Sunday, September 18, 2011

What to do with an eggplant?

Eggplant is something I've never been that fond of. I think it's the consistency. I don't hate it, but I don't love it. And I never order it. So when the hubby came home with an eggplant from his parents' garden, I had to think about what to do with it. It was easy to figure it out: soup! I love soup and I love making soup. And something you don't LOVE can be blended with a lot of yummy things and be awesome. So I set off to make some eggplant soup. I looked up recipes but nothing tickled my fancy. So I made my own. This is it!

Tomato eggplant soup

2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 leek, sliced
1 potato
1 medium eggplant
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tsp salt (I used herbed salt)
2 cups tomato soup (I used V8 tomato herb. I suggest using something similar, the boxed kind!)
5 cups vegetable broth
olive oil
1tsp sriracha
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Slice eggplant in half, brush with olive oil, and place on baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes and remove.
2. Heat oil in stock pot. Add celery, carrots, leek, and potato  and cook for 5-10 minutes to soften.
3. Scoop eggplant out of skin with a spoon.
4. Add salt, pepper, and thyme and stir.
5. Add stock and tomato soup and stir in sriacha.
6. Cook for 30 minutes on medium high heat, covered.
7. Blend until smooth, using immersion blender.
8. Stir in cream if using. Simmer 5 minutes and remove from heat.
9. Garnish with parmesan cheese and serve (mine is with homemade applesauce and bread!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

I cooked with meat! And modified a recipe to be vegetarian! Yay!

Summer is over. Yep, I'm going back to work and I don't want to end my culinary adventures from the summer! I decided I'd make some freezer meals and I also bought a freezer so I can freeze meals to easily reheat on those days that I have meetings that go late - which are endless!

There is a great cooking message board over on, and freezer meals are a common thread topic. I found this recipe from a great blog and decided I'd make it - with a twist!

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't eat meat. And I never will. But I've been wanting to cook more with it for my husband's sake, though he never complains. This seemed like a great start because it had veggies in it too. But not only he was going to get the yummy benefits!! I decided to alter the recipe and make a vegetarian version too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What to do with 20 pounds of blackberries? Part 3

Ok, maybe I should've titled this: What to do with a gazillion pints of jam? When I think of jam, I think of THUMBPRINT COOKIES!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dinner straight from the garden!

 I'm harvesting a lot of fresh veggies from the garden this week. It's the best feeling to eat food that I picked an hour before! This year, I'm growing beans for the first time, thanks to my father in law building me an awesome trellis! I've eaten several but um... they usually don't make it inside! I have been letting up and picked these bad boys for dinner.
Because of how the trellis is, some grow inside of it and are hard to see, so grow HUGE!
Yes, you're reading that right. If I stretched it out it would be a foot long!!

The other thing that I have A LOT of is zucchini. They get big fast so I had a couple huge ones to use. I have bookmarked several zucchini recipes, but one that I've wanted to try for awhile is zucchini pancakes. This was the day. I love potato pancakes and zucchini ones sound a lot healthier! Now, to shred zucchini you can either do it by hand, or you can have a cool gadget to do it for you. I chose option B. I have the best attachment ever for my Kitchenaid mixer, the slicer/shredder. All you do it cut the zucchini into smaller pieces, get rid of the seeds, and put it in the slot and it shreds it for you!

Then I mixed in some panko breadcrumbs- these ones were "Italian" style, and very tasty. I also mixed in garlic, dried oregano, shallot, parmesan cheese and 2 egg whites to keep it together.

I made the patties and put them in a little olive oil - not too much, didn't want to deep fry them! I tried them in the oven too but they didn't get the crispy edges and were more like burgers - fell apart.
Dinner is ready!

Friday, July 29, 2011

What to do with 20 pounds of blackberries? Part 2

First, I froze some. Then I made muffins. And I was still left with A LOT! So what did I do?

First you heat it...
I made jam. LOTS of jam. 12 pints and 3 quarts, to be exact.

Ingredients? Blackberries, lemon juice, pectin, honey and agave nectar. Yum!
Then you divvy it out...

Then you give it a bath...
Ta da!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What to do with 20 pounds of blackberries? Part 1

Whenever I have an ingredient that I want to use, I google it and recipe and see what comes up to help me think outside the box. One of the things that came up was muffins, so I did a couple more searches and found this recipe. It turned out to be the best fruit muffins I've ever had! I doubled the recipe and it made almost 4 dozen. I gave several away to my family and my in-laws, and everyone really enjoyed them. The sour cream and fruit made them extremely moist. I froze some fruit and can't wait to make them again!

Monday, July 25, 2011


I'm totally on a seasonal eating kick right now along with the whole canning thing. Also, freezing. I'm buying a deep freezer this week so I can preserve some of the stuff from my garden and also produce from friends and farmer's markets.

One of the things that I lack in my own garden is fruit. Now, I am growing blackberries this year but they take a year or two to produce so I have a couple teeny tiny ones and that's it. And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE fruit. When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey.  It's about picking blueberries, which I did often, living in Michigan. I've always loved going picking and have dragged various friends and family members to pick fruit, and have even gone on my own. If you have kids or have friends with kids, I HIGHLY suggest checking the book out!

Anyone who lives in St. Louis HAS to go to Eckert's to pick fruit. They have several varieties of apples, plus strawberries, blackberries, and peaches, varying from farm to farm. They also have pumpkins and Christmas trees for those seasons.

I knew I wanted to go peach and blackberry picking and got my mom to go with me last week on Friday. At first, she wasn't going to come at all because the forecast was HOT. But she came.We went to the Grafton farm and arrived around 11am.

See these rows? Empty. That's what 100 degree weather does!

No one was there so no competition.

There were a lot of unripe berries, but lots of ripe ones too. And they were HUGE.
My hand isn't big. But these berries were seriously gigantic.

We picked and sweated, picked and sweated. We were going fast and barely talking because it was so hot. In the end, we picked 20 pounds.

We picked peaches too, but... FAST. And no camera came out because we were sweating so badly. We ended up with 25 pounds.

That is a LOT of fruit!
I can't wait to go back to Eckert's... maybe even for peaches again, but definitely for apples.

Stay tuned for what I did with all this fruit!

I'm not the only one who loves Eckert's!!!