano, thyme, minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
Splash of balsamic vinegar

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place vegetables into a large bowl and season with salt, pepper, herbs, oil, and vinegar, toss well. Grease an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet pan with extra-virgin olive oil (I use parchment paper instead of the extra oil). Place vegetables in baking sheet. Add more oil if the vegetables seem dry. Place pan of vegetables the middle rack in oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

 

 

Easy peasy Chicken Casserole

Okey dokey – if you are a food snob or vegetarian, move long, nothing to see here. If you do like easy meals, this is for you. I think this is probably THE chicken casserole for all Southern potlucks, church dinners, food to take to a family in time of bereavement, Sunday dinner, company dinner, family dinner. And…if it is good enough to make a daily appearance on the buffet at the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle, Georgia, it’s good enough for me.

Don’t let the canned soups put you off. You can certainly use the low sodium, reduced fat versions of them, or if you just have lots of time, your own sauce, and please, feel free to use fat free/reduced fat sour cream and heart smart kind of margarine. Although to be honest, I’d rather eat some forthright butter than artificial margarine with all the unpronounceable ingredients – but that is just me.  You can also reduce the amount of butter by up to one-half.

You can use leftover chicken, turkey, a rotisserie chicken from the grocer or of course, your own poached chicken breasts, skin and bones removed. I buy chicken breasts on sale, boil, de-skin, de-done and seal up in 2 cup portions so I always have chicken on hand for casseroles, salads, and chicken salad. You can also use broth made from boullion or what I really love and always keep on hand, is a chicken or turkey base – the kind that is a paste and comes in a jar and can found at your local grocery store.

Additional seasonings can be added: sautéed onion, celery, chopped parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, sprinkle of ground cayenne pepper. You can also put in a layer (at the bottom) vegetables: blanched asparagus, thawed frozen or blanched broccoli, thawed mixed veggies. This casserole is your canvas – use your own palate of flavors and ingredients to make it unique. Whole cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be used for a nice company presentation. But folks seem to like it best in its simple, original downhome glory.

This week I will be having this for dinner along with Waldorf salad, and pumpkin bread for dessert. It’s getting cool down here below the Mason-Dixon and time for warm comfort food. Oh my goodness, I can smell this cooking now.  Y’all enjoy.


Chicken Casserole
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can of cream of chicken soup
1 (10-3/4 ounce) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup chicken broth
4 cups of chopped or shredded, cooked chicken
1-1/2 sleeves of “buttery” crackers or Ritz, if you have to have a name brand
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, melted

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the soups, sour cream and chicken broth. Add other seasonings as desired, taste and adjust; set aside. Place chicken into the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and cover with the soup mixture. In a separate small bowl, crumble the crackersand mix with melted butter; spread on top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and cracker topping has browned. Remove and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Can be served as is, or spooned over cooked rice or noodles.   A light sprinkle of cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese the last few minutes is a good addition.

Vegetable Pot Pie

free Wikipedia image

free Wikipedia image

Where’s the meat???? Well, you don’t need any for this recipe. Vegetable Pot Pie is healthy for people and animals. If you must have meat, add some chunks of cooked chicken. But honestly folks, you don’t need it. Lots of veggies in a warm thick sauce nestled between two pie crusts, making the house smell so good and driving away that cold weather outside.

You can add other veggies of course, but this recipe has classic pot pie veggies and what’s so good about it, you can use frozen bagged vegetable mixtures to save time and effort. And if you are really driven for time and want to simplify it even more, add the equivalent liquid amount of cream of mushroom or celery soup. Not as good and considering how easy it is to make a roux and add liquid, it would be a shame to take the canned soup shortcut.

If you have to cross over from vegan, a good extra touch is about 5 minutes before pulling from the oven, sprinkle a nice amount of grated parmesan or cheddar cheese on the top crust and allow to melt. Serve this with a hearty appetite. Get warm and comfy on the inside and smiley on the outside. Yowzer y’all, it’s good.

Vegetable Pot Pie
1 cup thinly sliced carrots*
1 cup frozen green peas*
1 cup small diced potatoes*
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery*
1/2 cup finely chopped onion* OR
*4 cups of comparable frozen vegetables
1/2 cup butter substitute, or heart smart type margarine
1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper – a few good grinds
good pinch of celery seed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth (I use the water I cooked the vegetables in)
2/3 cup almond milk (unsweetened, unflavored)
Two 9-inch unbaked pie crusts, lard free (I use ready made from the dairy case, room temperature and dusted with a little flour when rolling out)

Directions
Preheat the oven to  400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil to place the pie on before cooking; it will keep any filling from dripping into the oven and burning. In a medium saucepan, combine the vegetables. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the onions in the butter substitute until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, celery seed and garlic powder. Cook for 2 minutes to get the raw flour taste out. Slowly stir in the broth until smooth and then add the almond milk. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the drained vegetables. Roll out one of the unbaked crusts to a 13-inch diameter and place in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Pour the mixture into the bottom crust. Roll out the second pie crust and place on top. Seal the edges and cut small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. If the top of the pie becomes too dark, loosely cover with foil and continue cooking. Cool for 10 minutes before serving

Fall Snacks no. 1 Togarashi popcorn

Togarashi shichimi is a complex Japanese seasoning blend. It is complex with different peppers, ginger, sesame. I make my own blend and cut down on the salt, cayenne and use regular toasted black peppercorns. This seasoning can be bought at many Asian food stores. I have nori (seawood sheets) on hand because I love vegetable sushi and make my own. This is a different popcorn. With all the trendy flavors out there: salted caramel or chili flavored chocolate, this is an old favorite Japanese seasoning that has stood the test of time.

When you are serving visitors or family at your next sports viewing event, movie or game night, casusal party, try this popcorn. Or make your own kettle cooked potato chips and season with togarashi. Add it to sour cream for a different flavored dip for veggies or chips.

I like to make my miso grilled corn on the cob and add a very light sprinkle of this for a change.  This seasoning lends itself not only to this popcorn, but is a great flavoring for grilled seafood, chicken, or pork. Reduced fat margarine can be substituted for butter. If you need to reduce your sodium, leave out the salt.  Use this for anything you would use a standard seasoning salt on to flavor.

どうぞめしあがれ (douzo meshiagare) Bon Appetit! (this is said by the cook before the meal, to those eating it).

Togarashi Popcorn
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi seasoning***

Directions
Melt butter in small sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and stir one minute. Remove from heat and keep warm.   Heat kernels and oils in a large covered pot over medium-high heat. Cook until almost all popcorn has stopped popping. Transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle garlic butter over the popcorn and toss to coat. Sprinkle with togarashi seasoning and toss to mix again.

***Homemade Togarashi Seasoning
1 1/2 toasted, crumbled nori sheets
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
finely grated zest of 2 tangerines or lemons
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon toasted Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons toasted white or black poppy seeds
large pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions
Grind toasted, crumbled nori sheets in a spice mill or similar grinder. Add toasted sesame seeds, lemon or tangerine zest, kosher salt, toasted Sichuan peppercorns, ground ginger, toasted white or black poppy seeds, and cayenne pepper. Pulse to a uniform spice blend but not to a powder. Store air tight at room temp.

public domain images Togarashi seasoning

public domain images Togarashi seasoning

public domain images

public domain images

Yummy Nuttin’ of a Sweet Treat Recipe

This really is a nothing kind of recipe, something I would read and flip past. Yeah, sometimes I am a food snob. Really I am! I had this at a friend’s house and she very kindly wrote down for me.  Thank you Minou.

You can use the last of the summer peaches or the very first of the new crop of apples. I used peaches because they are so precious, I want to  see if I can’t just wring every bit of wonderfulness out of them I can before they disappear into that place socks go in the dryer.

So…not as elaborate as my own recipe, but very good and on a busy night, this makes a wonderful end to a thrown together grilled cheese and tomato soup kind of supper. Apple/Peach Dumplings. So easy my SamCat could fix it if he wasn’t so busy being a cat.

Here’s the recipe. Y’all think of me when you serve and folks go…dang! That’s good!  <grin>

Super Easy Apple/Peach Dumplings

2 Granny Smith apples or similar size peaches, peeled
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
8 canned buttermilk biscuits or I prefer, canned “crescent” rolls
3 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Peel, core and slice the apples/peaches vertically into 8 slices each.. Squeeze the lemon into a bowl of water and add the apple/peach to keep from turning brown. In a medium saucepan, mix 1 cup water, 3/4 cup of the sugar, the butter and vanilla. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil over medium heat. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers. For the “crescents”, separate into triangles, put the fruit slice in the center and seal roll around it and place sealed end down.  Wrap a biscuit layer around a slice of apple or peach, stretching the biscuit slightly to overlap, and seal on the bottom. Place the wrapped slices, sealed-side down, in a 9- by 12- by 2-inch casserole dish. Pour the hot sugar mixture over the apple/peaches slices. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle the mixture over the tops of the wrapped apples/peaches. Bake until golden brown, 35 minutes. Top wth vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. NOTE: if you can find mace, use in the place of nutmeg. It is the ground hull around the nutmeg and has a wonderful old fashioned, mellow aroma and flavor. I frequently use instead of nutmeg.  And a tiny splash of good bourbon doesn’t hurt any either, added to the sugar water.

public domain images

public domain images

Green Tea Smoothie 抹茶スムージー

photo from Public Domain Images

photo from Public Domain Images

It is still summer and still hotter than a load of jalapeno peppers and fireworks.  This is an easy peasy smoothie that is so good, cooling, and good for you too.  An excellent breakfast, a lunchtime pickup, or just to sit and sip in the shade while listening to summer winding down.

You can use almond, soy, coconut, or other milk.  Also if you use the other “milks”, using the ones with vanilla added is good as well. I like to play with this recipe. You can use an equivalent amount or mix of avocado and/or pineapple instead of or in addition to the banana. I like some pineapple along banana along with ginger. Make this smoothie your smoothieI like recipes with interchangeable parts to make something unique that tastes like just what I want.
 
You will need a blender, one of those bullet blenders, whatever that is similar in function. Matcha powder can be found in many specialty groceries such as Trader Joe’s or Asian market. It can also be ordered from an online source. You want pure matcha powder. Ceremonial grade is not necessary but be aware of what you are ordering. There are some sweetened or “smoothie” types available. You want the unsweetened, non-additive powder. You can also use the powder for baking or making ice cream. I have posted several recipes: Green Tea Cookies and Green Tea Ice Cream.

Green tea not only is good for you, it tastes good and is a lovely, happy green in color. You cannot grind green tea leaves to make matcha powder as the matcha is made by a different process.

Recipe
1 Banana (or assorted fruit, add a bit of fresh ginger if you use pineapple)
5 ice cubes
¾ to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or cow’s milk, coconut milk, etc)
1 tsp. matcha green tea powder

Put ice cubes and banana/fruit into blender. Add the “milk” of your choice. Add matcha powder. Blend until all ingredients are blended and smooth. Pour and enjoy!

 

Thoroughly Yummy Thursday – two eggplant recipes

Two very different recipes for eggplant are offered for you.  It is high summer and things like squash, tomatoes, beans, eggplant are coming in fast and furious.

For the Japanese sautéed eggplant – 茄子 Nasu, you can use regular eggplant.  Japanese eggplant I think has a less acidic taste and it just the right size to slice into “coins” dust with seasoned flour and fry or for stir frying.  I was given this recipe from an engineer from Osaka. It is tasty and a bit exotic and takes simple eggplant to another level.  Good side dish with chicken or pork or on its own.

For the homey and spicy Creole Eggplant recipe, regular eggplant is used.  You can use the Japanese eggplant but it will be skinnier and baking times adjusted.  This recipe utilizes fresh summer tomatoes and is an excellent vegetarian meal.  Leave off the cheese for vegan.  When I was doing a stint in Nawlins as a chef, one of the kitchen workers invited us all to his aunt’s home for Sunday Supper.  This was one of the dishes served. This is not one of those highly seasoned, luxurious recipes. It is earthy, basic and excellent with a good French bread slathered with butter, a glass of Southern style sweet tea, and a slice of buttermilk pie. (HINT) I do not always cook in the eggplant shell but add foil to the baking dish so I can remove the casserole, allow to cool, and then wrapping well and freezing. While eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers are cheap; this is a good use of end of summer bounty.

Eggplant #1
茄子 Nasu
5 Japanese eggplants (long and thin cut shortwise into “coins” about ½ inch thick or: 1 medium
regular eggplant diced into similar size pieces.)
1 – 3   cloves minced garlic – to taste
1   quarter sized slice fresh ginger (I use a fresh ginger that is grated and sold in a tube
produce section – about ¾ tsp. This way I always have fresh ginger on hand)
¼ c.    soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp.  mirin, more if you want it sweeter
2 tsp. sake
1 tsp.  sesame oil

Combine Soy sauce, mirin, minced garlic and ginger in a bowl. Slice the eggplant thinly. Toss eggplant into hot pan with small amount of vegetable oil and add the sauce mixture. Saute’ at a medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Add a little water if necessary to keep the eggplant moist if needed. Garnish with finely cut green onion and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with steamed rice or udon, or not!

eggplant - Japanese

Eggplant #2
Matant Livia’s Baked Eggplant
Eggplant – depends on size and how many you want to feed (One medium can serve 4 regular folk or two hungry ones)
The Creole Holy Trinity – onion, bell pepper, celery, chopped finely
Fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 c. Grated parmesan cheese
Few dashes of Tobasco
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 – 3 Chopped tomatoes Depending on size and taste preference. I use at least two. (fresh summer tomatoes are
always best for everything!)
1 – 3 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Lee and Perron’s as they say)
Cooking spray

OPTIONAL: Seasoned or unseasoned bread crumbs are good tossed with a bit of butter/margarine and the parmesan cheese, sprinkled on top for last 15 minutes to get all toasty

Take an eggplant, wash well and pierce skin with fork all over. Cut the eggplant in half and spray with cooking spray. Place both halves, cut side down on a cooking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 until tender. Amount of time varies with size of the eggplant.

Remove from oven and carefully scoop out cooked eggplant and coarsely mash. Add to this the Holy Trinity, parsley, peeled and chopped tomato(s), parmesan cheese, some shakes of Worcestershire sauce, Tobasco, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let sit a few minutes and taste. Adjust seasonings to taste. Pile back into eggplant shells (or into a sprayed baking dish) and bake until warm and steamy. Add some grated parmesan cheese over top. NOT: Start with smaller amount of seasonings and add more to taste. Creole cooking frequently is “add this, some of that, splash of that.”  Use your taste buds.

creole eggplant

 

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