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

 

Japanese Miso Grilled Corn on the Cob 味噌バターコーン

grilled corn 2

It is no secret – I love Japan – food, culture, people…I have visited several times and have always been delighted  A couple of friends over there led to more friends and I was invited to all kinds of meals and occasions.  But in Japan, I have had one major disappointment – corn.  Yes, corn トウモロコシ(toumorokoshi).

One smells it cooking on the street – sweet, smoky, exotic seasonings.  One purchases an ear with nice bits of char and dripping with butter.  Then the first bite:  like a waxy, starchy, tough satire of itself.  It is not the fault of the cookers, it is the corn.  And the Japanese enjoy corn, even to having sweet corn soup in vending machines at internet hangouts.

The corn had a lovely caramelized coating seasoned with miso.  Out of sight of the proud vendor, I licked the flavor off the ear of corn and tossed into a trash can.  I had been teased by the potential of this food.   But Japanese corn is best fed to farm animals, not people.  A friend of mine had fallen in love with fresh summer corn when he came from Japan to live here for awhile.  When he returned to Japan, I would receive sad emails asking me about the summer crop of corn.

When I returned home from my trip, I made the miso corn with fresh pulled, tender summer sweet corn.  All I can say is “yowzer!!”  The result of some experimentation was a grilled corn coated with a caramelized layer of earthy miso and rich butter.

I wowed some friends last week with the corn, my favorite sunomono, ginger/garlic/sesame grilled chicken wings.  Green tea ice cream for dessert.  I think you will like it as much as we.  Easy: two minutes to prep and about 10 minutes to cook.  One ear is one serving. NOTE: I keep a tube of miso paste in my fridge for frequent use and convenience and instant miso soup or udon noodle soup, or a miso baked chicken.

Ingredients
4 ears sweet corn
3 tablespoons butter – unsalted softened
3 tablespoons white miso paste
3 tbs honey
1 small clove garlic grated

Instructions
Peel away the husks and silk of the corn, leaving the stem attached to the cob. Use a damp paper towel to rub off any stray strands of silk. Put the corn on a hot grill or in a hot broiler, turning periodically until there are some charred specs on every surface of the corn. In the meantime, add the butter, miso, honey and garlic. Use the back of a fork to mash the mixture together. When the corn is done, spread a generous amount of miso mixture onto each ear of corn and return to the grill. Grill, rotating regularly until the miso has caramelized onto the outside of the corn. Remove from the grill to serving dish and chow down.   Note: I place a piece of pierced foil under the corn at this point to keep rolling the ears around in the good stuff that drips off. I use tongs so as not to burn myself.

fresh cprn

 

Twofer Tuesday: Peach Extravaganza

 

It is peach season – Hooray!!!! Luscious globes in variegated shades of pink,red,coral..pass by a display of them and be seduced by the sweet and unique fragrance. First they catch your eye and then as you go closer, your fingers are teased by the velvet touch of them and then finally, that lifting to the nose and inhaling the sweet smell of summer.

Cobblers, pies, ice cream, sangria, parfaits, trifles, shortcakes, coffeecakes, bread, upside down cakes, grilled, salsa-ed or just eaten as they are, peaches are one of the most versatile of the summer fruits. The standard peach and its cousin, the white fleshed peach which tastes the way an exotic flower would taste, go all too quickly into our past, to be dreamed of during cold and grey winter days. Enjoy them while they are here – become a peach glutton.

Two recipes for you with peaches: Peaches and Cream Pie – a sweet silky southern belle of a dessert. Not quite crème brulee but dancing on the edge of it; the edges caramelize and add a different layer of flavor and texture. And – from Southern Living Magazine, Governor’s Mansion Sweet Summer Peach Tea. Cooling and refreshing. An excellent drink for brunches, prissy bridal or baby showers, afternoon tea, or just for serving to friends at a cookout as something totally different and delicious.

Try both of them and I think you will be on your way to being a true Peach Hedonist!

peaches-and-cream-pie

Peaches and Cream Pie
¾ c. granulated white sugar
½ c. all purpose flour
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
2 c. peeled and sliced fresh peaches or, frozen peaches, defrosted and room temperature
1 c. heavy cream
Good splash of vanilla added to the cream

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix sugar and flour together in bowl. Sprinkle about one-third into the bottom of the pie shell. Add peaches and sprinkle with remaining sugar and flour. Slowly pour heavy cream over fillings. Gently stir peaches to cover them completely with cream. Bake until peaches are tender and crust is golden – about 45 minutes. Let cool on rack until a bit warmer than room temperature. It will slice better.

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell

Governor’s Mansion Summer Peach Tea Punch
3 family-size tea bags
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 (33.8-oz.) bottle peach nectar
1/2 (12-oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup Simple Sugar Syrup***
1 (1-liter) bottle ginger ale, chilled
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh peach wedges

Preparation
Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add tea bags and mint leaves. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cover and steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags and mint. Pour into a 1-gal. container; add peach nectar, lemonade concentrate, and Simple Sugar Syrup. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.
Pour chilled tea mixture into a punch bowl or pitcher. Stir in ginger ale and club soda just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

** Simple Sugar Syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool to room temperature (about 30 minutes) Syrup can be made in batches and when cooled, stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. I keep a batch of it all through the summer for quick drink preparation.

 

Spring is Sprung – Benedictine Spread

I don’t have a clue how this got the name.  I just know it is good – either as a sandwich spread or as a dip.  Pale green, vibrant with veggie flavor, just plain ol’ yum food.  I was introduced to this years ago by another Southern girl (from Kentucky).  Yeah, it can be a prissy girly shower type food, but…..from this non-prissy, logical, sci fi girl, it is also good for any occasion and any reason.

it is perfect for spring and hot summer – cukes, onion, cream cheese – oh my!  I like to make open faced sammiches with this spread on a nice hearty whole grain bread and topped with alfalfa sprouts or a bit of shredded lettuce.  it also is an excellent thing to stuff into hollowed out cherry tomatoes.

Try it.  You’ll like it.  If your onion is a bit strong, rinse thin slices or soak a few minutes in cold water. Or use chives. If you don’t have a food processor (I don’t and am a bit of a snob about my knife work), just finely mince the veggies. Use a hand mixer to put the ingredients together.

•1 large cucumber
•8 ounces cream cheese, softened
•2 tablespoons grated onion
•1/4 tsp salt
•1 tablespoon mayonnaise
•dash green food coloring (optional)

Pare, grate, and drain cucumber. Combine with remaining ingredients in food processor.   Serve as is or as a sandwich or canape spread. Thin with sour cream to make a dip for vegetables.  Use low fat cream cheese and mayo to make it healthier.

images[8]

Colcannon – Irish Yum Food

707px-Colcannon[1]

 

Colcannon is quick, cheap, and easy.  Not to mention delicious and comforting.  Good on its own as a simple supper with biscuits or as a  hearty side dish to baked chicken or pork chops.   A lot of recipes call for kale.  I was raised to use cabbage.  After all, the name colcannon or cál ceannann means:  white headed cabbage.  I use cabbage, not kale.  I will purchase a small cabbage, about a pound, to use for this.  I discard the tough outer green leaves (putting outside for roving bunnies), cut the cabbage into quarters, core, and shred.

Usually served in the fall or at Halloween, colcannon used to have charms put in it.  Dependent on the charm you spooned onto your plate, you’d end up being single or married.  Many young Irish lasses would fill a sock with colcannon and hang on the door handle.  The first man to enter would supposedly end up being your husband.  I’m sure there were some kind of rules in place to exclude the village priest or a brother or other male family member.  Personally, putting a bunch of mashed potatoes with cabbage in a sock doesn’t sound all that great to me, but the colcannon on the plate, without the charms or the sock is a grand dish!   All you need is some Guiness stout or Harp to wash it down.

Colcannon
1lb 6oz potatoes – (do not use waxy type)  peeled and quartered
8oz spring cabbage, chopped ****
1/2 cup scallions/spring onions, roughly chopped
1/4 cup scallions/spring onions, finely chopped
4 oz butter + 3 tbs
salt and pepper

Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked – when pierced with a sharp knife and the potato is soft in the middle.   Chop 3/4 of the spring onions roughly and the other 1/4 finely. Add the roughly chopped scallions/spring onions to the cabbage. Saute  lightly until tender in the 2 tbs. butter. Drain the potatoes and add the rest of the butter. When the butter has melted, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy. Add the cabbage mixture and mix. Stir in some salt and pepper to taste for seasoning and garnish with the finely chopped scallion.

Thank you Wiki for the photo!

Oven Roasted Autumn Vegetables

I like oven roasted veggies!  The roasting sweetens them and gives them depth of flavor steaming or boiling cannot.  I grew up with roasted vegetables, before they became stylish. Whether savory or sweet (sweet potatoes, apples, acorn squash, honey, spices…oh my!) we ate them on a regular basis.  Hot out of the oven, room temperature, or even cold, roasted veggies are a delicious and easy way to get your veggies.

The recipe is forgiving and you can use whatever you have on hand.  Just keep in mind some veggies, such as onions, peppers asparagus – are more delicate and break down quicker.  Add them the last 20 minutes of cooking.  If you find the temperature is too high, then lower.  I often loosely cover them with foil for about 20 minutes, remove the foil, and add in the delicate veggies.  You can add a good sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese at the end and use whatever herbal flavorings you prefer.  I also like to line my pan with parchment paper to help with clean up.

I do not use olive oil as do some people.  Olive oil has a lower smoking point and when oil smokes, carcinogens and toxins are released.  I use a good neutral vegetable oil instead.

どうぞめしあがれ  Douzo meshiagare y’all!

INGREDIENTS 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed 2 red bell peppers seeded and diced 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed 3 Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (or other potato) 1 large red onion, quartered 2 parsnips, cut into 1 inch slices 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, cut in half 3 tbs. balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup. vegetable oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 tbs. minced fresh herbs: parsey, thyme, rosemary, basil, whatever

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the (heavier” veggies. Put delicate veggies in a separate bowl. In a small bowl, stir together seasonings, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Divide between the two bowls and toss until well coated. Spread heavier veggies evenly on a large roasting pan. Loosely cover with foil and cook for 30 – 40 minutes. Add delicate veggies and stir in well. Do not replace foil and continue to cook for about 15 minutes more, or until cooked through and browned. If you do not like your veggies as soft, then of course, don’t cook as long.

stock-photo-11060871-roasted-vegetables-in-the-oven[1]

Overnight Oats

English: Bowl of fresh muesli, made from rolle...

English: Bowl of fresh muesli, made from rolled oats, orange juice, blended apple and banana, redcurrants, raisins, cottage cheese, topped with raspberries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In keeping with the weekend, no elaborate recipes. This recipe is so easy, my cat could fix it. The difference between Overnight Oats and regular oatmeal or slow cooker oats is this:  No Cooking.   It takes me awhile to wake up. I am a morning zombie: moving, going about the routine but brainless until being jolted with caffeine. Idiot proof is the word for breakfasts for me. Overnight Oats is an imminently portable food as well. Fix in a container that has a secure top for taking with you.

When visiting in Switzerland years ago, I fell in love with müesli. Raw oats, other grains, fruits, nuts, liquids – I’ve not been a fan of cold cereal but this stuff made me happy. One night, I was getting ready to have a bowl for my supper when an emergency occurred. I had to leave suddenly to see to a friend and I put the bowl of müesli into the fridge for safe keeping. Next morning, I remembered it and pulled it out. Hello gorgeous! All the grains had softened and the flavors blended. I was not the creator of Overnight Oats, but rather, a discoverer of something easy and good. Others have also discovered this wonderful food.

Overnight Oats do not have to be eaten cold. I’ve taken my container with me to work and nuked for a bit to get warm. Equally good, especially if the morning was cold or rainy and cold. The aroma of cinnamon, apples, maple, bananas, peaches wafting into others’ work areas has caused them to wander in and obtain a printed note from me with the recipe for Overnight Oats.

So enjoy. This is food truly your way and it is good for you. I use whole grains, almond milk, nuts, organic fruits. You don’t have to. It is your way!  Oh, it is good gamer food as well.

I posted a recipe for Slow Cooker Oats in November 2012 and have updated it. I hope you do a search for it and try it. It is truly comfort food.

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.

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