>Friday lunchacha

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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.

For my quiet at-home Friday lunch, I made this and ate it with some Green Curry Chicken from last night’s dinner. Photo and recipes follow.

Eggplant Salad, for eating on bread or from a bowl

Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.

Dice into small pieces:
1 medium eggplant
1/4 medium onion (I used 1/2, but it was too much onion for me)
1 Roma tomato
and mince 
2 cloves garlic

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. 

Once the veggies are roasted to your liking (you could go longer than 30 minutes, but they’ll start to lose their shape) remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. 
 Then scrape the veggies into the bowl with the cheese, dribble
1-2 T of balsamic vinegar
over, and toss. 



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!

Makes about 2 cups

If you want this on bread, put some baguette slices on the oven rack to toast in the residual heat. This was good warm, but I liked it even better the next day straight from the fridge with a little more vinegar to brighten the flavors.
I didn’t do a bigger picture because neither this or the chicken are really so yummy to photograph.

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.

Adam had used fennel seed and peppercorns. We didn’t have fennel seed. We did have some other seeds, and some green curry mix from World Market. They have all kinds of spices in little packs for just 99 cents, so it’s a good way to try a spice you’re not sure about. If you can avoid buying your spices in jars, it’s almost always cheaper. I buy all my spices from bulk jars (where? Central Market, Whole Foods, even QFC and Top have a small selection) and keep them in clean baby food jars.
For this chicken I rinsed and patted dry 5 pounds of chicken legs. Keep this in mind when making your own chicken; adjust the amount of spices if you don’t have 12 people in your house. Lay the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet.
In a small skillet toast
1 T dill seeds
1 T caraway seeds
1 T yellow mustard seeds
for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the smells reach your nose. Let cool.

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.

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