Tag Archives: Eggplant

Grilled Summer Corn Salad

Best news ever.  I have officially completed the end of my second year of PT school.  I’m a third year!

It feels amazing.  Especially because:

  1. I don’t feel guilty about cooking and/or blogging instead of studying.
  2. I may be able to actually read a large section of a book tomorrow without falling asleep.
  3. I can go to the gym for a whole hour and a half! Maybe even two hours!
  4. The sun came out for two minutes when I walked out of school.  Coincidence?
  5. My friends are coming over tonight, and if it doesn’t start raining again, we can use the fire pit!
  6. Fritz and I are going to Boston this weekend to celebrate my younger sister’s 21st birthday (happy birthday, Kristen!)!
  7. I made grilled summer corn salad for dinner–and finally learned to turn on the grill all by myself (about time, huh?)
  8. Fritz got sworn in as an American citizen yesterday.  God bless America.

Grilled Corn Summer Salad (original recipe here)

  • 3 ears of corn, shucked and cleaned
  • 1 small eggplant, cut in half lengthwise OR 1 yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2-3 T chive blossom vinegar or other vinegar of choice
  • 2 T minced parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Turn on the grill to high, oil it, and let it heat up for about ten minutes.  Lay the corn and eggplant (or squash) directly on the grill, turning a few times, for about 20 minutes, until slightly charred and cooked.

Slice the eggplant/squash into cubes.  I used eggplant, but I really think I would have liked the taste and texture of the squash better–brighter and a little less…eggplanty.  Next, cut the corn kernels off the cob.

I love corn on the cob, and charred?  Even better.  I could have eaten all three ears for dinner, but I thought Fritz might appreciate an actual meal for once.  Add the diced tomato, parsley, olive oil, and vinegar.  Mix and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remember that chive blossom vinegar?  Here it is, in the most gorgeous bright pink ever found in nature.  This is seriously only colored by the chive blossoms!  I let it sit for a week, and when I tasted it today I decided a week was enough–nice, strong chive taste (but not too strong).

I was only about 90% thrilled with this salad, but I think it would have been 100% with the switch from eggplant to summer squash.  The corn added a really nice touch of sweetness to the salad that was quite enjoyable.  Also, I love corn.  Have I said that?

It’s delicious.

Now if it would just stay nice outside!

I also got to pick some of our flowers from the garden for the first time this year, and they dress up the house instantly:

Amusing fact: I took out a cut crystal vase we received as a wedding gift to hold the flowers, laughed hysterically (so not me), and immediately put them into a washed out chutney bottle.  Ahhh.  Much better.

This is also Fritz’s first full day as an American!  Look at how cute he was getting all dressed up to go be sworn in:

I think that tomorrow some friends and I are getting together to make some yummy frozen treats, and then we are headed off to Boston for the weekend!

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Filed under Salads

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Curry

Today was my first day back at school after five blissful weeks of vacay.

I wasn’t ready.

But it really wasn’t as bad as I expected.  Mostly because we got out an hour early.  The best part, of course, was watching our teachers fill in all of the Fridays we are supposed to have off with field trips (okay, like, two–but I regrettably suspect the number will continue to grow).  I did get to go grocery shopping with the unexpected free time, and now the fridge is stocked with lots of veggies and fruits for the upcoming week.

It was stocked, at least, until I made this Meatless Monday’s (they’re back!) dinner: 

Eggplant Curry  (inspired by Evelyn H. Lauder’s In Great Taste)

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/8 t chili powder
  • 1/8 t ground cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t tandoori masala
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 (small) green bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 crown broccoli, diced
  • 1/2 C chickpeas
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

It’s a long list, I know.  But really all you have to do is use whatever veggies you have in the fridge–I wanted to finish the broccoli, get rid of the chickpeas, and use up the tomato paste before it went bad!

This is a pretty quick-‘n’-easy recipe, not counting all the time it takes to attempt to take decent photographs with a point-and-shoot digital camera in winter light (or should I say dark? absence of any light whatsoever?) with a reading lamp to brighten up the table.  Yeah.  I can’t wait until spring.  Forget the warm weather and cute clothes that come with it–I just want to be able to take decent pictures of my every meal.

Anyway, like I was saying, it’s a pretty easy recipe. 

Start out by heating the oil in a large pot/saucepan/wok on medium heat and adding the spices for a few minutes until fragrant–like any basic Indian food recipe.  Toss in the onions and cook until golden, then add in the garlic and bell pepper.  So far–yum to the max.

Next, add the rest of the veggies:  I started with the broccoli and chickpeas and let that cook for a few minutes, then added the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, lemon juice and sugar.  Once that’s mixed in and bubblin’, top off with the eggplant.  Try not to die of happiness.  Cover and stir occasionally until all the veggies are tender (only about five more minutes).

Serve hot in a big ol’ bowl.  I made 1 C (uncooked) of brown rice and 1 C of a Trader Joe’s brown rice mix (long grain brown rice, black barley, and daikon radish seeds–so good!  Buy it tomorrow!), which I think should last exactly the same amount of time that the curry will. 

This recipe doesn’t have an overpowering curry taste, and you can still taste each vegetable.  Can’t wait to eat it as leftovers tomorrow during school.

By the way, I wrote this while watching Juno.  Since turning off our cable (one of the best decisions we ever made), I like to have a stock of some of my favorite and most girly movies as background for blogging time.  Some of my latest and greatest have been Notting Hill, Music and Lyrics, Where the Wild Things Are, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Once, and, weirdly enough, the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

What are some of the movies you can watch over and over again?  I need some new suggestions!

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian

Healthy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Sometimes I just have a craving for heavy comfort food.  You know what I’m talking about (especially you Italians out there)–I want something served atop a big mound o’ pasta, covered in cheese and tomato sauce, and possibly breadcrumbs as well.

However, I’d also like to not regret it immediately afterwards, which is what normally happens.  I hate that post-giant meal feeling when you can barely make it to the couch, and you just want to lay there like a giant slug for three hours before you can even think about moving again.

So I thought I’d take a comfort food that I used to love and make it into something that I can enjoy (guilt-free) again.  My highschool boyfriend was obsessed with chicken parmesan–he ordered it anytime we ate out and his mom would make it for him for every special occasion you can imagine.  When I was in college (a few boyfriends later), I was introduced to the joy of eggplant parm–even better than chicken, in my opinion.  Sadly, the dipping-in-breadcrumbs-frying-in-oil-and-then-drowning-in-mozzarella-cheese part kind of takes away from any nutritious value you might get from eating eggplant.

So here’s my take on a healthier version–whole wheat pasta, baking instead of frying, and only a sprinkle of parmesan cheese take this from greasy diner to heaven on a plate.  And don’t worry–there’s still breadcrumbs.

Healthy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

  • 1 eggplant, washed and sliced into 1/2″ rounds
  • 1 box angel hair whole-wheat pasta
  • 1 14-0z can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C breadcrumbs (seasoned, if you want–just be careful of that extra sodium)
  • pinch of sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t basil and oregano

Pre-heat your oven to 425, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a thin layer of canola oil.  Put the baking sheet right into the oven to heat up.

Next, get your dippin’s ready.  You’ll need a bowl of egg, one of flour, and one of the breadcrumbs. 

I got a freak egg–a double yolker!  Haven’t had one of those since we had to get our own eggs from the chickens in the yard.

No, seriously.

Dip the eggplant in this order: flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.  Make sure you coat the whole thing with each component.

Lay the eggplant on your hot baking sheet, and put into the oven until beginning to brown (about 20 minutes) then flip ’em and finish for another 10 minutes.  They should be soft on the inside, crispy and golden brown on the outside.

Meanwhile, make your pasta and tomato sauce.  I have a quick and easy recipe for tomato sauce that I use all the time–just as easy as buying prepared sauce, but it tastes so much better.  Combine a can of diced tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, pinch of sugar, salt, a cup of hot water, and whatever spices you want–I usually use oregano and basil, and sometimes hot red pepper flakes.

This time I accidentally used waaay too many pepper flakes.  Fine for me, but Fritz’s lips were turning numb.  Sorry!

Simmer on the stove until thickened to the consistency you like.  When the eggplant is ready, spoon some sauce over each round and sprinkle generously (but not too generously–we’re trying to be healthy, here) with parmesan cheese.  But don’t be stingy, either.

Pop it back in the oven and broil until browned, about three minutes.  Here’s what those last steps should look like:

Oh yeah.  By now your husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends/children/in-laws/cats will be setting the table in excitement.  Well, except for your cat, who will be winding around your feet, frantically meowing like he hasn’t been fed since 1846.

Or that just might be my cat.

Anyway, serve atop spaghetti, with a scoop of extra tomato sauce.  And the best part?  You can feel good about it afterwards!

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Filed under Entrees, Vegetarian