Veggies


Eggplant is one of those things that I buy now and then without a purpose.  Their gorgeous deep purple color just pulls me in.  I have good intentions because I know they’re good for me and I like the taste but I admit to sometimes having rotting eggplant in my fridge before I can figure out what to do with them. 

Finally, here is an eggplant recipe that I can get excited about.  This recipe couldn’t be simpler or quicker but is really tasty.  Even the baby liked this! 

INGREDIENTS

1 large eggplant

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp butter

1 15-oz can tomato sauce

1 can water

1 clove

2 bay leaves

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup grated cheese (I used mozzarella but parmesan would also work well)

1/2 cup bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cut eggplant in cubes.  Cook in boiling water for about 8 minutes.  Drain. 

Place butter and flour in a skillet.  When blended, pour in the tomato sauce and water.  Stir until smooth.  Add the clove, bay leave, pepper, onion, and salt. 

Allow the sauce to thicken (mine never did but I think I my mL to oz conversion was off and I got too much liquid).  Fold in the eggplant and pour into a 9×13 casserole dish.  Top with cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

I served this with potatoes and the leftovers over rice. 

Original recipe here

I love cooking with pumpkin, especially at this time of year when it is as seasonal as the falling leaves.  Pumpkin puree is moist and sweet so works really well as a wet ingredient in bread or muffin recipes. 

In my experience, some muffin recipes can lack the moistness of donut shop muffins but this recipe makes a pumpkin muffin that stands up to anything I have ever tasted, homemade or store-bought.  It is spiced with the usual cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove companion that just screams fall. 

This recipe will not disappoint.  As the original recipe says, this could easily be baked into a 9-in cake pan (and topped with cream cheese frosting perhaps?).

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup packed pumpkin puree

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare muffin pan by lining with muffin papers or greasing the cups. 

In a bowl, sift together the first seven ingredients (flour to salt). 

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each.  Blend in vanilla extract. 

Alternately add 1/3 of flour mixture and half of pumpkin puree, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Mix well after each addition. 

Fold in the chocolate chips. 

Evenly fill the muffin cups.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. 

 

Yield:  Makes 12 muffins

 

Original recipe here

Lingering in the bottom of my produce drawer were five zucchinis. 

These are the last of a crop whose yield always seems to take me by surprise.  If you’re a novice gardener, start there; I swear zucchini plants would grow on the sidewalk.  And every plant produces a ga-jillion zucchinis so you can bask in your gardening success for weeks on end. 

Anyway, I have been throwing zucchinis in everything under the sun for weeks now… breads, cakes, stir fries, quiches, omelets… and on and on, but these few remained.  I opened my trusty Ina Garten cookbook for inspiration and there it was… zucchini pancakes. 

Savory pancakes?  “But… what do you put on them?”, my husband asked, at a loss since maple syrup didn’t seem right.  I wasn’t sure so out came the salsa, guacamole, two types of salsa, hummus, and … maple syrup. 

The flavor of these is really great.  I also see a lot of tweak potential to these, perhaps adding a little cheese or something spicy like cayenne or hot sauce?  Regardless, these are definitely worth another look, whether with a tweak or just as they are. 

INGREDIENTS

2 medium zucchini (about 3/4 pound), unpeeled

2 Tbsp. red onion, grated

2 eggs, lightly beaten

6 to 8 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (I just used the ‘Warm’ button).

Grate the zucchini using the large side of a box grater.  Immediately stir in the onion and eggs.  Stir in 6 Tbsp. of the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.  If the batter is too thin from the zucchini liquid, add the other 2 Tbsp. of flour. 

Heat a skillet or large pan over medium heat.  Add oil to the pan.  When hot, lower the heat to medium-low and drop a heaping spoon of batter into the pan. 

Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until browned.  Place the pancakes in the oven to keep warm.  Add more oil to the pan and continue to fry th epancakes until all the batter is used.  The pancakes can stay warm in the oven up to 30 minutes. 

Serve hot.  Makes 10 3-inch pancakes.

Oh, and just for the record… salsa, guacamole, and yes, even maple syrup, were excellent on these. 

Recipe source: barefoot contessa at home by Ina Garten