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Showing posts from August, 2010

Eggplant Experiment #1 - Eggplant Parmesan

I've had eggplant only a few times in my life.  I think the last time I had eggplant, it was at one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in downtown Orlando.  Unfortunately, the dish was not well prepared and I got a fried eggplant sandwich that was way too greasy and soaked with oil.  Yuck.  It must have been an off day for the chef.  I never ordered it again.

Having only recently researched this glorious ingredient, I've learned how important it is to not use too much oil with eggplant as it acts like a sponge and will absorb almost all of it.  So, use oil sparingly when dealing with eggplant!  Though I really wanted the sandwich I described yesterday, I ended up deciding I'd first go with something I thought I could connive my kids into eating.  I figured I couldn't go wrong with Cooking Light's version of Eggplant Parmesan.  You can find the full recipe here.

I was very pleased with the result!  The fresh garden basil really made this dish shine.  I didn't…

Monday Garden Club

Sorry for the lack of a post last week.  I have no real excuse, it just didn't happen.  :)
In Season Now: Carrots, Parsnips, Tomatoes, Peppers & Eggplant
I do have garden news to report.  The eggplants are finally in!!  I think this will likely be the last exciting bit of news for the year as we wind down the garden.  We "pulled the plug" on the broccoli under the house because I just don't have the energy to deal with prepping and planting beds right now.  As it is, I'm figuring next year we will have our hands a little too full to grow our tomato, eggplant and peppers from seed, let alone expand the garden as we had initially planned earlier this year.  We'll see what we can manage to fit in.  It will likely be more modest next year.

I thought the eggplant were going to get bigger so I left a couple of them on the vine and the few larger fruit I left on the plant rotted.  It seems like the size above (about 5"x4") is about the maximum size for …

Lazy Cook's Cobbler

So the other weekend I was at my mother-in-law's and I got the most amazingly simple recipe to pass along to you.  It's so easy and yet so delicious.  I've nicknamed it Lazy Cook's Cobbler.  It's one of those recipes that makes you think, "What world was I living in before this pie?" (obviously, a very deprived one.)  Most of you probably already have something like this in your repertoire somewhere but this is for the folks like myself who did not!

The recipe is a whopping 5 ingredients and you can use canned fruit or frozen berries that have been already prepared or whatever is fresh and in season.  When you make it people will not realize just how easy this was for you to whip up!  My husband calls this quickie pie a slice of childhood nostalgia because his mom made it often.

Of course, since discovering this recipe, I've seen versions of it everywhere on the internet (including a more complicated version by Ms. Paula Deen) however my mother-in-law…

Monday Garden Update

First, I would just like to thank my awesome husband for clearing out the weeds from the asparagus patch yesterday.  This pregnancy has reduced my heat tolerance considerably and it has been so hard to just watch my asparagus patch get covered and smothered by weeds. It took him half a day in the heat and I'm so grateful, you just have no idea.  While he weeded, I opted to complete a less physically demanding but no less menial task of cleaning and purging my daughter's closet.  The asparagus look so much better and so does my daughter's closet!!!  It's a huge mental boost to have these big tasks completed.
With a slight rebound in energy (though still no complete relief from nausea), I've been cooking again.  Today I made 3 batches of basil pesto using this recipe.  The basil plants are continuing to thrive and we have been way overdue in harvesting it.  I had cut this one basil plant back considerably and all of it came back already and then some!!
The basil pesto…

Monday Garden Update

I'm feeling a tinsy bit better these days though evenings are still pretty rough and that has meant that I've been able to spend a little more time doing the things I love again, i.e. cooking and some very modest gardening.  This week, it's all about the tomatoes!  Though I only planted 3 tomato plants this year, they've been very productive so I've been working on preserving the harvest for winter.  That means more roasted tomato soup.

Roasted Tomatoes
Soup loaded up with fresh, sweet basil
I can only use so much tomato soup so I also looked into making my own tomato/pasta/pizza sauce from scratch.  Turns out it's a huge pain in the arse involving 15 pounds of tomatoes for just a quart of sauce.  Then there is the blanching and seeding.  That's some crazy work for sauce that costs next to nothing at the store.  (You can check out how to make your own here.)

That didn't stop me though.  I ordered a vegetable strainer attachment for my kitchen aid mixer on…