My birthday is normally on the first day of summer, so I always say that summer is my favorite season. My heart knows this is not true. Fall is my favorite, because of HARVEST! I don’t grow much produce myself (although I bought brocolli and beet seedlings today — fingers crossed they don’t die) but I love love love all the wonderful bounty at the markets. The flavors, the names, and and especially the colors. The deep purple of eggplant has been beckoning lately, and with all the eggplant dishes popping up in my favorite food blogs, I bit. I started with the Eggplant Salad Toasts recipe from Smitten Kitchen as inspiration, but changed it dramatically. Please change this recipe to suit your own palate. Add some chopped olives or mint at the end. I might take Deb’s advice and mix the leftovers with some sort of grain (quinoa, steel-cut oats) for a yummy salad. You could also bake this into a frittata. In short, this is a great salad to have on hand for eating all week long.
Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
Mix the above with a swirl of olive oil, a shake of salt, and lots of fresh-ground pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (maybe two if you have small sheets; you want there to be room between the pieces). Put in the oven for 10 minutes. Stir it around. After 10 more minutes, stir again, turning everything over and around with a spatula. Bake for 10 more minutes (so, 30 minutes total).
While the veggies are roasting, put
1/4 c crumbled feta cheese
a sprinkle of smoked paprika
in a bowl.
Then scrape the veggies into the bowl with the cheese, dribble
Serve on toasts, or stuffed into a slice baguette, or on a bed of lettuce. Not super-sexy looking, sort of slumpy and brown, but delicious and nutritious!
Yesterday afternoon I watched a live-stream video of Adam of The Amateur Gourmet cooking dinner. (Which is about as exciting as it sounds, but, well, interesting in an “I’m-older-than-the-internet-look-what-it-does-kids!” sort of way.) Anyways, he made a spice rub for chicken. The video ended right around 4 o’clock, and I sat there for a minute staring at a blank screen, wanting chicken. I always want chicken.
Put in a spice grinder with 1 T black peppercorns. Grind until fine. Mix in a small bowl with 3-4 T salt and 2 T green curry powder. Drizzle olive oil lightly over the chicken and spread to coat. Sprinkle the spice mix liberally all over the chicken pieces. Bake at 400˚ for 30-40 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and bake for 30-40 more minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180˚ or until the chicken is golden.
Pieces of chicken just aren’t that lovely to view, so no photos.
Fish Latte. It’ll be the Flavor of the Day at some drive-thru coffee stand in Monroe soon. If I’m right about that, you all owe me twenty bucks.)
Okay, back from… wherever that went. Oy vey. I spent my Saturday night* examining different ways to use fruit (specifically pear) scraps. One is straightforward pear butter. The other way spawned two recipes, one for canned cinnamon pears and one for pear-scrap apple jelly. Unless you like canning (I find it soothing) or you’re bored out of your gourd and want to spend three hours with pears, I recommend splitting these methods up. It’s a lot of pear time.
zest and juice of 1 orange
Remove, let cool, and check seals (remove the rings and hold the jar slightly above the counter by the rim. If it’s sealed, it should stay put.) Wipe down the jars, write the date and contents on the lid, and store up to a year.
Peel and core the pears, saving those scraps for the jelly recipe below. Cut the pears into chunks or slices and put them in an anti-browning agent. (I crush 6 500-mg vitamin C tabs in a bowl and add warm water to dissolve.)
Remove, let cool, and check seals. Remove rings and wipe down jars. Write date and contents on lid. You shouldn’t reuse the lids (the rings are all right as long as they’re not rusty) and the best way to remember which ones have been used already is to write right on them. (By the way, those new Sharpie pens aren’t permanent on metal.) If you don’t like the look, you can always cover it later with fabric or a tagboard circle.
Okay, this last recipe didn’t work the first time. I threw some sugar in the pan with the juice, added some conventional pectin… and it didn’t gel. I know what I did wrong: I didn’t use enough sugar. Now I have 5 jars of apple-pear syrup. Good for mixed drinks or pouring over a porous cake. The lesson here: Live and learn and rename it something fabulous if it doesn’t turn out. Once I doubled a recipe for chocolate-chip cookies. Except I forgot to double the flour. The doughballs melded into one. No worries though, right? I cut the Pangea cookie into squares and called them Toffee Bars. Delicious!
(UPDATE 9/15!) Um… it didn’t work the second time EITHER. Pomona’s pectin takes time to gel. You won’t normally see the gel until the jar and contents have completely cooled. I went to wipe down my jars of “jelly” last night… and they hadn’t gelled. So now I have MORE jars of syrup. This stuff doesn’t have added sugar, so I guess I could always just drink it, but I don’t know why it didn’t work! I created this recipe directly from the instructional pamphlet that comes in the pectin box. Any ideas?
Recommended accompaniment: “Another Saturday Night,” by Cat Stevens
If you like to can your own jams and preserves, you may, like me, be aghast at the amount of sugar you quickly go through in putting up your spreads. Most pectin requires a certain amount of sugar to gel, and some recipes don’t even use pectin, but have you boil the fruit until it reaches the gelling point (220˚ at sea level).
You don’t need to worry about peeling the fruits (except kiwi). After everything had simmered for a while and gotten soft, I ran it all through my Foley food mill, but if you don’t have a food mill, you could just chop everything really small to begin with, or blend it after some simmering. I like the applesauce-like texture a food mill makes.
Makes 7 half-pint jars