Tag Archives: eggplant

Baked Pasta With Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Mozzarella

Someone taught my baby to say “stop it.”  Life with a seventeen-month-old is undignified enough, I feel, without irate admonitions issuing from the tiny person over every little thing.  Like when I try to change her diaper (“Stop it!”).  Like when I take a ballpoint pen away (“Stop it!).  Like when I insist that her carseat straps be buckled for travel (“No no no no STOP IT!”).

Imagine how she feels, though.  She’s the baby in a family of five.  We tell her to stop every time she innocently tries to tear a page from a book, or color on the table, or suck on the bottom of a delectable shoe.  We may both be saying the same words, but there are days when we’re not exactly speaking the same language.  Luckily, I can’t ever get down about it, because at the first sign of sadness this same baby rushes across the room, arms outstretched, yelling “Hug! Hug!”  Hopefully she learned that from us, too.

At times like these, comfort food is occasionally in order for the whole family.  And is there any comfort food that compares to baked pasta?  I guess roasted vegetables, maybe, so I’ve combined the two here to hedge my bets.  The children can pick out the cheesy pasta parts and I can console myself with all the eggplant that’s left in pan. Continue reading

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Baked Whole Wheat Orzo with Late-Summer Vegetables

The lazy cook in me was intrigued by the baked pasta recipe that appeared on Smitten Kitchen today.  Because the pasta it used was orzo and (why did I never think of this before?) the orzo can be baked without pre-boiling, thereby saving you six minutes and the washing of an extra pot.  You’re welcome.Deb’s recipe, adapted from our favorite Yotam Ottolenghi, is for a cheesy (just-cheesy-enough, she says) bake with the usual Ottolenghian flourishes of lemon zest and oregano.  And it sounds lovely.  But once I started browning perfect summer vegetables–eggplant, zucchini, peppers, falling-apart fragrant tomatoes–I couldn’t bear to adulterate them much.  (If your tomatoes are less than perfect, by all means try out the original recipe’s suggestion to jazz them up with a few tablespoons of chopped oregano and the zest of a lemon; you could even add that chopped mozzarella.)  For me, whole wheat orzo, salt, and the heat of the oven were enough to make the pan of vegetables a hearty late-summer meal.  I crumbled feta on top at the end and browned it under the broiler, but it’s perfectly delicious without the cheese.  A tomato salad on the side provided a sweet little bite of acid to compliment the richness of the cooked vegetables.  (The Indigo Rose tomatoes were almost too pretty to eat.  Almost.) Continue reading

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Tart

Still wondering what to bring to that Labor Day picnic?  Not only is this tart flavorful and attractive, it also hides a pound of eggplant.  And who doesn’t have a pound of eggplant to hide at this time of year?I mean, I’ll just go ahead and admit it: sometimes the most popular way to serve eggplant is hidden.  Eggplant?  What eggplant?  My oldest daughter gave this dish an enthusiastic review and said it tasted like pizza.  Continue reading

Grilled Eggplant with Cumin-Basil Yogurt Sauce

Seattle being Seattle (read: located above the 47th parallel), we are expecting almost 16 hours of sunlight on the summer solstice this week.  These long hours of light don’t always herald summer’s arrival, though.  We usually say that summer starts after the Fourth of July in Seattle.  We hope.

You know what else doesn’t start until July?  My CSAs.  Yes, that’s right, plural, CSAs.  Two big boxes of gorgeous produce–one mostly fruit and the other mostly veggies–for twenty weeks.  I can’t wait.

For those of you in the Seattle area who haven’t thrown your lot in with a CSA yet, there are lots of great options in our area, but I truly love the two that we are getting this year.  The first is from Tonnemaker’s organic farm and orchards, which provides a weekly box of unbelievably fragrant and impossibly delicious summer fruit: cherries, apricots, peaches, melons, pears, and apples were some of the highlights last year.  They grow many varieties that I had never heard of, let alone tasted, and a few months of their fruit was enough to make me truly mournful about having to get through the winter without it.  Tonnemaker’s is located in Eastern Washington, so they also provide some of the hot-weather produce that we’re starved for on this side of the Cascades: Tomatoes!  Eggplants!  Peppers!

The other CSA, our old standby now, is Nash’s Organic Produce.  They’re located out on the Olympic Peninsula, but they deliver to a few Seattle farmers markets.  Nash’s hooked us years ago with the Sweetest Carrots I Know, then reeled us in with greens galore and broccoli that tastes like a different vegetable from what you buy in a store.  Nash Huber and his team are also known for their activism and innovation in environmental conservation and protecting farmland, for which Nash received the 2008 Steward of the Land award from the American Farmland Trust, so that’s nice too.

Of course it’s not too late to sign up for either CSA!  Just click those links above (or–you’re so lazy!–click here for Tonnemaker’s and click here for Nash’s).  And once those boxes start rolling in, we’re going to be in veggie heaven around here.

In anticipation of summer vegetables, I grilled a couple eggplants based on this recipe from Food and Wine that my mother-in-law recommended.  I could have eaten the marinade with a spoon, but it was quite subtle in the finished dish, so if you want to take the easy way out you could just sprinkle the eggplant with olive oil and salt.  Most of what you’ll taste here is the smoky eggplant and cooling yogurt sauce with a background of cumin and big, herbaceous basil flavor as you crunch into the torn leaves.  In other words, it tastes like summer.

Continue reading Grilled Eggplant with Cumin-Basil Yogurt Sauce (click for recipe)