Monday kicked my butt.  I actually thought I was masking my scatter-brainedness rather well with a carefully choreographed series of motions and scripted exchanges delivered at strategically chosen times over the course of the day… until I tried to make dinner.  And washed an onion.  And, while opening a can of garbanzo beans, got splashed with bean juice both on the forehead and, intriguingly, up by my left elbow under a long sleeve. And then sat down to write about it and typed “eggplant” with two ts.  And typed “typed” with two ps.

But you know what’s great about eggplantt and leeks and cracked wheat and garbanzo beans?  You really can’t go wrong, even with markedly diminished cognitive skills.  For that, on a night like this, I’m most grateful.

Cracked wheat with eggplant + leeks + garbanzo beans

  • 1 cup cracked wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 Chinese eggplant
  • 1 leek
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can tomato sauce (my cupboard suggested “Spanish style” and I didn’t argue)
  1. I sauteed the cracked wheat in some olive oil just because that made me happy.  Then the water joined the party, and it all boiled and then simmered for some 20 minutes or so.
  2. In the meantime, I sauteed the onion and eggplant in a separate skillet, all the while getting rather distracted by The Daily Show.  So, I think I added oregano, parsley, salt, and pepper.  It kind of tasted like I had.
  3. Then, when the eggplant and onions became soft, the leeks and tomatoes went in for an additional couple of minutes.  And lastly, after the forehead + elbow splash incident, the garbanzos jumped in.
  4. And then we ate and were happy.
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How about something a whole lot prettier than that ugly pie?  Here, try this:

Orzo with roasted tomatoes and eggplant

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, diced
  • 1/2 box orzo, cooked for 9-10 minutes
  • a couple of glugs of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs and cheese (optional)
  1. Toss the onions and eggplant with salt, pepper, vinegar.
  2. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and bake for another 15 minutes.
  4. Serve over orzo with herbs and cheese.

Vegetarian paprikash

November 23, 2009

This is Part II in the Must Empty The Fridge series, starring:

  • 1 large onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 5-6 medium potatoes
  • 2 smallish eggplants (or 1 large)
  • 1 bell pepper (composed, in my case, of 1/2 a green one and 1/2 a red one)
  • ~2 cups of liquid (chicken broth, vegetable broth, water, or a combination)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika (at least!  …I won’t tell you how much I really used)
  • salt to taste
  1. Saute the onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, eggplant, paprika, salt, liquid.  Simmer until the vegetables are soft; 15-20 minutes should do the trick.
  3. Add the peppers and let them get warm and happy for another minute or so.
  4. Serve over egg noodles.

Now, paprikash can be one of those comfort foods that transports some of us straight to our grandmother’s house, to a different continent and a different time…  But that’s perhaps only if sweet paprika is used?  I happened to use hot paprika, which gave the dish zero grandmotherly comfort but a whole lot of delicious roars and thunderbolts.


Roasted eggplant + couscous

October 25, 2009

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Last week at the farmers market, we bought an eggplant the size of a small infant for $1.  It called for great things.  It also called for a husband in town, since–despite my wolf-like appetite–I knew I would not be able to tackle it solo.  So, we waited for Mr. Onepot’s return from a business trip to roast it and stuff it and revel in its purple goodness.

If you’re playing along at home, you will need something along these lines:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small (or 1/2 large) pepper
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of couscous
  • 2 cups of water or broth
  • 1 fistful of spinach leaves (fresh? fine.  frozen? also fine.)
  • 1 fistful of pine nuts

Then:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise.  Remove the seedy entrails .  Rub it with some olive oil and salt+pepper, just to tame it a touch.
  3. Place the eggplant in a shallow baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Rest.  Google.  Have some wine.
  5. When the timer goes off, pour 1/3 of the tomatoes into one eggplant half and 1/3 into the other.  Spread the remaining 1/3 across the bottom of the baking dish.  Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.
  6. Too bad if you had been googling  something interesting, because now is the time to saute the garlic, onion, and pepper for a minute or so.
  7. Add the couscous and stir for ~15 seconds.  (I have no idea if this “toasts” it in any way that makes a difference in flavor, but I sure like doing it.)
  8. Add the water/broth to the couscous and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  At the end, toss in the spinach.  Turn the heat off and let the couscous rest, covered, until…
  9. …the timer goes off for the eggplant.  Remove it from the oven and fill each half with some of the couscous mixture.  Spread the remainder out as evenly as possible around the eggplant in the baking dish.  It should be resting in all sorts of delicious, half-burned tomato juice puddles.
  10. Bake for another 15 minutes.  Sprinkle pine nuts on top.  (I also added some chevre at the very last minute, because chevre makes everything better.)  Broil for 2-3 minutes.

Now you just need to hunt down some more wine and good company to go with the lovely dark and rich and grainy notes of this dish.

Eggplant + potato curry

October 17, 2009

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Oh, how we loved this improvised curry that used up our end-of-the-week produce odds and ends:

  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger remnant
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 bunch of cilantro

Saute everything except the cilantro with a small dash of salt and a huge dash of curry powder.  Then, add 1 can of diced tomatoes and an equal amount of water. If preparing this in a pressure cooker: cover, bring to a whistle, and simmer for 15 minutes. In a plain old pot, it will likely take closer to 20-30 minutes.  Serve with cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.  Great over rice or with pita bread!