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Smoky Eggplant Dip

August 27, 2012

I made a delicious eggplant dip/spread yesterday that was so easy I thought I would share.  I adapted this recipe from the Kitchn to use up a bunch of eggplant I collected from the CSA.

I pretty much followed the recipe provided, except that my eggplants were not as big, so I reduced the roasting time to closer to 45 minutes and added some smoked paprika and a few red pepper flakes for a little kick.  Soooo good – I think this could also work well as a pasta sauce if it were thinned out with either fresh or canned tomatoes or could be spread on bread with maybe some feta cheese and arugula for a delicious lunch.

Smoky Eggplant Dip (adapted from the Kitchn)
Makes about 3 cups

Approximately 2 lbs eggplant
Olive oil,  for cooking
2 medium onions, chopped
3/4 cup (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prick the eggplants all over with a fork and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast in the center of the oven, turning over once, until soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on size of eggplant).

Let the eggplants cool in a colander in the sink, where their juices can drain. When cool enough to handle, press any excess liquid out. (This step helps to reduce any bitterness.)

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 15-20 minutes.

Cut the eggplants in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the peel. Chop the flesh very finely. (The Kitchn recommended to avoid using a food processor, as you want the eggplant to be more textured than a purée.)

Add the eggplant to the onions along with the tomato paste, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a couple good cracks of black pepper. Turn the heat to low-medium and cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes. Add more oil as necessary to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan. (Be liberal with the oil; any excess will rise to the top as the mixture cools, and you can remove it then, if you wish.)

Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl and let it cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. Adjust salt and pepper to taste before serving.  I served mine with pita chips, but I plan to try it on a sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Ice Cream with a Peach Whiskey Infusion

June 18, 2012
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My homemade strawberry rhubarb ice cream was pretty delicious all on it’s own. It really needed no dressing up. But then my good friend Megan, who happens to be the bar manager of my favorite fancy-pants cocktail bar next to my house, came over and made my little ice cream so much better! I told her all about it, and then in the next breath told her all about the peaches I had been soaking in moonshine whiskey for about a month. And like the genius that she is, starred at me blankly wondering why I wasn’t mixing those two things together at that very moment. I had no good answer for her, so up we went to do just that. Best little milkshake I have had in a good long while. Genius.

Citrus Tofu with Cabbage, Squash, and Mushrooms

June 18, 2012
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In an effort to use up all of the CSA veggies before heading out for 4 days in Montreal, I cooked dinner for 4 with my fingers crossed that I would have 3 more people to feed by the time I finished cooking it. And for the FIRST TIME since I started making wishes like this (which started about 5 years ago, fyi), it actually happened! Just as I was taking this picture, my downstairs housemate came bounding up the stairs to say hello and tell me that whatever I was making smelled awesome. So to thank her for the compliment, I fed her and her friend dinner!

Tofu

Juice of 1 Lemon (about 1/4 cup)
Juice of 1 Lime (about 1/4 cup)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 package firm tofu

Drain and press the tofu between two plates and put something heavy on top for about 20 minutes.  Slice the tofu into 1/4″ thick squares and put them in a pie plate or dish of similar size.  Whisk together lemon and lime juice, soy sauce, and sugar. Pour over tofu and let it sit for a bit. However long you have to give it, it will take. I left mine for about 25 minutes. I would have done 10 if that that is all I had, or overnight if I ever thought ahead about such things.

Heat up a Tbsp of oil in a pan over medium heat and pour tofu and sauce in. Cook until it is browned on both sides and the sauce has been absorbed/evaporated.

Vegetables

Heat a bit of oil in a large pan/wok. Add in all kinds of vegetables. I chose napa cabbage, mushrooms, yellow crookneck squash, and onions. When they are almost all cooked, add in about an inch of grated ginger, about 2 Tbsp soy sauce, and about 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar. After the vegetables are cooked to your liking, add in the tofu. Mix it all around and serve over brown rice. Eat with your friends who will magically appear.

And that’s the way the [rhubarb] crumbles…

June 2, 2012
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So, as many of you know, I am definitely not a cook. But, I do LOVE coming up with easy ways to utilize our veggies! Earlier this week I used our rhubarb to make a slightly healthier rhubarb crumble. On the way back from camping we stopped and picked fresh strawberries (so I literally was able to enjoy the ‘fruits of my labor’ 😉 ).

I chopped up the strawberries, rhubarb and added some blueberries I had leftover in the fridge in a large bowl. Instead of  using sugar, I added a 1/2 tablespoon of agave nectar and a tablespoon of honey to the fruit then put them in the bottom of a small square baking pan. In a separate bowl I mixed a cup and a half of oatmeal with a tablespoon and a half of cinnamon and then added 1/4 cup of sugar (the heavy cinnamon flavor cut down the need for sugar). I put this mixture on top of the fruit and then baked at *350 for about 15 minutes until the rhubarb was tender. This ended up being a delish treat that traveled well to book club and the leftovers went well over greek yogurt for a dessert the next night!.

Spring Dip with Mint and Peas

May 23, 2012
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Growing season has started again and the CSA is back! I made this pretty little dip for the first Monday night porch party of the year. It is very light and refreshing, perfect for a humid early summer night.

Ingredients

1 bag frozen green peas
I package silken tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (or however much comes out of your lemon)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground, or however much looks right when you grind it. I find it foolish to try to measure freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mint leaves, fresh, firmly packed. It is more than you think. Mint packs well.
1/2 cup uncooked scallions, chopped

Instructions

Bring a medium saucepan half full of water to a boil; add peas. Return to a boil; boil 1 minute to soften skins. Drain and rinse under cold water.
Put peas, tofu, oil, lemon zest,lemon juice, salt and pepper into a food processor. Whirl until mixture is smooth. Add mint and scallions; pulse until finely chopped.

Scrape mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. I think it was better the next day, but you can keep it for up to two.

Mango Mint Sauce

June 29, 2011

DELICIOUS!

I’m a huge fan of mango – HUGE. This was a super easy sauce to add to ice cream that totally impressed Kyle’s friends. You just chop up 3 cups of mango (I had champagne mango so it was about 1 cup per mango). Add two of the cups to your food processor. Then add 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons sugar. Blend all that together and stir in the remaining 1 cup of chopped mango and 1 tablespoon of chopped mint. Pour over ice cream and serve. Yum!

Recipe heard through the grapevine

June 29, 2011

Z told us about a delicious salad you could make with raw kale. I obviously forgot what it was, then Jessi mentioned she made it the previous week and indeed it was delicious. I asked her to remind me of the ingredients.

I have no clue if these are the right ingredients, but this is what I did and boy it was yummy!

Combine the following in quantities to your liking: Raw kale, Lemon juice, Olive oil, Avocado, Tomato, Onion, Feta cheese, Toasted pine nuts…

Delicious for summer!